The Problem - The Achilles heel of Ocean Rowing- A sore bottom!

Anyone who has rowed an Ocean and for those who are planning to, will know that the rowing seat really is the Achilles heel of Ocean Rowing. The thought of sitting several hours on a deteriorating bottom is really not good.

With Ocean rowing being as much about mental determination as physicality, its the dread of once again subjecting your already bruised bottom onto the same seat that will just add to your discomfort as you progress on your row. Unfortunately the more fat you burn off, the glutes and buttocks reduce in size meaning that the ischium (skeletal bottom bone) protrudes more into the rowing seat, causing ever increasing levels of pain and discomfort.

James Cracknell features his contaminated bottom in his and Ben Fogles `Through Hell and High water` BBC documentary. It was no joke for this ultra tough double Olympic Champion James, when the skin on his bottom had some very nasty infections which ended up with him taking lots of the strongest medication possible to get him to the end. He only just made it through being bloody minded and dosed up. Another few days and who knows if they would have completed the Atlantic Ocean crossing.

To many people, this all seems a laughing matter, but we can assure any reader that if you find yourself in the same position, then you will do anything to try to avoid the infections, pressure loadings and pain that the normal rowing seat will give.



Icon and Ocean Rowing

Andrew Morris, founder of Icon Rowing, rowed the Atlantic East-West crossing with Mick Dawson in 2005-06 in what is now known as the famous capsize year. The weather was so rough that even World legendary rower Mick thought the seas were harder than the Pacific Ocean!

When Andrew and rower Roz Savage were due to row in 2012 the West-East Atlantic crossing ( www.olympicatlanticrow.com  ), Andrew thought about the previous crossing and how the discomfort and pain from the seat really was one of the low points in otherwise a fantastic life time experience.

The idea for an improved and top end seat came from the Olympic Atlantic Row (O.A.R.). However as Ocean rowing is still in the blood of Andrew, he carried on designing and improving the rowing seat and he personally tested it when he rowed Bojanlges across the entire width of the UK and with input from his Ocean rowing friend Chris Martin, also of the Association of Ocean Rowers, several prototypes were produced until finally ending up with the` Icon Rowing Seat'.

There have been dozens of attempts to improve the comfort and having experimented with many of them, Icon Rowing have purposefully selected products that go into the rowing seat with good reason.

The Solution - The Icon Ocean Rowing Seat

The Icon rowing seat attaches to your normal rowing slide and is a complete seat made up of the finest materials to withstand an Ocean. Each one is hand made and they take about two days to produce and whilst they look simple from the outside, it the thought that has gone on the inside that has really taken the time and research.

The seat has also been developed to ensure that you don’t lose your stability whilst rowing. What we have developed is a multi layered cellular contour foam that will allow you to row `connected` to your seat as you would on a conventional seat and you will not lose the grip you need to remain seated despite having the cushioning underneath you.

Depending on the row , most rowers prefer to row naked because its the skin that is the best at handling the elements, this is why the leather seat we produce is just like a leather horse riding saddle, except softer but it has a lot of the same benefits that only leather can bring over any man made material.

The selected grade A leather, as well as being fire retardant is also wipe clean from the daily salt and can be nourished and treated with waterproof dubbing as part of your maintenance programme. The beauty about the leather is that cross contamination which often occurs will not happen as long as you use an anti- bacterial lotion on the seats surface. The leather just like your own skin is able to be cleaned then able to hold a fungicidal or anti- bacterial lotion in the leather’s grain.

The mixture of leather and cellular contour foams will allow your unique body shape to depress down into the area that will give you minimum load bearing thus reducing the pressure points. Then when you get off the seat, the foams will rise up again to retake the seats maximum cushioning position, so if a different weight and shaped rower was to take to the oars, then the seat will adjust to that rower’s unique shape.

We don't use any form of gels or air bubble material. Simple reason is that they simply don’t work. Icon have tested a variety of materials and they cannot take the hour after hour pounding. The heat also damages the gel and air pockets and eventually they become hard and disfigured no matter how we tried to ensure they remain in position. Our design team at Icon Rowing are constantly upgrading the Icon seat thanks to input from the ocean rowers using them. Therefore as each seat is made to order, you will always receive the latest version.

We have now developed a waterproof, breathable seat cover for the Icon Rowing Seat. Designed to protect the leather during the inevitable storms, they are also ideal for those hygiene conscious rowers sharing a rowing position. The covers are made of a waterproof breathable material which will not rip and incorporate a soft microfibre seat pad area perfect for direct contact with the skin.


The Reviews

 'Icon seats are the best thing that has happened to ocean rowing since oars, boats and the will to row oceans. Best money we ever spent'

Leven Brown, Ocean Row Events