Oar weight? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-10-2017   #1
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 48
Oar weight?


I have older fiberglass Cataract oars with Carlisle outfitter blades. This gives me a total of 10 foot oars for my 16' Sb'ing raft. They are wicked light. Maybe too light...is there such a thing? It theoretically shouldn't matter how light they feel, but it feels like a heavier oar could give me more movement. But I've never heard of anyone saying my oars are too light...

Any thoughts?

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Old 08-10-2017   #2
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lafayette or Grand Lake, CO., Colorado
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If they are light enough to carry two your boat at one time, they are not heavy-duty but may be very expensive. If carrying two is a chore then, they are heavy-duty and strong. If they are not heavy to row, then they are well balanced. IMHO
Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life on or off the river.
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Old 08-10-2017   #3
SLC, Utah
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I like light oars - they feel less fatiguing, are quicker when you really need to move fast, and there is less need to counterbalance them. With carbon fiber composite oars like the cataracts, weight is not a good indicator of strength or stiffness. Different oars have different "feels", a hard to define mix of stiffness, weight, balance, damping, and perception of strength and what the cool guys use. Lots of opinions and preferences. I like the original Cataracts - their "feel" and price work for me and I've never broken one.
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Old 08-10-2017   #4
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
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My big boat came with 10' Sawyer's, counterbalanced, wood blade; they're heavy but, balanced. They feel right.
Just bought a little boat this spring; found a deal on the same sort of oar, 8' counterbalanced Sawyers. Heavy but balanced. Lost one on Browns (see lost and found). Rowed the next day on my janky, non oar righted, Carlsile spare in one hand and, the existing Sawyer in the other. Noticeable difference for sure but I managed to nail lines better than the day before.
Bottom line; I'm kinda' a snob when it comes to my contact point with the water but, from real life experience, it doesn't matter, those cheap ass Carlsiles are light and will get you down the river just fine. Need some counterbalance? Duct tape a turkey leg to the handle.
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Old 09-02-2017   #5
Willi..., Willimina, OR
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No where on earth do folks need a physics lesson than on Mountainbuzz. If your old than F=Ma. If your young, your right arm need exercise.
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Old 09-02-2017   #6
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
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Adding weight to something thats just going to slam into my head at some point seems stupid.
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Old 09-02-2017   #7
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Being a long time Mt. Buzz person, it is interesting to see responses to probably what seems to the poster as a legitimate question.

I put oar weight use in the same category as open versus closed oar locks or drain or no drain coolers etc. Meaning every one has an opinion as to what works best.

The answer to the oar weight problem in my opinion, do what seems right to you and your rowing style and the amount of money you have to spend.

I have seen a lot of carlise oar shafts bend. Never seen a Cataract bend to the breaking point, however, I bet some have. I also see Carlise oars on the water more than the others. In fact I own some Carlise. But early on I saved up and went to glass Cataract oar shafts. For me they have been bomber. Some of my fellow rowers like Sawyer or all wood oars. More power to them.

On oar weights, I use them on short oars narrow rafts not on long oars wide rafts. My experience has been on big rafts that are pretty wide, I do not need oar weights. On the smaller rafts that are much narrower I use weights. The difference in my ability to control the oars on the narrow rafts is just amazing to me. True, unweighted oars may float and weighted oars might not. Retainer straps so far have worked well for me. Might not for others.

Early on in my rowing career, I went to several professional Guide Schools. Thought I wanted to be a rowing river guide, soon found out the hours they work and the loads they manage is more than I want to do. Much admiration for multi day and single day river guides!! Both outfitters whose guide schools I attended stressed big time watching that down stream oar. Still several of my fellow students lost oars, bent oars or got hammered by oars. Lessons that the rest of us watched and learned from.

For me it boils down to this. I like Cataract oar shafts with wide Carlise Outfitter blades. Am willing to pay the price for what makes me more comfortable on multi day floats. For me oar weights on some raft setups make a lot of sense and I use them because they make my oar strokes easier for me and a lot more efficient. I realize the good and bad points of oar leashes and using them is my decision.

Like most every thing related to rowing rafts, I think what you do is what makes sense to you maybe as well the money you have to spend on having fun. I listen to other opinions and learn from others experiences. I make the decision and think others should do same. I appreciate those who take the time to share and laugh off those who make grumpy posts no matter what the question is.

For me I row open oar locks, use both weighted and non weighted oar shafts and think for me Cataract shafts are the way to go but own and use Carlise shafts cause they fit my budget at the time. I spend the money for more expensive coolers that I modify with closed cell foam. Some times I drain, some times I do not. Depends on the float and what my ice is doing.

My advice is listen to the experiences of others but you decide what you think will work for you. Try things on your own, if they work great if they do not work do not get mad. Learn from the experience and save up for new gear.

For the record, my only smack in the chest from an oar was a unweighted oar that I let hit a rock on an unplanned river left run of Salt River Quartize rapid. The big raft in front of me pinned on the river right line and decision time for me. Ouch big time and blood was flowing. Maybe if I had weighted that oar, I would have done a better faster job of oar management.
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Old 09-04-2017   #8
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Sandpoint, Idaho
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I have 10' Cataracts that are internally weighted. I use them on my Aire 156d. I am a little guy (150 lbs), and the fatigue is much reduced with the counter-weighted oars. They never feel "heavy" to me, but do feel balanced. And yes, you have to be careful with any oar. I got one of mine to the jaw being lazy on the middle fork, and the downstream oar hit me like a baseball bat, or more accurately, a pool cue. Any oar will do that.....we all just need to be mindful of the downstream oar, especially when the boat is rocking.

As for strength, I have had my oars bent into scary arcs trying to fulcrum to get off rocks, and they bounce back to perfectly straight.
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Old 09-06-2017   #9
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Belgrade, Montana
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Originally Posted by garystrome View Post
No where on earth do folks need a physics lesson than on Mountainbuzz. If your old than F=Ma. If your young, your right arm need exercise.
So what's your point, are balanced oars good or bad? I get that force equals mass x acceleration, but what's your conclusion?

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Old 09-07-2017   #10
cedar city, Utah
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I have never considered it an issue of light versus heavy but instead about balance. My old carlisle oars were moderately heavy and unbalanced and I believe they caused more fatigue then my lighter but counterbalanced Cataract. They feel better in hand and I don't tire as easily.

Mileage will vary.
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