oar options - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-28-2014   #1
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
oar options

Hi All,
new to the site. Looking to upgrade the 9' oars that came with my 13ft Aire Tributary. I mainly use it for fishing but did a trip on the deschutes this yr too. Something lighter, durable but not going to break the bank. After a day of back-stroking to keep us on fish I am whipped so I need something lighter.



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Old 12-28-2014   #2
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Salida, 81201
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 172
Sawyer Polecats! They are easy to counter balance the handles yourself too. Pull the handles, 1 1/8" paddle bit the wood down about 4" and epoxy about 12" of one inch solid stock in the hole. replace the handles. Super easy!
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Old 12-29-2014   #3
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Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Break the bank. It'll hurt for a second, until you get to the takeout and your shoulders dont. There is nothing on the market with the feel of sawyer squaretops. You can counterbalance oars all you want but youll still never get what you get with the squaretops.
zach baird
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Old 12-29-2014   #4
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,177
There are lots of oar threads on this site and you'll get lots of responses arguing cataract or sawyer and some saying stick with what you've got and toughen up, probably even a few for wood oars.

My opinion is that either of the composite oars are far superior and easier to "tune" than Carlisle's. I don't like wood oars because of their narrow, long blades. They don't work as well in the super skinny water I'm usually rowing over so that my passengers can fish the deep fishy water. I really don't think it matters which composite shaft, other than polecats are actually an intermediate step between budget aluminum shafts and the more expensive composites. But, sawyer has mismatched MX's for $99 a shaft (less than polecats I believe).

What I really think matters are the blades and balance. I ran Carlisle blades for a decade, replacing at least one every year, then seven years ago I jumped to Dynelites (carbon fiber over foam and aluminum) and have not broken one since and they are lighter. They are spendy but for me I know they have paid for themselves over the years, the weight savings was just a bonus. The lower weight allows for less counter balance (I run about a pound in my 10' sawyer MX's) and ultimately less mass to swing around with every oars stroke.

There are several ways to counter balance, some permanent some temporary. One easy way I haven't tried is wrapping ankle weights just below the handle. Another is to take off the blade and remove the foam plug from inside the shaft and drop weight down inside the shaft to the handle. Then add appropriately sized pipe insulation to hold it in place (and add floatation). You could try this with your Carlisle's a first step, maybe you'll like it? Lastly removing the handles (if possible) and adding it to the handle (I melt lead and poor it into a wet cardboard TP tube wrapped in tin foil) Drill a hole in it and screw it to the handle. Or you could do as thinksnow suggests - that's what sawyer does.

All composite oars are coated with some sort of clear coat, all of which will deteriorate if left in the sun. Cataract's coating directly covers the fiberglass (when the coating fails they shed fiberglass). Carlisles have a layer of fabric between the glass and the coating (when it fails it's not painfull). If you keep your oars inside or covered all the time it won't matter. If they sit in the sun all summer/winter the coating on either brand will eventually degrade. Each can be recoated. Having owned both, I now lean towards sawyer.

For the ultimate in a fishing oar, look into sawyer square tops. They're a one piece wood/glass/carbon hybride with most of the advantages of wood oars and composite oars (and some of their disadvantages). They're spendy but not really more so than buying high end shafts and blades separately (at full cost). I saw sawyer had a pair of 9'ers on their sale sheet for somewhere around $600.
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
-Warren Miller
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Old 12-29-2014   #5
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1
I'm selling three 9'5 Cataract SGG oars w/ blades. Listed on Craig's list High Rockies w/ photos (Eagle/Gypsum). $450.
I would like the Sawyer Square Tops that elkhaven mentioned for my drift boat. I will cry every time they hit rocks. High $ and hard to fix.
But so classy!
Happy boat'n
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