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Old 05-15-2016   #1
Shingle Springs, California
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 100
Oars Size for an 11'-0" Cat - What are you running

Hey -

Just picked up an 11'-0" Sotar cat for the wife and need some oars. It will be used on whitewater.

I am doing the standard math (1/3-2/3) and it is coming up with 6'-6" oars based on the 52" oar lock spread. Seems pretty small when I am sitting in it with a pipe cut to length.

What are people running on the small cats. It seems like 7'or 7'-6" might be the ticket. Any recommendations?


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Old 05-15-2016   #2
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,038
I run 8' oars on my 11' culebra with a 48" frame, they are ok, but wouldn't mind a bit shorter, any longer would not work out. 7'-7'6" is sounding pretty reasonable to me.

"Like a bunch of monkey's, trying to fuck a football."
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Old 05-15-2016   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,132
12' Cat with 62" Tower to Tower.
1/3 in- 2/3 out rule of thumbs says I should run 7'-6".
I run 8'-6" on tight rivers and creeks for day runs.
And 9' on bigger rivers with multiday load.
My spare for day runs is 7', hope I don't need it!
The 1/3-2/3 rule does not work for small sport cats.
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Old 05-16-2016   #4
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 657
I HATE big oars, so heavy and unwieldy, I can't understand why folks use the same gear or a boat that weighs 300 with user as a boat that weighs 800-1200. I use 7.5ft mini mags. This season will be their third year of use and they're going strong. Why waste the weight and money on big oars and locks, when the small diameter stuff is way more affordable and a lot lighter. I've never broken a mini mag or my small locks but if your worried, just carry two spare locks and two spare mini mag oars, it'll weight about the same as one set of standard size spares.
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Old 05-16-2016   #5
Rosa, At the bottom of the Lake
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 21
10.5' cat (20" tubes) and will second K2 that the 7.5 minimag works great. I have three 1-piece oars and sawyer mini cobra locks. I carry two spare locks and one spare oar, as of yet have not needed either... With rope wrap and donuts they were fairly inexpensive shipped to the office. Even if you reef on them feel appropriate for a small sport boat.

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Old 05-16-2016   #6
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
I use 9'oars on my 11' Legend (21"tubes) and 34" between tubes. I dislike short oars for lack of power. These do not feel long to me at all.

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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 05-16-2016   #7
Searching for water....., Nevada
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 168
8.5' oars on 11'er with 21" tubes, 32" between. I think it is easier to use shorter oars on the cats with smaller tubes but with the 21"+ the angle gets really steep with short oars.
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Old 05-16-2016   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
7' to 7'6" is too short. I'd say 8'6". Its a lot easier to make them shorter than longer...

Just take off the handle, chop it on a miter saw, glue the handle back.
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Old 05-16-2016   #9
Shingle Springs, California
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 100
I have to say the mini mag look sweet (And cheep). The no whitewater disclaimer on the website scared me away. How much do they flex?
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Old 05-16-2016   #10
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 657
They flex! I can pull or push on them 100% no worries at all, but when I'm surfing I do show restraint. You can pry and watch them flex a bit, at that force it's more than enough to pull out of any hole that you actually HAVE a chance of getting out of. To me it's a trade off, they cost a little more per complete oar than the full size blades so they are very replaceable...I got mine with free shipping from backcountry.com... but they aren't as bomber. I'm a big strong full bearded kinda guy, I'm notoriously hard on everything and I haven't broke mine yet.

The fat tubes changing the angle is a good point. My little cat is 11ft8 x 19in, so I figure that and my overall bigness allows me to get away with the shorter oars...I also sit on a thwart very very low in the boat. I'm picking up some 8ft oars at paddlefest for my narrow raft because it'll haul more than just me and a few beers.

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