contributed by John FX Flynn
Got a complicated blade design? Or even a simple one, but you are tired of grinding through the diligent sanding that even a new set of blades requires to really get your paint to stick? There's actually a really simple hack for that: get some stickers.
This might seem like a no-brainer for schools and programs that go with a letter or logo on their oars, like the Brandeis oar at right, but there are some pro hackers out there who've been using sheet of vinyl stickers for years for even the simplest designs. Why? No sanding…no over-spray…no rollers, no brushes, no drips, no spills…and zero paint clean-up--do you really need any more fantastic reasons, or can we stop there?
Sure, stickers can get scratched, or start to peel, but so can your paint job--and with at least one oar manufacturer offering to paint your blades in a primary color of your choice, you could be one sticker away from a two-color blade design that won't lay your new set of rowing sticks up in the shop for the long spell of sanding, taping, and painting that each color requires (and don't even get us started on three-color designs).
We can't post this hack without paying homage to what may be the grandaddy of complicated blade art: South Africa's international colors. If stickers can work just fine for RSA's crews at the Olympics--and, in London, they proved to be champion hackers in their own right--we bet using them to get your blade design looking sharp in less time won't slow you down either. (And Canadians have been skipping the paint and going with a "decal" when it comes time to maple leaf their national team blades for years.)
One advanced tip for folks planning to try this one: pack a few extra, pre-cut decals when you hit the road. We know of one program that went the sticker route, only to have a peeling sticker blow clear off one blade on the highway. Unfortunately, that now-non-matching blade was headed to a major championship, where it occasioned some official hand-wringing because it was not uniform. An extra sticker tucked into the travel kit provided a quick on-site fix; try that with a can of spray paint in between races!
Got a trick that gets your blades looking sharp? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!