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Werner Kalliste Review

A featherweight full carbon paddle engineered to provide you with an exceptionally smooth but powerful performance
Werner Kalliste
Photo: REI co-op
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $420 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Featherweight, sleek blade design, enhanced paddling style
Cons:  Expensive, not for the careless user
Manufacturer:   Werner
By Sara James ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 20, 2021
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84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Performance - 40% 9
  • Ease of adjustment - 20% 7
  • Locking Mechanism Security - 15% 9
  • Weight - 15% 9
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Werner Kalliste is the type of kayak paddle that has the ability to make you fall in love with kayaking all over again. Constructed fully of carbon, this paddle feels light in your hands, and the buoyant blade design makes it feel even lighter in the water. The full gloss finish of the meticulously designed blades further enhances the effortlessly smooth entrance and exit that is felt with each paddle stroke. Paddlers from beginners through experts will notice the transformational effect this paddle can have on your kayaking stroke. Prepare to be enchanted.

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Werner Kalliste
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Werner Kalliste
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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$314.99 at Backcountry
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$104.00 at Amazon$99.99 at Backcountry
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Pros Featherweight, sleek blade design, enhanced paddling styleReliable, lightweight, easy to adjust and extendExceptional value, quality blade design, fiberglass reinforced nylon bladesDurable blade and shaft construction, ribbed fiberglass shaft provides textured gripAffordable, durable blade construction
Cons Expensive, not for the careless userInteresting looking graphicsHeavier than some models, locking mechanism prone to wobbleHeavy blades, play in snap button locking mechanism systemHeavy aluminum shaft, play in locking mechanism
Bottom Line A featherweight full carbon paddle engineered to provide you with an exceptionally smooth but powerful performanceA versatile, lightweight, and reliable paddle that delivered a strong performance across all metricsThis well-designed paddle delivers outstanding value without sacrificing on performance or durabilityThis model features durable blades that deliver powerful strokes at an affordable priceThis is an affordable entry-level paddle that can get you and your family out on the water
Rating Categories Werner Kalliste Wilderness Systems... Werner Baja Carlisle Magic Plus Bending Branches Wh...
Performance (40%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
Ease Of Adjustment (20%)
7.0
10.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Locking Mechanism Security (15%)
9.0
10.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
9.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Werner Kalliste Wilderness Systems... Werner Baja Carlisle Magic Plus Bending Branches Wh...
Measured Weight 816 g 970 g 1070 g 1190 g 1050 g
Shaft Material Carbon fiber 50% carbon/50% fiberglass Fiberglass Fibreglass Aluminum
Shaft Shape Round Round Round Round Round, Oval
Blade Material Carbon fiber/foam core Fiberglass composite Fiberglass reinforced nylon Fiberglass reinforced polypropylene Polypropylene
Blade Shape Dihedral, asymmetrical Asymmetrical Dihedral, asymmetrical Asymetrical Dihedral, asymmetrical
Adjustment Style Push button LeverlockĀ® ferrule system Push Button Push button Push button w/ basic ferrule
Blade Offset Settings 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 L and R Fully adjustable, infinity options L45 0 R 45 L45 0 R 45 L45 0 R 45
Length Options 220, 230, 240 cm Adjustable: 205-225 cm, 220 - 240 cm 220 cm, 230 cm, 240 cm 220, 230, 240 cm 220, 230, 240 cm
Style Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle

Our Analysis and Test Results

Aptly named after a sea nymph of Greek mythology, the Kalliste paddle has the ability to transform your kayaking style. It is exceptionally light, with added buoyancy provided through the blade design and materials. This optimal combination gives the Kalliste an effortless feel when powering through the water. You will want to have this paddle in your hands if you are looking to perform across long distances or simply wanting to reduce fatigue on the water. More than anything else, this paddle feels great in action.

Photo: Sara James

Performance Comparison


Werner has a solid history of high-end paddle design, and the Kalliste is one of their top creations. The blade's high-end materials and carefully engineered design combine to provide an exceptionally lightweight, polished feel. The dihedral blade design makes sure that the water flows of the paddle equally, helping to deliver a smooth flutter-free stroke. The smooth back face of the paddle also helps to ensure that the paddle enters and exits the water most efficiently, producing an effortless feel for every stroke.


The dihedral paddle blades are meticulously designed to ensure that they cut through the water like a razor through silk, allowing you to keep a confident and consistent cadence for miles on the water. The full carbon shaft helps deliver a smooth transfer of power, enabling the paddler to get the most out of every paddle stroke.

