Sunday, 18 August 2019

Four Gold at the US Nation Masters for David Harralson

Congratulations to US National Masters Champion David Harralson, 79, winning 4 Gold's last weekend. David continues to row at the highest levels with years of training, experience and service to his club Casitas RC. "Rowing is a life-long endeavor." David has been rowing and racing with RANDALLfoils for over two years now. (Image of David at 2018 Nationals)

You can watch a brief interview with David here

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Rule 40 - "Innovation"

When FISA considered the legality of the RANDALLfoil it needed to consult Rule 40.

Any novel equipment design needs to be submitted to FISA to determine if it conforms to the laws of rowing. If the new design conforms, it is considered NOT to challenging Rule 40 and is declared NOT to be an innovation. According to Rule 40, anything actually considered to be an innovation would NOT be permitted in the sport of rowing.

The use of the word 'innovation' has a particular legal understanding within the context of the FISA Rule Book. There are many unique designs which we would commonly consider to be 'innovative' but as they conform to existing laws they are determined by FISA not to be so. For example, the use of new materials, boat shapes, rigger positioning, blade and shaft designs we do consider to be innovations, however, as they are 'legal' they are not considered innovations by FISA.

If however, the FISA Equipment Committee did declare a novel design to be an "innovation" the design must then go before the full Executive Committee for further scrutiny. If considered to change the nature of the sport, the innovation will not be permitted. However, when a determined innovation is then accepted by the Executive it must then have a full 12 months of commercial availability before use at competitions.

We were thankful, and very relieved, when FISA Equipment Committee gave their determination that the foil design was not considered an innovation.

Long live innovation and those who possess that spirit of enquiry to push the boundaries of design within the rules of our sport.

Thursday, 25 July 2019


The best of luck to all athletes who have been working with Aram Lemmerer and myself in preparing their equipment for the upcoming World Rowing Championships. 

To answer a commonly asked question ... 

RANDALLfoils are officially permitted to be used at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

1st August 2018, FISA Equipment Commission determined the RANDALLfoil conformed to all current laws of oar design and are permitted for use at all FISA sanctioned events. Click to view FISA ruling

The design was subsequently presented to the rowing community at the FISA Coaching, Sports Science and Medicine Conference, Berlin. 

RANDALLfoils will be made available during the World Championships at the Nelo Racing commercial stand with a fitting service available.

Click to view full documentation

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Good Luck Vero Beach Rowing Club

Vero Beach Rowing Club have begun to adopt RANDALLfoils for their junior rowing training program. I wish them the very best for the U23 World Rowing Championships and look forward to seeing their progress, both now and into the future.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Poor conditions continue to upset elites

Rotterdam, Netherlands, upset many best performances with top scullers like Olli Zeidler missing out on A Final qualification. This is a screenshot at the start of the Men's 1x, Sverri NIELSEN using standard blades nearly capsizes.

RANDALLfoils have been shown to out-perform standard equipment, especially in poor conditions.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

US Masters Rep - Bob Symonds

Karen and Bob Symonds with RANDALLfoil blades at the Boston Marathon
I would like to welcome US Masters rower Bob Symonds to the RANDALLfoil team.

Bob is a sixty-year-old Masters rower who embraces the mantra: faster, stronger, older. He competes both nationally and internationally in a wide variety of races from sprints on up to marathons. He is highly competitive in the single but becomes a powerhouse when joined by his wife, Karen, in the double scull. While he has won over sixty medals, he strives to improve every year, a quest that ultimately led him to join our team.

Bob was one of the first to trial and race with the foil design and he has written many reviews on rowing forums in defense of its performance characteristics. He only started rowing a decade ago, but as a former competitive long-distance runner, he quickly got in shape to row. At the same time, he knew that his on-water performance lagged his fitness. So he used his background as a research geochemist and hydrologist to begin a long journey to row better and faster. His path led him to RANDALLfoil's. It has been a pleasure to work with Bob since the discovery of the foil design and to have such a committed representative of the design on the team is such a bonus.

Bob will be our lead distributor to Masters rowers in the States and will look after the Midwest region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Louisiana).

