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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

As the title says, I'm a rookie. We are gearing up for our first season as a white water family and I'm stoked! Along with my excitement I've come up with a couple of questions that I can't seem to find the answer to.

First, how are oars measured? I was given with my boat two Carlisle Oar Shafts that measure out at 74 1/2" long. I purchased another for dirt cheap that is 92 1/2". Are the blades an additional 2' which would effectively make 8 & 10 foot oars?

Additionally, I seem to be finding a ton of different answers on proper oar length. Just searching here I've come up with everything from 7.5' to 10'. Can someone give me a basic answer fit for a beginner?

Last, if the 74 1/2" shafts are the correct length is it ok for me to cut down the 92 1/2" shaft to make a spare?

My boat is a 14' U-Disco bucket boat and the frame is homemade but awesome, running pins & clips and about 66" between the pins.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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fat guy in a little boat
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Carlisle blades are around 27" long.
So the 74.5" shaft will make a 8.5ft oar and the 92.5" will make for a 10ft oar.
Carlisle Oar Shaft at nrs.com

A 14'er at 66" width- I'd definitely be using the 10' oar.
8.5' will be really short on that setup. Might be usable as a spare, but not very comfortably.

Good luck, and have fun with that Udisco!
My first boat was a tank of an old 'disco. Real love/hate kinda thing;)
 

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Hello all,


First, how are oars measured? I was given with my boat two Carlisle Oar Shafts that measure out at 74 1/2" long. I purchased another for dirt cheap that is 92 1/2". Are the blades an additional 2' which would effectively make 8 & 10 foot oars?
Yes, you measure the oar with the blade on it.


Last, if the 74 1/2" shafts are the correct length is it ok for me to cut down the 92 1/2" shaft to make a spare?
It can be done. I found it easier to pull the handle off and cut it at that end, instead of the blade end.

My boat is a 14' U-Disco bucket boat and the frame is homemade but awesome, running pins & clips and about 66" between the pins.

Thanks in advance for any help!
It's hard to be sure from where I sit, but if the 74 1/2" shafts came with the boat as a complete set up, they should work for you too. When rowing, you want the handles about chest height when your working them. Too long and you'll hit your knees when bringing them back for the next stroke. Too short and they will be up by your ears when you take a stroke. Hope this helps a little. :)
 

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If you are cutting 1.5 feet of a Carlisle you will have to cut the handle end. You are going to run into the double tube inside. You are going to have to shave the handle down to fit inside this double tube.
 

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Misspellingintothefuture!
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If you end up cutting down any Carlisle shafts, remove the handle and do it from that end, since the blade end has an inner shaft of aluminum once you get past the single layer where the blade goes in, you can ruin the shafts cutting the blade end( ask me how I learned that!)
Most oarsmen with a 14' raft run a 9-10' oar, I usually run 10' oars with my 14'er, but if it is a really tight section of river, I use my 9's.

Also, it is best to get out a bit first, without the kids, especially if they are smaller, and get some practice, find your ability/ comfort level. Find some experienced boaters to run with, and work your way up ability wise. I'm definitely a big fan of swiftwater rescue courses and guide/ private boater schools, when you're first learning. I have heard there are some good options in the North West. So much they can teach you, about running whitewater, and being safe out there!

Welcome to mtn Buzz, and the most worthwhile sport ( obsession?) I know of!!
Happy to help ya out if you need advice with rafting stuff.

-Matt
 

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I would have to agree with Mattman. I have a set of 9' oars for tighter rivers but like the 10' in bigger water. Have fun and be safe.

Rick
 

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I read somewhere that 14' rafts usually have 9-10ft oars, was too ignorant to form an independent opinion, and split the difference with 9.5'.
 

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You can get 1' extensions for carslile oars. Add them to your 8.5 shafts, and cut 6" off the handle side of your 10' shaft and you will have a set of 9.5' oars, which is a good size for a 14' raft.

