Question of the Day

Hi! I’m the tallest girl on the team and have a lot of trouble carrying boats because I feel as if I’m being crushed. I’m 6 feet tall. I’d say my shoulders are about 2-4 inches higher than everyone else’s. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it not as heavy or more evenly spread or something? (Oh and by the way…. I love your blog!)

An easy solution is to line up by height so that you’ve got someone of similar or equal height on the other side of you but you might beΒ stuck in an uncomfortable situation if you’re the tallest out of everyone.

Related: How to cox a boat in and out of the house

It might end up being that you just have to carry the boat off your shoulder and hold it beside you so it’s at the same level as everyone else. Get the next tallest rower in your boat though and pair up with them when you get the boat off the racks or out of the water. Even if they aren’t as tall as you, it might lessen the burden on your shoulder a little bit.

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5 thoughts on “Question of the Day

  1. anon says:

    Since this (being one of the shorter folks with one tall person carrying a 4+) just happened to me yesterday, I spent the entire (painful) time thinking about the physics. When a tall person “lifts” the boat, the result is that the center of gravity moves towards the opposite side, diagonal rower. The closer CG means that “shorter” person carries more weight on their shoulder than the taller person. On top of that, the taller person has the boat angled so that the inside gunnel is on her shoulder — this tends to be the part that is rounded and intended to not have sharp edges. On the other hand, the shorter person now has the outside gunnel against their shoulder, which (at least on our boats) is the edge of the boat surface (ie, not very rounded and a smaller surface area than the inside gunnel). The smaller surface area means that the force per square cm is even higher on the shorter person’s shoulder, which means even more pain.

    Summary: the shorter person diagonally positioned from the tall person gets the most pain of the four because of more weight over a smaller surface area). Of course, as we know from experience, the other two are carrying a significantly smaller proportion (<50%) of the weight, so really the tall and her/his 'diagonal pair' are basically carrying most of the weight and they both are trying hard not to swear or collapse under it.

    So, yes, please replace the tall person, or find a pair that is of equal height, or accept that it's just a matter of time before someone is going to get hurt. Now…off to ice my shoulder.

  2. Claire says:

    I seriously doubt that, that person would carry more weight than the tall one. Yes they do get a lot of weight though. Unfortunately you might have to just suck it up, you do get used to it (never fully but it does get better) i find carrying it off my shoulder harder (hurts my hands and arms can’t hold the weight. I always carry it on my shoulder, you might find it easier to carry on one shoulder over the other? I prefer my right so always carry it on that side. I used to get bruised shoulders but that stopped after a while.

    • beantownkmd says:

      The shorter rowers in my boat always complained (well, not complained per se…) that the boat felt it was getting dumped back on them when there was an abnormally tall person in the boat, so I think I understand what the other person was trying to say. Whether or not science backs it up, I don’t know.

      Carrying it off your shoulder can be harder or easier, from what I’ve noticed, depending on your overall strength. Some people can manage it without a problem and other people get tired really quickly because it takes quite a lot of effort to not have it resting on your shoulders. To prevent the bruises, the girls in my boat would take their socks off on the way down to the dock, roll them in a ball, and then stick them under the strap of their sports bra to provide a little cushioning.

  3. anon says:

    Ok, I just have to respond to this. I am one of the ‘average’ (aka, ‘short’ in rowing terms) heights in our club and honestly, if there’s one person in the boat who is significantly taller than everyone else, then have someone else carry the boat! Why? Because while everyone seems to notice that the one tall person “carries the boat” what they don’t seem to realize is that particularly in 4’s, the person who is paired with them diagonally (ie, if tall person is stern, then the bow person on the other side) is *ALSO* carrying the boat. And (ok, I’ve had way too many physics classes!) in fact, the shorter person actually carries *MORE* weight on their shoulders than the tall person.

    The only time I’ve ever been injured rowing is by carrying a boat like this a couple of days in a row. Seriously. Let the whole “it’s your boat, carry it” go and do the right thing! Switch them out or get another tall person to pair!!! Please!

    • beantownkmd says:

      Valid points! Maybe they can take the oars down for the boat in lieu of having someone else hop in their spot? It all depends on the crew and the coaches. Some are OK with that, others aren’t. What you say is true though!

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