We are happy selling these as a great step-up from an economy oar shaft (Carlisles). We've been selling the heck out of them all summer, and haven't had any complaints, esp. for the price. It's true the blades are interchangeable, and we've definitely seen the Sawyer blades holding up better than Cataracts. Check out what we have at Riverboat Works, Specializing in New and Used Rafts and Catarafts and Custom Built Frames
I was leery, largely based on your posts Mania, when I was looking at getting the Cataract blades in May. I needed a floating blade since my new posi-locker oarlocks let the blade dive to vertical, not good in shallow rocky rivers. Instead of trying some cobble-together solution to put a stop on the locks, or floats on the end of the oar, I dropped the cash and bought the Magnums. I beat the crap out of them this spring, hit lots of rocks and they've held up fine. Quite a few other catboaters I know use them, including on steep creeky technical Class V stuff. Perhaps they had some bad product runs in the past? Yes some do get shark bites, so they aren't without failure. But what isn't going to fail sometimes with the crap some people put these through, certainly not the typical whitewater user?ps. the cataract blades suck. see my previous rants. I actually have sawyer pro v blades on cataract shafts.
Cataracts can be ordered with a wooden handle. I purchased a set last summer.They are Sawyer's economic choice of their oars which means they are about the same in performance as the Cataract. They flex about the same, quality is similar, but they have a wood handle.
I am not sure what you mean by a "fishing blade". I ran a Razor up against the wall in Mule Creek on the Rogue and bent it severally. It snapped right back with no damage. They are one tough blade and very light.P.S. I was told this spring that the Razor's are not actually rated for whitewater, they're considered a fishing blade, FWIW.