As we readied the raft, I slid the new oars into the oar locks and waited for the skies to open up and angels to sing.......hmmm nothing. I guess Zac was just trying to sell some oars. They were lighter than the polecats and the blades did float in the water better, but it wasn't looking like they were going to ferry my raft down the river like the chariot of the gods. All rods reels and bags in the boat for the day, we shoved off. Our first destination was directly across the river from the launch. I grabbed the handles of the oars and dug in. After about five or six strokes with my new square-tops I was half way across the river and I could faintly hear a lofty song floating on the breeze coming down from the upper Queets valley. With the shoal cut blades, I could feel the oars bite into the water. I didn't have to burry the blade into the current to get a strong connection. Instead, with just a few inches of blade in the water I can getting more purchase than I did with my old DuraMax blade. The shafts of the V-Lams have what Sawyer calls a X-Weeve reinforced douglas fir shaft. The shafts flexed with each stroke and returned the energy I put into them back into the water. By the time I got to the other side of the river, I could tell these oars were going to save my arms and back a lot of abuse over the next several hours. I climbed out of the boat, grabbed my spey rod, and headed up to the top of the run. By this time that soft lofty song was joined by several other voices and they were warming up for a show.
As the day progressed, I worked the oars through their paces. I found myself saying to Ian more than once that these are some amazing oars. Even after Ian lost a nice native hen, I looked at him and said, "damn these are nice oars." (Truth) The shoal cut blades gave me plenty of purchase to maneuver through shallow riffles. The counterbalancing in the oars kept me from getting tired after a long day of rowing. These oars were a huge improvement over the Polecats.