I’m going to start off by telling you I am extremely biased in my opinion regarding pins and clips and standard oarlocks.
I’ve been rowing drift boats and rafts since I was 12 years old and I’ve always used standard oarlocks. However, since I’m reviewing each method, I’ll be as balanced as possible (pins and clips are for wussies).
Advantages of Standard Oarlocks
1. The oar isn’t locked into one position. Some people would deem this a disadvantage, but it’s better to have your oar free. You need to be able to move your oar around in the oarlock.
There are countless times rowing that you need to pull your oar in to avoid hitting the bank or some other obstacle. The standard oarlock allows the free movement of the oar, it’s easy to pull them out of harms way.
It’s also a lot easier to tuck your oars forward or back when you need to, like when you’re slipping through a tight slot. Hell, I’ve even had instances where I’ve had to pull the oar free of the oarlock altogether to keep it from snapping. This is impossible to do quickly with pins and clips.
2. Feathering the Oar. Some oars-people consider this showing off, but whenever I’m pushing a raft down river with standard oarlocks I always feather the oar so the blade is horizontal to the water as soon as I’ve pulled it from the water and am pulling it back to the top of the forward push.
I do this to help the blade cut through any wind resistance. It’s become a habit for me and I do it even when there isn’t any wind.
With pins and clips the oar is locked in place and can’t be feathered. It’s quite noticeable when a brisk wind comes up. Continue reading Pins and Clips vs. Standard Oarlocks