Choices for rowing electronics have been few and far between for as long as most of us can remember. Just as competition on the water improves the performance of all of us the same applies off the water. Ultimately we all benefit from advances in technology and Active-Tools have become a new key player in rowing electronics.
Starting out with ingenious tools to make rigging easier Active-Tools have grown to make adjustable shoes (great for coastal rowing) and in the past few years have expanded into rowing electronics. Mixing water, especially salt water, and electronics has led to rowers have a traditionally frustrating time with expensive equipment failing, usually at the worst possible moment! Active-Tools have clearly found ingenious ways to ensure their units remain reliable in challenging conditions with the excellent CoxOrb amplification units proving popular with school programs.
They have now expanded their line up for scullers, coxless boats and those wanting additional data in crew boats with the Activeflow. Coming in at $359 (currently on pre-order promotion for $309) this unit is wireless, has a large backlit display, runs off 3 AAA batteries (around 100 hours battery life) and includes displays for rating, stroke count, time and check. It also has endless potential for programming workouts and you can recall data from recorded sessions.
One of the best features of the unit is the way you can configure the display so that the rating can be shown in a very large format for those that struggle to see comfortably with traditional units.
A unique feature Active-Tools have developed is the “check factor”. Averaged over two strokes this is the average boat deceleration during each stroke. When used over a period of time to assess the improvement in your efficiency this measure provides a strong correlation with improved race performance. One element we like about this is that it is quantifying the performance of the crew or rower on the recovery and not just focusing on the power output or drive phase. Traditionally there is a lot of focus on the drive phase of the stroke and it is refreshing to see a focus on not slowing the boat down on the recovery as a tool to improved performance.
In hand the unit feels very solid, high quality and the display seems larger than what we are used to. Included with the unit is a carry case, flotation pouch, standard mounting bracket (for footstretcher), silicone strap mount for wing riggers, a comprehensive user manual and it is available in 9 different colours. The unit also comes with a 2 year warranty. The Activeflow is on sale in Australia now and available from perfectbalancerowing.com