Celebrating 50 years of Croker Oars
Video source: NSW Trade & Investment.
Croker Oars New Zealand
Owned and made in Australia since 1962 , Croker Oars resides on the banks of the beautiful Manning River in coastal New South Wales. Today Croker Oars manufacture quality carbon composite oars for sculling, rowing, surf and ocean rowing, as well as other quality products for the rowing world.
New Zealand has been a large part of Croker Oars ever since 1964 when the first oars were made for New Zealand rower Tom Reed. Since then Croker Oars has invested long hours with research and development into materials, tools design and technology to create quality sculling and rowing oars that stand the test of time.
Celebrating 50 years of Croker Oars
In the early 1960’s, Howard Croker began his apprenticeship in boat building in Sydney and upon completing his apprenticeship recognised an untapped market for good quality crafted oars and so established Croker Oars in 1962.
Howard felt he knew how to design sleek curves and lines to make any vessel travel faster through the water and in 1964 Tom Reed, a stillwater sculler and coach and a surfboat coach for Whakatane SLSC, suggested to Howard to make flat back blades for surf. Howard created the oar and since then hasn’t looked back.
The first set of timber sculling oars were delivered to Christchurch in 1966 to Tom Just after the Test Tour Australia/New Zealand.
As Croker Oars New Zealand started to grow, Mark Brownlee purchased the first set of New Zealand timber stillwater rowing oars which created curiosity amongst his rowing colleagues with the familiar question, “Where did you get these from?” They word spread and the orders started to roll in.
In 1969 Howard married his wife of more than 40 years Kaye Farley and travelled to New Zealand for their honeymoon. Little did Kaye know they were to deliver oars, Howard rigged up a mini they hired for their trip to carry 6 oars on the roof. The mini managed to drive over rough roads and huge rocks to get to their destination. “It will be a holiday I will never forget!” Kaye said knowing that the oars paid for most of their honeymoon.
During the 1970’s Howard coached the first New Zealand women’s single sculler, Liz Cato. From this period Howard spent a lot of his time in New Zealand and leased a farm shed from Keith and Grace Rogers (parents of Dave and Mick Rogers) and later hired Bob Rout as an apprentice (Kiwi International Rowing Skiffs).
Investing many frustratingly long hours carrying out research and development into materials, tools, design and technology, Croker Oars began moving their oar expertise into carbon fibre. Launching their first carbon fibre oars in September 1990, Croker Oars soon proved themselves as a force to be recognised in the global market. Over the season “REMO” plays host to numerous rowing camps where rowers can camp alongside the idyllic Manning River bank, hit the water before dawn and witness first hand a medal-winning oar being made from start to finish at the Croker factory in Australia.
Today the Croker name is seen all over the world and never compromising on quality, a Croker oars will never be far from the hand of those who value durability and dependability and strive to go faster still. It’s an industry that Howard Croker has made his life, and seeing the success that his oars bring to others that have made every second of it worthwhile.
Video source: Licensed from the Commonwealth of Australia under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. The Commonwealth of Australia does not necessarily endorse the content of this publication.
Croker Black Tie Ball
Croker Oars celebrated its 50th year in style, setting up the factory to have well over 100 guests for a black tie ball. The factory looked like a ballroom with decorations in black, silver and pink. Guests travelled from all over the country (and the world) to attend this prestigous event.
The Croker employees were overwhelmed with the attendence and reminisced with old friends whom they hadn't seen in past years.
Thanks to all attended as well as our valued customers who have made Croker Oars the company it is today.