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Old 10-06-2008   #1
pbowman's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
Rafting Question: Recommended Oar Length

new owner of a 10.5' sb hyside and 48" NRS frame. desired use is a small fishing rig for up to CL III such as the roaring fork, eagle, and lower blue. would also like the ability to do trips on westwater, cataract, and easier overnight floats if my skills (and lower flow) permit. no desire for huge water or grand canyon type stuff in this boat, just small to medium size stuff.

what oar size would you recommend for this rig - NRS says minimum 7' oars, but that seems too small. would the 7.5' or 8' oars be better? should i have two sets of oars - one for fishing and one for whitewater pursuits? thanks in advance for any advice and experience on oar sizing. later.


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Old 10-06-2008   #2
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
48" frame = 8 ft oars.

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Old 10-06-2008   #3
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I've always heard the basic advice is 1/3 of the oar inside of the boat (oar lock), 2/3s outside. So 7's should be right if not a touch big depending on where your Oar stands are and if you like rowing with an overlap or not.

Carlisle makes oar extenders in 1' lengths. So if you buy at the small end of the range you might like you can always make them bigger. I also believe that the Carlisle oar extenders work with Cataract and Sawyer shafts.

I should also add that the height above waterline of the oar lock plays a role with the length in determining the angle required to get the oar in the water and the height of the handle. If you have the boat and the frame handy and live near a store with a variety of oar shafts - go and try a few sizes without the blades attached. This gives you a rough idea.
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Old 10-06-2008   #4
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928

10.5 is a pretty small boat. I'd say somewhere between 7 and 8 would be good. I started with 8ft on my 13 ft boat, and they were a little short. I'm at 9ft with the extenders.

Leverage/length for oars is also important because longer oars give you more thrust per stroke, but requires more energy because you are pushing them a farther distance. It is like gear ratio for a car or bike. Think "high" gear for longer oars. Shorter is easier to make faster/more strokes with less effort, like low gear for a bike or a car.

You shouldn't need different oars for fishing vs. whitewater. Or, for whitewater, you could ditch the frame, and run a small boat like that as an R2 creeker... Give me a shout if you are still in the Eagle area and want to go play.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

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Old 10-06-2008   #5
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I have a mini-me (9 foot) and I use 8 1/2 foot oars. I would not go shorter. I posted this exact same question when I was buying the rig and people had all sorts of formulas that come up with 7-8 foot oars. The problem is that the formula doesn't compute when you have similar size tubes to a big raft and your oars have to reach all the way down to the water as well as out for some reach/leverage. How wide is your boat? I wouldn't go shorter than 8 1/2 foot oars, but you might just want 9 footers.

I'm in Fort Collins and you're welcome to swing by with your rig and check out my oars if you're concerned. Also, check out that other thread about my mini me oar setup. There was a lot of good info there.
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Old 10-06-2008   #6
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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By the way, the breakdown oars are the way to go. Then you can put the spare on two sides, otherwise it looks ridiculous hanging way past the straight part of your raft.
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Old 10-08-2008   #7
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
pbowman, your 10.5 boat is like a little sports car use a 8 ft. to 8.5 ft. Sawyer with wide blabe, any thing longer and you defeat your purpose of having a short and very maneuverable boat. You can work that boat in very tight rapids and fly in flat water. Read my reply under thread (oar length formula). Have fun.
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Old 10-08-2008   #8
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
I've got 2- 7ft oars and 3- 1 foot extensions. (no blades) Would be willing to sell for the right price. NRS lists 7ft @ $51.70 and Extensions @ $37.00. Make a reasonable offer. PM me
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 10-08-2008   #9
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Just use the new formula.

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