Tony took this photo from the chase boat during the third heat of the Solo Distance race at the 2017 US Gondola Nationals.
The Master craftsmen in Venice (known as "remers")
who carve gondola oars design them to be flexed in one direction.
Flip one over and row hard on it, and bad things may happen.
But in the hands of a rower who knows what he's doing,
one of these 14 foot creations can bend without breaking,
again and again - all the while flexing and springing the gondola forward
with great efficiency.
when the camera captures the action at certain points,
it's easy to be concerned about that oar shaft snapping.
Marcello of La Gondola in Providence, Rhode Island
managed to snatch a bronze medal in this event,
without breaking the oar.