View Poll Results: Which do you prefer?
Pins and Clips 9 18.37%
Oar locks 40 81.63%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-18-2007   #11
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
I know some solid class V rowers that swear by pins and clips, argueing that with proper technique, even if the oar pops it will stay in the sleeve and you can slam it back home without hardly missing a stroke. These are solid boaters, and I respect their opinion, but I couldn't disagree more. There are so many different scenarios in which I feather my blades (including the times in which strange underwater gremlins grab the blade and try to do strange things with it) that there is no way I'd use anything but open oarlocks on anything significant. The pros outweigh the second or two more that I have to spend reseting my oar on rare occasions.

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Old 04-18-2007   #12
miker's Avatar
Indian Hills
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 340
Thanks everyone for the dialogue!
So far it looks like oar locks are the way to go. I have only used pins and clips so before I buy some I will have to try some oar locks to get a feel.

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Old 04-18-2007   #13
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Another advantage to open oarlocks (not oarrights which are indeed training wheels) is that if you hit a rock or just a super strong chunk of current your blade will twist rather than snap crackle and pop - so i would argue that they good in class V as well. feather or die.
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Old 04-18-2007   #14
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Lock it, mate!

After starting with oar rights, I figured out that the times when I wanted the blade set in a vertical bite were few, while the times I wanted the oar to rotate freely were many.

More than once, I smacked my oar-righted blades into waves or dipped them inadvertently, shunting me off line.

Besides the things mentioned so far, where there are stretches of flatwater and high winds (the Grand, Deso, etc.) being able to feather your oars and rotate your grip through each stroke is invaluable. That way, the oar enters and leaves the water at the most efficient angle, and cuts the wind. Also easier on your hands and wrists.

I'm dead keen on the Sawyer Cobra locks, curved to allow a smoother stroke while not jiggering the rubber stops and shoving them up the wraps. Worth the extra $$.

Of course any oarlock has to be properly fit, which takes some bashing and prying. (I think they pack 'em with instructions now.)
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Old 04-18-2007   #15
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582

Good correction on the sleeve vs. oarlocks, I stand corrected.

Wow, I'm outvoted 12 to 1 at current! Great discussion! Guess I'm a newbie w/ that's still using the training wheels w/ pins/clips. One day I may just graduate to the "pure" form where feathering is allowed (someday when I row more than 100+ miles a season). Until then I'll keep chupando using pins/clips.

Next Poll: Pins and Clips for Kayaks................................
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Old 04-18-2007   #16
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Good discussion

I see some class v guys running pins on the NF Payette quite a bit maybe three or four to one over oar locks.
One thing I have to say is that if you are running oar locks try the cobra. They have saved my butt three of four times already when coming out of a hole sideways and the upstream oar catches used to disappear, but now seems to jam in the lock and be ready for use since it doesn't spread or has more pinch or something. At least once I think the oar catching deep down current helped me get out of the hole.

As to why I am coming out of holes sideways well now that is a story for a different thread that would be something more like "No shit there I was...."
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Old 04-18-2007   #17
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
One thing to note is whether the boats running pins & clips are commercial rafts. My impression is that outfitters choose gear, for consistency or whatever reason, that private boaters might not.

Pins and clips might be better for that sort of continuous whitewater, and for running lots of trips per day. But I think the craft of rowing (for pleasure) deserves a more subtle approach.
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Old 04-18-2007   #18
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
I do pin 'n clips, but mostly because that's what the guy had available when I bought my frame, and he said he has used p/c for 20 years.

I've never known any different, so I never felt like they are a problem. I kind of like the locked in feel. When it's boney, they can pop out, but you can get them pretty tight on there.

The only problem I had was running Shoshone at higher water, maybe around 4000 or so. I was sort of running safety for some new guides that I went through raft cert with. They took a shredder down (whatever Riken's "shredder" is called) and were on a perma-surf in a sticky hole. I was going over to rope them or help them out when the hose clamps all of the sudden on one side went limp. Later I found out that they weren't off, but just loose. I basically had instant "feather" ability, but thought they were totally broken since they felt all limp all of the sudden....

Anyways, they got surfed for a while, but got out, and then I was mostly trying to keep sort of straight and highside off what rocks were left going down the Wall, and Tombstone before we got the spare on. Anyways, it was kind of ironic, it's like the oar exploded as soon as it saw me glance at my throw bag...

Anyways, other than that, my pins 'n clips have been pretty bomber, but I would like to try out some oarlocks. I didn't realize p/c was responsible for my blisters, I thought that was just normal wear and tear!
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Old 04-18-2007   #19
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
Originally Posted by mania View Post
feather or die.
I think that is the best quote of the season so far.

I was taught on Pins and Clips with 13' boats on the Arkansas - they work well and if they pop they are generally quick to reset. But here is no feathering and they require a lot of sharp metal.

I them started using oar rights in Alaska on 18' boats. I also got introduced to Cataract Oars, but that is a different discussion. The Oar rights and locks meant that we could pull the oars up, turn them over, and use them as if they were open, just with the oars crossing (watch out for your thumbs), the additional length made rowing standing up a possibility as well. This is handy for rowing into the wind facing forward - more leverage. It also allows you to feather the blades. But for the big whitewater I would always turn the oars back over and engage the oar rights. With open oar locks it is possible to have the oar entirely disengage from the system - meaning that resetting is longer than with pins - assuming that you hold onto the oar and it dosn't get ripped from your hand by current.

I have recently heard that if you get rope wraps over time they get "brassed up." Apparently this means they get the right kind of sticky so you can position your oars at most any length, feather them, but not need the oar stop to hold them in place. This allows for different oar positions and was heavily favored by the person who told me about it.

Personally I haven't come across any guide operations where open oar locks without oar rights were standard (but I am sure that they exist - Dana what's 4 Corners standard setup?).

I wonder if we could have elliptical handles for oars to help with feathering and keeping blade alignment. Don't some kayak paddles have shafts like that?
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Old 04-18-2007   #20
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
Originally Posted by raftus View Post
Personally I haven't come across any guide operations where open oar locks without oar rights were standard (but I am sure that they exist - Dana what's 4 Corners standard setup?).
oh we dont give our guides a choice - its open all the way or paddle guiding even better. Certainly on most upper animas trips its nice to run a stern frame but most of our lower animas trips are paddle boats. i think most of the other outfits run stern frames on the lower and they do seem to be open oarlocks.

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