Is ergo better than straight?

I have a couple of ergo paddles, and at first I thought they were more comfortable on the hands and wrists for paddling.

I have tried wearing bicycling gloves with both the straight kayak paddles and the ergos, and the gloves seem to provide “almost” the ergo comfort with a straight paddle. I think the bicycling gloves are more comfortable than neoprene gloves.

So, just wondering whether ergo is better, or not.

I’ve never seen an objective
comparison, but ergo paddles have been around since the 80s, or earlier for all I know, and there are some people, myself included, wh feel that they benefit from them. The most concrete benefit may be reduced wrist strain. There are also a lot of paddlers who tried them and went back to straight shaft. You’re in the best positon to answer the question, for you.

whatever works
I’ve read speculation that ergo or bent-shaft paddles are a crutch for poor form. But my response is always, “whatever works, do more of it”.

In my case, ergo paddles are a crutch for screwed-up wrists (multiple fractures over the years). Clearly whether a straight-shaft or ergo works better is a personal thing. Wanting to declare one or the other “better” is just silly.

Ergo for me
I don’t know about alleviating wrist strain but I like the ergo shaft on my Werner because the bends let my brain know exactly how the blades are orientated. In other words the bends act as a MUCH better indexing feature than simply the oval shaped shaft.

For me straight is better for my wrists. I suffered some extremely bad tendonitis problems. I always used a werner bent shaft, but then tried a straight shaft of the same model paddle and found it EASIER on my wrists than the bent shaft.

Plus the straight allows for easier extension of the paddle if you choose to use that technique for faster turns in surf, etc.

Tried both
I ended up with a straight shaft.

Tried both
I ended up with a straight shaft.

Ttied both
Ended up with a couple carbon ergo/bent shafts. Easier on my wrists.

Hate using gloves - love Ergo
I’m stuck on double bent shaft ergo style paddles

I’ve been experimenting with both
Not sure what my preference is yet. I don’t think there’s a ‘right’ or ‘better’. I don’t believe in being dogmatic about gear or technique, but rather in finding what works best for you.

People’s bones are set at slightly different angles. Some peoples hand turn in slightly, some turn out slightly, add to that injuries, etc, and I think it’s clear there’s no absolute universal best.

Shops usually don’t let you demo paddles, but get connected to the local paddling community, and most kayaks will let you try their gear if you paddle together.

depends on paddler
I’ll throw my lot in with the folks who say it depends on the paddler.

I prefer straight
I also paddle with a 90 degree feather.

Don’t grip too hard, I only use the index and middle fingers to tranfer force to the paddle, the other two just “float”. Paddle very losely gripped.

Bend the elbow, not the wrist, to angle the offhand blade for the catch.