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Old 01-05-2014   #1
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 38
Oar counterbalance weights ?'s

I have 10 ft Carlisle oars. They are a bit heavy on windy or really long days on the water and my wife is almost completely unable to use them due to the weight. Do the counter balance weights work well? Sounds like a good idea in theory but not sure how they work in real life situations. Anyone use these? Too spendy to buy and not like them. Thanks

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Old 01-05-2014   #2
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
I row the Cataract counterbalanced them. I know lots of folks will say that counterbalanced oars are for wimps, but I could care less if it means I can save my shoulders & still be rowing 10-15 years from now. I've have a few friends who use the add on counterbalance weights, and they seem to like them. I'm guessing your wife will be much happier with them.

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Old 01-05-2014   #3
Cottonwood, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 111
You can test the effect the counterweights have by duct-taping some large fishing weights or other dense, heavy objects to your oar shafts right below the handles. If you like the feel then spring for the Carlisle weights.
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Old 01-05-2014   #4
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
I used duck decoy weight like these...

Flambeau Outdoor Duck Decoy Weights: Hunting :

I used duct tape to attached them. So for about $10 bucks my 10 footers are now counter balanced!
Someday I might pry off he handle and move the weight to the interior of the shaft, but I never seem to get to it.
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Old 01-05-2014   #5
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 599
I went to a plumbing supply store and bought some sheet lead. Surprisingly inexpensive and easy to wrap around the oar, just below the handle. Duct taped in place they've stayed there for about ten years.

I experimented with what weights I wanted by putting the frame on the bed rails of my pickup and hanging whatever weights I had handy on the oars until I got what I wanted. I think it was eight pounds per oar.
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Old 01-05-2014   #6
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
There are two major problems with counterbalanced oar. 1. Safety/! Hen they get ripped out of your hand do you want them going for yor head or your wife? 2. They sink like, well lead. Good luck finding them of they come out. You are better off changing the pivot point ie oar locks further apart.
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Old 01-05-2014   #7
floatingk's Avatar
Waha, Ida'maho
Paddling Since: 01
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 93
a really good multipurpose and cheap testing method I once saw was to cam strap one tallboy per oar near the grip and try it out. Also significantly softer in the teeth than the cataract's iron ones. I use the slip on cataracts on my 10 footers as well and they are a life saver on long rowing intensive days.... One day the square tops....
Simply in between swims
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Old 01-05-2014   #8
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,661
You can always play with lead on the outside and find what you like, its probable that it will only be a pound or two. Once you've found the right amount, you can then put it inside the shaft by recasting it, or reshaping it to fit loosely inside (by removing the blade and cork and inserting from that end) then put pipe insulation in to add flotation and hold it against the inside of the handle. I did that for years and it works great. My oars still floated albeit blade up so you'd still want to use tethers.
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 01-06-2014   #9
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
oarboatman is right. are your oarlocks ~1/3 of the way out on the oar? if not maybe the oars are too long. spend the money on gym membership.
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Old 01-06-2014   #10
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,661
Originally Posted by mania View Post
...spend the money on gym membership.
That is just great advice, really helpful, why didn't I think of that!

mtfunfloater, several people have noted proper set up and I agree your oars may be too long. You can cut them down if you decide they need it, it's not very difficult. It would be best to identify why they feel heavy. It may be fixable without adding weight to your oars or cutting them and if so I think most agree that would be best. Think about measuring your set up and if you can change things try that first. If you can't adjust your oar towers you could try adjusting seating position. Raising your set may help, especially if the oars are up at chest level when rowing, getting them down a bit can help with fatigue. With your oars set up with 1/3 in 2/3 out your still holding about 1/3 of the weight of the oar, more if your blades are heavier or if your outside the "optimum" set up noted above. If you really like your set up and just want to lighten the weight in hand of your oars, then proceed with one of the many suggested methods of figuring out how much counter balance.

Good luck!

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