Mania - I like your new avatar, but is pales in comparison to your old one
Congrats on the GC Permit!
I have rowed cataracts, polecats and carlisles. The flex in the composite ones (Cataract and Polecats) is a noticeable improvement. I have had to row with a polecat in one hand and a carlisle in the other for the lower half of the Grand Canyon and my shoulder liked the flex (polecat) a lot better. I haven't had durability issues with the Polecat, but with Mania's much more rigorous commercial use I trust his opinion on durability.
FWIW when I guided in AK we almost exclusively used Cataracts and they held up well but did break on occasion. We had a back stock for busy days of Carlisle shafts, they got bent up, discolored and beaten down, on occasion they too would break. Almost everywhere I have worked we used Carlisle blades. Sun exposure to the plastic blades decreases their life - so store them somewhere shady if you can. With wood blades maintenance of the coating and fiberglass reinforcements makes a big difference in how long they last.