I am far too much of a newbie to know, but have enough experience not to make a guess.
I believe the best paddle for me, you or “paddler A”. is not always going to be "best’ for different paddlers.
Yesterday I learned something about paddles that was a pleasant surprise. I wish I could have learned without the pain involved however.
I had to tow a friend in.
He just got a new Hurricane Tracer 165 and we took it out today to see how it would fit and work for him. Only about a 12 mile trip was planned.
When he picked the kayak up from the people who sold it to him, he slipped and injured his ribs and side, falling on the rack as he was loading it on the truck. Not sure exactly what’s going on in there, but yesterday about 7 miles out he started to get very sharp pains around the injury. I told him to let me tow him back so he didn’t make it worse.
I towed him for about 1 mile and he then said “it’s feeling better, so let me unhook and I’ll paddle myself”. He did for about half a mile more and sure enough, it got worse.
So I reattached the rope from his bow to my stern and towed him in the last 1.5 miles back to the trucks. We didn’t do the whole 12 miles (obviously.)
The thing that I was struck by was the efficiency I have found with my new GL paddle. I made it myself about 2 months ago. I had it on this trip and so that’s what I used. I was very careful to be sure of my strokes and I didn’t try to go fast, but I was very pleased at the progress I made with it. I made sure to concentrate on a bit of an outward angle, going away from my hull on every stroke and I kept the blade pretty quiet as I went along. I ate up that last 1.5 mile stretch in 29 minutes pulling him and his kayak along. His new kayak is 50 pounds and he’s 140 plus he had a bit of gear on the kayak too, so I expect I was towing about 215 to 220 pounds. I was not trying to go fast, but just being careful to make every stroke as well as I could. I was paddling my Necky Chatham17 poly kayak. It’s 63 pounds and I weight 190. I had about 15 pounds of gear under my hatches. When I knew he was in pain and said I should tow him, I expected the progress to be a lot slower.
MY GL paddle is right at 3 pound’s and 2 OZ. It’s 8 feet long and the loom is 19". I left the blades parallel for about 6" back of the tips and them tapered them to the loom with no shoulders. I made the blades thin to about 7/16" at the tips and left them 4-3/8" wide at their widest points.
So it is larger then most GL paddles I see for sale, but I don’t know how many square inches of surface it gives me to catch water. What I do know is that I did tow him in much faster then I thought I could have, and it was not even difficult at all.
So I think in my case that paddle was good. Others would disagree and I am sure for good reasons. I am guessing, but I think paddles are more efficient or less so, depending on who’s using them. I have towed my wife and her kayak a few time for training and for fun, and I think I did as well with the GL paddle yesterday as I have in the past with the spoon bladed paddle we practiced with.