Werner foam core vs all carbon paddles

more data . .
Like many newbies I started with a 240 San Juan that the shop was trying to get rid of and before I knew better. I worked my way down to a 230 Camano then to a 220 Kalliste, These days I mostly use my 215 Kalliste for all around paddling but I also carry a 210 Kalliste for more energetic stuff. As a point of reference I’m 6’1 and use a 215>210 Kalliste and prefer rough water / windy type paddling in a 21" boat. Other paddles in the quiver are 7’ & 6’ GP’s, Werner Sidekick WW paddles and several Lendal 4 pc with various interchangeable blades.

I don’t care for bent shaft paddles. For me, they just seem like a solution in search of a problem. I find a straight shaft to be much more versatile and since I don’t suffer from RSI’s I can’t find a reason to use a bent shaft (that being said I still have my bents from years ago when I wanted to check them out). Like exaggerated dihedrals, bent shafts are not optimal for fancy paddle work.

Note that flutter can be eliminated by holding your paddle such that it sheds water off only on edge of the paddle. This can be accomplished by loosening up the grip on the paddle and/or canting the paddle slightly and/or adopting a stroke that moves outward away from the boat rather than straight back. In all cases these same approaches encourage better and more efficient strokes, so eliminating flutter is a freebie.

Please remember all of this is just my personal experience and preferences and by no means should be taken as gospel for anyone else. I would recommend that you consider a 220 or 215 Kalliste straight rather than a longer bent. Grayhawk’s paddle length recommendation seems on the mark. Good luck.

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a minor note
. . . few if any paddlers have the strength to actually make a paddle cavitate. More common is ventilation, drawing air down with the blade by starting the power phase before the blade is fully submerged.

One of the advantages of a stiff paddle is that you’ll hear if you are pulling air with the blade. The air behind the blade will rob a paddler of power and efficiency.

240 San Juan …
…(Camano is same, 85% smaller blade) was my first decent paddle too.

In its defense it was well suited to the WS Tarpon 160 I bought it with (and gave it away with). Also, its blades are so big that the shaft is more like that of a 220/230 in other designs. Overall length is a terrible paddle standard.

When I moved to a 21" sea kayak the San Juan was clearly way too long and big. I rarely use euros at all anymore. Like my carbon/foam core 88" GP, and thinner 88" WRC GP best.

Of the higher end Euros I’ve tried I liked the Kalliste (familiar Wernerness, taken up a notch in feel/sensitivity - and after GP I like some buoyancy/and less dihedral than Camano). Would like to try their higher angle designs. Also like the EPIC paddles. I just have no need for Euros at present. Well, maybe a nice short surf paddle - but may make my own.

Jed, looking for explanation of flutter
I guess I’m trying to define the logic in some of your statements/data regarding “flutter”

A) flutter is a result of technical fault.

B) “cant blade” to reduce flutter.

C) “stroke outward” rather than straight back to reduce flutter.

Is my logic lost? I’m thinking item “C” is more of a sweep stroke and I cant see that it would create a more efficient stroke. Item “B” I would think would also result in a loss of efficiency as you cant pull the same amount of water. Item “A”; I guess I simply dont know how to paddle, as I find it rather easy to compare flutter between blades.

I just use an ONNO and forget about it as I simply cant create “flutter” them. Guess I dont have to worry about my “lack of technique” w/an ONNO. Maybe you should try one for comparison to your Werner & Lendals (i have a kinetic tour also).


a bit more detail . .
It was not my intent to offend. My use of the term “technical fault” is just the way I’ve come to think about flutter problems over the years. I offered my post as an opinion (I believe I used the title “data points”), surely you cannot be offended by an opinion that is not directed towards you personally.

A) Flutter is the result of vortices being shed from alternate edges of the blade. It’s the same process that makes a leaf turn this way and that as it falls to the ground. Grab a small piece of paper drop it from about 5’ in a flat position. Notice how it doesn’t fall straight down but rather flutters as it falls.

Flutter can be produced with almost any paddle if the paddler over-powers and over-grips the paddle. I’m glad to hear you are happy with your Onno’s, they are fine paddles but my preferences run toward paddles without any dihedral. Chances are I will never own an Onno since my taste run towards flatter paddles but I’ll certainly try one next chance I have.

