How to choose second hand oars


A reader asks us What to look for when buying second hand oars and sculls

  • Wear – check the sleeve and button – run your finger around them both to feel for spots where the plastic is worn.  The less the better
  • Spoon tip – is it split along the tip or intact?  Are the cornsers sharp or worn?  Is the carbon delaminating from the core material?
  • Flex test – put the tip onto the ground upside down, hold the handle and push down on the shaft to see whether it flexes a lot or a little.  More flexion can indicate that the oar has a softer shaft construction OR that it’s been used a lot and is no longer stiff
  • Handle size – is this right for your hands?
  • Shaft stiffness – ask the vendor what they purchased – stiff, medium or soft.  Does this match your needs?
  • Pitch – if you have the means, check the pitch – the link tells you how to do it.  Both sculls need to be the same pitch

Need more advice on buying second hand equipment – buy Mike Davenport’s e book “Buy It Right – 8 Steps to buying the rowing equipment you need at the price you can afford.


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