You can reach Bob by email: 

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Unlike any other

The first couple of strokes with the foils was a remarkable experience. There is such grip and stability in the water it feels like you're in a quad. After a couple minutes your body adapts and you forget they are even there. Your shoulders relax at the catch because you have the confidence the blade will catch and stay planted. It feels like rowing should feel. As soon as the blade drops in the water you are able to notice the boat levering past the blade. Though there is still some slip the send in the second half of the stroke in unlike any other set up I've felt. Where I noticed the biggest difference, however, was when I traveled to a different club, and rowed a different single. I immediately felt a lack of stability, my stroke was less powerful and my posture was tighter. The best compliment I can give is 'try rowing without them, it will never be the same'.

I have also taken a few videos. In reviewing them, I noticed my catches were not as sharp as I like (sorry, it was the end practice) - I'm happy to reshoot them if you would like me to. Or even take a few videos at race pace.

Here are the videos.

One stroke - shows the water loading up on the blade

Same angle but a few strokes

A different angle

Chris Zulinov,
Equipment Manager,
Halifax Rowing Club

Sunday, 7 July 2019

More issues with standard blades at Henley Royal Regatta

Standard blades offer very little vertical control and can easily crab, dive or washout. The reality of racing in the real world is that open water offers no promise of smooth or controlled race conditions and experienced world-class athletes continue to be let down by current oar design.

RANDALLfoil blades offer superior control and performance in all conditions when compared to standard oars. Don't let 'standards' limit your performance!

Henley Commentators ... oar shaft drag

During the final of the Fawley Challenge Cup the commentators were explaining the negative effect of rowers digging oars too deeply. RANDALLfoils were specifically designed to eliminate oar shaft drag to improve oar efficiency and increase boat speed.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Elites taking note

Many thanks to Sean Heaney, Irish International Representative, for his endorsement of RANDALLfoils.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The need for a design change

Much has been said of what 'elites' are capable of, especially when it comes to technique.

Yet, there are many cases where 'elites' struggle to perform with standard equipment; catching crabs, washing out and nearly capsizing. On one hand, it makes the everyday rower feel alittle better seeing top athletes experiencing difficulties, but it also raises questions about current oar design.

The difficulties that EVERYONE experience with oars warrants a design change. A design improvement will make our sport safer and top performances more achievable.

What has been shown is that the application of a RANDALLfoil to the top edge of a blade eliminates the possibilities of crabbing and unexpected blade movements during the stroke.

Everyone deserves to achieve the results they have been working for.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

How important is STABILITY ?

Watching the World Cup II in PoznaƄ highlighted the importance of stability in rowing. Many 'elite' rowers found the unfavorable conditions greatly affected their performances, especially in small boats.

Standard oars are greatly affected by adverse and changeable water conditions and offer little to no stability, especially when you are trying to apply maximum force to the blade. One rogue wave can knock you completely off your balance and cost significant boat speed.

One of the overwhelming review comments of the RANDALLfoil design is the incredible stability the design offers. Blades with foils are simply not affected by the changing water conditions as wave energy does not disrupt the movement of the blade and loom during the stroke.

Consider how your oars would perform under these race conditions?

Friday, 14 June 2019

27,000km on the clock - In the boat with Bob Symonds

I started rowing in the fall of 2009. Since that time, I have rowed almost 27,000 km combined on the water and the erg. I set my best 2K time (7:12.2) in 2011 and came within one second of matching that this February. In terms of Concept2 rankings, I am best at 5K pieces and worse at 1K pieces and in between on 2K pieces. In summary, my fitness has been relatively constant since 2012 and my physiological strength is head racing rather than sprinting. I am also a lightweight (5'-8", 160 lbs).

Between 2011 and 2017, I have completed 15 1K sprint races in my single. I would rate two of these races as excellent with good starts, good overall speed, and great overall times (e.g. raw time in the low four minute range). However, in the 13 other races, I had various problems that slowed me down. My biggest problem has been very bad starts that alone cost me several seconds and one or more placings in the medals.

So my recent result at Dogwood in the F 1x was a dream, especially since I have not done a sprint race in my single for two years. Sure, I have areas for potential improvement (e.g. gearing) but I am now a real competitor in sprint races. I have never had such confidence with my starts until I started using the RANDALLfoils. I am gaining confidence, getting faster, and getting older. This is a great combination for a 60-year-old masters rower.

