Canoe Paddle Upgrade Help Needed

I have decided not to upgrade my canoe (thanks in part to the helpful advice from this group) so now I have time and funds to consider a canoe paddle upgrade. :slight_smile:
I currently use a Grey Owl Scout as my primary paddle. I switch to an aluminum / plastic paddle if the water gets shallow or if the mangrove tunnels get narrow. I was happy with the Grey Owl until it developed a stress fracture on the shaft. I tried to repair it with some epoxy but even after sanding it felt rough on my hand. I wrapped it with electrical tape as an experiment and surprisingly it seems to be holding up fairly well. I know that this is not a long-term solution, so I am looking for a new paddle.
I tend to use a slight pry at the end of my J stroke (I am not sure if this if proper technique but that is what feels natural to me) so I was wondering if a carbon shaft would be a good choice.
The Bending Branches Sunburst looks interesting. The Sunburst comes with a palm grip/ T grip blend. I really like the feel of my Grey Owl palm grip. I would like to know if anyone has used the Sunburst and can comment on the comfort of the grip and the feel of the carbon shaft vs the feel of a wood shaft.
I have also noticed that the Sunburst paddle surface area of 99 Sq In is a little less than the 115 Sq In of the Grey Owl. I don’t do long trips, usually 2 – 4 hour paddles. Is the surface area important?
I guess my questions are:
Are there any downsides to a carbon shaft canoe paddle? Would it stand up better than wood to a pry?
What is the relevance of paddle surface area?
What do people recommend for grips? Palm, T, Blend, …?

Make one. I made some laminated paddles out of white ash, mahogany and walnut. I left them a little heavy and not too thin. They have stood up to rocks for 30 years.

100% carbon fiber laminates seem to be very stiff, and strong up to the point where they fail and crack. Your pry point/fulcrum against your gunwale is likely quite a concentrated point on your round paddle shaft. I mostly think wood would be more resilient in that application. But maybe today’s carbon shafts are up to that task?