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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok all. I'm am looking at possible autumnal improvements to my rig and it looks to be something with the sticks. I have an old 14' NRS raft and I'm currently rocking super old 9' Carlisle plastic coated shafts with floating cataract blades. I can only afford one or the other so I am wondering where you think the most bang for my buck will be. I noticed on a recent middle fork trip that I was pulling really hard to move my rig compared to others with different oars. Would I notice the blades more? I don't really notice any flex in my shafts but would longer be better? Lemme know what you think.
 

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I'd definitely go with no shafts personally. While the plastic floating cataract blades may not be the best ones out there they are still pretty good. Upgrading the shafts would get you much lighter weight and some flex to help with rowing efficiency. You can also get the counterbalanced oars so it takes less effort to lift the blades out of the water. At least for me its a easy choice on that one.

As for your rowing effort compared to your buddies....there are many factors to consider on that one. Your oars could make a big difference, but size of boat, how its loaded, how your oars are mounted and lots of other stuff can effect rowing effort. Maybe see if you can borrow or rent a nicer set of oars to see if it makes a difference. Find a nice friend and see if they'll swap for a few hours during a trip maybe? Unfortunately you aren't going to know till you try.
 

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I have a set of 9.5's and 10's for my 14 ft Tributary. I can hardly tell any difference between them, and usually run my (old,used) 10s to preserve the new 9.5s.

All 4 oars are Carlisles blade and shaft. In crazy winds I have outrowed plenty of people with cataract and sawyer oars using carlisles. The only people I ever hear complaining about Carlisles are old and fat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm pulling but not getting as much movement. I'm looking for more power per pull and wondering if longer shafts or bigger blades are the answer.
Thanks
 

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I definitely wonder if it's a boat width or boat weight issue, instead of your oars. If you're rocking the E series like I do, you will be rowing harder than folks with a narrower boat( but flipping less in the big stuff, they are great boats!!)

Longer shafts and or bigger blades, will give you more power per stroke, but will also require more power per stroke, and longer oars will mean each stroke takes longer, which will be bad in small technical rivers. Can be a good length for big rivers like cat though, lots of flat water, and the rapids are all about the set up.

I usually run 10' with 9' spares, with extensions. Got to run the Rogue last week for the first time, and was glad I could switch to the 9' oars for Mule Creek Canyon, the tens were a bit much on that river. Really would not have minded something smaller then my 8" blades to.
Great to have options sometimes.
To go with a bigger blade, you would probly have to go back to Carlisles, which have the annoying problem of catching on your leashes if you pull them in all the way.
If you do want to upgrade, spend it on shafts, and keep the 9' as spares, but those Carlisles are probly fine, mine have seen me through a lot.
 

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Hey by the way,
That's a really cool river you guy's have up there! Not like anything I've seen before. was lucky enough to have some really awesome new friends from Eugene and Portland to show me down it. Kind of sounds like you're at the beach by some of those rapids, river, pounding Its way through ocean floor bedrock. Really cool stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did I mention my blades are 6.5? I'm floating the Rogue next weekend and a buddy is letting me try his 8" blades. My foam ones are great because they float but I think they are the problem.
The Rogue is amazing! How were the bears?
 

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Bears were awesome! We saw one across from lower solitude, but never came into our camp. Ranger said it has been a good Bear season, which is surprising with the dry summer. Coffee pot was just an eddy, we ran it at 1500 or so. Will have to try to get down there when it is rowdy er, they say that's as friendly as it gets.
 

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I'm pulling but not getting as much movement. I'm looking for more power per pull and wondering if longer shafts or bigger blades are the answer.
Thanks
I started out with 9' oars on my 14x22 cat and after the first trip out realized I needed 9.5" and that did the trick!! I am running Sawyer DyneLite blades the 6". I originally was going to go with the 7" however that would have been more water that I was pulling/pushing with each stroke so for my size and strength I stuck with the 6" and they are rowing like a dream :D Do you have a friend that you could borrow some 9.5 oars from to try it out before committing to the purchase? Good Luck finding just the right fit!! Kindly, Renee
 

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One item to note is that Carlisle oar shafts are really easy to counter balance using accurately measured lead shot (poured & capped) up inside each shaft. This helped my stroke/power considerably. PM me if you need some guidance on how to accomplish. I've wanted to make time for a nice write-up but just haven't had the time yet.

Sent from my SM-G900P using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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If you are going to upgrade one or the other I would go to Cataract shafts. The main difference I find is the flex is a lot easier on your body after many miles. Don't expect to go faster with new oars.

Are you running open oar locks (shouldn't have to pull your floaty blades out of the water if so)? Rowing with your core not your arms? Barring some weird set up, it really comes down to you. Forgive me if I'm incorrect but I'm guessing time on the water will help more than $ spent on gear.

Find some crusty old river guide to follow, there are a million little things that make for less effort getting a boat downstream that really add up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
8's are where it is at! Using those blades on the Rogue made all the difference. The old raft was super responsive and spun like a dream. Looks like my sock drawer money is going to some new blades.
 

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If you can afford it go with the dynalite wides. Much lighter and they seem to enter and leave the water much more smoothly. I love mine.
 

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Did I mention my blades are 6.5? I'm floating the Rogue next weekend and a buddy is letting me try his 8" blades. My foam ones are great because they float but I think they are the problem.
The Rogue is amazing! How were the bears?
I bet you'll notice a difference with the wider blades. One big difference you'll notice is how much easier they enter the water. Personally I can't stand the floating blades. It was like I couldn't feel the water with them. Although it seems everyone likes whatever they get used to.

Last year I went from Carlisle 8" to Duramax blades. I prefer the security of the Sawyer system but the Duramax blades do have a smaller overall surface area and I can tell a differnce in rowing effort. I wish I could get the surface area of the 8" Carlisles with the srew lock system.

Anyway, get a larger blade and you'll notice more reward for your effort.
 

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I like the big bite of an 8" blade. I also carry a couple of those 1' oar extensions for pushing into a headwind. They make a huge difference for that but I wouldn't want the length all the time.
 
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