For those who know little about the world of coastal rowing, it is a sport rowed on oceans and coastal waters where surf and tides test athlete speed in varying conditions. Athletes endure waves, boat collisions and capsizes, so it's important to have total confidence in the equipment when rowing in such adverse conditions. The new Skinny Coastal shaft is tailored to the demanding needs of coastal rowers. The shaft contains fiberglass that increases impact resistance without significantly affecting weight. The Skinny Coastal shaft reduces wind and water resistance on the oar as it moves on the recovery compared to the Ultralight shaft, and the added durability means the new shaft is more impact resistant for tough conditions.
Ben Booth has been competing for the USA in the World Rowing Coastal Championships since 2015. We asked Ben to carry out some extensive testing of the Skinny Coastal shaft paired with the Comp blade. “It was a great test for the Coastal shafts,” said Ben. “The waves would slam into me, breaking over and into the boat, burying it under water and killing the speed. Then, I’d need big, full power strokes with the boat momentarily full of water to get the speed up to get over the next wave. Lots of fun, and lots of stress on the oar.”
When comparing the Skinny Coastal shaft to the standard Skinny shaft Ben noted that “the drive is predictably very much the same and, in rougher conditions, the weight wasn't felt and the Coastal shafts had a little more stability in heavy winds.” While the Skinny Coastal shaft is marginally heavier than the standard Skinny shaft Ben said, “I don't think it will be noticed when just using the Skinny Coastal shaft with the Comp blade. The weight became a wash, and the quick feel of the Comp shone through, making the oar feel lighter overall.”
Pairing the Skinny Coastal shaft with the Comp blade results in a swing weight that is still lower than the standard Skinny shaft paired with a Smoothie2 or Fat2 blade. This means you can increase the stroke rate more easily in varying coastal conditions. Ben said that “being able to bring the rate up with the Comps is going to be huge for keeping up boat speed through adverse conditions. Its quickness and lightness are key for having a lively cadence in the heavier coastal boats. I feel like I can row hard with them with reduced fatigue—another key factor in tough conditions.”
The Skinny Coastal shaft should be the first choice for people looking to compete in coastal disciplines and is also an excellent choice as a more durable oar for flatwater rowers.