Pocock Classic Cedar Single Racing Shells
Guy Harper on
The Demise of the Pocock Stroke


Guy, who started this discussion ....


All these email rowing discussions are a most oar inspiring and really should not be considered an oar deal... :o))

Anyway, I believe those nice long races of years ago, fell out of favor due to the length of time between each event...so the 1 and 2K’s became popular as crowd pleasers. Rowing, being a non-money making sport, has mostly been on the back pages of the papers and magazines. I have decided that it is just fine with me to be without all the fanfare...even with Michael wining 5 National Championships, there was hardly an in-depth article about this feat. In my opinion, the Pocock Stroke is all about the fun of rowing and rowing well and enjoying it and then talking about it in great detail!

Obviously, those short race courses have not been good for the PS style...and the merry-go-round German Windmill style has been in favor for years. The beauty of the basic PS disappeared as a result of these short races...however, the viewing crowds must now be very pleased and the rowers very exhausted...even after a short 6 minutes!.

The apparent recent resurgence of the PS interest however, is to see if, just maybe, it can be adapted in part or whole to these short 2K “warm up” type races. I cannot even remember “settling the stroke” much during any of those short races...as it was just an all-out blasting race to the finish. The 3 milers were fun and obviously the PS style worked well...but I don’t expect US Rowing and the Olympics to change to a longer course any time soon.

So now where do we go from here? Take a minute to study these two Class Day UW photos below that show little form and when coming down the race course, the shells look like a barge pushing lots of water. That style is exactly why there obviously is room for the PS approach to these short courses.

This is a most graphic display of rowing that needs lots of help! I sure hope that the Internet is shut down in Heaven so George, Stan and Frank are unable to see this demonstration of present day rowing!

Take a minute again to see the 1991 AMRC video and just enjoy the smooth rhythmic PS demonstration! I enjoy this video every time I view it. See the flat blades returning and the lack of splash during the flip catch.

Now you can see why Matt and others are so intent on getting together to see if just maybe, portions of the PS may improve the current style. Bill and I really think that the flexible oar shaft and blade design are the keys to this effort. Check out this picture of the bend in Rod Johnson’s oar shaft vs. Max Long with the new hatchet blade.

A more detailed and interesting article is available at: http://pocockclassic.org/RodJohnson/Johnson.html

In the meantime, even a little PS overlap should certainly improve the current style of rowing!

Very best to you and keep on stroking!
Guy Harper

Pocock Classic Cedar Single Racing Shells
Copyright 2005 - 2017 Steve Chapin
All rights reserved.