For me, it doesn’t really matter. I generally hold the paddle where the blade begins. So, I have a sense of the blade orientation without the oval.
When I paddle with a Euro, it’s a different matter. My Aquabound Whiskey is a very light paddle. I like the blade size for my use. However, the carbon shaft is mostly round. In the winter, I have a hard time figuring out the blade orientation because I have mitts on. I fixed this by electrical taping a foam ridge on the shaft to give a pronounced oval indexing. Would have been better if the shaft had more pronounced oval shape. I still the like the paddle (with the “fix”).
I got my Celtic paddle and didn’t think I’d like the indexing on it. I said I’ll try it before removing it. I did like but it’s indexed to zero feather. Wish it was 30° right feather which I paddle with all the time.
I am surprised the Celtic paddle doesn’t have an adjustable offset…
I like my Werner Shuna for winter paddling because it does have a pretty noticeable index (even with mitts on). Also, has an adjustable offset, although I have it “locked” into 30 degrees, which is were my single piece WW paddles are offset to. Consistency is important in rough conditions.
Sing, did you get to try it when punching through waves or in breaking surf from the stern? As you describe it, the system doesn’t sound like it holds the paddle halves very securely and I’d be concerned about losing them in the rough, as you’ve previously experienced.
To me, the most important criteria for a spare paddle is that it’s absolutely secure in rough conditions, but immediately accessible when I need it. That’s why I prefer to carry a one-piece Greenland “storm” paddle on the foredeck. It’s really secure using cords and sliders, but I can have it in my hands literally in a couple of seconds, no assembly or gymnastics required. I realize that’s not everyone’s “cup of tea”, but it’s something to think about.
So, my test was in 3-4" surf. It was a wave riding session. So I had waves breaking from front, back and sideways. From my Go Pro film, I can see some lateral shifting of the blades just behind the cockpit, under two bungee deck cords. But, the clutch held the looms rock solid.
With respect to pulling them out while in my kayak, I tested in the flat and didn’t not try in the surf zone. In the past, I used to practice accessing the paddle while capsized and then rolling back up. Haven’t done that in quite awhile. Honestly, I am more reliant on retaining my primary paddle with a paddle leash. I resorted to a paddle leash way back when after getting paddle stripped and capsized in a surf kayak. (No place for a spare paddle on a surf kayak.) While using a paddle leash, I have been stripped and capsized twice. Both times, I was able to yank on the leash and pop the paddle back into my hands for successful rolls. There are of course possible entanglement issues with a leash, but overall I believe it provides me measure of safety and contingency than not using one.
In my current situation, I anticipate only using the spare if for some reason I break my primary on a surf take-off or landing on a day excursion with the longboat. With waveski (and surf kayak), the leash suffices since I am surfing a specific break, near my car.