My favorite oars...
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I have a set of 11' and a set of 10' (with 1' extensions) Carlisles that I use with my hand built wood dory and I'm not embarrassed about it. They are my favorite oars and I highly recommend them.
There are some complaints that these oars are too flexy. I have not experienced this. According to Carlisle the longer oars "have reinforced inner shafts for extra-duty strength". In fact the fiberglass sawyer oars I own and fiberglass cataract oars I have used feel like noodles compared to my 10' and 11' Carlisles.
In a few thousand river miles I have damaged one Carlisle oar in a conflict with the Magnetic Rock on West Water. I was able to straighten that oar and continue using it for quite a while, however it's strength was compromised and it did eventually break. Not a total loss though; I was able to salvage the longer piece and make a 7' oar out of it!
All in all these are a lot more than just "the best bang for your buck", "value" oars. They are a high quality, whitewater worthy product. Unless you 'need' the look of real wood or are the kind of person that has to spend too much money to feel good about yourself Carlises are the best oars you can get.