Do I have hard numbers comparing results with foils and without foils? No, but who cares. I row with more control, confidence and speed with the foils so that is what matters. The bottom line is that the foils help me do better. race to do my best and win medals so I like that.

[Footage of a 1km practice piece with Bob and Karen]


Thursday, 6 June 2019

Why standard blades need pitch and RANDALLfoils don't?

Standard blades require pitch to create stability during the drive phase of the stroke. Without pitch on the blade the rower has very little control over its depth and can wash-out or deep dive.

Blade pitch, however, reduces the efficiency of the blade as a total horizontal force. Instead of the rowers' energy being translated into horizontal boat speed, some is transferred downward.

While blade pitch makes taking powerful strokes with conventional blades possible, 'elite' crews try to find that sweet spot between crew stability and maximizing blade efficiency, always trying to reduce pitch as much as possible.

With RANDALLfoils, blade pitch can be minimised (some users report 1-degree) without the loss of any stability, but gaining total horizontal blade efficiency. All of the rowers' power is transferred into direct horizontal motion.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Rowing with a Platypus ...

Click to enlarge

I have been surprised by the generosity of people willing to post on rowing web forums and the time they give to crafting arguments and responding to the points of others. One such generous contributor is called 'Platypus' (Yarra, Australia) who has modeled for us best practice when it comes to 'posting.' They have followed up the debate about the efficacy of RANDALLfoils on the popular forum "Rowing Illustrated" with a trial of their own.  Platypus presented a review of the design from a position of actual experience and I thank 'Platypus' for taking the time to test the design and to share the findings with the rowing community.

Re: RandallFoil
by platypus - Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:37am
"To all you doubters and hecklers out there that need scientific evidence before you get on-board with a new product: I've been using Randall Foils with Braca-Sport oars for the past month and are 100% certain that they offer at least one advantage over oars without them. STABILITY.
I don't give a rat about time trials, I know when I feel so much more stable at the catch. The foils have completely transformed the stability of the boat for me, particularly when sculling in boat wash or rough water. Some people might say that the foil creates more wind resistance. Sure that might be true, but the stability and confidence that you gain in rough water to me kills any negative wind drag effect. Furthermore, I've seen novice scullers being able to sit at the catch with blades squared and buried, for the very first time with Randall Foils. Then when they change back to standard blades they look so nervous and unbalanced and can't do that. Therefore, from what I've experienced and seen, Randall Foils definitely offer more boat stability and go a long way to help novices overcome fear of the water. As for scientific time trials for more boat speed: Don't know and DON"T CARE. Sculling well has a lot to do with stability and confidence. Randall Foils offer that.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Empower Oarlocks - Investing in Technology over Performance

I remember wondering when I first installed an impeller on the hull of my single scull, if I would notice the extra 'drag' ?  The literature made the point that the benefit gained from having the data far out weighs the -1% speed loss over a 2000m race.  Even though the data from an impeller is far more accurate, the advent of GPS systems is seeing impellers being removed to gain back that extra speed. It looks like we do care about performance after all.

Many clubs are now investing in Empower Oarlocks to measure and display in real time important data sets like watts and catch angles. Having real time data is extremely important, however the 'drag' of this system is far greater then -1% speed loss.  One of the critical design faults of the device is the limitation of blade pitch, as Empower oarlocks can only use a 4-degree pitch. Speaking with one of the engineers, I was told that it is to do with the algorithms which require a standarised setup. Removing the ability to adjust for pitch is reverting back to the old "technology over performance" mindset.

This design limitation makes such an important piece of technology obsolete as a 4-degree pitch angle is a standard set up for 'old' blades which need this extreme pitch to create stability and hold on the water. The RANDALLfoil oar eliminates the need for oar pitch as the foil creates that stability and hold, giving back the negative performance and efficiency loss that oar pitch creates.*

The rowing community has shown a high regard for on-water performance and are investing accordingly.... perhaps the engineers of Empower oarlock will do the same with future versions of their product.

* testing has shown that RANDALLfoils may be pitched down to 1 degrees ( pins set at 0 ).

