I bought the Malik this year to replace my previous Gearlab paddle. I think that was an Akiak, but an older version that did not have replaceable tips. That one was all carbon fiber and had no shoulders; unfortunately I left it at a launch site last year. These all supplement my wooden greenland paddle that is my main. I like the Gearlab ones because they come apart and can stow on the front deck.
I liked my previous one quite a bit, but always missed the shoulders that my wooden paddle has. My wooden paddle is starting to fall apart, so I needed to replace my missing back-up, so I purchased the Malik.
I some ways I like it better than the previous Gearlab. The Akiak was almost too light and the Malik seems to be a better match to the weight of the wooden paddle. I seem to get a better "swing" with more weight. It also seems to have a slightly wider blade, which I appreciate.
The one thing that I'd wish for from both of the Gearlab paddles is a larger diameter loom. Even better would be an oval cross section instead of round. That is really the only thing keeping the Malik from becoming my main paddle with a second one as the spare on the deck. As it is, I'll probably replace my wooden one with another one and keep the Malik on deck.
Oh, they are offering a reflective sticker set with the Malik right now. It was actually quite fun to design my own patterns.