Keep it Clean – The Art of Caring for Oar & Scull Handle Grips
Get a handle on it – A clean one, that is
Keeping your handles clean and smooth are essential to keeping your hands in good shape. Because without your hands, you’re really not much of a rower, are you? It’s time to make cleaning and checking your handles a habit. This is best practice at any rowing club. First let’s talk clean.
- After each outing, wash your handles with detergent to remove grease or a sticky film. Use a textured cloth to remove grit, and then let them air dry.
- Wipe your hands after applying lotion or sunscreen – especially the thick and sticky kind that just gets on everything.
- When you lay your blades down, make sure handles are not touching dirty surfaces: mud, sand, gravel, etc. This will help to keep your handles smooth and avoid those pesky tears and holes. But when despite your best efforts, you do find holes worn in the grips, here’s what to do…..
A stitch in time… (don’t make me say it)
You know that you have seen your handles ‘go bad’. You’ve ignored those tiny holes, splits, flaps and seams that bother your hand ever so slightly as you row. Well, you know the old adage so I’m not going to tell it to you again. If you want to save your grips, you have to take care of them. It’s easy.
Step 1. Check your handles every other week for changes in texture or gaps in grips (holes and tears to go away).
Step 2. Fix it. Sometimes you can fill holes or gaps in wooden handles by using a rasp or sand paper to take off the roughness and smooth out chips. For foam and rubber handles – we’re sorry but there’s no known solution except to replace the grips. It won’t hurt you to always have some spares in the boat house.
Keep clean and carry on!