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The cons are very small. It's true that the lettering for the angles rubs off over time and yes, the ferrule button is small and very recessed. I barely notice these inconveniences compared to the delite of this light, stiff paddle.
I would strongly recommend this paddle to anyone who has any problems with their wrists. It is fantastic
I have to admit at first I was hesitant to spend $360 for a set of paddles which cost 2/3 the amount I spend on my inflatable kayaks but what a difference quality paddles make. They are so light and at the end of the day after several hours of constant paddling my shoulders were not sore and did not ache that evening.
I'm convinced that quality-made paddles are necessary for a good adventure kayaking and does make a world of difference. It was just amazing how I am able to pick up speed with each stroke and how strong my paddling becomes and how well my kayak responds to each stroke. Plus, it's very quiet and no splashes. My boat was not wet from water effected by each stroke as the paddle hits and moves in the water.
I rate this product a strong '10'.
The Kalliste's light weight and the ability to continually adjust my hand position means less fatigue and more enjoyment. One of the nicest features is the indexed, adjustable ferrule, which is extremely easy to adjust on the fly with very little hand strength required compared to my older Werner Little Dipper with the thumb-button spring set-up. The carbon blade has proven to be very durable; despite some rather extreme use poling through pack ice and shoving off offshore rock faces, it shows very little sign of wear and absolutely no de-lamination.
Probably the best piece of paddling equipment (other than my Feathercraft boat) that I have invested in. The price is a bit steep, but you won't regret the price when you're paddling along with good energy and little hand fatigue for hours on end.
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.
It is incredibly light weight and the finish is beautiful. It took me no time to adjust to the bent shaft (my old paddle was a standard shaft Swift paddle which is also a good paddle) and I after a week of frequent paddling, I have not had any issues with the soreness / numbness in my hand or forearm.
I did notice a bit of flutter when I first began using the paddle but that has vanished after I became accustomed with the paddle. It certainly is expensive, but I think you get what you pay for and this is one great paddle that I see lasted me for many years to come.
I upgraded from a Werner Mid Tour fiberglass paddle. The first time I used the Kaliste, I wasn't so sure that the money I spent for the thing was worth it. The blade did not feel like it got as much "bite" as the Mid Tour and the bent shaft felt somewhat awkward at fist. By the second or third time out and putting in 10-15 miles on each outing, I was aware of diminished wrist and shoulder fatigue with no decrease in performance. I can now say without reserve that the paddle was worth every penny and I would never go back to my old paddle.
I paddle with this paddle all day long with no fatigue and no pain. I have the two piece paddle and I love the way it goes together and comes apart, with numerous feathering positions. It is so slick words just don't do it justice. I do not consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but in my limited experience, I would highly recommend this paddle.
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