B) Blade cant is holding the blade at an ever-so-slight angle relative to the direction of pull. The angle is barely noticeable and hardly measurable but is just enough so that, as the blade slips through the water, a vortex is shed to one side only, . . . no alternating shedding of vertices - no flutter.

C) Take a look at a racing stroke, the blade moves out away from the boat at an angle approximately parallel to the bow wake. This slight outward movement is enough to force any water shedding to shed towards the edge of the blade closest to the boat, … no alternating shedding of vortices . . no flutter.

This stroke is not the same as a “sweep stroke” because in a “sweep” the paddle is moved in an arc (and from bow to stern). In the stroke I’m describing the paddle is moved in a nearly straight line from the gunwale (at the catch) to as far as the arm can reach just aft of amidships.

D) Techniques B & C can be combined to get a stroke the approximates the way a wing paddle works when the paddle angle is quite vertical and the cant angle is slightly more pronounced (works best with a flat, non-dihedral’ed blade).

All the above are my opinions & experiences, I have only anecdotal evidence and the consensus of more than a few high-level coaches to back all of this up. I have tested various paddles and strokes with knot-meters and heart-rate monitors as I worked to find my own “best stroke”. I make no guarantees that this will work for other people and since I’m not a physicist, I cannot be sure that my explanations are technically correct, but they are true as far as I know. I do know these stroke adjustments have drastically improved the power, efficiency and reliability of my strokes and increased my paddling speed with reduced effort. YMMV


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thanks Jed for the detailed explanation
I’ve recently recieved my first EP…after my experiences at Tybee/BCU/Coaching input I thought I might play around with one. I cheaped out and went with an all carbon Aqua-Bound Eagle Ray, the blades are really a mix of ABX resin and carbon and the shaft all carbon…it still feels weired in my hands post many years with a GP but I’m thinking I would like to be proficient with both. What are the thoughts on this paddle for a cheapie? If I like it after several months I’ll consider upgrading to a Werner.

Tybee !!
I don’t have any experience with Aquabound but euro paddles are often minor variations of similar themes. At any rate nothing in carbon is cheap, no doubt it’s one of their higher end paddles. I applaud your efforts to be proficient with both GP’s and ES’s (euro shovels). I found that my euro paddling improved when I started working with GP’s. I assume the reverse is true.

Each style is optimized for different purposes but each style has much to offer to any paddler. In my experience GP is a bit more forgiving overall. Not just easy on the joints but functional over a wide range of form and technique. Euro is a bit more particular about form, but I guess that’s the trade-off to get what a euro does well. Many of the objections that some have about ES’s are (IMO) the result of less than optimal form.

If you approach your euro similar to how you learned to become comfortable with your GP (slowly, minimized effort, , maximized efficiency, efficiency more important than all out speed) than you’ll find your stroke . One of the reasons I like the Kalliste is because it’s more like a GP than my other paddles (higher aspect ratio). I wish I could get Werner to come up with some variations on the Kalliste theme (higher aspect ration, more surface area, etc)

I wouldn’t be in a rush to upgrade and if you are working with a coach ask him / her to explain in greater detail the nature of flat vs dihedral paddles before you rush out and drop serious cash on anything. It might be that you may determine that upgrading doesn’t offer all that much depending on how your stroke develops.

What did you do in Tybee, were you at the recent symposium? I’m curious as to who you worked with. I had a great time down there, great organization, great coaches, great people, fine tequila and southern hospitality in a beautiful setting. I’m looking forward to next year.


more tips
for anyone who wants further info on paddles and what they do, you can check the following resources and articles, courtesy of our paddle tips we offer customers in our shop.

Sea kayaker magazine

Vol 1 No. 3 Arctic Paddle designs by Zimmerly

Vol 3 No. 1 The narrow blade by Heath

Vol 4 No. 1 Paddle/Paddler equation by Edwards

Vol 4 No. 3 Making a Greenland Paddle by Heath

Vol 8 No. 4 Quest for a perfect paddle by Broze

Vol 12 No. 2 Crank shaft paddles by foster

Vol 13 No. 2 Wing Paddles by foster

and i am sure there are plenty more resources out there!

we actually like to differentiate paddle movement as 2 different things