Sunday, 26 May 2019


Montgomery Bell Academy Freshman 8 made history today. Very proud of these young oarsmen who represented the very best of effort, determination and focus all year long for MBA. 6th in the Nation. Congrats to these young oarsmen and to all Big Red Rowing for a great year. #RowRed

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Banner Day for Montgomery Bell Academy

Note : image distortion caused by photo-finish camera technology

MBA competed in the Midwest Scholastic Championships: 49 teams from 9 different states with bids to the National Championships on the line. Racing a total of 9 boats with all 5 of the boats that we anticipated doing well not only made it into the finals, but they each also earned a medal! 1 Gold (2x), 2 Silver (Ltwt 8, Freshman 8), 2 Bronze (Ltwt 4, Ltwt Novice 4). We brought up 33 boys to the regatta, 24 of which are grade 9 or 10, racing many senior crews and finished 4th overall in the team standings. The crew who won the double had only 5 months of water time sculling and won the race in a photo finish (above).

Note: Freshman 8 averages 146 lbs (66.5 kg) with a 5'6", 119 lb (168cm, 54kg) stroke seat.

All MBA crews race with RANDALLfoils

Monday, 6 May 2019

Testing your speed

Many people ask me about +5% Speed with RANDALLfoils. 

It is clear that any rowers speed fluctuates over a race, a training session, an entire season and throughout a career. If you are serious about rowing competitively, you will utilize everything available to ensure +%speed. In an age of personal GPS and fitness measurement devices, you can know for sure if you are achieving +speed.

The bottom-line ... things that easily create +%Speed
- good diet
- ample sleep
- regular training
- effective power to weight ratio (lowering your BMI)
- well maintained equipment

The next level ... don't go blindly
Seeking ways to further achieve +%Speed comes with deeper levels of training, technique and advanced equipment. It is here that many athletes wander blindly and don't actually know if the changes they are making are effective.

You need to measure, track and record your speed to know if you are achieving +%speed, =%speed or -%speed.

I suggest that every rower needs to know three levels of speed:

     1. Top - fastest speed achieved over a race distance under race conditions (1km or 2km)

     2. Hard-deck - slowest speed recorded over a race distance under race conditions (1km or 2km)

     3. Running -  average speed during a steady state session measured against heart rate (and/or
                             power) and strokes per minute.

From this data set, you will be able to determine if the changes you are making are creating +speed.

Independent, evidential and anecdotal testing continues to show a +5% Speed with RANDALLfoils 

NO stopping MBA with RANDALLfoils

Montgomery Bell Academy has begun the season right where they left off - at the top ! 

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Game changer

At the 2018 Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, TN, one of the premier regattas in the world; RANDALLfoils allowed me to medal in my women's 1x. On my way to the start line, a male single sculler asked me how I liked my Randall Foils, my response, love them, I never pull deep. Also, I sat for a while, blades squared, hands off oars to prepare myself for racing, I kind of think it freaked out my competitors, especially in those conditions. . Lastly, I used to hate racing starts, and yes, I had my doubts when first rowing with the foils, now, I don't even think about the start anymore. I think they are a game changer. Thank you, Ian, for developing such a great tool that makes my competition sweat. " Karen Symonds, Clearwater KS, USA

Monday, 15 April 2019

Rhode Island Rowing

Many thanks to Michael Hamilton of Rhode Island, USA, for sharing his thoughts and experiences rowing with RANDALLfoils.

"I totally see the benefits of a device to enhance performance, however, I think there is a huge market in the learn to row category of scullers.  This is why I am going to mount the foils up for sculling members to try.  Forgive me for highlighting what may be totally obvious, but I think foils make sculling oars so much easier to handle in general and would be a huge advantage to those first-time and intermediate rowers learning the sport of sculling.  Not only do the oars track extremely well during the stoke, but the blade depth in maneuvering the shells is also vastly improved.  Having a non-feathered blade unexpectedly dive or sink is virtually eliminated with the foils, allowing blades to naturally rest near the surface.  I find the foils greatly dampen any unwanted hand lifting that can upset the balance or stability of the boat.  Again, a huge advantage to youngsters or masters working to develop their stroke.  The benefit of learning proper blade depth in the early stages of learning to row is an immeasurable benefit.  As you have stated, the foils allow the body to feel and develop proper muscle memory needed to perfect the catch, drive and finish portion of the stroke.  At NBC we are all about expanding the sport of rowing.  I think your invention could help fast-track the learning curve in this sport. "

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Pitching with Bow Mounted Riggers

Testing has shown that bow mounted riggers flex during the drive phase affecting the pitch of your blade. The degree of flex is dependent on your strength but indications show that it may be greater then 2-degrees of deflection.

