Help me buy new oars. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-12-2013   #1
Alaskagrown
 
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
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Help me buy new oars.

So I took my new raft out for the first time yesterday and just as I thought, the oars felt too long. I have a 13' Aire Trib with a Recretec frame. The oar locks are 65" apart and are 8" above the top of the raft tubes. I bought 9.5" Cataracts cause they were on sale and it was the only size they had left. Once I got it all set up I had 31.5" of the oars inside the locks and about 85" outside the locks (leaving an inch or two between the handles). Obviously that doesn't really meet the standard one third in two thirds out rule. So I know a place where I can get a screaming deal on some new Cataracts in any length I need so my question is should I buy 8.5' or 9'? I will try to sell the 9.5 footers I have, as they've only been used once but I want to make sure to get the right length this time. I will mostly be rowing smaller tighter rivers on day trips with the occasional multi day on the rogue. But even on those trips it will just be me and one other person with fairly light gear. So since I won't often be rowing a heavy rig I wonder if it would be smarter to lean toward the shorter (8.5') length. Thanks for the advice.

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Old 05-12-2013   #2
 
Avatard's Avatar
 
portland, Oregon
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9' finished oar length. Feels right on my buds 60" frame with Nrs towers

I run 9'6" on my 66" Nrs frame. I have a bud with 8.5 and 54" frame. That works too
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Old 05-12-2013   #3
 
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in a van down by the river, Arizona
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yes, 9'6" is way too big bud... try 8' cataract oars, they are super sporty, nice flex.
I drive them on anything at/under 14'
I do my own wraps on the shaft for a nice fit in the open oarlocks.
Remember: pins and clips are for goons

two-piece 7' minimags are $100
or the 8' cataract SGG is $150 - I'd go with the 8' but you might like a 7'6"
best of luck and always watch that downstream oar
else you'll look like me!
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Old 05-12-2013   #4
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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I'm using 8.5 cataracts on my 12 ft. X 6 ft. raft and they are perfect. But I'm using an NRS frame with 10 inch NRS towers, so I can tilt the towers outward to achieve more width, and get the 1/3 2/3 balance just right. My oarlocks are about 70 inches apart. I started with 8 ft. oars and 8 inch towers and they were too short. Since you have a set distance between your oarlocks, you don't have the option to change things.

I found this formula on the River Connection website for figuring out oar length.
Distance between oarlocks X 3 minus 6, then divide by 2, then divide by 12 for feet.
So 65 X 3= 195 divided by 2 = 97.5 divided by 12 = 8.1

A lot depends on your height and rowing position as well. I'd 5'6" and rowing from a dry box. I'd be inclined to recommend 8.5 ft. oars ???? It's a tough call. I was lucky in that I got my oars from backcountry.com and they have a 100% satisfaction return policy, and they are based in SLC, so I just drove them across town to return them.

Avatard..... I know you were concerned about my oar tower distance on my little raft, but it worked perfectly on Deso last week. No binding in the locks, and the oars felt really good. I just kept tilting the towers outward, while keeping them from going past level, until I reached the tipping point, then worked with what I had. About 69-70 inches, which made balancing the oars pretty easy. My hand position on power strokes was just right, not too high like it would have been with the 8 ft. oars.
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Old 05-12-2013   #5
 
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portland, Oregon
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Wow. I think my 72" frame is about 76" and I run 11' oars. Sounds like you have a lot more mechanical advantage but also a terribly short stroke
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Old 05-12-2013   #6
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
Wow. I think my 72" frame is about 76" and I run 11' oars. Sounds like you have a lot more mechanical advantage but also a terribly short stroke
Possibly, but it works, and doesn't feel out of whack. I have about 3 inches between the oar handles when level, and adequate knee clearance. The shorter oars would have put the oar handles kind of high once I got the oars in the water. The trade off of small boats or narrow frames I suppose. As soon as my posse sends me some pics from the Deso trip I'll post some of the boat.
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Old 05-12-2013   #7
 
San Francisco, California
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Before you sell your oars and rebuy, see if you can cut your oars by a few inches. All you need is a simple saw. If you are handy enough, it might just be cutting a few inches and drilling a couple of holes to reseat your handles.

I personally think you could make 9.5' work. I run a set of 10' on my 70" frame, and I do have an option to spread my oarlocks out by a few inches. You could ask recretec to make a set of oarstands that extend out by a few inches, or raise your seat and oarlocks a bit higher. I think you can find shims or some sort of extenders to raise those oar stands by a few inches.

IMO, 7.5' or 8' oars will be too short. Don't worry too much about 1/3in, 2/3out rules. It's general guideline, but it's not too difficult to adjust your stroke unless you have really weak arms.
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Old 05-12-2013   #8
Alaskagrown
 
Albany, Oregon
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Thanks Cataraftgirl. I didn't realize Backcountry.com did that. That's actually where I got my oars from so I'll be sending them back tomorrow. I just ordered three of the 8.5 footers. They are on sale right now for $86.77 with free 2 day shipping! Can't beat that.
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Old 05-13-2013   #9
 
Bayfield, Colorado
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"Sounds like you have a lot more mechanical advantage but also a terribly short stroke"

I've had that.
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Old 05-16-2013   #10
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Ok Avatard, here's a picture. What da ya think? They felt & worked great.
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