Hi there, your question is a very good one, but my contribution to the answer is only small.
I have recently changed over to a glass shaft paddle, one that wears the Roscoe brand, but was described as a Waikato. The comfort and weight are great. Feels much better not to have all your body heat draining out through your hands. There is a lump on the right side, to help you index the correct grip straight away. Down side is, I find more water comes on board despite the drip rings, I also feel that I am in a lower gear, than I was with the viking supplied paddle (no brand). If you can test some paddles, that is the way to go
Cheers Andybear :lol: