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Hi guys,

I just picked up a NRS 14'2 with oar rig. I've guided paddle boats for 9 seasons but haven't used oars at all. Does anyone know of any good websites/books that I can read up on during the winter that talks about rowing information/instruction. The rivers in my part of Canuckistan tend to be shallow and technical. If you can offer up any rules of thumb or words of wisdom that would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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If you have 9 seasons of guiding under your belt you are way ahead of the curve. Learn how to turn the boat and row in a straight line, practice catching eddies - just like you probably make your rookies do. The big thing to learn is keeping your downstream oar shallow - otherwise it will catch rocks and bad things will happen. Also if you keep the hand working the downstream oar in front of your body it will prevent the oar from hitting a rock and then spearing you. Other notes - you will be more powerful pulling than pushing, so learn to row while pulling downstream - ie with your back facing downstream. For even more power use your legs while pulling.

One other thing that is different is upstream ferrying and pulling. When facing downstream it is easy to slow things down in a rapid by pulling upstream or making a move by using an upstream ferry. Of course the effectiveness of this depends on how much downstream momentum you have. If your boat is loaded to the gills with gear and/or people this is far less effective. And the more current pushing downstream the less effective it is as well. That said it can be useful in a lot of situations - just remember that you still need momentum and speed to punch large holes and waves.
 

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Thanks keep it coming. I've had the frame on a few times and have learned to watch my downstream oar. I'm still dialing in the frame position and oarlock positions. Where do people like the oar handles when rowing forward downstream? I'm finding my handles a bit high in the push position and it aggrevates some old kayaking shoulder injuries. if I push the blades out more the handles will be lower but i'll lose leverage. Any thoughts? The drops around here tend to be narrow and sticky, i'm concerned about shipping the oars to clear the drop but losing momentum into the reversal. Any tricks? or just build up speed early and hang on.
 

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For the high oar position - if possible lower your oar locks - most speed rail frames are easy to cut down. I recently cut 2" off my oar towers and I am much happier with the position. I like about 2 inches in between my handles to avoid smashing thumbs. Some people prefer to overlap their oars by 5-6 inches for the extra leverage.

For narrow drops - yeah, your kinda screwed.

I know several catarafters that at the top will get speed, then ship or just drop the oars and hold onto the frame ready to highside. A couple paddlers in the front help this a lot. So does extra weight so your momentum carries you through. Lightly loaded self bailers like to flip ;)
 

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You could search the archives on oar length, and oar position, lots of discussion of the past couple of years regarding what, where, and how. Good off-season talk.

I boat with commercials once in a while, and the approach to rapids is different. They go forward, and so they line up to run the rapid power forward. Even if that means side to side, they are still paddling mostly forward. With oars, it's a bit more like running the rapid side to side. Typically you'll line up before a rapid sideways, which allows you to move side to side easily until you choose the line, turn the boat and drop in. You'll also do your ferrying backwards most often. There were some technical rapids where I actually took a completely different line than the paddle boat, they lined up to power forward, and I'd sneak in to spin around and pull back. There's also a lot of angled upstream pulls during rapids to move the boat side to side while slowing it down.

This is the main reason paddle boats are slower, they run rapids power forward, and oar rigs run them power back/side.

Have fun!
 

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Hi guys,

I just picked up a NRS 14'2 with oar rig. I've guided paddle boats for 9 seasons but haven't used oars at all. Does anyone know of any good websites/books that I can read up on during the winter that talks about rowing information/instruction. The rivers in my part of Canuckistan tend to be shallow and technical. If you can offer up any rules of thumb or words of wisdom that would be appreciated. Thanks.
You'er shit#ing us right, you are going to use your new equipment to learn on and possibly brake up your oars or rip your boat. Always use someone else'es. Just kidding, I was just the opposite, rowed for years then had to guide a paddle boat cold turkey. It was not pretty. I was told the transition from paddle boat to oar rig is less difficult, than oar rig to paddle boat. Basically you row or float in flat water and maneuver to set-up in rapids with an oar boat. The best way is just to get your feet wet as often as you can.
 

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"The Complete Whitewater Rafter" by Jeff Bennett. It goes from simple beginner ideas to advanced techniques and rescue. It might be helpful. I think that with all the experience on a paddle boat, rowing will come natural and actually be easier for you.

good luck!
 
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