Epic Relaxed Touring vs Werner Kalliste

I’m ready to splurge on a high-end paddle and have narrowed my choice to a 220cm Werner Kalliste or the 215-225cm Epic Relaxed Touring carbon. I’ve been paddling a 230cm Werner for the past 10 years, but both the Werner and Epic sites recommend a 215-220 cm paddle for my height, paddling style, etc. I’ve tried my wife’s 220cm paddle and come to the same conclusion.

My dilemma is that there are no Epic dealers anywhere nearby, so I don’t have a chance to get my hands on one to try out. I’m guessing I wouldn’t go wrong with either paddle, but I thought I’d ask the pnet community for input, especially regarding the usefulness of a variable-length paddle. That is, what seems to separate the two paddles is Epic’s Length-Lock 2™ adjustable ferrule. Is being able to adjust the length of your paddle something that’s worthwhile?



I have the Epic
Relaxed tour – signature hybrid, or some such. I, too, had been using a 230 cm Werner for years – Camano fiberglass. I finally realized that for my stroke, and migration to narrower boats, and stress on my shoulders, I had to go shorter.

I figured 220 cm was what I wanted, but, I ordered the 210-220 cm, just in case even shorter was even better. So, through a couple of uses, I progressivley shortened to 210 cm, and, that’s all I ever use! I’m very glad I got the adjustable, or, I never would have realized that 210 cm is what I really needed.

Another difference between the Relaxed Tour and Kalliste, is the blade surface area. The Epic is a little smaller, which may be another advantage for shoulder worriers. I’ve swapped with a friend’s 220 Kalliste for a bit. Not sure whether it’s more the length, or partly the surface area, but, I feel a lot more comfortable paddling with the Relaxed Tour – especially paddling aggressively, which I tend to do in mixing things up. Yes, I do get the aggressive/relaxed irony.

I’m 5’9", male with 21-inch wide boats, BTW. I recently got a 23-inch wide Alchemy. I set the paddle a few cm longer on the first outing. From the second outing on, I was back to 210 cm.

Oh, another difference is that the diameter of the Epic shaft is smaller than the Werner standard shaft.

I have had a 220 bent shaft Kalliste for a number of years. It remains my favorite paddle among other quality paddles, including wing, GP, and other low angle paddles.

A key discriminator is bent shaft, my clear preference, vs straight shaft.

The other is variable length, which can be a big advantage.

Don’t take anyone’s advice. Both are great paddles and you must try for yourself to see which you prefer.

I have both paddles.
I prefer the carbon Epic Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft over the Kalliste. It appears to be a bit easier on my joints.

If I currently had to decide on one over the other, I’d pick the full carbon Relaxed Tour.

Note on the Epics - the full carbon feels much lighter pleasurable to use than their hybrid construction, which I also have.

Another thought
These are two great paddles. Why not really splurge and get both? Then you can experiment, changing back and forth for a few months. A process that is interesting and will improve technique as you discover differences. Then sell one, and you will not have lost that much.

I can’t comment on these, but

– Last Updated: Apr-01-13 12:08 AM EST –

Having only briefly paddled the Active tour and not the Relaxed tour, but having owned several versions of the Epic wings in various constructions, I too concur that the carbon-bladed Epics do feel lighter in use and I prefer them compared to the hybrid versions with the silver blades all else being equal (carbon blades on green shaft vs. fiberglass on the same shaft) and even more for the top line with the burgundy shaft/carbon blades.

As for the Werner, I have the Cyprus, which is rather different than the Kalliste. But I've tried the straight and bent shaft versions of the Cyprus and found the bent shaft more to my liking compared to straight. I've only test-paddled the Kalliste briefly, but thought it was a nice and powerful paddle with plenty of bite, designed for lower angle paddling - it has more of a spoon shape than the Epics or the Cyprus - and it might not work that well if you decide to change your paddling style down the road to a more aggressive and vertical one ...

Adjustable is a HUGE plus
You asked, “Is being able to adjust the length of your paddle something that’s worthwhile?”

For me the answer is a resounding YES! I often adjust the length of my paddles on-the-fly to accommodate changing wind conditions, boat load, how I’m feeling, what seat pad (if any) I am using and a host of minute factors.

If given the choice of two very similar paddles, one adjustable for length and one not, I would definitely choose the adjustable length. YMMV.

Some of my peers prefer a one-piece as it is lighter and stronger, but I prefer the versatility of a two-piece, with length/feather adjustment.

Greg Stamer

Thanks for the info!
Thanks so much for everyone’s response! I’m leaning toward getting the Epic 210-220 for my wife and I’ll use her 220 carbon Werner. We’ll swap back and forth and if I like it enough I might get a second Epic for myself.



I like the Epic
It’s easier to transition to a brace and scull. I like the shaft of the Werner more.

This is a great thread. Really informative. Thanks to all who contributed.

The full carbon Epic Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft is a great paddle. I use a 205-215cm in the kayaks and a 215-225cm in the solo canoes.