Take the money I just saved you and buy towers, locks and sleeves. Throw away the pins and clips. You will be better off learning to row without the pins and clips and without oar rights.

This will give you an acceptable setup to run for a season or two before you start thinking about tweaking your setup or upgrading from that udisco.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the great replies everyone! It sounds like the shafts may not work out for my boat, and that's ok. As Mike said I can get extensions, or I may just opt to buy new shafts. Great heads up from several people on cutting the handle end. I really appreciate that bit of wisdom!

Mikepart, I'd like to run oar locks, but the pins are absolutely stuck in my frame. I tried everything short of cutting them out and welding a new section in to get them out. With that, I will just stick with what I have for this year, and as long as my family is as into it as I expect I will have a good winter project next year.

Mattman, I would love to get into a SWR class or even a beginning rafting class. Can you point me in any general direction where I might find either of those in my area?

I will be running roadside class 2 and 3 stuff this year. All of it pretty mild, but I will definitely make a few runs without the kiddo with.

Thanks again!
 

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Misspellingintothefuture!
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I have been to several rescue 3 courses, and they did a really good job.
Can't remember the name of the Oregon company that Runs Private boater schools, maybe ask Rescue 3? Bet they could point you in a good direction.

There are plenty of opinions out there on pins and clips, versus open oar versus oar rights, and there are advantages and disadvantages to all three.

I have run pins and clips for 16 years, and been happy with them, and will probably stick with them, partly because I have jacked up wrists, and feathering is hard on the wrists. It's the setup I use in stuff I can barely squeeze an 11' boat through, as well as in the grand Canyon at 20,000 cfs, advantages, disadvantages, and personal preference, you will find many strong opinions on this topic.

Best of luck!
Matt Man
 

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I took a R3 SWR course at Wet Planet Whitewater in Husum, WA and it was a good one. They also offer a raft guide course that a friend of mine took and she liked it.
 

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I would agree with Mattman, as I ussualy do. Have some kind of oar right or pins and clips for no other sake than your wrists. It will be easier to learn to row. Latter on when you are just making some mild fishing run, open oar row it. There are moves you can make with open oars that are handy. But in serious whitewater have something to hold your oar in position. You will have plenty of other things to worry about than whether your oar is in the correct position. After this make up your own mind as to whether you like oar right or pins and clips. You will probably find that you like them for whitewater, most people do.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Quick update to this, I was able to score a pair of used Carlisle 9' shafts today for $40.00, so I will at least have 9' oars to start. I messaged PJ already, because he mentioned being interested in my 8.5's but for anyone else interested I am going to sell those.

I am still looking for some basic safety or beginning boater classes, if anyone else has any ideas or direction I would appreciate it.

Thanks again for everything!
 

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Contact Cascade Raft and Kayak in Horseshoe Bend and schedule a class or two. They will probably hook you up with Shane who will teach you rowing, reading the river, and safety. They'll do it along the main Payette which is like 45 minutes from Meridian. It cost me $120 4 years ago. I used my raft, their wetsuits, life jackets and splash gear for me and my three kids. I learned a lot and it gave me confidence to get out on the river with my family in the boat. I was confident enough to go by myself, I was just worried about flipping my kids and wife into the river. They also teach an R3 swift water rescue course over Memorial Day. I took that last year and highly recommend that too. Chad Long teaches it with the perspective of someone who's helped in several river rescues.


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Oar training

If you are looking for oar training of any kind in Oregon, I would contact Zachary Collier with Northwest Rafting Company. He does one of a kind adventures and is an avid local rower who I see compete in rowing contests locally. Wet planet is good, but I like them more for paddle rafting and kayaking.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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Rowed the 14' Udisco bucket boat as a cargo carrier for many years in the mid 70's. We used 10' oars and I would be reluctant to go shorter than that, but you are not going to load your boat like we did. 9.5 will probably work.
 
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