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Old 07-26-2010   #1
West point, Utah
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Oar Grip spacing?

What is the best distance to have between your oar grips is this a personal preferance or is there some scientific guide?

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Old 07-26-2010   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910
I've heard the rule of thumb is about a fist's width apart so you don't abuse your thumbs when oaring, rowing or whatever you do merrily down the stream. I've rowed with as much as about 10" between the handles, and with just a few inches. but prefer a little more than fist-width.

If you're a newbie rafter, try picking up a copy of "The Complete Whitewater Rafter" by Jeff Bennett. This and many other topics are discussed. You can get it off Amazon or from your local raft shop for $15 or so.

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Old 07-26-2010   #3
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Eagle, Idaho
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Entirely personal preference, IMO. I've seen peeps with oar grip spacing like they were doing a bench press or push-up....i've seen people with oar spacing that wears the tips off their grips (from rubbing).

Personally, I like mine about three inches apart.....just enough space for me to put my thumbs on the end of the oars and not beat the shit out of my knuckles

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Old 07-26-2010   #4
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 292
enough so your oars or rows or whatever you call them are more balanced as opposed to less balanced. yup, 3"...
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Old 07-26-2010   #5
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 88
Whatever's comfortable and balanced in my opinion. I prefer 2" to 3" of spacing.

My suggestion is don't make a habit of holding your thumbs over the handle ends and you won't crush your thumbs.
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Old 07-26-2010   #6
San Juan Islands, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 217
close enough to hold both oars with one hand without shipping them.
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Old 07-27-2010   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by GoodTimes View Post
...Personally, I like mine about three inches apart.....just enough space for me to put my thumbs on the end of the oars and not beat the shit out of my knuckles...
Ditto. You don't necessarilly need to row that way, but it's a pretty good starting point IMO.
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Old 07-27-2010   #8
Palisade, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 181
I prefer a 4" gap...I also have a groove filed into each oar shaft end perpindicular to the angle of the oar blade. With this I can "feel" when the oar is properly digging into the water. Tends to help in big water or in shallow boney water...I do not use oar guides.

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Old 07-27-2010   #9
earthNRG's Avatar
Snowmass, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 429
The closer they are, the more leverage you'll have. I set mine up to be about 1" apart when they are both parallel to the (flat) water. Since I don't usually bring the blades up out of the water that far when I'm rowing I've not had any issues with my thumbs.

Disclaimer: I have only about 50 miles behind the oars, so everything after the first sentance is coming from a new oarsman.
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Old 07-27-2010   #10
loveland, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 317
oar length

Additionally, I'm primarily a kayaker that oars my buddies Super Puma in BV. I have the Oar Rights and space the ends about 3-4 inches apart. My question is are my oars too long if it feels like I'm applying an inordinate amount of 'down' psi when holding the oars out of water? Or is this just common and the trick being to retract the oars when not needed?


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