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Old 01-05-2011   #1
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
rafters: question about shaft extender

Hey rafters,
I have a question about shaft extenders. Not the kind that kayakers use on their weiners, but the kind that rafters use to make their oars longer.

I want to go with 10' oars on the Grand Canyon and right now all I have is a set of 9' oars that I use on smaller rivers. They are the Carlisle oars that you can easily put extensions on.

Do you think it would be OK to just put 1' extensions on what I have and use them? I know I'll probably do that for my spares, but for my primary oars I'm wondering if that is being too cheap for safety's sake.

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Old 01-05-2011   #2
Denver / Coloma / Monterey, CO / CA
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 119
I've never used oar extenders before but I would caution you that the forces on your oars can be quite strong down there. Make sure your oars are strong.

That goes for the spares as well. Spares have been known to break when the raft is temporarily stopped in a breaking wave, then the force of the downstream flow on the spare oars snaps the blade off. It's more common than you might think.

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Old 01-05-2011   #3
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 82
put your extension money into renting a pair of Sawyers from Ceiba or PRO. You will be happier with a stiffer, stronger shaft and more happy with some counter balance for the 200 miles of flat water. Life is too short for crappy oars!
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Old 01-06-2011   #4
grumpyrafter's Avatar
naturita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 19
i used extensions for 8 years & never had an issue. they had plenty of use doing westwater several times a year, a grand, and several other week long trips. i sold them with the old raft when i upgraded. i have no more worriers about them than any other shaft. i don't know how much it is to rent oars for the trip so it may be a great option and you get to check out some killer gear before you buy it. also, don't go down with substandard oars for spares.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself." - Mark Twain
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Old 01-06-2011   #5
rafterswhite's Avatar
HSS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 53
I don't think the extenders are any less safe than standard, if anything you've doubled up the aluminum. You might have twice as many "buttons" to check. Besides, your safety problem is the clips over the wrap.

If you want to test drive some extenders, Tommy has a few on the shelf. Give him a call.
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Old 01-06-2011   #6
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
I started with the same thing - I though a 9' oar would fit my boat better but ended up wanting 10's so I bought extenders. The extenders add a decent amount of weight to the end of the oar and allow for some extra play. No problems with reliability or safety, they just aren't nearly as nice to row. How many oars do you already own? If you're like most people and only have one spare, buy a pair of 10' oars to actually use and a pair of extenders for your spares. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2011   #7
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
Bought a rig to take down The Grand this fall with 10' counterbalanced Sawyer Polecats & 1' extenders to make 11' oars. Didn't really want to invest in new oars in addition to the new rig.

They did perfectly fine, but experienced what AATO mentioned. They make for a heavier lower section on the oar. Another member of our group tried out the rig and thought they were not counterbalanced at all and thought it was much harder to row.

I will likely invest in a pair of 11' oars for the next trip of that duration and keep what I have as spares.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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Old 01-07-2011   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1901
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 110
I recommend this shaft extender:
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Old 01-07-2011   #9
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Ah, isn't that photo from one of Ryan/Perdido's posts? A buzzard no longer with us. That's pretty lame if it is. Anyways, this just made me think of all of the Buzzards that have passed over the years (way too many). Let's hope the list isn't added to for a long, long time. Be safe out there, and have fun.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 01-08-2011   #10
DocDC's Avatar
Greeley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 29
I had 9' oars w 1' extenders on the Grand and had no problems whatsoever. As the days went by I took off the counterbalance weights, removed the extenders and used the 9' oars alone-that was the most comfortable situation for my 14' Hyside. Enjoy your trip.

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