Oar lengths - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-07-2012   #1
 
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
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Oar lengths

I'm buying a 16 foot raft and will be running pretty heavy on most trips. Just wanted to get opinions on oar length. 10? Or 11?

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Old 12-07-2012   #2
 
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portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fronc
I'm buying a 16 foot raft and will be running pretty heavy on most trips. Just wanted to get opinions on oar length. 10? Or 11?

I run 11's on a 72" wide nrs frame sitting atop 26" leopard tubes and on a drybox seat with the seat base about 3" above the top of the frame It feels about right. I know some who runs 9.5 on his 72" frame sitting on a 24" jag with nrs seatbar, but he intentionally keeps his handles out an additional 6 or so inches each, which doesnt feel right

So depends a lot on how far apart are your towers, how much gap you want between your handles, and how much you want to trade a longer stroke vs more power at the blades and a shallower stroke.

11' oars can always be cut down in about a 10 minute operation in roughly 6" increments if you have a chop saw and use cataract shafts.

10" oars can be lengthened a bit if you use longer sawyer blades (more $$$).

I do not recommend a carlisle shaft at that length due to weight and difficulty to shorten due to an inner sleeve

I dont care much for the sawyer screw mount it can damage a composite shaft if the blade hits a rock and easy to lose in the blade if one of your friends over loosens it during disassembly. So i dont recommend their blades with anything but a carlisle shaft or a sawyer shaft (sawyer shafts are reinforced at the blade end to prevent their blades from breaking their shafts)
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Old 12-07-2012   #3
 
prescott, Arizona
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i like 10's on my 15 foot raft (started with 9's) and all of my friends that have 16 foot rafts use 10's.
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Old 12-07-2012   #4
 
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Hi,

Avatard covered a lot of good territory.

I'd add that things as individualized as musculature and the height of a person's torso -- in addition to oar tower height and angle, width of frame, size of tubes, and height of seat -- go into this selection. One person's perfect setup can quickly create biomechanical problems in someone else.

Some generalities apply, but in the end, it's a seat of the pants thing -- what feels right in terms of how you apply power through the oars and how your body feels after a day rowing. Pick a starting point and be ready to tinker with things until you feel you're optimal.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
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Old 12-07-2012   #5
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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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.
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Old 12-08-2012   #6
 
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Flagstaff, Arizona
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I went with 10' oars on my 66" wide frame and 8" towers. They work great on mellow rivers but really got my attention when the Colorado wanted to pull me out of my seat.
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Old 12-08-2012   #7
 
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portland, Oregon
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Quote:
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
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Old 12-08-2012   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
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.
I understand what you are describing.

Quote:
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 believe these factors (all generally adjustable) make a bigger difference--especially cumulatively--than oar length.

If you have a REALLY high seat and high towers, you'll have to go fairly vertical with short oars (hands above your shoulders) to get the blade fully submerged.

If you have a low frame and seat and really long oars, you might have to go into your knees to clear the water.
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Old 12-08-2012   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT4Runner

I understand what you are describing.

I believe these factors (all generally adjustable) make a bigger difference--especially cumulatively--than oar length.

If you have a REALLY high seat and high towers, you'll have to go fairly vertical with short oars (hands above your shoulders) to get the blade fully submerged.

If you have a low frame and seat and really long oars, you might have to go into your knees to clear the water.
So for everyone's reference, what is your tube diameter, tower height, and approx height of the seat over the frame?
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Old 12-08-2012   #10
 
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Albany, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
So for everyone's reference, what is your tube diameter, tower height, and approx height of the seat over the frame?

Also, boat width and desired frame width or more importantly oar lock center to center measuerment.
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