Makana Alii v. Kialoa Paddle

Great PA'A Koa Nui pics. I couldn't help but notice how many Makana Alii paddles there were out there and they all looked to be new or in pretty good shape!

Since there doesn't seem to be a good source to obtain Makana Alii paddles, has anybody tried the new Kialoa Vana-Tahitian style double bend paddle? It looks to be similar. How does that compare?

Submitted by skydoc on Thu, 03/11/2010 - 5:56am

In what ways are you asking how in compares? The catch, release, weight, balance, overall feel? I've learned over the years that it's really personal preference, what might feel great for someone may have a bad feel in my hands. Different diameters with the shaft, shaft shape. Best thing to do is grab a paddle you are interested in and give it a go. Hard to go off what others may "feel".
Tell you what though, this whole push towards doublebends is pretty amusing. Seems things just go in cycles. The same pros and cons that came up in the past are starting to come back again. Every once in a while, somebody will come up with another unique approach to explaning the pros and cons. Pretty interesting. Somebody should document all the theorys just to have something to go back to in 5-10 years, when the shift comes back to single bends.
Definitely great for the paddle makers out there, just another blade to add to the quiver.
Back to your original question, I have not had a chance to try the Kialoa, but have heard good things about it, but the comments have been from people that have not tried the newer Makana Alii paddles.
Sure there are paddlers out there that have used both. Let's see the comments, but I reckon I could guess at the responses.

#1 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 8:11am

Could we pleeeeeeeease not start this topic again. The below thread covers everything. Let's talk about somethng really interesting, like that huge new iceberg down at the south pole.

#2 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 9:06am

Hey Scaryslow,

Not to reopen pandora’s box here, but I just went through that thread (albeit skimming) and did not see a pro/con discussion of the double bend. Just a bunch of talk about small paddle producers vs. really small paddle producers.

I’m a lifelong double bend user –I’ve dabbled in the single bend, but only recreationally— and I’ve heard the arguments for it regarding wrist placement, but I’ve never really heard that much in the con category.

Just be curious to know why people don’t like the double. I’m guessing it’s a power transfer argument of some sort?

#3 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 11:47am

Zebignu...From Skydoc's comments, I don't think this thread was meant to be a discussion about the pro / cons of double bend paddles, but rather, how do Kialoa's and Makana's double bend paddles compare to each other. There is very informed comments about both paddles in that thread. That, is why I posted the link.

You could start a thread to discuss that argument. I sure it will be more interesting than the new ice berg. Or, since the search function has been poop lately, I could start a new side business and call it "scaryslow's forum search" and charge a pint of beer fee...I like that idea....

#4 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 12:50pm

Wow, double bends....Brings back memories from when I first started paddling :). Yes, things do go in cycles. I think the discussion ends with what eveyone in the canoe decides to use, can't really have #1 using a double and #3 with traditional: different blades=different strokes. BUT if you mainly just OC1, then it is whatever maximizes your stroke, stoke and power. I never even explored the double bend because as a wee novice B we all used traditional, then through the years they just kinda went out of "fashion". My husband just tried one and really felt that it accentuated his reach and grab and reduced his tendency to "drag" his stroke past the hip. He is sort of a loner so he can use whatever he likes....

#5 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 2:06pm

The only cycle that has not returned is the " no " tee top approach.

#6 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 2:35pm

Ok. The intent of this is to find a comparison of the new Kialoa paddle to the beloved Makana Alii. The prior thread of favorite paddles says nothing of the comparison! The only one who had ever seen and used it was Goto and he does not offer a comparison of the two. Since Makana Alii paddles are very hard to come by, the Kialoa may offer a more readily available option, if it comes anywhere close to comparing to the Makana Alii. So, that said...Has anybody paddled with both paddles? If do they compare? Catch, Release, weight, balance and feel.

#7 Thu, 03/11/2010 - 9:27pm

Here are a few observations:

A friend will let you borrow their Kialoa paddle.
A friend will not let you borrow their Makana Ali'i paddle.

