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The paddle oarsmen use when rowing is called an oar. Oars are long (250 to almost 300 centimeters) poles with one flat end about 50 centimeters long and 25 centimeters wide, called the blade. The part of the oar the oarsman holds while rowing is called the handle. While rowing the oars are supported by metal frames attached to the side of the boat called outriggers.

Classic oars were made out of wood, but nowadays almost all oars are made of some synthetic material, the most common being glassfiber. Since the use of synthetic materials the weight of an oar has come down from over 7 kilo's, to less than 2.5 kilo's. Commonly the large oars used in coxed and coxless pairs and fours as well as eights are called oars. The smallers ones used in the single, double and quadrupple sculls are called sculls.

The most often used brands of oars are Empacher, Dreissigacker and Croker.