The ultralightweight feel of this full carbon paddle helps to reduce...
The ultralightweight feel of this full carbon paddle helps to reduce fatigue on the paddler's joints., enabling you ton maintain form and paddle effectively for longer.
Photo: Sara James

Ease of adjustment


The Smart View system utilizes one button to unlock the paddle and enables the user to identify their chosen blade angel by using a small view hole. In controlled conditions, all testers were able to use it quickly without guidance. Cold hands or limited dexterity make it challenging to adjust this paddle as the button requires agile fingers. Also, over time, testers noted that the internal joint of the shaft could become dry, making it more difficult to operate. On occasion, we needed another set of hands to help us dismantle this paddle. Basic maintenance (such as rinsing the paddle in between uses) greatly helps to ensure this paddle is always functioning smoothly.


Nasal sebum (aka nose grease) has long been a flyfisherman's trick when maintaining the ferrule of their fly fishing rods. Few kayakers seem to have picked up this handy tip. Simply wipe your fingers on your nose and immediately wipe your finger onto the dry ferrule. Tiny amounts of this readily available lubricant will work wonders for helping to maintain the joint of your paddle in smooth order.

Although not our favorite option, the Smart View system used by Werner is still superior to the snap button option seen on many paddles. It is less prone to sticking, and the low profile of the button meant that it never got in the way of paddlers' grip or snagged on equipment.

The male connection point of the Werner shaft is prone to drying out...
The male connection point of the Werner shaft is prone to drying out and can become stiff to adjust if not maintained properly.
Photo: Sara James

The Kalliste scored above average on adjustability compared to other paddles; however, it was one of its lowest scores overall. Given the high-end, gloss finish nature of the rest of this paddle, testers felt it was a shame that it didn't also excel in this metric.

A bad day fishing is still a good day on the water if you have this...
A bad day fishing is still a good day on the water if you have this paddle on board.
Photo: Sara James

Locking Mechanism Security


The Smart View system is good enough. Most blind testers were unable to identify this as a two-piece paddle. However, it did not perform quite as well as some other options available.


If you don't need to dismantle the paddle for travel and intend to stick to the same feather for all your paddling needs, it is worth considering purchasing the one-piece version of this paddle. If you have spent the money for such a high-end performance piece, you might as well avoid unnecessary give it the shaft and experience the full beauty of what this full carbon paddle has to offer.

This paddle is exceptionally light, reducing the impact on your...
This paddle is exceptionally light, reducing the impact on your joints and enabling the paddler to maintain good form for longer.
Photo: Sara James

Weight


Constructed fully from carbon, the 240 cm Werner Kalliste weighs in at under 820 grams. The (lack of) weight of this paddle is quite noticeable from the moment you first pick it up. It is not uncommon to feel like you 'air swooshed' your first strokes with this paddle. Once you get familiar with the lightweight feel of the Kalliste, you will find that this paddle can deliver.



Many testers commented on how well balanced the paddle felt at any angle, helping the kayaker to deliver smooth and effective strokes.

The blade design further lends itself to an exceptionally lightweight feel on the water as the blade offers its own floatation, also reducing the impact on the paddler's shoulders. The Kalliste makes it is easy to fall into a comfortable but powerful cadence for extended journeys. If you intend to take your kayak out for many miles or over multiple days, your shoulders will be grateful for this paddle.

Durability


The smooth finish of the carbon blades makes it an easy target for surface scratches. This can happen on the water or during transport. Due to the beauty of this paddle, this probable event may upset you to the core of your soul, but it will not have a noticeable impact on the performance of the paddle.


The blade edges are reinforced with dynel, an impact, and abrasion-resistant woven material. This roping helps to protect the blades from wearing down; however, they are still susceptible to wear and tear. Careless transportation of this paddle (i.e., rattling around in the back of your truck), or blunt force trauma from sharp rocks, could cause significant damage.

Depending on what your paddle blades are made of you may want to be...
Depending on what your paddle blades are made of you may want to be careful around rocks.
Photo: Sara James

This is not the paddle you will lend your clumsy friend. That being said, simple precautions such as using a paddle travel bag, or traveling with the paddle dismantled inside your car, will preserve this worthy paddle for generations to come. This paddle will not break on the water, but it will break if you run over it backing out your garage.

Value


This paddle is more expensive than most. Constructed from carbon materials and backed by Werner's solid reputation for customer service, you can feel confident that this paddle will still be in the hands of paddle lovers for many years to come. It is not the option for those on a budget.

There are cheaper paddles available but if you are looking for a...
There are cheaper paddles available but if you are looking for a paddle that will reduce fatigue and improve your performance, this will definitely meet hit the mark.
Photo: Sara James

Conclusion


If you take care of it, this ultra-light, elegantly designed paddle will not disappoint you. The full carbon construction and meticulous blade design are a testament to the fact that the Kalliste is designed to provide the very best in performance that all types of kayakers can appreciate and enjoy. If you purchase this paddle, you will not look back unless it is to see your friends paddling behind you.

This paddle will make you want to continue paddling well into the...
This paddle will make you want to continue paddling well into the evening.
Photo: Sara James

Other Versions and Accessories

  • Also available in one piece or four pieces.
  • Straight or Neutral Bent Shaft available
  • Standard or Small shaft available

Sara James