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Sawyer Square Top Oars, a Review

Or why my wife is divorcing me

“Top heavy, with a little waist and a perfectly sized blade. If this oar was a woman, you’d call it Barbie. And it might as well have been a woman like Barbie for all the envious looks the other guys on the river were giving me.”

Sawyer Sqare Top Oar with Dynelite Blade

What can I say – The moment I dipped the Sawyer Square Tops in the water and started pulling, a smile came to my face and hasn’t left…except when I think about having to return them to Clavey. Then deep dark depression sets in. Seriously, you can ask my wife. She was there and saw the transformation. She’s outside in the garage, over in the far corner where I set up a cot for her. The Square Tops haven’t left my side since that fateful day on the Rogue when the DyneLite blades quietly slipped into the water for the very first time. No sound, no effort, and oh the flex… It was close to the feeling of skiing the trees in deep powder for the first time on a pair of Lhasa POW’s. Sublime… Can’t explain.


It all started when I called Tom to tell him I was taking some time off to take the family for a six day five night float on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. He had a pair of Sawyer Square Top oars waiting to be picked up in Ashland and suggested that I do just that and maybe even try them out on the Rogue.

I was taught to row using oar rights. Sad I know, but hey, I didn’t know any better. A couple of times over the years I tried to jettison the training wheels but never quite managed. Eventually I settled for just shortening the length of the oar rights so I didn’t have to pull in so far to feather.

Well that Saturday on the drive up to Ashland to pick up the Square Tops which were being held for me by the good folks at Indigo Creek Outfitters, I decided I would once again attempt to break away from the confinement of oar rights. Turns out the timing was right.


Virgin Sawyer Square Top Oar’s – Beautiful!

These oars are beautiful to look at and built just right with plenty up top to provide an excellent counter-balance. Underneath the rope wrap the carbon fiber begins, continuing all the way through to the tips, giving these babies the flex of wood with lightweight and strength of carbon fiber. And with the oversized top and DyneLite blade, Sawyer’s created a swing weight you won’t believe. Not to mention the rebound. Oh the rebound! You could pick her up and dance all night. All that and still tough enough to stand up to my abuse. What more could you ask for in an oar.


You’ll never guess what I’m smiling about

Anyway where was I. Of yeah. I ended up rowing the entire six days without oar rights. Rowing free and feathering all the while without the encumbrance of training wheels. Feeling every stroke and rebound. Rebound, did I mention rebound? Oh the rebound! It was like I had just awakened from dancing all these years with lead boots and chicken wings.

Really, the lightness of touch these oars require made it possible for me to make that next step. Only problem now is my wife thinks I love the Square Tops more than her. Something about the temporary sleeping arrangements ’til I have to return my precious oars back to Clavey. Ridiculous I say!


Last morning on the Rogue with my precious Square Top’s.

Rigged to row lunch on the South Fork American


Top: Cataract Oar with Magnum Oar Blade.
Bottom: Sawyer Square Top Oar with DyneLite Oar Blade.



End-note: After buying Sawyer Lights for my 13’ cat and enjoying the return to wood oars so much (see review here), I had been considering replacing my Cataract oars, with a set of Sawyer Smokers for my raft. Not anymore. Besides how much I enjoyed rowing the Square Tops, there is this: The 9.5ft. oars I used on the Rogue weighed a slight 7 pounds each! Combined with the light swing weight, both my wife and 11 year old daughter found these oars as much a pleasure to row as I did.

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