Why Is Rowing Oar Expensive? | 3 Minute Answer


Many people are bugged by the question, “why are rowing oars expensive?”. The average price of a rowing oar ranges from $500 to $700 for a pair. There are several reasons for that. They include the following;

One reason why rowing oars are expensive is that they are designed for professional use. For that reason, you wouldn’t want to risk breaking them or compromising their integrity during a big race.

Something else that makes oars expensive is the materials used to construct them. They’re made of carbon fiber, which tends to be more expensive than other materials such as aluminum. This makes sense since carbon fiber is lightweight and much stronger than aluminum.

Hand-made rowing oars are expensive because they have to be made by hand. There’s no way to mass-produce them in an assembly line, so everyone has to be carefully constructed by a skilled craftsman.

Why Are Wooden Oars Expensive ?

Wooden oars are expensive because these oars can be customized to one need and also the wood prices go higher each year. Wooden oars come in different designs and their adaptability makes them expensive.

Wooden oars are ideal for use in boats or canoes due to their lightweight nature and ability to be used either in pairs or singly.

Fitted with a loom at one end, they overlap the oarlock and are secured with a metal Oar pin.

Different Designs of Wooden Oars

The most common design for wooden oars is the straight-shafted variety; the shaft of these oars come in several different sizes, though 9 feet is traditionally the minimum standard. Slight variations on this design include boats with an opening at one end (to hold equipment) and another with a handle near the tip to provide extra leverage.

Another popular design is the bent-shafted paddle; these oars are typically 6 or 7 feet long, made of five pieces (two directly under the grip and three in between). The three centerpieces can be made out of different types of wood to provide differences in strength and weight distribution.

Designers also make arched-shaft oars; these are typically 9 feet long and made up of five pieces (two directly under the grip, two in between, and one near the tip). The three centerpieces can be made out of different types of wood to provide differences in strength.

Advantages of Wooden Oars:

– Wooden oars are favored by many people worldwide

– The feel of their weight and heft is unmatched with metal oars, while the flex of wood stands up to rough water better than metal.

– Wood is an adaptable material and can be easily tuned and shaped to suit a particular rower’s preference.

– Wooden oars are a tradition-rich in history and they make a beautiful addition to any boathouse

– Wood is a classic material that will never go out of style

-Wooden oars are also environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of wooden oars.

-They can break easily, have ridges that can cause blisters, are hard to clean, and take a long time to dry.

-Wooden oars can break over time, meaning they eventually lose strength and might snap mid-rowing.

Why Are Fiberglass Paddle Expensive?

A fiberglass paddle, also known as an ashless glass composite, is an oar that does not contain any wood. It consists of three different layers: at the core, there are alternating fabric and polymer layers; on the outside, there is a solid coating that makes it look like real wood. The materials used in the construction of fiberglass oars make them expensive.

How Are Fiberglass Paddle Made?

The process begins with the application of a mixture of resin and finely chopped fabric on top of a long, thin fiberglass tube. The polymer/fiberglass layers are applied in three separate steps until the desired thickness is achieved.

The first layer is applied to the entire circumference and is used as a base; next, another thin layer is applied, followed by another thicker layer.

These three layers are repeated until the correct oar thickness is reached. To achieve the attractive appearance of an actual wood oar, the oars are then painted in traditional finishes. The final step is to apply a transparent layer that protects the paint from being damaged by water, sunlight, or dirt.

Different Designs of Fiberglass Paddle

The most common design is the wing design, where the blades are asymmetrical. This creates a twist in the water when rowing and pulls more strongly on one side than the other, which allows for greater leverage while rowing.

Other designs include the bent shaft, the spoon blade, and the sculling oar.

What Are the Advantages of Fiberglass Paddle?

-Lightweight and strong

-High impact resistance (sculling oars)

-Little maintenance required

-Easy to store (foldable)

Disadvantages of fiberglass Paddle

– Low impact absorption (when compared to wood and composites)

– Tends to develop “dead spots” when carbonized (these occur most frequently at the grip)

– Can develop fuzzy carbon fiber texture if not taken care of properly

– Unforgiving when it comes to unexpected impacts (causes dents, accelerated strap wear and tear)

– Requires more attention to proper oar maintenance (oiling and graphite powder) than wood and composites.

Unfortunately, oar maintenance is often neglected and not given the importance it deserves.

– Higher price point than wood and composites.

Why Are Carbon Fiber Paddle Expensive?

Carbon fiber paddles are very strong and light. This makes them ideal for heavy-duty use, but unfortunately, they are expensive. They don’t need to be oiled or covered when stored, so this is another saving over wooden oars. Another big plus with carbon fiber is that you can have them customized to suit your body weight. A perfect solution for those who want a good quality product but have no idea which weight to choose.

The carbon fiber paddle doesn’t have a grip, that is made from rubber instead. This makes the handle more comfortable and reduces blisters on your palms when using it a lot. The lack of a grip also provides you with better contact with the water, which means you can row better.

