EmPower Oarlock

Get simple technical feedback while you row with the EmPower Oarlock system. Install in minutes with no special tools, and see information about your length, engagement and power right on your SpeedCoach Model 2 with Training Pack.

The EmPower Oarlock requires a SpeedCoach GPS Model 2 with Training Pack firmware. If you have a SpeedCoach GPS 2, but it doesn't have the Training Pack firmware upgrade, you can upgrade now.

Not sure if the EmPower Oarlock will work on your boat?

$649.00
Availability: In stock
SKU
018

Practical Feedback
after Every Stroke

Three steps to Free Speed

Step 1.

Replace your existing sweep or sculling oarlock with the EmPower Oarlock.

Step 2.

Pair it with a SpeedCoach GPS 2 with Training Pack.

Step 3.

Get simple feedback about your length, blade engagement, and force on the SpeedCoach screen while you row.

Extra:

For deeper insights over time, upload the Oarlock data directly to a mobile device or computer.

Three Major Areas of Technical Feedback

Length

Catch Angle: Long strokes make fast boats. Make sure you reach full compression every time with instant feedback on your length at the catch.

Finish Angle: When is the best time to release your blade from the water? Set and hit solid targets with real-time information on your length at the finish.

Blade Engagement

Slip: Compression at the catch means nothing unless your blade is locked onto the water. Keep an eye on slip to minimize wasted reach.

Wash: A good send makes all the difference. Stay confident in your connection at the finish with stroke-by-stroke feedback on your wash.

Force

Empty the tank at precisely the right moment when you pace yourself with work or power.

Stay accountable in team boats: know exactly how much energy you’re putting into the oar.

Classic Screen

Paired with an EmPower Oarlock in Classic Mode, the SpeedCoach GPS 2 with Training Pack still has the same four windows it always did, but now you can customize those windows with any of the following metrics:

  • Stroke Rate
  • Effective Stroke Length
  • Current 500m Split
  • Distance Traveled Per Stroke
  • Average 500m Split
  • Power
  • Stroke Count
  • Average Power
  • Total Distance
  • Work
  • Catch Angle
  • Average Work
  • Slip
  • Peak Force
  • Finish Angle
  • Oar Angle at Peak Force
  • Wash
  • Force (average over whole stroke)
  • Total Stroke Length
  • Elapsed Time
  • Heart Rate
  •  

Skill Screens

Focus on specific aspects of the stroke with five dedicated Skill Screens.

Catch and Slip

  • See how the oar angle at the catch affects how quickly the blade is engaged.
  • Keep athletes in team boats focused on the front end of the stroke so they can align their catch angles better.
SpeedCoach GPS 2 showing Catch & Slip
 

Finish and Wash

  • Quickly determine whether changing the amount of layback is helpful or hurtful to find the sweet spot for back-end length.
  • Monitor Wash throughout a race or practice piece to make sure fatigue doesn’t affect how powerfully you’re sending the boat.
 
SpeedCoach GPS 2 showing Finish & Wash
 

Length

  • Stay long and connected in the last 500.
  • See Total Length and Effective Length at the same time to make sure you’re getting the most out of every inch of your drive.
SpeedCoach GPS 2 showing Catch & Slip
 

Work (joules):

  • Use a performance metric that is unaffected by current, wind, weight or stroke rate.
  • Measure individual contribution in team boats to keep athletes accountable and help them improve.
 
SpeedCoach GPS 2 showing Finish & Wash
 

Power (watts):

  • Continue your dryland training on the water with the same metric used in many ergometer workouts.
  • Pace yourself more accurately in races with a performance metric that is not influenced by factors outside the boat.
SpeedCoach GPS 2 showing Catch & Slip
 

Testimonials

Colin Cornhill loves the EmPower Oarlock

"It makes rowing more intellectual, conscious, better control. What we feel is very different from what we really do. This measurement tool is objective."

-Dr. Valery KleshnevFounder Bio Row
Volker Nolte loves the EmPower Oarlock

"You certainly have something there that athletes will like! Your system is actually quite a good help for us at this stage. Everything works so easily and without changing anything on the boat, it is indeed helping us!"

