Werner foam core vs all carbon paddles

In particular, Kalliste vs carbon Camano.

This summer, while test paddling boats and paddles at Rutabaga, I tried both the Kalliste and carbon Camano in the the same length straight shaft and observed the following:

  1. The Kalliste felt like it had more flex.
  2. The Kalliste stroke felt easier and less powerfull.
  3. Using the Kalliste felt kind of weird after using non-cored paddles.

    IIRC from what I’ve read in related threads, the Kalliste stroke feels easier because the foam core blades aren’t as convex on the back side as the thinner all carbon blades and as a result don’t have as much suction during the forward stroke as the all carbon blades and thus feel easier to pull on or feel like they have less purchase on the water. I know that you folks will correct me if I described this incorrectly.

    My question is, is the Kalliste actually as effective at moving the boat forward as the Camano if using the same stroke mechanics and stroke rate as the Camano, even though the Kalliste strokes feel easier? Or does the Camano actually get more “bite” on the water and pull the boat forward more efficiently?

    I have already gleaned from the other threads that the foam core blades aren’t as robust as the all carbon blades and especially more vulnerable to puncture by sharp objects.

    Thanks in advance to answers to my question as well as your observations on the differences and similarities between Werner’s foam cored and all carbon paddles and your preferences between the two.

is the Kalliste a fiberglass material?
If so, I guess it would make logical sense that the Camano carbon would give you more “bite” during your stroke as the carbon matl is stiffer.

You could ask Werner on their

– Last Updated: Nov-11-06 3:28 PM EST –

web site. I'll only make a general comment about cored versus non-cored composite paddles. If a foam core is used, the blade may be stiffer as a result, but may be more fragile. This is the case for the foam core decks on slalom boats. They are very stiff for their weight, but easily dented and easily punched through by a big hit.

But in paddles, careful choice of foam and of the composite covering can leave a blade strong enough even for whitewater use.

I have always liked the thin wood cores used in Mitchell and some other paddles. You get good flexibility, resistance to denting, and very good resistance to breaking. However, while light, wood core paddles are not light enough to sell well for sea kayakers, who want minimum swing weight with their lighter paddles.

foam core paddles
I have an Ikelos and have used the kalliste and had a carbon camano and the Kallitste to me felt every bit as powerful and should be as it is the same powerface as the the Camano, only with a smooth backface. as for durability I have abused the hell out of my Ikelos and it only has sratches to show for it. I’ve paddled big surf with it, stepped on it while it was on rocks, pushed off with it etc. They are in my opinion a very tough paddle.

have been
using an ikelos for about 9 months, and I wish I had not waited for so many years to get a carbon paddle. I have used mine in 8 foot surf (or rather, the surf was using me) and in many rock gardens. Its much tougher than I thought it would be, but in addition to chips along the edge, I have punctured it. I wonder how my previous fibrglass club would have faired on a pourover I seriously mistimed and estimated.

Despite the puncture, I plan on getting another werner foam core (cyprus) sometime next year. I’m pretty rough on my gear.

I have both…
The Kalliste and Camano. The Kalliste’s blade is smaller and with less dihedral than the Camano and much more buoyant. It also has a quieter entry. I find the Camano more powerful, especially at high angle.

I almost always grab the Kalliste first.

grayhawk – flutter
I don;t have a Kalliste, but my Camano flutters like a honey bee if I use it at al, on high angle. You?

Hey, I gotta say, and I think that was you in the pictures, something about launching off yoir beach on a set of webshots on the 100 webshot thread, your beach is cool, and you and another paddler doing time in the I. That is a serious fun picture set. Is that you? Scupperfranks album, I think.

I won;t highjack yanoer’s good thread, you can answer at bottom of your Camano comment.

Anyhow, I find the Camano unforgiving at high angle, and truly a paddle for low angle exclusively.

Angle and flutter
Why does paddling angle make a difference? Is it the shape (balance) of the blade or the material or both?

