Happy early birthday to Joni and Mojo!
I haven't had a chance to row with them yet, but I received a pair of these oars Friday. They are very cool.
First, the weight. I have a set of Sawyer SST fiberglass oars for my Scadden Outlaw Rampage that are 6 1/2 feet long. I weighed one of them and it was 3lbs 5oz for a single oar. A single NFO Lightspeed oar in the same length weighs only 1lb 15oz!
The workmanship on the Lightspeeds is much better too. The Sawyers are pretty cobby and rough. They have a funky joint locking mechanism that manages to work well in spite of being clunky. In contrast, the Lightspeeds use a simple push-button arrangement that has three different holes around the mating piece, so you can set the oar blades at one of three different angles.
There are two holes in each oar for the NFO frameless oar system oarlock pin, so you can adjust them inward or outward by about 2" per side or 4" total. Should be helpful to people who prefer different positions for their hands when rowing. One of the holes is in the exact same position as I decided on for the SSTs (the SSTs come undrilled for use with conventional oarlocks).
The carbon fiber shafts are 1.22" on the Lightspeeds and very thin wall thickness. The SSTs are 1.28" and much thicker. I think the Lightspeeds will be more susceptible to damage from careless handling but unlikely to be damaged in normal use. Just don't toss the Lightspeeds into the back of the truck and then toss the anchors on top of them!
The blades are probably the "trickest" (is that a word?) part of these oars. The blades are very thin and made of fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene by Carlisle... they are actually the Carlisle "Magic Plus" kayak blades and are so marked. The blades are very light and have positive buoyancy (they will float). They are also asymmetrical and directional (they are somewhat cupped). The joint between the blades and the carbon fiber shaft is very clean.
... and a fuzzy one of the side view:
I am really looking forward to getting out on the water with these. The extreme light weight should make them less tiring to swing over the course of the day, and the flex at the start of the stroke should take some strain off the oarsman (me!). I will report back after I have a chance to use them.