Taree company powers Olympic rowing teams

4 May 2012

The world's top national rowing teams at the London 2012 Olympic Games could win gold with help from a Taree company.

Croker Oars, a family-owned business, designs and manufactures carbon fibre oars that will be used by as many as 30 national rowing teams at the Olympics. The five powerhouses of Olympic rowing – USA, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and China – are all using Croker oars, individually tailored for each rower, at the London Games.

Howard Croker established his business in 1962 when he recognised the potential of the market for quality oars, and the company has grown to become the second largest manufacturer of oars in the world.

Croker Oars has been supplying oars to national teams at every Olympic Games since 1964 when it first supplied the Australian team.

Croker Oars Sales and Marketing Manager Darren Croker said the company exports to more than 30 countries and has representatives in more than 24 countries.

"A major breakthrough for us was when the Australian Men's 8 won a silver medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics using Croker Oars – this gave us international recognition in the sport.

"We now make over 10,000 oars a year – for rowing, sculling and surf boats and also custom-made – with a workforce of six family members and 16 locals.

"Over the years, we've invested a lot of time, money and hard work in researching and developing materials, tools, design and technology.

"We manufactured the first computerised rowing and sculling oars in the world, allowing coaches to analyse every stroke a rower makes.

"We keep enhancing our product by working with the best rowers – we're a small company and we know we won't ever be the biggest oar manufacturers in the world, but we always aim to make the best oars.

"We'll be there at the London Olympics and Paralympics, supporting the teams that are using our oars and, like them, aiming for gold."

Croker Oars has received support from NSW Trade & Investment to develop its international markets for its innovative products and to expand its plant capacity.