All carbon fiber oars require maintenance to keep them in good shape. This is mainly to remove salt deposits and dirt that might affect performance or cause damage to your equipment. Carbon fiber oars are known for their excellent strength, but they aren’t indestructible. Regular cleaning will ensure you get the maximum life out of your oars.

Carbon fiber oars might look like a small investment, but it’s certainly worth spending as much as you can afford because it will make a big difference in your rowing experience. Carbon fiber has a very good reputation among rowers and you can see why once you start using it.

Different Designs of Carbon Fiber Paddle

Circular Carbon Fiber paddle: One of the first patented carbon-fiber oars, which allows for a more fluid rowing stroke and reduces stress on the joints. The circular design is lightweight and provides increased stability in choppy water conditions.

Multi-piece Carbon Fiber paddle: A multi-piece design makes it easier to store and transport. It also reduces the risk of damaging the blade during storage, transportation, or while being carried around.

Multi-piece Carbon Fiber oars with swept-back design: A multi-piece carbon fiber oar set with a swept-back design is good for moving through the water at different speeds since you can change your grip position to suit quick or slow movements.

Long Carbon Fiber oars: Long, carbon fiber oars are great for taller rowers and provide a solid rowing experience without wearing out your body quickly. They’re also good for tall rowers since they allow tall people to be able to use the full range of rowing motions without excess strain on their joints or back.

Short Carbon Fiber oars: Short carbon fiber oars are good for small people and children since they suit their smaller stature.

Advantages of Carbon Fiber Paddle.

• Carbon oars are lighter than your average wooden/fiberglass oar – about half the weight

• Oars made of carbon fiber do not corrode or splinter like wood and can be stored in a boathouse without the fear of damage from rain and sun exposure.

• Normally priced the same as other high-end oars, carbon fiber allows boathouses and rowing programs to save money on their equipment budget.

• Carbon oars reduce the amount of water resistance, allowing rowers to feel themselves “glide” through the water and catch less wind than with wooden or fiberglass oars.

• Carbon fiber blades are highly durable and maintain their stiffness for a long time.

Disadvantages of Carbon Fiber Paddle.

• Carbon Fiber oars are too light and might reduce the rowing power of the rower.

• Carbon Fiber is a slightly flexible material that can lead to equipment failure during use, such as breaking or cracking.

• The type of material used for the blades on carbon fiber oars means that they are not as effective at absorbing water, which can be uncomfortable on the hands when pulling the oar in.

• A Carbon Fiber oar tends to “catch” or get caught on other things while being used, which can be dangerous.

Are Plastic Oars Expensive?

Plastic oars are an alternative to wooden or metal oars. They are lighter than other types of oars, but also less durable. They are generally used by rowers with lightweight boats. However, because they are less sturdy than wooden or metal oars, you must make sure that you do not hit anything when rowing.Since plastic is way cheaper as compared to aluminum, carbon fiber, and wood, plastic oars are comparatively a cheaper option.

Different Designs of Plastic Oars.

Different designs of Plastic oars are used for different purposes, ranging from training to racing. The choice differs based on the weight, material, and size of the user, as well as the distance they will be rowing. Some examples include single blades, hybrid blades, feathering designs, sculling oars/riggers, and sliding seats. These specific designs are used to reduce wind resistance, make it easier for rowers to maintain a steady rhythm, and maximize propulsion.

Advantages of Oars Plastic Oars.

• Can be used in all weather conditions without breaking easily.

• Lightweight and very easy to carry with you on the boat or even when you are at home.

• Have high quality so they do not break easily which is great for durability purposes.

Disadvantages of Plastic oars.

• Low weight

• 2) Quick wear and tear

Why Are Aluminium Oars Expensive?

Aluminum oars are a lightweight, affordable alternative to wooden or carbon fiber oars. While they’re not as strong as other materials, their price and durability make them popular with novice rowers. Aluminum doesn’t come cheap when compared to plastic.

Different Designs of Aluminium Oars.

Folding Oar

This is generally done by rotating the grip towards the boat. The downside of this method is that it requires extra space to store it away.

Sliding Seat Oar

The handle is allowed to move freely which means you can adjust the oar angle quickly when it hits objects underwater. This design of oars is used in racing boats where it allows the rower to “feather” or reduce wind resistance by setting the blade at an optimal angle concerning the water flow.

Fixed-seat Oar

This means that the oarsmen must have a fixed seat so as not to slide along with the sliding. This design is usually used in pleasure boats where it allows for better maneuverability.

Advantages of Aluminium Oars:

• They are cheaper than Carbon Fibre ones

• High durability and less maintenance are required during the rowing.

• Easier to repair, should a repair become necessary during a race.

Disadvantages of Aluminium Oars.

• Aluminium oars are much heavier than wood oars.

• Aluminium oars are more difficult to control in water, compared to wood oars.

• The blades of aluminum oars catch the wind when rowing on the open water.


A rowing oar is an investment. You need to know your needs and what you want in a rowing oar and make the choice for yourself. Don’t let the price scare you away from getting a nice pair of oars; if they are well-fitted then they’ll be comfortable and less likely to cause injuries because of poor body mechanics. It’ll be easier to learn the proper rowing technique.