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Old 07-21-2008   #1
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
New Rafting Oars

Our new raft should be shipping today. I haven't decided which oars to get, Carlisle, or Cataract. We run Carlisle's now, just fine. Cataract are more money, and I've also heard some "issues" where the fiberglass gets sharp over time.

What's the performance difference with Cataract vs Carlisle's?

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Old 07-21-2008   #2
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ecjohnson's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 71
Cataract oars are lighter in the hand and stiffer.

I've seen Carlisle's bend from hits that would do nothing to other oars, or maybe chip an oar blade at most.

I've been using Smokers and Sawyer MX F/G's with the Dynelite blades lately and love both. Even pricier though, but I think worth it. They are both stiffer than the Cataracts and just feel tougher. They are pretty heavy in the hand though.

Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post

What's the performance difference with Cataract vs Carlisle's?

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Old 07-21-2008   #3
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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Posts: 1,879
If I were shopping again, I would take a look at the Sawyer Pole Cats- they seemed like excellent quality for the money, and I have some friends that speak highly of them. I'm not as impressed with the Cataract blades - they bent on the first trip out, and I don't think it took much. Happy with the Cataract counter-balanced shafts, though...

Sawyer Paddles and Oars

DRE sells Pole Cats if you are a Frontal Ranger and you want to take a closer look- although I believe you're in D-go.
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Old 07-21-2008   #4
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 48
I think...

Cataracts all the way!

I agree with Ethan, Cats are Definitely more sturdy and reliable.
Much less likely to break on ya.

Well worth the extra $
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Old 07-21-2008   #5
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Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
Cataract are great oars. (I know nothing about wood brands)

1: Keep then out of the sun when not being used.
2: Try not to allow them to abrade on anything.
3: If you notice a wear spot, sand with steel wool and spray with a clear exoxy / urathane paint.

I found the the biggest difference was the amount of force that I could generate versus aluminum based oars. As you make a stroke, the oars actually bend slightly. This causes a nice strong push with a snappy feel at the end of the stroke.

Personally I h8 oar rights. But Cataract says that you should NOT drill the set screw. If you do, it may void your warranty.

I also do not like counter balanced oars. I have found that it makes the oar heavier on the stroke and causes me to use more energy getting where I want to be. just my POV
Claimer: Someone that makes a claim that they have been there and done that, can do anything you can do better than you. I hate "claimers"
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Old 07-21-2008   #6
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 26
Pole Cats

Just picked up my pole cats from 4 corners. I'm impressed with the balance, weight and quality for the money. Still have to try 'em on the river 'though. They seem like the best value. Better than the carlisle not as pricey as the cataract.
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Old 07-21-2008   #7
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 60
Counter Balanced

I agree on counterbalanced oars.

A properly placed oar should weigh nothing. It should be balanced. If you need counterbalancing something in your frame or oarlocks are wrong.

Carlisle oars have an inner aluminum shaft. If the shaft gets bent or crimped the oar can break. Which I have seen happen (athough rare)

I also do not like counter balanced oars. I have found that it makes the oar heavier on the stroke and causes me to use more energy getting where I want to be. just my POV[/quote]
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Old 07-21-2008   #8
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Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670

I took the recommendation of posters on this site in the spring and bought counterbalanced Sawyer PoleCats. I didn't have a lot of previous experience, but really like them. Also, experienced rafters have rowed my rig and have really liked them, too.

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Old 07-21-2008   #9
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Indian Hills
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 340
Sawyer all the way. Your sholders are worth it
With cunning skill like a duck walking a tightrope at night
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Old 07-21-2008   #10
rwhyman's Avatar
Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
Personally, I'm a Sawyer fan. I also like counterweighted oars. A year or so ago, I bought a used Cat that came with non-counterweighted Cataracts. I used them on one Westwater trip and although they were setup properly with 1/3 in, 2/3 out, I immediately replaced them with the 10ft Sawyers off my raft. My arms were much more tired from lifting the oars on every stroke than they ever were when using counterweighted oars. Yea, I know, I'm an old guy that sits on his ass all day at work.
Then I bought new 9ft Sawyers for the raft. Counterweighted, of course.
Yes, the old Cataract oars are still hanging around the garage.

If you are still stuck on Carlisle's or Cats, I would definitely go with the Cats. They cost more for a reason. I've seen a lot of bent, cracked, split, and/or broken Carlisle's on the river, can't say that about Cats or Sawyers

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