Not to hijack, but…

This is Frank and I on our first day with the new Isthmus’s. Frank still has his but I sold mine after it tried to kill me one too many times and bought a Caribou. This beach is half a block from my dock and a great place to practice. I love it here.

My Camano does have some flutter at high angle but less than the Kalliste at HA. My shoulders are too old to paddle at HA except when absolutely necessary. I went to a wing for a while to try to stabilize the Isthmus and that really did a number on my shoulders… It’s hell getting old.

Is the Camano / Kalliste high angle
flutter due to the angle of usage, or is it from the higher stroke rate or higher degree of power that the paddler often applies when using a higher angle stroke? In other words, is it the stroke angle that results in the flutter, or is it the amount of power applied?

The only Werner that I own is a 240cm carbon Camano that I acquired used this summer for use in my Sawyer Summersong solo canoe and 32" wide Poke Boat and my limited observation is that the Camano blade kind of “wanders” (quick movement to one side or the other) a little mainly when I apply lots of power during accelleration or sprinting rather than when cruising. I don’t think I notice it as much (maybe not at all) when paddling at a steady moderate pace. I am considering getting a 220cm carbon Camano or Kalliste for use with my Aquaterra Sea Lion, since I preferred the Camano and Kalliste over my present paddles when test paddling paddles and boats at Rutabaga last summer.

So grayhawk, your Kalliste flutters more than the Camano when you use them high angle? That’s interesting. I don’t remember if I observed that at Rutaba last summer. Maybe that’s another reason that my impression from that test paddling was that the Camano felt more solid with my stroke than the Kalliste did, though I assume that I was using a relatively low angle stroke rather than a high angle stroke. The staff member suggested that the “weird” feeling and sense of flex that I percieved with the Kalliste were due to the bouyancy of the foam core blades of the Kalliste.

BTW, Tsunamichuck, I am still looking for a 220cm Swift Midswift to try out also.

If I’m not mistaken …
the more dihedral a paddle has the less flutter/cavitation you will feel. I believe the Camano has slightly more dihedral than the Kalliste. More dihedral means less power as well, since more water is shed by the paddle. So technically, the Kalliste will be more efficient, but you should be able to push/pull harder on the Camano with less cavitation. Pushing/pulling harder does not necessarily translate into a more efficient forward stroke.


My experience with Werner
Used them for many years, and like the product. My Ikelos is delaminating a bit at the edges. The contact point along the edges is pretty small. I think mine was probably just one that slipped past inspection. I fixed it myself. I do have some small dents, but I really like the paddle and would recommend it. Lately I’ve been messing with a Lendal which I really enjoy.

Prefer the Camano

– Last Updated: Nov-12-06 8:47 PM EST –

Just a matter of personal preference. The Kallista's foam core blade is bouyant and wants to pop out of the water while the camano is more neutral. I notice myself having to grip the Kallista harder to compensate for its wanting to move, especially when wet. It's a beautiful paddle - my wife has one. But for me, the Camano is a better match. I use a fiberglass Camano, bent shaft, and like it alot.

Tried a bent shaft carbon Camano
yesterday in my Sea Lion and it seemed to work pretty well. It did go “ker plop” when entering the water, but that could have been at least partially due to my stroke mechanics since I’m not used to bent shaft paddles and I had been using a straight shaft Bending Branches Spirit with Day blade for the first half of yesterday’s outing. Thanks for the use of your Camano cooldoctor1.

The Camano did seem to require more effort to use than the Spirit, though that perception was probably at least partially due to the fact that I used it on the second half of the trip and the muscles were already somewhat tired. I especially noticed it in the abdominal muscles when I first started using it after our mid point rest stop. It seemed to work my adbominals more than the Spirit.

I should have a bent shaft Kalliste available by next weekend to compare to the bent shaft carbon Camano.

