Gillespie Paddles

Anyone have any experience with them? Just curious - what do they feel like in comparison to either Kialoa or Xylo?


Submitted by Matuka Joe on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 9:44am

My team raced with Gillespie paddles at Molokai last year and the paddles worked fine, zero problems. We are going to use the same paddles this year. If you gotta go with wood , Gillespies make you go good.

#1 Wed, 05/09/2007 - 9:58am

This winter I started using a Gillespie Ultralite for oc1. I normally use a Kialoa - Axel. The Gillespie has a fatter shaft and a the blade has a larger surface area. I really like all wood and I love this paddle. I don't think all Gillespie's have fat shafts. I think that the ultralite might have a fatter shaft to give it strength and to compensate for the light weight wood used for the shaft. I love it and gave my Kialoa to my girlfriend to use for OC6. As for how it feels compared to the Kialoa? It is hard to say. I just never got use to the skinny shaft on the Kialoa. Again, I don't think Kialoa tends to make paddles with skinny shafts, I just like a fatter shafted paddle. As with everything try before you buy if possible, but I know that it takes me some time to get use to a new paddle. The Gillespie took me about 6 or 8 outings to really get use to it. Good Luck.

Also: Brad Gillespie is great to deal with. My girlfriend had an old double bend ultralite that a friend broke. She sent it to Brad and he sold her a new paddle for well below retail price.

#2 Wed, 05/09/2007 - 11:19am

Started out with a Gillespie Balsa Ultralight with a palm grip. Grip is super comfortable. Chipped up the blade and shaft a bit banging them on the gunnels (OC-6). Yeah, yeah, I shouldn't be beating the paddle on the canoe. Now using a Xylo Zero G with a palm grip. Xylo has a skinnier shaft which I prefer and the paddle has stood up to banging the canoe and shallow coral heads, although I did put a small crack in the shaft cranking a uni in a turn. Blade on the Xylo feels a bit flexier under full power (not bad, just different). Catch on the Xylo is a bit quieter. Xylo is 16 1/2 oz, Gillespie is 19 oz. Palm grip on the Xylo felt bulky when I switched, but got used to it.
So all in all, I favor the Xylo (but maybe don't have total faith in its shaft for a full on uni). That said dealing with Brad Gillespie was great. Nice to be able to talk to the person actually making your paddle, and have him answer your questions.

#3 Wed, 05/09/2007 - 1:27pm

thanks guys that's what I was looking for - I was looking at the Gillespie Black and Blue online a few days ago and it piqued my interest. That said I really do like the Axel II by Kialoa. Ah the decisions to make. :)

#4 Thu, 05/10/2007 - 9:23am

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