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How to Adjust Raft Oars and Oar Mounts

Setting up your raft frame for strong and comfortable rowing will greatly improve your confidence and enjoyment on the river. In this video, the NRS experts show you how to adjust the oars and oar mounts on your NRS raft frame to ensure powerful strokes and a comfortable position when rowing.

The oars are the propulsion system for your raft or cataraft; taking time for proper setup will pay great dividends. It’s important to start with a good oar length. When buying oar shafts with removable blades the shaft length is given as though the blade is attached.

Oar length is somewhat personal preference. One person’s “this is perfect” can be another person’s “how do you row this thing?” That being said, a good rule-of-thumb for oar length is to have roughly one-third of the oar inboard of the oar mount and two-third outboard of the mount. This is true whether you’re rowing with open oarlocks or pins and clips.

The best power position when taking a stroke is with the oar handles at about shoulder height. With the inflated and framed boat sitting on the ground you can simulate a good rowing stroke by taking the blades off the oars. Then, with the shaft ends skimming the ground you can adjust the oars for that good rowing position.

With the oars in the horizontal resting position you’ll want about four inches between the handles. Move the Molded Oar Sleeve, oar stopper or oar clip to adjust that distance. You can also tilt the NRS Oar Mounts slightly out or in as part of the adjustment process.

If you’re really worried about getting the right oar length, see about borrowing oars from a friend(s) and giving them a test drive. Or you can rent a set; university outdoor programs are often a good source.