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Old 09-15-2015   #1
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 17
Pins and clips vs oar locks and oar rights

So I'm sure this is a much debated topic but thought I'd ask because I'm new to the sport. Why one oar system over the other? I bought what I feel is a really nice set up. Tons of people have been die hard 50/50 giving me their opinion on why the set up with pins over oar locks and vise versa. I would love to hear some real facts. Thanks for any input.

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Old 09-15-2015   #2
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AlanS's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 62
Pins and clips
Prevent your oars from ever rotating, which ensures perpendicular blade pitch every stroke. Less thinking, more rowing. With stirrups, your oars stay put pretty well in a flip, mostly. Stout. If you hit a rock with an oar blade, the clips can pop off the pins, which can be a pain to deal with.

Open oarlocks with oar-rights
Allow you to ship your oars. When oars are shipped a little bit, you can rotate them, and feather kinda somewhat. When fully extended, you still maintain your blades perpendicular to the water. If you hit a rock with an oarblade, the oar will spin, but the oar-right won't, so it's easier to chip/break a blade, or it can misalign the oar-right by twisting it on the shaft. Which is far more of a pain to deal with than a clip that's popped off.

Open oarlocks, no oar-rights
Allow you to ship and feather your oars, actions which can be interpreted either as achieving a sublime state of efficiency and grace, or, more likely, showing off. If you hit a rock with an oar blade, the oar spins in the oarlock, helping to prevent breakage (sometimes). Not always the best choice for your dental work.

I used open locks and oar-rights for a long time, but eventually ditched the oar-rights, and I don't miss them at all. I find my rowing is easier and more efficient without them. Do whatever feels right to you, though.

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Old 09-15-2015   #3
Pinecliffe, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 447
Nice summary^^^^^This gets interesting, I wondered the same thing when I got a raft, I'd try all if you can go with what you like. I found that most open locks people love to go on and on and on and on about the benefits and the non open people don't really give a shit what other people prefer. I've seen all set ups on lots of rivers.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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Old 09-16-2015   #4
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 17
Excellent reply. Pretty much what I was thinking. As in any other sport I'm involved in (biking, skiing) there are a lot of strong opinions but just roll with what makes you happy and have fun.
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Old 09-16-2015   #5
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Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,038
If you go with pins and clips, get a stirrup made out of a stiff material, such as the carlson's, soft material such as nrs stirrups require you to pick up the oar and put it back in place with 2 hands every time you pop an oar on a rock, a major bummer when you are first learning. Some people make there own out of a strip of plastic barrel.
"Like a bunch of monkey's, trying to fuck a football."
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Old 09-16-2015   #6
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 337
I row both pins/clips and oar locks. I still am not sure which I like better. Perhaps when I have more than 8 years under my belt, I will know. One thing I like about the pins/clips is that they act like oar-rights and have your blade ready for a pull. I have a friend that tried to learn rowing without oar-rights or pin/clips and had a tough time. When learning, I would either go pin/clips of oarlocks with oar-rights.

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Old 09-16-2015   #7
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
it's hotly contested because most folks (I suspect) have obtained used gear, agnostic in this ecclesiastical debate, then come to love whatever they had. Then they harden into a stance.

All of this stuff works and what matters when things go wrong is that you are dialed in and comfortable with your system, and that comes with time and river miles.

No one has mentioned pro-loks yet, so maybe look over this thread: Pro-Loks review with pics

IMO they are the best solution.
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Old 09-16-2015   #8
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
Good responses so far. You'll Find that it really depends on what your doing and what your preferences are. For me it's open locks and no rights. I'm not quite sure about higher enlightenment but being able to feather my oars is one of the most valuable attributes of my setup.

Below are links to recent discussions.

Expert boaters running oar rights? POLL

Expert boaters running oar rights? POLL

Rope wrap VS sleeves

Oar length questions for bad shoulders.

Among others...

Pay special attention to the pro-lok discussion. If I were starting from scratch I'd definitely give them a hard look... They are almost the best of all worlds - if it were just easier to replace/remove and oar, I would have converted a year ago with out question. In fact I'm sure by the end of this winter I'll have a pair on my boat.
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 09-16-2015   #9
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
I use oar rights. It is what I learned with, but I also do not have the strength to boat the type of water I want to boat without them. Actually, I really can't even row flat water without them! LOL! Serious though, now I have joint issues and am greatful for the rights, I don't think I'd be doing much boating without them. I use posilockers which are closed oarlocks. I am not interested in the prolocks because of the plastic, I want my locks to be in place and operable even after a severe upside down run.
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 09-16-2015   #10
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
...I'm not quite sure about higher enlightenment but being able to feather my oars is one of the most valuable attributes of my setup...
Same here. I find my power strokes more powerful and efficient with feathering, so I tire less easily. In addition, being able to dynamically adjust the pitch of the oar blade helps me work with the current, and not to fight it so much.

I can say that I once rowed a boat with pins and clips through Cataract at high water, and while getting thoroughly thrashed in Big Drop 2, I was very grateful to have them.

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