Stiffness Options

A blade and shaft work as a system to create a perception of oar stiffness or “flex.” Our newer, more efficient blade designs such as our Fat2, slip less during the drive and make the oar feel stiffer overall. Our older blades such as the Big Blade, are not as efficient, which makes the oar feel softer. Given this, it is important to take blade type into account when choosing shaft construction and stiffness. If you haven’t already selected a blade, we recommend you do so now, and then come back to read about our stiffness options.

We offer four stiffness options for shafts: extra soft, soft, medium, and stiff. Unless otherwise noted, these options are available for all shaft constructions. In general, the more efficient the blade you have chosen, the more important it will be to consider a softer flex in the shaft.

For example, if you’ve selected the Fat2 blade, consider a softer flex than you might have used with a Big Blade, Smoothie2 Plain Edge Blade, or Smoothie2 Vortex Edge Blade. Note that we have added an Extra Soft flex option with our Skinny shaft. This option was added specifically for those who want the efficiency of the Fat2 blade but prefer a softer feel at the catch.

Extra Soft

  • Available for the Skinny construction only.
  • A good choice for those who want the efficiency of the Fat2 blade but prefer a softer feel at the catch.

Soft

  • The softest option in the Ultralight construction.
  • A good choice for smaller athletes, women, or masters, especially when assembled with the Fat2 blade.

Medium

  • Ultralight shafts with Medium flex have been our most popular shaft and continue to be a good choice for use with the Big Blade, Smoothie2 Plain Edge and Smoothie2 Vortex Edge.
  • The Fat2 blade on a Medium flex shaft has been used successfully by crews that are accustomed to the pronounced, firm “lock-on” at the catch.
  • This is the stiffest option available for the Skinny construction.

Stiff

  • Appropriate for those who have a preference for the stiffest shaft.
  • Not available for the Skinny construction.

Measuring Stiffness

Stiffness is measured by how much deflection occurs in an oar when a 10 kg weight is hung from the neck as illustrated below.

Stiffness Options for Sweep Shafts
Options Ultralight Skinny
Extra Soft n/a 5 cm
Soft 4.5 cm 4.5 cm
Medium 3.5 cm 4 cm
Stiff 3 cm n/a
Actual deflection within 0.25 cm of numbers listed above.
Stiffness Options for Scull Shafts
Options Ultralight Skinny
Extra Soft n/a 6.5 cm
Soft 5 cm 5.5 cm
Medium 4.5 cm 4.5 cm
Stiff 4 cm n/a
Actual deflection within 0.25 cm of numbers listed above.