Home Forums General Rafting Questions Oar Length Advice...Mini Max

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    So… I have a Mini Max with a welded frame and am feeling ‘over-oared’ when I row.

    -Oar towers (welded/fixed position) are 8″ tall
    -Oarlock span is 54″
    -Running 8′ Cataract SGG’s with their Magnum II blades.
    -Running the NRS low-back seat on a seat bracket, so I’m sitting ~3″ up from the frame
    -When the stops are set up to give me ~2″ of space between the handles (26″/oar) with the oars perpendicular to the waterline, 73+% of the oar length is outside of the oarlock
    -I’m a pretty small guy (5’7″ & 145lbs) and most of that weight is in my legs… think runner/cyclist physique
    -The seat position relative to the oar locks feels great, though I do feel like the handles could be up a little higher (~2-3″) to put me in the ‘push up’ position when the blades are in the water. The frame setup requires me to run the seat, so that’s always part of the equation.

    My oars have felt unwieldily from the start… it’s bumming me out. It seems that I either have too much oar outside of the oarlock relative to its overall length and/or the blades catch too much water. Further, feels like the oars and are too heavy out of the water and I have suboptimal leverage on them once in the water… it’s killing my joints. This experience is in stark contrast to the setup on my 13′ raft where I’m running a 60″ wide NRS frame, 8″ NRS towers, and 9′ oars (SGG’s with Magnum II blades).

    My thought is to trim 6″ off of each oar in hopes of giving me a little more control/leverage relative to the oar’s length and to steepen the angle with the waterline to help bring the handles up a bit. When I calc out oar length with the NRS formula (54″/2)-2″)*3 I get tiny F’ing 6.3′ oars. In applying Zach C’s formula (54″ *1.63) I get 7.3′ oars. So, while I understand oar length can be somewhat subjective/preferential, 8′ oars seem (and feel) too long.

    Does it seem reasonable to trim a little length and/or entertain the potential of smaller/lighter blades? Which would be more effective in solving my issue?


    Here are some thoughts:
    – I think my oar lock formula may break down for really small and really big boats.
    – I have that same boat and the distance between my oar locks is 60″ and the formula gives 8.15 feet and we use 8 foot oars. They work fine.
    – Rowing these small boats always seems a little awkward to me compared to normal (13-18′) rafts.
    – I think part of the problem is that your frame is a bit narrow for that boat.
    – I also personally find cataract oars a bit awkward so you may like Sawyer oars more.

    My best advice:
    – Get the oars a bit shorter – closer to 7’3″ would probably help so they balance better.
    – Try to have the oar handles touch or even overlap so the percentage of oar outside the lock decreases.
    – I’ve never tried smaller blades to solve problems like this but I’ve talked to people who have and it seems to work.

    Good luck!


    Thanks, I appreciate the help!



    Sawyer also make a “Stubby” oar blade that can shorten overall oar length. That may be a good option to reduce the length and blade surface area with out cutting the shaft.



    Per your response, can I ask which oar towers you’re running on your Mini Max and how tall it is?



    I’m using the Wefelt Frame you can learn more about here https://hyside.com/product/welfelt-frame/

    Unfortunately I won’t be near it for a few months to get measurements but maybe you can contact Wefelt directly for more info.

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