-Volker NolteAssistant Professor Biomechanics and Coaching and Head Rowing Coach at University of Western Ontario
Yohann Rigogne loves the EmPower Oarlock

"This system helped us so much in becoming better technical rowers. We were able to set up our foot stretchers to exactly match the angles at the catch and finish together. Seeing angles, slip, wash, and force measurements made us work on every stroke to be longer, more efficient, and faster. This is the best tool for rowers since the invention of the SpeedCoach."

-Yohann RigogneUSA National Team Rower
Specifications
Included in Package
  • AA Battery
  • Allen Key
  • Angle Calibration Tool
  • EmPower Oarlock
  • Magnet Bar
  • Pin Bushings (2)
Water ResistanceWaterproof (IP67, NEMA-6).
Control Unit Weightsweep: 0.63lbs (288g) (including magnet bar), scull 55lbs (251g) (including magnet bar)
Unit Dimensions 6.5"x4"x1.75"
ControlsOne waterproof button for pairing/power
Battery TypeAA battery
Battery Life ExpectancyRechargeable AA's can provide 8-20 hours of operation
CaseImpact resistant (MIL-STD-810G, Transit Shock, Method 516.5, Procedure IV). Sun and saltwater resistant.
Warranty Period2 Year Warranty
Measurements
MetricUnitsRangeNotes
Catch Angle Angular Degrees Angle of the oarlock when direction of motion reverses from recovery to drive direction.
Effective Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between the 100N for sculling/200N for sweep slip and wash thresholds.
Finish Angle Angular Degrees Angle of the oarlock when direction of motion reverses from drive to recovery direction
Force Newtons to 1/10 The force applied to the oarlock face averaged over the full stroke.
Max/Peak Force Newtons to 1/10 The maximum force applied to the oarlock face at any point in the stroke.
Peak Force Angle Angular Degrees The degrees of angle at which the peak force occurred in the stroke.
Power Watts to 1/10 The rate of work being output. Power can be increased by doing more work per stroke, or taking more strokes per minute.
Average Power Watts to 1/10 Power per stroke averaged over the entire interval (if using a SpeedCoach). Resetting the clock will reset the average power.
Slip Angular Degrees Angle degrees traversed by the oarlock before the force exceeds 100N for sculling/200N for sweep - a threshold below which the work being done on the oar is doing relatively little to increase the speed of the boat.
Wash Angular Degrees Angle degrees traversed by the oarlock after the force drops below 100N for sculling/200N for sweep – a threshold below which the work being done on the oar is doing relatively little to increase the speed of the boat.
Work Joules to 1/10 The force times the length of the stroke. Work measures the effectiveness of each stroke.
Average Work Joules to 1/10 The average force times the length of the stroke. Work measures the effectiveness of each stroke.
Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between catch and finish.
Effective Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between the 100N for sculling/200N for sweep slip and wash thresholds.

Empower Oarlock Downloads

Shows you which size bushing you would need for the various sweep and sculling boats out there.

Troubleshooting the Pin Calibration Process - Shows common issues why swing calibration fails

Representative Oarlock Values by Class and Skill Levels

Empower Oarlock Instruction Manuals

Detailed instructions to Install, Pair, Configure and Calibrate your EmPower Oarlock.

Product Questions

Yes you do. To maximize the value and flexibility of your rowing electronics investment, the EmPower Oarlock works with any SpeedCoach GPS 2. To support the EmPower Oarlock, the SpeedCoach must have Training Pack with firmware version 2.12 or higher. If you have an earlier version of firmware, you can update your firmware at no charge. If you do not have the Training Pack, you can purchase an upgrade. Installation of updates and upgrades requires a Bluetooth Low Energy USB Dongle. If you have any other NK performance monitor, you can trade it in under our Trade-In, Trade-Up Program.

