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   #21
????, Colorado
Paddling Since: ????
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 32
i worked for runners for some years, and they are hardcore pins and clips.. they will tell you why.. then i went to the old canyon marine (before the ugly divorce from the previous owner) and they are all open oars.. took some tripin and slipin, but that is what i have found to be the best freedom and controll..
comercial on the ark,, espically browns.. it gets so crowded that pins and clips will get stuck under your bro's raft and be deemed usless (good thing to know if you get into a situation) but the open oars will still work with a little finesse..

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Old 04-18-2007   #22
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Posts: 247
okay, so maybe the initial question is too broad.........damn boaters..........

just wanna bitch......who gives a rat ass about how commercial crews run? they have a system, that works for them, and thats the way it is..PERIOD.

If I had one, I would be the same. THIS IS THE WAY WE DO IT, AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT........WELL..............

Im all about wrapped and stopped, BUT my little cat, is a BIG GAME HUNTER, (V+ creeker) and pins and clips are the only way to Roll.............


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Old 04-18-2007   #23
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steamboat springs, Colorado
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i basically learned to row in west virginia when i was put on an overnite trip as the gear boater. we never rowed with people on board, we just paddle guided with customers. i knew nothing about oars and oar rigs, so the general manager set me up with some oars that had oar rights. we did not have any pins and clips, so i have never used them.

on my first trip down the new river gorge, i was having a lot of trouble when i would catch one of the oars in some funky currents. one time i almost got squashed between the oar and the large pile of gear behind me. another guide who rowed every day for a company that did oar guided customer rafts saw me flailing. he told me to get rid of the training wheels, and i would fare much better.

the next time i rowed a gear boat i used oarlocks and oars with no oarrights. this was so much easier. if your oar catches some current that you don't want, you can feather it and bring it to the surface so much easier than fighting an oar with an oarright to the surface.

i'll admit that it could have been my lack of experience with oars, or the trial by fire run with a two ton raft full of gear, but i will never again try to row a raft with any oars that won't let me feather them.

i have never rowed a light raft, only super heavy gear boats. oar rights or pins and clips might be easier to use if you don't have a bunch of weight in the boat with you.

also, what do you guys think of wood handles as opposed to the foam wrapped ones. the foam ones always gave me blisters, but plain wood never did.
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Old 04-18-2007   #24
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ww guide/ frame builder/welder, mobile fabrication gig
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"trial by fire run with a two ton raft full of gear, "

welcome......., EVERYONE will eventualy be a rafter, its just a matter of evolution.....

BTW, if you see a maravia called "knotty girl" help me off load! cause itsa heavy mutha.....
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Old 04-18-2007   #25
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BTW, might try checking with the guys/gals that run the gnar with oars.(myself excluded ofcourse) I'll bet you a case of my/your choice brews that when the hardcorps are out, were all LOCKED and loaded......
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Old 04-18-2007   #26
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 15
i work for mild to wild in durango, and we run mostly stern rigs, and they all have open oar locks. i like the open oar locks, and would definitely not want to use p/c or oar rights. it probly does have a lot to do with how you learn.
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Old 04-18-2007   #27
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 60
I rowed "O" oarlocks when I first started, just ropes and stops. Rigged the oars through the locks at the put in and they didnt come off until the take out unless they broke, but did ship in and feather. This meant your spare oar had no stop on it just rope wrap. Each stop was made out of a bicycle tire tube wrapped around the oar and held on with, yup, hose clamps and duct tape. You got a hard time if you were "rowing on the stops", which was with the stops all the way against the locks. The stops were just for keeping the oar from sliding into the water, rigged more towards the handle.

Then later we got the "U" shaped open oarlocks, and drilled small holes and ran a wire across the top of the oar after it was in its lock, but at least we only had to rig the wire each time and not the whole set of oars. These were all wood oars up to this point. Wood oars that required a lot of seasonal maintenance like revarnishing and sanding.

Then came pins and clips and oar rights and cheap carslile oars. A simple, trouble and maintenance free setup that was durable and cheaper than brass oarlocks. Or an oarlock setup that provided the best of both worlds supposedly, oarrights. They seem to except for the feathering thing. And the rowing on the stops thing. Ive always thought they were cheap plastic junk and have never owned any.

They were shorter oars on smaller boats. Dont even think pins and clips were available then. Then as my boats got bigger and my oars got longer I found pins and clips were easier. I dont think I'd want to row my 11'ers on a gc without pins, would probably injure my wrists trying to hold the blade angle.

But to me, the single best advantage of pins and clips is that I can get stuffed into my footwell in the middle of lava, come up grab an oar and I have an instant power stroke. There are many advantages to oarlocks, but that isnt one of them.

I once saw a park boat rowing past deer creek and the guy had this super forward then feather stroke, really one with the river. Pins and clips have no romance like that, no grace, no harmony.

So imho pins and clips are easier on the wrists, better for longer oars and bigger loads in big water, and are a little cheaper.

Oarlocks have advantages such as feathering and sideways draw and shipping in, and are more graceful and natural, but are harder on the wrists in the longer lengths, and are really only properly appreciated with wood oars. People who row open oars on carlisles dont know what they are missing.

While we can sit here and debate the merits or failures of existing technology all day, I would think our mental powers could be better put to use to build a better mousetrap. What will the NEXT device be that attaches an oar to a boat? I have seen ocean dory oars that had the pin built into the oar, and then just clipped into a hole in the side of the dory. I have seem mechanical advantage setups that boosted the rowers power or improved his stroke. Or are we at the "best" possible choices that will ever be with the same tired "pins vs locks" debate? I hope theres still something yet to be invented thats better than both.

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Old 04-19-2007   #28
Bozeman, MT
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 106
I've used em' all, and this is what I think.

Pins and Clips - good for beginners and that's about it. In moderate whitewater they do fine, but once you hit your first rock, and have to fuss with an ejected oar you'll hate em'.

Open Oars - Feathering is more efficient on flatwater, and moderate whitewater(It really is nice!) They work fine most of the time, but take more concentration to keep them up right when your flyin' through difficult rapids. A good choice if your planning on running mixed flatwater and whitewater up to class III ish.

Oar Rights - Best option for difficult whitewater! Keeping your blades upright is one less thing to think about when your really cranking on em'. The ability to pull your oars in quickly to avoid objects, then resume paddling immediately is also key. Plus if you botch your line and hit a rock with your blade it's way faster to throw the oar back in place compared to pins and clips.
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Old 04-19-2007   #29
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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so just for one data point most people including myself run open oarlocks with no oarrights on the futaleufu. if that isn't difficult whitewater then i don't know what is.
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Old 04-19-2007   #30
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NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
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?).
R O W runs open oarlocks without oar rights (wooden oars too) on their rafts up on the mighty Lochsa in Idaho. Definitely a lot of skill (vs. brawn) involved running them like that.

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