A Kialoa paddle is thrown onto the beach and laid on the ground.
A Makana Al'ii is not. The Makana Ali'i is generally washed dried and put away before the paddler calls family members.

A Kialoa paddle is for paddlers who are hard on their paddles, meaning hit the gunnels of OC-6, leave in the sun, don't use covers-part of that is because they are less expensive
A Makana Ali'i is durable too but more expensive.

It is hard to compare, since Kialoa has 9 paddle shapes and Makana Ali'i has 3.

Neither paddle will make you faster, unless you want the psychological advantage of I have the best paddle and can't blame the paddle.

#8 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 4:55am


#9 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 6:52am

I guess I should clarify.

I have bought 5 Kialoa paddles over last 7 years. I like Kialoa, but I am tough on paddles.

Kialoas are great Makana Ali'i are great.

#10 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 7:10am

Skydoc...You are right. As I mentioned to Zebignu, there is no comparative comments on the two double bend paddles in that thread, other than informed comments about the two. I would venture to say nobody has paddled with both, yet. The Kialoa is too new, and I'm not sure Dave has it in production yet. Haven't seen them in Hawaii since Goto's at the HVA Race. Goto really likes his so it must be good! He would know, he's got Jedi Master Level 5 status on OCPaddler. So yeah, like you, I would say "the Kialoa may offer a more readily available option"...whenever they become "readily available".

#11 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 8:20am

Riggs Napoleon had a Makana Ali’i at the Aussie Nats..... all the girls were chasing him and the men too with wads of money wanting to buy it. That's a good enough reason on it's own to have one in your possession.

The Makana Ali’i paddle is just balsa and glass, but it has a little bit of "you know who"... living in each one ... that's why it's special.


#12 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 2:37pm

My Makana is near 10 yrs old. Still going strong. Mahalo Leighton!

#13 Fri, 03/12/2010 - 8:08pm

if I had wahine chasing me for my Makana, I would really be tempted..........., but then again no!

#14 Sat, 03/13/2010 - 11:34am

The Kialoa Vana is wood and a lot like the Tahiti Rames in design and weight. As I understand it... Kialoa is working on a Vana hybrid,. They had a couple in production but are not yet satisfied- had to retool to reduce weight. That is going to be a very fine paddle when it finally comes out and is probably going to be more comparable to the Makana then is the all wood Vana.

#15 Sat, 03/13/2010 - 5:16pm

Anybody has a Makana picture? Show your desired weapons!!

#16 Mon, 03/15/2010 - 9:31am

"different blades=different strokes"

how true is this statement ? I guess its true in terms of how it looks above the waterline, but simply speaking power application in the water should be the same no ? We have all seen at one point or another a crew that just looks horribly non-uniform stroke wise, but their boat was flying...presumably because they apply power in the water the same way..

#17 Mon, 03/15/2010 - 9:47am

The top 6 teams to finish molokai all had double bends. Makana Ali’i's just have a better feel to them and have a great weight to the blade. It's the hot paddle right not and even better is the double bend for your OC1. Try em. Aloha!

#18 Mon, 03/15/2010 - 10:29am

Molokai Hoe 2009         
    Over all results         

Place Div Sock # Race Time Crew Name

1 36 4:40:17.2 Shell Va'a
2 48 4:52:24.0 Wailea CC / Team Primo
3 89 4:57:51.8 Paddling Connection
4 70 5:02:15.4 Era'I Va'a
5 64 5:05:22.6 Lanikai Canoe Club
6 88 5:07:24.3 Outrigger Canoe Club-R

I am pretty sure Team Primo used single bend Makana Ali'i and Lanikai used single bend Kialoas.

#19 Mon, 03/15/2010 - 12:40pm

We have a rack of 10 paddles in the house, they're all open game for the kids and visitors, but the Makana Ali'i paddles stay in the bedroom.

#20 Fri, 05/28/2010 - 1:07pm

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