... Read more

The oarlock measures both the angle of the oarlock and the force being applied to the face of the oarlock. These measurements are taken 50 times per second and are then used by the oarlock to calculate per-stroke parameters which are transmitted to the SpeedCoach wirelessly. These measurements are ones that have been proven to be most helpful in evaluating and improving rowing effectiveness:

Measurements
MetricUnitsRangeNotes
Catch Angle Angular Degrees Angle of the oarlock when direction of motion reverses from recovery to drive direction.
Effective Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between the 100N for sculling/200N for sweep slip and wash thresholds.
Finish Angle Angular Degrees Angle of the oarlock when direction of motion reverses from drive to recovery direction
Force Newtons to 1/10 The force applied to the oarlock face averaged over the full stroke.
Max/Peak Force Newtons to 1/10 The maximum force applied to the oarlock face at any point in the stroke.
Peak Force Angle Angular Degrees The degrees of angle at which the peak force occurred in the stroke.
Power Watts to 1/10 The rate of work being output. Power can be increased by doing more work per stroke, or taking more strokes per minute.
Average Power Watts to 1/10 Power per stroke averaged over the entire interval (if using a SpeedCoach). Resetting the clock will reset the average power.
Slip Angular Degrees Angle degrees traversed by the oarlock before the force exceeds 100N for sculling/200N for sweep - a threshold below which the work being done on the oar is doing relatively little to increase the speed of the boat.
Wash Angular Degrees Angle degrees traversed by the oarlock after the force drops below 100N for sculling/200N for sweep – a threshold below which the work being done on the oar is doing relatively little to increase the speed of the boat.
Work Joules to 1/10 The force times the length of the stroke. Work measures the effectiveness of each stroke.
Average Work Joules to 1/10 The average force times the length of the stroke. Work measures the effectiveness of each stroke.
Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between catch and finish.
Effective Length Angular Degrees Total degrees traversed by the oarlock between the 100N for sculling/200N for sweep slip and wash thresholds.

Please also vist our Blog post, It's In The Computer: A No-Nonsense Breakdown of Rowing Tech Jargon for additional information on this topic.

... Read more

The magnet plate installed below the oarlock creates a magnetic field which is sensed by a magnetometer inside the oarlock. The calibration routine uses a provided calibration artifact, which is basically a protractor that clips onto the magnet bar, to "teach" the oarlock what it will sense at certain angles, ensuring that it provides measurements that are accurate for your oarlock/pin/rigger setup. Angle is displayed with whole degree resolution and is accurate to +/- 2 degrees.

... Read more

The oarlock is installed in exactly the same way you would replace the oarlock on your boat, or remove it to change pitch bushings, and you'll need the same tools your boat would require for that task (such as 7/16", 10mm and/or 13mm wrench and/or screwdriver for backstay adjustment). It can typically be installed in 5-10 minutes, particularly with familiarity. A 2.5mm Allen wrench for securing the magnet bar is included with the oarlock. It is helpful to use a long straight edge, such as a 6ft level, for aligning the magnet bar and zeroing the oarlock angle.

... Read more

Typical battery life in the Oarlock is 10-25hrs, depending on the battery and ambient temperature. We recommend high quality Lithium disposables or Low Self Discharge rechargeable NiMH batteries for more economical use. We do NOT recommend use of alkaline batteries because they are prone to leaking, particularly in a humid environment, and A LEAKING BATTERY WILL DESTROY THE OARLOCK ELECTRONICS AND IS NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY! Here are some batteries we tested, along with the duration they ran under typical use at 75°F:

Energizer Ultimate Lithium 25hrs
Duracell Duralock Rechargeable 2500mAh 15hrs
Eneloop Pro Rechargeable 2450mAh 15hrs
Energizer Max Alkaline 15hrs (NOT recommended!)
Tenergy Rechargeable 2600mAh 14hrs
Energizer Power Plus Rechargeable 2300mAh 13hrs
Energizer Industrial Alkaline 13hrs (NOT recommended!)
Duracell Alkaline 1500mAh 11hrs (NOT recommended!)
Energizer Universal Rechargeable 1500mAH 10hrs
... Read more

The range from an oarlock to paired SpeedCoach is approximately 100ft (30m). Simply hold or mount the SpeedCoach in a nearby motorboat to view oarlock measurements. Because each Oarlock pairs to a single SpeedCoach, you will need a SpeedCoach for each seat you wish to view. We recommend installation of SpeedCoach Surface Mounts in the launch to secure the SpeedCoach units for viewing.

