Does the Werner Kalliste flutter?

Kind of want to try one, but VERY hesitant after reading this:

The review of the Kalliste states “This paddle offers a sturdy catch but the foam core in the blades makes it relatively unstable throughout the stroke with noticeable flutter.”

I haven’t tried a Kalliste but my wife and I have used Werner’s Cyprus models for about 5 years. They have the same foam core in the blades as the Kalliste and we’ve never noticed any instabilty or chronic flutter. I think all paddles take a little getting used to. Maybe kayakdave should have spent a little longer time with the paddle to accommodate his forward stroke to it?

You can get just about any kayak paddle to flutter. A Greenland paddle is a good example. Hand one to anyone who hasn’t used one, and they will most likely experience some flutter until they tune into getting the best performance out of it. Should you write off the paddle just like that? No, there’s far too much evidence to suggest against it. Far too many people end up loving their Greenland paddles.
I think there should be distinctions between two different kinds of reviews in the paddling world. One for outfitters/rental companies and their associated use by occasional, less dedicated paddlers. And one for paddling enthusiasts.
Outfitters are very good at determining what works best for non-paddlers. They will often have different ideas about what they personally use versus what they hand out day after day. Or, it may be just a job for them, where they really don’t distinguish between the two. In any case, recommending paddles may depend a lot on the audience.
“The foam core makes it unstable with noticable flutter” for the reviewer. I think foam cores reduce swing weight, which is good. The blades are effectively weightless when you start to lift one from the water. The other thing they usually do is this. If you look at the blade face of a paddle and describe it as dihedral, often if you looked at the back face, and imagined using the back face, you could describe it as anhedral. It’s simply a case of the blade being convex edge to edge looking at the front face, and concave edge to edge looking at the back face. With this type of paddle, when slicing through the water, the paddle will want to twist, simply following the shape of the blade. While this can be controlled, I find sculling and maneuvering nicest where a paddle doesn’t have a twisting tendency. A foam core typically smooths out and changes the back face to being convex also, and eliminates this twisting tendency. That’s a good thing.
I think flutter became this wierd dirty word based on non-enthusiast type use to the point where it would seem if you got a paddle to flutter, you could just throw that junk in the garbage. I can get every paddle I have to flutter. Yet I very rarely experience instances of paddle flutter when I’m paddling. And it’s gone as quickly as I notice it.
I wouldn’t say the reviewer is wrong. I’d just say I wouldn’t be surprised at coming to a different conclusion in my own use. Try for yourself and see where you end up.
One last thing. You should never, ever…never, never, ever control flutter by gripping the paddle and trying to hold on tight to steady it. I have actually found that this is one of the easiest ways for me to intentionally induce flutter in a paddle. Whatever you do, it is done with very loose grip. Think hooked fingers versus grip.


Agree with all that CapeFear has said - flutter is a dynamic fluid phenomenon based on blade shape, orientation and relative speed through the water. Any paddle can be made to flutter, although some will be more prone to it than others.

I think experienced paddlers tend to automatically adjust to a paddle while using it, modifying their stroke until fluttering doesn’t happen. Trying to power through a flutter will just make it worse, modifying blade orientation and stroke path is generally needed.

Thanks. I actually use a Cyprus now, and it’s great. I was just looking to change things up, so I thought I’d give a low-angle paddle a try. However, I don’t really paddle low angle. It’s more of a medium to medium-high stroke. The thing that makes me nervous about the Kalliste is that I’ve seen flutter mentioned in several different places. Also, this Kayak Dave guy reviewed the Cyprus, and said it was great, so if it really were his technique, wouldn’t the Cyprus flutter, too? He mentioned he thinks it’s not so much the foam core on the Kalliste, but the foam core combined with the long, narrow blades that causes the issue.

It’s such a pain because there’s nowhere to really try these paddles before buying. I think if I go with a lower-angle paddle, I might miss some of the power of the Cyprus. I do kind of think that the Cyprus is one of the best all around paddles out there, so maybe I should just stick with what I have.

Someone coming from a large area, high-angle blade will tend to overpower a lower area, narrow low-angle blade, causing flutter. Backing off the force of application will stop it, as will canting the blade slightly. Canting the blade is a GP and wing paddle technique that can be applied to any paddle - I believe it shifts and stabilizes the flow separation line on the paddle face.

I agree that the foam core is not the issue - I have a narrow, very light foam core AT crankshaft paddle that does not flutter in normal use. When canting the blade, I can put a lot of force on the paddle and really move, and it still does not flutter.

In addition to what @CapeFear and @carldelo said, when I had a GP made last year I certainly experienced flutter with it, probably because I was overpowering the blade after being used to high angle paddling the Cyprus. It took me a couple of outings to get used to it.

Now, I can switch between the two paddles, and two styles of paddling, without thinking.

I had both paddles… Both very good paddles…
I still have my crank Kalliste mostly because it’s lighter than my FG Camano.

Do you find any reason to use the Kalliste over the Cyprus?

Flutter in a GP usually comes from not canting the blade.

Overpowering causes other problems, usually a sound as if you pull the blade through sand.

You can of course reduce the force on the blade and this way get more control over the fluttering, which will sort of remove the fluttering, but that is more of a symptom treatment.

Yes, at first I experienced the “pulling the blade through sand” sound too. But it went away as soon as I relaxed - and canted - the blade.