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Counter Balance 8' oars?

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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you who are rowing whitewater with smaller oars 8' or so, are your oars counter balanced?

Looking to get a pair for my minimax, not sure if it would be as necessary as with a 10' oar.
 

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I don't run my 8 foot Cataracts counterbalanced on my Mini Max and have no complaints...other than occasionally wishing for 8.5s
 

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I run non-counter balanced 8’ cataracts on my Aire Super Puma and 13’ Momentum. No complaints. My frame is a little wider than typical. I am thinking 65” at the horns, but I might be off.

I had a mini -max with a 48” frame (maybe 54-56” at the locks). I used 6’9” cataract minimags (cut down from stock). This was perfect

Counter balanced oars may be more prone to sink
 

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Counterbalanced oars are for sissies.

It is, however, a fantastic way to reshape someone’s skull if that oar ever really connects to the river in the right way.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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....
 

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Yeah, I think 79 year olds get a pass. And fuck me running, hope I’m still rowing if I hit that age. Cheers, dude.

Now 78 or less folks, you’re still a sissy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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.

Thanks for the replies everyone.
 

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I row a Phatcat with 8' oars. Was running CB Sawyers until I lost one in Browns (oar lock broke, thether was to said lock). Now running Carlisle's, with one sad Sawyer as a spare. Even with the flimsy Carlisle's, I miss the CB.
Next oars for this boat will be 8'5" Squaretops when the budget allows. Until then, I'm going to ghetto rig some CB on to the Carlisle's.
Bottom line; I like CB even on shorter oars, shit feels heavy at the end of a long day.
I've also realized that I'm a oar snob. Cheap rubber, quality oars.
 

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The longer the oar (relative to your frame width) the more you'll notice the counterbalance.

I have 9' oars for my 13' boat (I think the frame is about 61"). I love the added leverage I get from the longer oars, and the counterbalance makes a HUGE difference for me.

Call me a sissy if you want but it makes my day more enjoyable... And I've also put in an 80km (50 mile) single day, and I don't think my arms could handle that if my oars were not counterbalanced.
 

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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.

Thanks for the replies everyone.
P.Naught, I spend most of my Colorado Boating in Utah...I would want the longer oars, at times ,because I chose a frame with a lot of outward cant to the oar rights and I like to run my oars very close in the middle. I would prefer them almost touching in the middle

But then we are talking about taking this down Westwater and then more leisurely town floats, where added leverage is worth the longer reach.

When I run tighter little spaces, I usually end up R2ing the boat.

FWIW, YMMV
-Thomas
 

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Thanks Griz, for the pass. I used to get annoyed when some one gave me a pass on anything because for some time now I have usually been the oldest boater in most groups I boat with. Now I appreciate the help.

The weight or no weight on oars is similar to the discussion of open oar locks versus some other style. I also row open oar locks. I do cover my bet (just in case I do get injured and some one who does not use open oar locks have to bail me out for a while) by having the convertible oar rights on my oars. I always rowed open tho, then on a recent low water but super fun Deso Gray run with a lot of flats between the drops I discovered using the oar rights along with oar weights made the flats incredibly easy. Proving once again we can always learn things.

I readily admit oar weights give me a better feel when rowing but that is offset by a couple of danger possible things. Number one is if the rower does not watch that down stream oar position, any oar can turn into a missile and a weighted oar can be even more dangerous. WATCH that downstream oar was taught me big time by the good boaters who taught me to row.

When I rowed my 18 ft Aire Leopard I used 550 cord for oar tethers and no oar weights, that was before an accident that made big cats difficult for me to manage, that is why the JPW mini cat came to be which actually makes for more fun on lower class runs that the Leopard just sailed over. I now use the NRS strong oar tethers which are harder to bust loose but that has good and bad points. Weighted oars do go pretty much straight to the bottom if they get loose from the frame. Oars that come loose from the locks can turn into bone breakers if they stay secured to the frame.

Boating, my opinion, is made up of what ever technique works for the individual boater. And, no matter what we decide, those techniques have good and bad points.

Like life in general boaters make decisions based on their personal skill set. And, the more we learn the more we might change our technique or better understand dangers and benefits of what ever we do.

As always, the posts I read on the Buzz are interesting and fun for me to react too. We all have opinions and the Buzz is full of opinions. The hard part for me is determining which opinions give me the information I need to change how I do things and which opinions I can just let fly into the WWW.

Bottom line, you ladies and gentlemen have fun but be safe out there on and off the water.
 

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The 8' Carlisles I have on my 10' Odyssey are counterbalanced (2.5lbs), mainly because the shitty frame that came with it is super narrow with non adjustable locks, and because I set it up for a pair of 15 year old girls to row.

That said, put me in the sissy column, because I love my counterbalanced Cats on my 13'.
 

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I row 8.5' oars on an Aire Super Duper Puma and my width between oar towers is very narrow for this rig. I rowed non-counter balanced oars for about 9 years. Last year I got some new cataracts with internal counterbalance on a super cheap deal from Steep and Cheap, so I thought I would give then a try. I rowed them on the MF Salmon in August off the top at Boundary creek last year. I have also rowed the same setup with non-counter balanced oars off the top at Boundary Creek in August. 2 very low water trips with a ton of stroking :)

I found the counterbalanced oars to be much better for this type of trip with tons and tons of maneuvering all day long. On a more casual float where you are just going with the flow, I don't think I have a preference.

put me in the sissy column too cause I also use oar rights, the combo of the oar right and counter balance are noticeable for me when there is a lot of stroking :) due to the arthritis in my hands caused by a couple decades I spent focusing most of my time on trad/crack climbing.
 

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Take some steel pipe that will fit over the oars and experiment with your own counterweights. Hold them on with duct tape till you get the correct weight, then heat shrink them on for a more permanent fix. I think I would start with 4-6" pipe length and then cut down as needed.
 

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How come no one is talking about lightening up the blade end. I run 9.5 cataracts on my 16 foot cat. (I sit a little high and am 6'4") I could not believe the difference when I got rid of the standard cataract blades because I got a screaming deal on four Dynalite wides on the MB classifieds. The oars feel totally different. Lighter for sure but there is something else going on. The thinner blades seem to enter and leave the water with much less effort. They also seem to have much more bite. Expensive, yes, but like someone said earlier on this thread "cheap rubber, good oars". Plus they are tough as nails. Ask anyone who runs them if they would go back to what they were running before and the answer will be, nope no way. If you can afford the cost I highly recommend them.
 

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How come no one is talking about lightening up the blade end. I run 9.5 cataracts on my 16 foot cat. (I sit a little high and am 6'4") I could not believe the difference when I got rid of the standard cataract blades because I got a screaming deal on four Dynalite wides on the MB classifieds. The oars feel totally different. Lighter for sure but there is something else going on. The thinner blades seem to enter and leave the water with much less effort. They also seem to have much more bite. Expensive, yes, but like someone said earlier on this thread "cheap rubber, good oars". Plus they are tough as nails. Ask anyone who runs them if they would go back to what they were running before and the answer will be, nope no way. If you can afford the cost I highly recommend them.
Which cataract blades did you have?

On the nrs website, the magnum blade weighs 2.8 pounds and the dynalite is 2.95 pounds.

Also of note is the new nrs helix blade is 2.5 pounds. Never tried them but I'm intrigued.
 
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