Carbon Kayak Paddle

What would people recommend for a high-end carbon fiber kayak paddle? I know a lot of people like the Kalliste, made by Werner. Any other options?

Also, what is the benefit of a bent shaft?

The bent shaft is supposed to reduce wrist stress by keeping the wrist in a more neutral position when gripping the shaft.

Some folks love them. Others don’t like feeling restricted to a single position on the shaft.

I havn’t spent enough time with one to have a useful opinion. I do think that learning to paddle with good form and a loose grip is the best thing you can do for your wrists regardless of what paddle you use.

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Bent shafts
In my case, I use a bent shaft Euro due to multiple old wrist injuries, and found the bent shaft helped prevent wrist pain. Also, using a GP does not cause wrist pain for me.

Bent shafts vary from one maker to the next - I use an AT carbon bent shaft. I found I preferred the geometry over the Werner bent shaft, others prefer Werner. I also like the lower area of the standard AT blade, and prefer the shape too.

High or Low
You’ll have to figure out if you want high angle or low angle. Take the paddle fit quiz thing on werners website.

Swift Paddles
Swift paddles, by Eddyline, are another high quality carbon fiber paddle to consider:

The Mid-Swift is roughly equivalent to the Kalliste or Camano in size/shape. Straight shafts only, though.

The Kalliste and all the top-of-the-line Werner paddles have foam-core blades without a central rib, which reduces drag. They are much slicker in the water. The difference between a Kalliste and a full carbon Camano, which is the equivalent of the Kalliste, but with the rib, is tremendous.

Or an epic
If you have to ask it probably doesn’t matter

Also, do as Jesse said above
and take the Werner paddle fit quiz on their website. You don’t want to get a paddle that is too long or too short, especially when you’re sinking that kind of money into it.

I have learned from experience that Werner’s advice on paddle length is very good. Trust them.

Epic Relaxed Tour Full carbon with
Burgundy shaft is my preferred paddle. Less effort for me and easier on the joints than my Kalliste or Camano or Onno Full Tour or Mid Tour or AT paddles.

I like Carldelo, prefer the AT all
carbon, bent shaft. For me, and my style of strokes, it’s a much quieter paddle than some others. I have a variety of name brand paddles, including an AT fiberglass one. The AT line, 200-230CM depending on which boat I paddle, has been my favorite for years.

A paddle, like a boat can be on your list of “try it before you buy it”.

If you’re out on the water with friends, ask to try theirs. Most folks will share with you.

Windswift too
I have tried the mid size Swift and the small Wind Swift. Both are excellent, but the Wind Swift is super easy to pull. It has one of the smallest blades among the popular brands.

Kalliste vs Camano
I prefer the all-carbon Kalliste, but if money is an object I think the Camano with carbon shaft and fiberglass blades is a more than decent paddle.

Try an old non-wing Olympic paddle
These were beautiful paddles that use to cost under $200 brand new. They are great for duplicating all the fancy single blade canoe strokes with your kayak. You can probably find used all carbon ones in 214 through 222 lengths?

Novorca padddle

– Last Updated: Aug-24-13 7:33 PM EST –

The Novorca Greenland and Aleutian carbon paddles are pricy and superb. I've used the Greenland paddle and presently own an Aleutian paddle. Bought the Aleutian paddle "used" to partially offset the price, which can top a carbon bent shaft Werner paddle. I had and sold a Warner bent shaft Kalliste- like the Novorca Aleutian better.


choosing a paddle
I have tried both bent shaft and straight shaft paddles from various manufacturers. My general conclusion is that for sea kayaking a straight shaft is preferable. There is a big advantage to being able to shift your position on the shaft in the sea kayaking environment. But for WW I use a bent shaft. It is a small advantage and maybe not worth worrying about. That being said, Werner makes great paddles. Patrick at Onno makes even better ones but I am not sure he can deliver one in reasonable time right now. Check with him at Lendal paddles in the US are now available. I have one of the new ones and they are great. Contact Rutabaga in Wisconsin. There are others but you cannot go wrong with Werner, Onno, or Lendal.

I have both the Kalliste and AT in 220 cm bent shaft. The Kalliste is clearly quieter, though the AT is also quiet. I also have the Novorca GP which is totally quiet. All are great paddles and I don’t really have a strong preference and regularly use all.

Foam core paddles
Foam core. Werner Cyprus and / or Ikelos. High or medium high angle. The same except for blade size. Have both, prefer the Ikelos.

Foam core seems to push the paddle from the end of one stroke into the beginning of the next stroke. Hard to notice till you use it for a while and then switch to a non-foam core paddle.

you can demo
paddles like you can demo kayaks.

Start w. the Werner fit list.

Armed w. that info, demo Werners and ATs (mainly as they’re more widespread and easier to find) at the next demo day. Depending on your area these may be winding down. Use your kayak, their paddles - obviously. In Michigan for example paddles can be demo’d at Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte, Summit Sports in Brighton/Lansing/Keego Harbor, and possibly Lee’s Adventure Sports in Kalamazoo. Do some calling and find out for your area.

Get with some paddle clubs/groups in your area. There may be some members w. the less easily found brands (Onno, Novorca, Swift. Lendal old versions, Lendal new versions). Epic should be moderately easy to find, less so that Werner, more so than Swift.

a full carbon paddle is a big $ investment and also an object of highly personal preference (even more so than a kayak). Can be hard to try before you buy, do it if you can. Also if buying online check return policies.

The most common mistakes:

(a) getting a paddle which is too long

(b) getting a paddle blade which is too big. Bigger is

not always better, even in America. A paddle needs

to mate up w. your musculature, fitness level to

drive it, width of kayak, your stroke angle, and

a few other anthropometric factors like arm length

and torso height. Also it must match the kind of

kayaking YOU like to do.

© decide if you like the kinds of 2 piece paddles

which are secured w. a one button release vs. those

that are secured w. a kind of ‘collar’ which is

tightened down usually w. a small allen wrench.

(d) I attended a memorable session in which Danny

Mongno, who is now Eastern sales mgr w. Werner and

has been with them a long time, told our small

group very candidly that if a paddler had NO joint

or ligament issues in hand, wrist, etc. that a

bent shaft was unnecessary, just added weight and

cost (they cost more to make). He did say, with

a cautionary adviso, that there may be some

benefit to those w. those issues.

Obviously some do feel relief, and some simply prefer bent shafts for what they feel are superior ergonomics - for them. You can’t go by that. You have to evaluate your own physicality and see for yourself if a bent shaft is for you. Be aware too that diff. manufacturers make different degrees of “bent” with different placements along the ferrule (shaft).

yeah, it’s fun isn’t it. Buying a drysuit is a lot easier in comparison.

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– Last Updated: Aug-28-13 11:48 AM EST –

I completely agree with jesse59 and The_GCW.

Determine if you are a high angle paddler and take Werner's sizing chart test.

I have used the Werner Cyprus for about 7 years or so and have two iterations of it. Recently (about 2 months ago) I stepped up to the Werner Ikelos. It is a more aggressive paddle but clearly, in my case, propels the boat more substantially than the Cyprus.

It is light weight, buoyant, strong and comfortable to control all day long.

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good advice
from ravenwing. Paddling with a straight shaft seems to cure the wrist problem, or at least it worked for my wife, also the bent shaft adds weight.