... Read more

We have tried to balance viewing flexibility with ease of operation by providing two display modes:

"SKILL" mode offers pre-configured data screens that are fast and easy for athletes to use to focus on particular aspects of the stroke. The preconfigured SKILL screens are CATCH, FINISH, LENGTH, WORK, POWER.

"CLASSIC" display mode offers full flexibility to choose any data in any of the four SpeedCoach windows and is ideal for rowers and coaches who are interested in creating their own preferred combinations. For example, it is possible to see how boat speed is impacted by catch and finish angle. Or, monitor heart rate and power while maintaining rating. In CLASSIC mode you have the option of freezing the top windows to Rate and Split and changing only the bottom two, or allowing all four windows to flex.

... Read more

Force curves were made available in early rowing analysis systems because they are the most basic representation of the actual analog data from the force sensor, with no analysis applied. As a result, they're familiar, but that doesn’t mean they're ideal. Even after years of looking at and coaching with force curves, there is not much agreement in the sport about what makes a "good" force curve. (Lots of opinions, but not much agreement!) Also, it is challenging for athletes to use force curves as a target for changing their rowing, particularly without a clear target also represented on screen. We have chosen to present primarily numerical data that breaks the stroke down into clearly understood elements because we have demonstrated to ourselves, and many other coaches and athletes, that simple numbers are much easier to focus on when attempting to make changes or assess progress.

Because the EmPower Oarlock logs five key elements each and every stroke (catch angle, slip, peak force, peak force location, wash and finish angle), we are also able to present a clear "picture" of the stroke very similar to a force curve which we call a "Stroke Profile".

When charted using a simple Excel template, the Stroke Profile illustrates these key characteristics of one or more rower. In the example below, four scullers were evaluated during 20' session. We can see that Rower #2 is probably rigged too far into the bow (see their shallow catch angle and deep finish angle). We can also see that Rower #2 has their peak force occurring later in the drive than the other three. The coach can now provide Rower #2 with a target Peak Force Angle of -10 to -20° in order to better match the other rowers in the boat. Rower #2 can monitor himself as he rows future sessions.

To create your own Stroke Profiles, please see Excel Templates and instructions on how to use them below:

Empower Oarlock Downloads

WORKOUT STROKE PROFILE TEMPLATE

Empower Oarlock Downloads

ROWER COMPARISON TEMPLATE

Empower Oarlock Downloads

Oarlock Template Tutorial

... Read more

With our focus on simplicity of installation, pairing and understandability, the initial release of the system is a one-to-one pairing between oarlock and SpeedCoach. Every oarlock needs a dedicated SpeedCoach to view and log its measurements. The SpeedCoach is hardware capable of pairing to multiple oarlocks, and we will offer this option as a firmware update in the future.


But wait! I'm a sculler, and I clearly use two oars!

While it is absolutely true that all scullers have differences in their stroke between their left and right hands, these differences (a) cannot be TOO great or the boat would never go straight; and (b) are generally smaller in their impact on boat speed than the larger elements which can be captured on either side. When in sculling mode, the SpeedCoach doubles the Work and Power values obtained from the single Oarlock so the effective athlete output is shown. We are in part choosing to release the EmPower Oarlock for sculling as a one-to-one system to learn more about the typical combinations of measurements preferred by scullers so we can create a simplified and manageable user interface for displaying the MANY values available when you double the number of Oarlock measurements to be displayed. We promise you will see that the system is incredibly powerful with only one Oarlock as soon as you try it. Note that you can also swap sides occasionally to compare results because the Oarlock is so quick and easy to install and can be used on either side.

... Read more

The initial release of the system does not allow pairing of SpeedCoach units for timing comparisons in team boats. However,one of the main contributors to poor timing is inconsistent catch and finish angles between rowers. By coordinating all rowers to hit the same angles, timing is generally self-corrected.

