Selecting the right oars involves making a decision about each component of the oar: blade, shaft, handle, and grip. Use this section as part of your research, or see our Scull Ordering Guide. Let’s start by looking at the blade.
This is the business end of the oar, and the choice of blade will influence the length of oar with which you will want to row. Most of our research and testing has been in the area of blade design with the goal of making the most effective, fastest blade that is easy to handle in all conditions.
We view the evolution of blades from the traditional symmetric Macon to the Big Blade, Smoothie, the Vortex edge, and the Fat Smoothie, as a series of improvements in our blade options. Our goal has not been to design different “models” of blade for different types of boats or athletes. Instead, we design the most effective blade we can, which can then be used by a wide variety of boats and athletes as long as they adjust their rigging appropriately.
We do not offer a “new” design unless we believe there is an improvement in speed or handling. In most cases our recommendation for blade choice is “the latest development;” however, we continue to offer older designs for those who prefer some aspect of a blade or want to maintain a consistent inventory in the boathouse.
The “Fat2” is our current design. At the end of 2006 a new mold was made which is a modification of the Smoothie. We call this the Smoothie2, because it is based on the same ideas as the Smoothie, but minor changes have been made to improve the handling of the blade. For a description of all blade designs see the blade options section.
Many people have questioned how we can recommend the same blade for different types of boats or athletes. This brings us to the next step. Selecting the right oar length.
A question that has been raised is “how can a lightweight high school girls team scull with the same blade as an elite sculler?” The issue is one of loading. Our answer is that the blade should be as effective as possible and that the loading on the athlete should be made correct by adjustment to the overall length of the oar, or more specifically, the “outboard” length. It has been our observation during testing that a blade that shows a speed improvement often feels “heavier” and requires us to shorten the outboard length to get the load correct. We believe the smaller athlete or slower boat should take advantage of the most effective blade, and adjust for load through shortening the oar.
Handle and grip options need to be considered as this is the point of contact with the athlete. Most scullers choose the carbon handle with 5 cm of length adjustment. The carbon handle can also be made without the adjustment feature if you know you will not be changing length. Our standard grips, either the green rubber or blue cellular can be specified on the carbon handle. The grip is an integral part of the 5 cm adjustment system and comes applied to the adjustment “core.” Replacing the grip is easily done by removing the grip/core assembly and putting on a new one. A “bare core” can be used with any of our older grips or a particular grip of your own.
Our methods allow many possible variations that are not listed. If you have ideas that are not covered in these pages, we would look forward to working with you as much as we can so you get what you are looking for.