Some para-rowers will benefit from using modified equipment to make it safer and easier for the athletes to row. The following is a summary of the types of equipment that are most often used for para-rowing in Australia and where it can be purchased.
This list refers to the three general classifications for para-rowing – Arms Shoulders (AS), Trunk and Arms (TA) and Leg Trunk and Arms (LTA), including Intellectual Impairments (II).
Please read the Rowing Australia Para-Rowing Competition Regulations to ensure your equipment in compliant. These regulations can be found in the Policies and Regulations page.
LTA and II
Most LTA and II rowers will row in standard rowing equipment that doesn’t require modification however some athletes who have difficulty with balance might row with stabilizing pontoons attached to the boat riggers and/or might use a recreational style boat.
TA athletes can use standard 1x rowing boats or wider based recreational style rowing sculls with a fixed seat. For racing at a national championships, athletes can use either boat. Athletes who have difficulty with balance might row with stabilizing pontoons attached to the boat riggers.
For 2x events at a national level, athletes use a wider boat that must be designed and built to FISA specification by a FISA approved Para-Rowing Boat Manufacturer.
AS rowers use a wider based recreational style rowing scull with stabilizing pontoons. The minimum weight of a single scull for AS events is 24kg (weighed with the seat and pontoons). The 1x for national events must be designed and built to FISA specification by a FISA approved Para-Rowing Boat Manufacturer.
For 2x events at a national level, athletes use a standard boat with stabilizing pontoons and a fixed seat.
AS and TA rowers use fixed seats. For some TA rowers, this can be as simple as a normal rowing seat fixed into position. The fixed seats supplied with Swift Racing and Wintech Racing International para-boats can have the height and angle of the back support adjusted to suit the needs of individual rowers. They can also be set with no back support.
If a boat with a sliding seat is being modified for a fixed seat rower, tracks need to be fitted to the boat to suit the fixings for the fixed seat. These should be supplied by the supplier of the seat.
Stabilizing Pontoons and Brackets
Stabilizing pontoons must be used for AS boats and are optional for TA, LTA and II boats
To modify an existing boat for AS and TA rowers, it is recommended to have riggers to suit the shorter reach that AS and TA rowers will have and to ensure the pin is in a position for the rower to get an effective arc.
To optimize the stroke arc in relation to the shorter stroke length, AS and TA rowers may use oars that are shorter than for able bodied rowers and that have a shorter inboard. This is in addition to having a narrower span than is normal for able-bodied, LTA and II rowers. These oars will need to be ordered with sleeves set to allow the narrow inboard.
* Chest straps and knee straps are needed for AS rowers
* Additional postural straps can be used for AS rowers
* Knee straps are needed for TA rowers
* All strapping must have Velcro fastening that enables the rower to release it with a single handed action.
Kneeboard straps (made for water-skiing) can also be fitted to the frame of fixed seats and work well as chest and knee straps.
Blindfolds must block out all light and are compulsory for all LTA-VI athletes. Ski goggles, motor bike goggles or swimming goggles blacked out with black paint or similar on the lens are acceptable as blindfolds for rowing at a domestic level providing all light to the eyes is eliminated.
Radio headsets can provide direct communication between a coach and a vision impaired rower during training and racing at a national level. The equipment will generally include a handset for the coach and a helmet or headpiece with a built in speaker for the athlete.