... Read more

There are rough guidelines for what to expect (-65 and +40 for sculling, -55 and 33 for sweep), but no "perfect angles" for every situation. Angles will differ based on unchangeable variables, such as sweep vs. sculling and the height and arm span of the athlete, and changeable ones, such as rowing style, foot stretcher location, spread/gearing, and inboard. In fact, knowing angles is what allows coaches and athletes to adjust and test these variable parameters. The goal is having each athlete hit angles that maximize their effectiveness, and in team boats, having all athletes hit the same angles as closely as possible. The other measurements provided by the EmPower Oarlock assist you in making these evaluations: slip, wash, length and effective length, as well as trial and error combined with assessing the results.

Our partners at BioRow have been measuring athletes and compiling representative data for over twenty years. This Oarlock Reference Values Table summarizes representative ranges for many of the values provided by the EmPower Oarlock.

Representative Oarlock Values by Class and Skill Levels

... Read more

We adopted with the approach employed by Valery Kleshnev of BioRow, which is to use a set threshold. Clearly, that set threshold may not truly define "slip" and "wash" as we think of it for a smaller, lighter, or less powerful athlete. This threshold is also pretty much irrelevant if you’re paddling as much of the stroke will be below this value. However, if you think of these measurements more as a relative target than as an absolute target, the fixed threshold is simple and effective. For example: "I tend to lay back too far and lose my grip on the water. When I do that, my wash value is 18. When I keep my core engaged and shorten my finish slightly, my wash drops to 10 or 11 and my speed increases. I'm going to try to keep my wash value below 12 at steady state."

This discussion, in general, points out our philosophy with this product. We may not be starting with 100% perfect measurements, perfectly executed. There has simply not been broad enough access to rowing biomechanics data like this to determine the absolute best way to measure everything on day one. We teamed with Dr. Kleshnev and BioRow to ensure we had a strong, validated starting point with measurements that have helped him coach many athletes to world-record times. But, we are also sure we and our customers are going to learn new approaches from expanded use of this system, which is why we are anxious to get it on all sorts of boats with all sorts of athletes. We have been using it in our own rowing and coaching, and we have seen first-hand that these measurements make sense and work in practice. And, both the Oarlock and the SpeedCoach can be updated in the field as we continue to make improvements in the future. Alternatives here would be to make these a user-settable threshold value, or to define them as a percent of peak force. We may test these approaches in the future.

... Read more

We have put a huge amount of effort into making sure each sensor is accurately calibrated and provides consistent readings in all situations and conditions. We have not yet encountered a situation where the measurements don't make sense.

... Read more

The only C-cup riggers we have found that do NOT work are the standard Fluid Design cup, Empacher C style, and WinTech C-style pin bracket. Fluid replacement brackets that will fit the oarlock can be found here. Empacher's can use a Dreher bracket which can be found here.

... Read more

The weight difference is small (170g sculling, 188g sweep) and unnoticeable once the weight of the rower is added to the boat. However, the weight WILL make an unloaded single or double tip in the direction of the oarlock, so some attention must be paid when placing the boat in the water. Again - if this proves annoying to people, we'll experiment with a weight bar that could be added to the other oarlock. In the meantime, adding a second magnet to the opposite side can help alleviate some of the difference in weight.

... Read more

We typically see power numbers from the oarlock equate to 85% of ERG values but this varies slightly. In all three systems, WORK is calculated as FORCE over the LENGTH of the stroke. POWER is WORK over time. These are measured as the actual output of the athlete applied to the oar/handle and should be fairly equivalent. Work done by the athlete on the slide is not measured in either case, although it does affect the athlete/boat/oar system. Note that calories on the C2 erg are calculated differently as there is a "per stroke" addition for calories burned going up the slide standardized for a 175 pound male athlete.

... Read more

No current plans for a V2. Will support this with future software updates. There will undoubtedly be changes at some point - we've generally not stood still with our products - but this one has the smarts and connectivity to be updated for quite a long time.

... Read more

At a 2:30 you are definitely rowing hard enough that you will see slip and wash numbers that are reflective of your technique, and respond to changes in a relevant way. Your "wash" arc degrees below 100N are likely to be greater than a tall heavyweight sculler's, but reducing the value will indicate a more effective finish.

