If Mr Griz thinks running 8 ft oars with cataract weights are for sissies,
Then I fit his description.
I have a JPW Cutthroat mini cat and it is pretty narrow. Started with a pair of 8 ft cataracts I had left over from my Super Puma days. The 8 footers worked well but on a whim I put a pair of weights on my oars and their magic made my oars feel really good. At 79 years of fun boating time, anything I can do to make rowing or paddling easier on my broken up, metal infused body - I am gonna do it.
i run a 9'6" saturn (i know....everyone can shut up. i'll put the saturn up against anything any time) and it seems silly the amount of weight i have to add to the oars to counterbalance them. I run creeks with 7' oars and everything else with 8'ers. I borrowed a pair of 8' counterbalanced oars once and they were so heavy..... I have the little boat to keep it light and movable and it was a lot of extra weight. It made the difference between me lifting the whole package on top of my van to just a little to heavy to comfortably throw it all up there.
That said I loves me some counter balanced oars so if you don't mind hauling a few extra pounds why not
I don't have weights on or in my 8' Cataracts. NRS 48" frame, 8" towers. I've got a 54" frame I intend to use them on too but haven't tried it yet.
Of course I don't think they are necessary on 10'ers either. Only on long days of flatwater do I think they are worth it. Mostly I think your oars aren't balanced right to your frame and body if you need weights. Or you're 79 or fighting tendonitis and then do whatever you need to keep yourself on the water.
I've seen really expensive oars just sink and disappear because of that weight; and I've salvaged perfectly good oars from the bottom of the river at low water, pryed off the cast iron slug, and put them into service....
I don't run my 8 foot Cataracts counterbalanced on my Mini Max and have no complaints...other than occasionally wishing for 8.5s
when do you want 8.5' oars? seems kind of long for such a small boat. maybe for big water? I would think a lot of colorado boating (or on the ark) is kinda technical and tight to want the extra length.