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    Hey Zach,

    We ran the Rogue in late October and had an incident I want to run by the community. I have a friend who is a class 3 boater in a 12′ oar rig that was empty so they could work on river skills. I took a tougher line in a smallish rapid in the day 2 section and 2 boats followed me and he was one of them. I made it through but the 2nd boat pinned and he hit them head on and flipped backwards. The interesting and very frightening part is that his upstream oar popped out and the leash wrapped around his ankle. He was now tied to his pinned boat underneath by his ankle and could just barely keep his head above the water. Super scary! He did not have a knife but the other folks on the 2nd boat were able to give him their knife and he was able to cut himself free. What I want to discuss is the oar leash and its length. He was using 1/4″ line roughly 3′ long to tie his oar to the tower. I definitely believe in oar leashes but this got me rethinking how I set them up. Do you use something with plastic buckles that can break away? If so then if the buckle breaks when it is just the oar then they are pretty crappy leashes. I’m thinking the string is best but I now tie them as short as possible in the hopes that there isn’t enough line to wrap around an appendage. What do you think about this and just wanted to share a first hand account of a safety issue.


    Thanks for sharing this as a reminder of the potential dangers of oar leashes.

    When I use oar leashes I use whatever rope/webbing I have available. Most of my frames have 1/2″ tubular webbing but I’ve used a wide variety of short ropes. I’m not sure what specific plastic buckle will hold most of the time and break when wrapped around a leg.

    I personally find oar leashes uncivilized. This is one of the reasons I prefer pins and clips as they don’t require me to tie my oar to the frame.

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