... Read more

That is actually the beauty of these values vs. speed, particularly where wind is concerned, or where you are using GPS speed on moving water: they are measuring the work YOU are doing in the boat to move the boat through the water. So, while your GPS speed may change with current, or your water speed may change with wind, work and power are accurate measures of your output and will be consistent indicators of your effort and effectiveness. (Slip and wash will be revealing indicators of how your technique changes with headwind and tailwind.)

... Read more

Users need to download the latest revision of the LiNK applications in order to export the Oarlock data. If you are just getting summary data in the export file, you most likely have an older version of the LiNK application. You can get the latest version of the NK LiNK Application here.

Learn More about LiNKGet the LiNK Now!
LiNK for Windows
NK LiNK version 1.32 for Windows

LiNK for OSX
LiNK Version 1.32 for OS X

LiNK for iOS
version 1.0.13

LiNK for Android
Use the NK LiNK app to view your workout data on an iOS device. v 1.0.13

... Read more

The pitch is set at 4 degrees for all of our oarlock products. It is not possible to use differently pitched bushings with this oarlock due to the fact that the load cell is installed inside the sleeve of the oarlock. NK had to develop smaller, custom bushings that are not compatible with other manufacturer's bushings.

... Read more

To make the installation process as simple as possible, we created a video series that shows step-by-step-instructions for the EmPower Oarlock. If you have any further questions, please contact our technical support team

Step 1: Introduction

Step 2A: Installing on a Standard Pin

Step 2B: Installing on a C-Cup Bracke

Step 3: Pairing

Step 4: Configuration

Step 5: Calibrating your Oarlock

... Read more

Doing a Pin Calibration with the Empower Oarlock is necessary but can sometimes prove to be a little frustrating. If you keep failing the swing calibration, the SpeedCoach does not provide much feedback about what failed. We have prepared a troubleshooting guide that can help walk you through several key techniques to improve the success of the swing calibration:

Empower Oarlock Pin Calibration Troubleshooting

... Read more
The pins in the calibration tool are removable. It’s okay to temporarily remove them from the bottom of the tool when calibrating. For example, if Pins C&D interfere with the rigger when calibrating using Pins A&B, simple pull out the pins using pliers. Do the reverse when calibrating using Pins C&D.... Read more
Write Your Own Review
You're reviewing:EmPower Oarlock
Your Rating
  1. Watts on Watts: Interval Training with Power

    On-the-water power meters became widely accessible to rowers with the launch of the EmPower Oarlock in late 2016; but now that we can get one, what do we do with it?
  2. "Working" My Core with the EmPower Oarlock

    By Alix James I've been working through the real-time measurements available with my EmPower Oarlock connected to my SpeedCoach GPS – exploring the relationships between my rowing stroke and what the numbers on the screen are telling me. I'm lucky enough to row with a coach on a somewhat regular basis as part of Vesper Boat Club's master's program, so I have a very good idea of the many, many ways I need to improve. It has been really intere
  3. Oarlock Q&A with Michael Naughton

    Michael Naughton, the Director of Product Management here at NK, sat down to answer two frequently asked questions about the new Empower Oarlock.
  4. Getting Your Rigging Right: How the EmPower Oarlock Helps

    by Alix James; photography by Bálint Czucz I've been spending lots of time in team sculling boats the last two seasons, so I loaned my personal single to an aspiring elite in our boathouse. She just got a new boat, so I got mine back full time, but she and her coach had made major changes to the rigging to suit her. Time to re-rig my boat for me – always a challenge!
  5. Length and Effective Length Are Not The Same Thing

    Sander Roosendaal, Czech masters rower and data guru, created a rowing analytics platform that incorporates data from many on-the-water and off-the-water devices, including the NK SpeedCoach and EmPower Oarlock. The free to use platform and Sander's insights into his own rowing data are available on the Rowsandall website.
  6. Layback Metrics: EmPower Oarlocks and the Science of Finishing Strong

    Photo Credit: Kevin Light Photography As with everything else in rowing, layback is a balance. Too little and you miss out on valuable length; too much and you waste effort, create technical stroke problems, and put undue stress on your lower back. This leads to the obvious question: what is the perfect amount of layback?
Other Items you Might Consider