Originally Posted by MT4Runner
11' oars is a lot of length to swing. I wouldn't recommend them unless you've got long arms.
I'm 6'-6" and am happy with 10' oars with my 16' raft and 72" wide frame.
I disagree. The additional 1' outside of the locks does mean the oars have to move through the water more during the stroke. But the inertia of the oar and blade (for cataracts, at least) is small compared to the force you generate during rowing. A short armed rower will actually get more oar travel with a longer shaft since the arc is longer. If you are a weak armed rower, you can always feather the oar blade angle slightly to minimize the cross sectional area of the blade.
The only thing the extra foot may cause is down force fatigue if you are not in shape and dont use counterbalances. I used to be a fan but the extra weight makes it more difficult to quickly move the oars and there is the constant worry that at some point (catastrophic) you may lose your oar to the bottom of the river.
I'm glad you are happy with your setup at 10'. It took me awhile to try different setups and finally get happy with mine at 11'. But my geometry and boat size are almost certainly different than yours
Its all about boat geometry and user preference. How high above the waterline is the frame, how wide are the oarlocks, how high above the frame is the seat, at what point do you need taller towers so you dont bang your knees, and when you get that setup, what is the angle of the oar in order to get the blade in the water (vs how far can you lift it out of the water) and how does that affect your position of the handles during a stroke
I started at 9.5 on my cat (25" tubes) and had to go longer when i got a bigger set of tubes (26.5") and a slightly wider frame (72" vs 66"). Then i added a drybox to sit atop, and this required extenders and taller towers to get to 11'. The 8" towers could stand to be about 2" taller but i decided againts buying those funky nrs 10" towers
Now its dialed in, although i've recently picked up a set of pro loks and this is going effectively raise my tower height by an additional inch which is (i think) what i want anyhow.
Once i realized 11' worked better for me, i ditched the extenders and bought full oars.
On my last trip i tried rowing from the drybox in front of me and realized i really prefer my towers ahead of my knees, which effectively results in the handles not cramping my chest at the end of my stroke
My only difficulty is shipping a pair of oars simultaneously. My next "tweak" now that i have the proloks with wider range of swivel than my cobras, is to tilt the towers in a bit, shorten the stop position to prevent knuckle pinching. This effectively will move the fulcrum inwards an inch or two and make it ever so easier to ship the oars simultaneously, although may make me long for counterbalances again.
I'm not saying 11' is for everyone. Just worked out to be the right size for me