RANDALLfoil optimal pitching is 3-degree or less and testing has shown VIII can be pitched at 1-degree.

However, if you are rowing with bow rigging please account for extra deflection and trial full pressure to ensure your pitch is giving you the non-slip 'lock on' feel RANDALLfoils deliver. Adjust accordingly.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Personal Best

Congratulations to Mario Laing for breaking his personal best time in the 1000m at the recent VIC State Championships, Australia

- this what we all strive for at every level of our sport - 

"I have found the RANDALLfoils made it much easier to get under 4 mins for the 1000 m while winning the heat of the D single at the Vic State Champs. At the end of the race I felt I could race another 1000 metres without a problem...they really help to hang off the handle and stabilise the drive to make the whole stroke more efficient."

Mario Laing
Personal & Social Wellbeing Coach

The season is starting well !

Leon Jones - Lone Wolf RC - Masters F

Congratulations to Leon Jones 

- 3 wins out of 3 races in Masters 2X -

- 3 wins out of 3 races in Masters 1X -

It takes focused hardwork, inspired effort and dedication to elite performance to stay at the top. 

"Where I have really noticed the RANDALLfoils is in my single. I am not missing water, the blades lock on immediately, giving me the confidence that the oars are ready for immediate pressure. I also seem to get a little more "send" at the release."

Leon Jones (stroke)

Monday, 11 March 2019


Congratulations to Melbourne High School U19 4x for winning by an extraordinary margin at the recent Victorian State Championships against a high-class field. 
- Using BRACA Oars and RANDALLfoils - 


Friday, 15 February 2019

Alastair Isherwood - A World Champion's Perspective

1998 Australian Men's Lightweight 2-

Those more mature members of the rowing community will remember a time when cleaver blades did not exist. Come the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, some crews had made the transition from Macon to cleaver blades, including Australia’s own Oarsome Foursome. After a disappointing result in Amsterdam leading up to the Olympics, the reigning World Champions in the Coxless Four made the decision to move to cleaver blades. As they say, the rest is history!

The future is now?
 In the years since there has been a slow but progressive evolution of the cleaver blade with Braca, Croker and Concept 2 all selling their “smoothie” equivalent blade. If one were to row the original cleaver “big blade” back to back with these new smoothie designs, you would notice a distinct difference in the ease you can control blade depth and achieve maximum grip with the water. Failing this slow evolution, there has been a distinct lack of innovation until now! Sydney School Teacher and rowing enthusiast, Ian Randall, may have come up with the next big thing in the evolution of rowing and boat speed. The “Randall Foil” is a lip that attaches to the top of the blade.

Testing I have extensively tested the foils and can make the following observations (with some changes to the set up of the gate/pin):

  • Blade depth is controlled so there is far less vertical movement of the blade through the drive phase. 
  • There is far less slipping of the blade at the catch and release, resulting in greater effective length and a more efficient stroke. 


  • Having rowed with a foil on stroke side and no foil on bow side, I can say that into a very strong headwind there is a small increase in inertia given the larger surface area traveling into the wind. 
  • The foils need to be professionally installed. After testing, if you are to commit to the foils they do need to be attached to the blades with the appropriate resins to ensure they remain intact.


If you consider the development of the cleaver blade, the Randall Foil are a fairly natural and logical progression in making rowing easier. With several prominent European rowing countries currently using them foils are only one win away from being an essential part of any successful crew’s equipment list. In 1992 there were several crews on the podium at the Barcelona Olympics still rowing with Macon blades. Having witnessed the extinction of the Macon blade those rowers must still wonder to this day what would have been had they been more open to change at the time.