Oar Shafts

Space-tech composite oars for big whitewater.

Navigating rivers. We’ve been doing it for millennia. But not like this. By virtue of their constituent materials and our filament winding process, Cataract Oars oar shafts possess unprecedented strength-to-weight, tenacity and durability. Our ancestors would have killed to get their hands on these oars. Literally. And now, in the early twenty-first century, you can get your paws on a pair of Cataract Oars for a measly few hundred bucks (see our price list). We think that everyone should feel the magic of continuous carbon and fiberglass filaments harnessed in an epoxy matrix for insane structural and mechanical performance. Once you experience a pair of Cataract Oars, you can’t imagine life without them. You wonder how you ever got down a river with inferior oars. You are reborn. You wince, cringe and possibly whimper at the thought of wood oars, aluminum oars or any other type of oar—all of which seem positively primitive in the afterglow of a Cataract Oars SGG, SGX or X-Wound oar. But hey, let’s take a tour to better understand how such phenomenal oars come about.

Advanced Composites Inc.: a composites manufacturing powerhouse.

Cataract Oars is the whitewater and drift boating oars brand of Advanced Composites, Inc., a maker of high-performance carbon and fiberglass products, predominantly for aerospace, defense and biomedical applications. But we do make a lot of oars, too. We think we’re pretty good at it, and our customers agree with us. Which is what counts.

Some history of Cataract Oars and Advanced Composites Inc.

Advanced Composites developed and began manufacturing oars in 1983. Two years later, in 1985, ACI founded the Cataract Oars brand. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Cataract Oars is the oar brand most trusted by professional river guides, recreational whitewater enthusiasts, anglers and casual adventurers worldwide.

The best oars contain the best materials.

It starts with industrial epoxy resins and spools of fiberglass and carbon filament, which we source from US manufacturers (it’s good for the American economy and for the environment). These raw materials are the same that we use in our ultra high-tolerance aerospace and defense contracts. Think torpedo tubes. Nuclear submarine driveshafts. Specialty components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Knee joints. In other words, these materials are tops. Premium. The pinnacle of modern material science. Totally sweet. You get the idea.

Assembling Products: Oars SGG, SGX, X-Wound, or Mini Magnum oar.

Blade, shaft and handle come together and another oar is ready for the river. A finished Cataract Oar is a thing of beauty—we don’t mind saying so ourselves. Useful, tough, simple. Nothing superfluous. Shockingly lightweight and strong. Ready for the meanest whitewater, the biggest rapids…we could go on. And probably will. But on a different page.

Drift boats open up a whole new fishing world. Where others are limited to those parts of the river that they can drive or hike to, you, the drift boat fisher person, can row to your special remote fishing spot. Provided you’ve got a good drift boat and a solid pair of oars, that is. You want a set of oars that will withstand the toughest strains and last for years and years. Not only that, but you want oars that flex in just the right way to allow you to get the most out of each stroke. That way, you arrive at your prime fishing hole with plenty of energy to reel in that big one!

Cataract Oars and drift boats are made for one another.

Cataract Oars SGG, SGX and X-Wound oars are the oars of choice for fly fishermen and women who love to fish from drift boats. Whether you’re rowing a Hyde drift boatClackacraft drift boatRiverWolf drift boat, or any other make of drift boat, you’ll appreciate the solid performance of Cataract Oars.

You can’t go wrong with any of our oars when choosing the right setup for your drift boat. Our SGG oarsSGX oars and X-Wound oars all work beautifully to drive your rig through the water. If you like a bit more flex, our SGG and X-Wound oars a good bet. If you like to row a stiffer oar, or if your drift boat is on the larger side our SGX oar is the ticket.

You should never outfit your drift boat without some serious thought and investigation into proper oar length, weight, and mounting. You’ll want a pair of oars that work with your physique. Perhaps more importantly, however, you’ll need to match them to the beam with of your drift boat. After all, your drift boat investment should bring years of rowing pleasure, not frustration, and doing your research ahead of time will get you started right.

Are you going to be fishing placid waters or rough? Will you need to navigate whitewater rapids to reach your destination? If so, you may, for example, want our SGX oar shaft paired with our Magnum II blade. Are you taking a light drift boat through mellow waters? You may find our Razor oar blade works wonders with its thinner profile.

Another choice when purchasing oars for your drift boat: should choose your Cataract Oars with or without the counterbalance option? Counterbalanced oars are a matter of preference; some fly fishers wouldn’t row without the counterbalance, while other rowers prefer the natural weight of the oar. If you are unsure, you can always opt for our H2O counterbalance system, which provides you with interchangable oar handles: one set counterbalanced and one set regular. Likewise, you can try our removable counterbalance oar sleeves, shown below.