High Angle Paddler with a Kalliste

I have ended up with a BS Kalliste in a recent kayak package purchase but have not had a chance to use the boat or paddle yet. Reading the description of paddling techniques I am pretty sure my method is a high angle one, based on what I learned 20 year ago sea kayaking and as WW paddler more recently.

Will I have a problem using the Kalliste if I revert to a high angle technique with it? Or maybe I should take a lesson on low angle paddling. I am only 5’10" but have a long torso so more like 6’2" from the waist up. Might a 220cm Kalliste be too short for a long torsoed paddler?


– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 3:46 PM EST –

Only people who have seen your stroke can make informed commendation - you could upload a clip

In general terms, 220 cm if not too short for High Angle stroke. Might be even a tad too long. Watch that upper hand at the end of catch, if it is way over your shoulder, the paddle is, probably, too long.

Edit- I am 5.9, my BS Ikelos is 210. A bit taller friend considers 215 too long, likes his 205. 210 is, most likely, a tad too long - force of habit, I started with 220. To give some comparison - my WW paddle is 194cm BS Sidekick, I have also used it for long boat paddling numerous times.


– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 4:13 PM EST –

It would depend on the width of your boat for the paddle length. I find that with a high angle stroke, 220 is too long for me at 6' 2" and my boat being 23". 215 is better for me. However, it is often a personal preference. Like already posted, watch your top hand and see if you are putting too much in the water.

Just realized you have a bent shaft. You better just paddle with it and see if you like it at all. Some do, some dont. If never tried one because I just never felt the need.

Im not sure about a low angle stroke class. Maybe that exists, Im not sure. I usually think of a low angle stroke as me being tired. I would get in the boat and paddle and see what feels right. Then move from there. Tweeking a stroke to a more efficient stroke is a combination of technique and endurance. In other words, you cant just learn how to paddle better and then go do it for hours. I would like to think that my stroke gets better everytime out.

Ryan L.

what is BS?
I’ve not heard this term used for paddles before.

I talk a lot of BS
but my new kayak paddle has a bent shat. I saw the term used in another posting here and even looked up the BS brand of paddle but found out it was used for bent shaft.

Blade design
As I understand it, a low angle paddle has the top edge of the blade longer than the bottom edge in order to equalize force on each half of the blade. A high angle paddle will still be asymmetric but not as much. If your low angle paddle is the right length and you try to use it for high angle paddling it might flutter or try to spin. You will have to try it and see. A paddle is the right length if the lower blade is completely submerged but only just completely submerged during a stroke and your top hand crosses the boat at about your eyes.

From low angle to about 60 degrees
is what I have paddled with my 230 BS Kalliste.

I change the angle for circumstances, although I am paddling from a canoe, solo or in tandem. I am seated low, whether solo or tandem.

Mighty fine paddle, and it will work for you.

You can adjust your style with it.

220 BS Kalliste
I have a 220cm bent shaft Kalliste. I am 5’11" and my two boats are 22" and 21" in beam.

If I use a VERY high racing type stroke, the 220 Kalliste is clearly too long. If I use a medium high stroke, pushing hand slightly below shoulder height and going somewhat lower as it crosses the boat centerline, it is excellent. Also excellent for lower strokes.

I would just paddle naturally, but with a good catch and good torso rotation, and not worry about high/low. You should love that paddle.

Thanks for the info
A little more about my situation. As I am moving from Salt Lake City to San Diego I am offing extra mountain equipment and investing in ocean equipment. The day I sold our travel trailer I found a kayak for sale. I purchased a Carolina 13.5. I though I was getting a good deal for a fully ready to go boat.

When I got there all the equipment still had the tags on it including the Kalliste. I didn’t know that much about the equipment but knew this was an awesome paddle and was just way psyched to have a paddle of this caliber. Upon further reading i kept hearing how many people love their Kalliste.

The Carolina will be for my wife but I was hoping to keep the very cool paddle when I found my boat. Now I am not sure this paddle will fit me and my paddling style but look forward to trying it out, when I find a boat for me. If nothing more I’ve got a really cool paddle with a tag still on it, but now i got to find a paddle and a boat.