My right elbow was starting to feel sore while using the straight shaft Spirit on the first half of the trip, but I didn’t notice it hurting while using the bent shaft Camano on the second half of the trip. I don’t know if the reduction in soreness of the elbow was due to the switching from straight shaft or due to taking a twenty minute break before using the bent shaft paddle.

Any other observations or opinions on the differences & similarities between Werner foam cored and all carbon paddles?

Visually compared Kalliste and Camano
blades this evening. The blades seem to be the same size when layed on top of the other, but the Kalliste has less dihedral on the power face and is smooth across the back side instead of concave like the Camano. This Kalliste is the older version with the maroon blade tips and the ferrule with only two feather position adjustments. The blades look like they should behave much differently since the surfaces are contoured so differently. I look forward to trying the Kalliste soon.

Tried the bent shaft Kalliste two days
ago and it did seem that I had to grip it a little tighter with one hand to keep it from “wandering” than the bent shaft carbon Camano that I tried a couple weeks ago. Both paddles were 220cm, but they do seem to behave quite differently, though differences & similarities would obviously be more accurately assesed if the Kalliste & Camano were compared on the same day.

It would seem that the Camano requires more effort to use because I thought that it required more effort than the Bending Branches Spirit last weekend and this weekend, I paddled most of the way with the Kalliste and switched to the Spirit at the end of the trip and it felt like the Spirit required a bit more effort than the Kalliste.

The bent shaft felt kind of awkward to me, even after a couple hours of paddling. I’ll try it a couple more times before I give up on the bent shaft.

a couple of notes / data points
I own a lot of Werners paddles and a few Lendals.

  1. The Camano and the Kalliste are designed to have the same area and blade aspect / contour. The main differences are the pronounced dihedral of the Camano versus the more subtle dihedral of the Kalliste and the differences that a foam core affords relative to the structural support of the blade itself.

  2. The foam core is both lighter / stiffer and better suited to smoother entry/exit & maneuvering strokes (strokes where the paddle edge is held nearly parallel to the direction of movement)

  3. The Kalliste is designed and sold as a low angle paddle. The Ikelos is designed and sold as a high angle paddle. I tend to paddle mid to high angle and prefer the Kalliste in all cases

  4. Flutter is a result of a technical fault, it is not an inherent trait of a paddle. Entry-level blades are often designed with lots of dihedral in order to accommodate the lack of fine technical skills. Flat paddles (those without a dihedral) tend to be less forgiving of bad technique and are quickly labeled as having lots of flutter. Flutter can be eliminated with any paddle via minor adjustments in technique.

  5. Paddles designed with dihedrals are not “better” paddler but they are “more forgiving” paddles. What is better for one person may be worse for someone else, it all depends on who’s doing the paddling and what they are looking for from a paddle.

  6. My opinion is that the foam cores are slightly less durable. That being said I beat the hell out of mine and have had no problems other than an early model defect (covered by warrantee)
1 Like

Jed, thanks for that great information.
I have no doubt that my technique (or lack of) played a role in my initial impression of the bent shaft Kalliste. I’m not used to bent shafts, so that may be a factor. I also may have been trying to over power the paddle in an effort to keep up with Molaki wielding cooldoctor1 in his Barracuda.

I don’t recall the same type of “wandering” or “flutter” with the bent shaft carbon Camano that I tried a couple weeks ago, so faulty technique with the less forgiving Kalliste is a strong suspect.

I was actually looking for a straight shaft carbon Camano when I found the deal on the bent shaft Kalliste.

My bent shaft Kalliste is 220cm, which is 10cm shorter than the Werner web site recommends for someone my size - 5’6" - in a 22" wide kayak. Maybe the 230 would work better for me.

What length Camano and Kalliste do you use?

Thanks again for your insights.

Try again…
Punching the numbers in, because I didn’t believe Werner would recommend a 230cm, I came up with 220…

Usually a 220 is the largest you need in a single SINK.

You’re right - 220cm is suggested for…
a 22" wide boat. I must have been thinking of when I entered the numbers for my 26" wide kayaks this summer.

Thanks for the correction.