After looking at various wood two piece GL paddles, I had concerns about their strength where the joint is attached to the wood. The joints themselves have been time-tested, but bonding the synthetic onto wood? I wasn't sold.
But I needed a two piece for a spare so some sort of synthetic was the only option. As fate would have it, a Kalleq was on the silent auction table at the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium so I figured I could take care of two things at once - a spare paddle and contribute to funding GGSKS.
I've paddled with the Kalleq over the last few months and it's pretty much got the same two issues that keep me loving any of Gearlab's other models. The loom is too small in diameter for me and the paddle is too slick. I use a very light grip and my hands were cramped from holding it tightly enough to keep it from twisting.
That said, Gearlab's motto of 'Slice the Water' is no lie! The catch with this paddle is incredible, smooth as a hot knife through butter. Astonishingly thin and light, it slices in and gets you moving with incredible power. I still think my wood stick provides more buoyancy on braces and sculls but it could be I'm not trusting the Kalleq completely yet due to the tendency for the stick to slip in my hand. It 'pops' out of the water behind you almost as well as a wood GL.
I've cut thin neoprene self-stick pads, curved to fit the loom and first part of the blade for extra traction and to increase the loom's diameter. That seems to have helped in both areas. I'll need to paddle a few more times with it to be sure. The paddle will definitely be on the front deck for my 2021 Lake Superior circumnavigation as I think it's a fine choice for a spare and would certainly rise to hard use should the need arise. Who knows, as we get better acquainted the Kalleq could become my primary.