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Submitted: 01-18-2012 by BCTines

Review for: Bent shaft model, 230cm.
The below is based on about 65 hours of using the Kalliste, including 7 straight days on Lake Mead and the Colorado River.

Bent shaft: Definitely a help for my arthritis and a bone spur in my shoulder. The angle took a couple of days to get used to, but now it seems natural.

Carbon: Light, yes, and seems to provide a better feel for the water, but if you're trying to birdwatch or not scare wildlife, then carbon is too loud when you're sneaking through the puckerbrush. Every little twig that touches any part of the paddle, especially the blade, sounds like a loud fire popping. I found that entry into the water also was a bit noisier than FG.

Both carbon and bent shaft: Longest day so far is a little less than 10 hours and I felt more alert than with my straight shaft FG paddle over a same length of time in similar conditions. First day out with this paddle found us in 15-20 kt; breeze on the nose over an 8-mile fetch. That produced mixed feelings: The good was the lighter weight definitely saved energy. The not-as-good was that the paddle was buffeted by the gusts quite a bit, no matter what feather angle. My FG paddle doesn't to be as twitchy, but I'll take the energy saving any day in those conditions.
Side strokes (sculling especially) takes some adjustment, but then the quickness of the paddle helps as long as you don't rush it.

Quirks: Got to let this blade do its thing on most strokes. Rush it and you'll feel what seems like a flutter. Take it slow and deliberate, even at a fast pace. This is particularly true using a forward stroke that's all torso with very little elbow flex--a strong, power stroke. With that stroke sometimes I could also feel a bit of flexing in the shaft, might have been my imagination, though.

Feather adjustment: Needs refinement because
1) The button you push to release both halves or adjust feather is miniscule and very difficult to use in cold weather (20 degrees F.)
2) The indication lettering is already showing signs of rubbing off even though we are a Type A about cleaning it every day and my wife has made a paddle cozy to keep it from rattling around in the truck.
3) If you forget what angle you're at (assuming you even need to know by reading a number), you have to take the paddle almost fully apart to read the gauge. Seems like that is an invitation to losing an expensive stick. On the upside though, it does float well.

Recommend waxing the ferrule to make it easier to make feathering adjustments while in our boat in high winds. We use West Marine's Teflon Boat Wax which works well.

Blade size and shape: We're a medium angle paddler mostly, sometimes high, yet we like this blade for our longer days. The lighter swing weight helps us accelerate faster to cruise speed and keep a strong pace more comfortably.

Another advantage to the light weight is when using a "resting" cruising stroke (3 pulls, rest, 3 pulls, rest, etc.)it feels like you're actually getting more of a break because resuming the pull requires less energy.

Durability: Time will tell.

I'd like to see carbon paddle blades in a bright color if the technology allows. This would make the paddle easier to find when it goes missing. A bright blade would also help find a companion if they get too far away and would allow for decent paddle signals. Black doesn't cut it for either.

Pros: weight, shaft angle
Cons: Lettering, feather adjustment, noise, color.

Would I recommend the Kalliste to a friend:
Depends on their skill, dedication to paddling, and their wallet.

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