A paddle is a link between the energy that you produce with your body and the water.
A kayak paddle has blades on each end of the shaft. Research shows that for centuries kayakers have been using short paddles with narrow blades. Such blades are great for slow cruising but they don’t work very well when it comes to powerful acceleration. This is the problem that wide blades save. They are great for fast sharp turns and leading ahead.
The downside of a wide kayak blade is that it is very hard to paddle for a long distance.
About fifty years ago sprint kayak races have determined that wide broad blades had a negative impact on the aerodynamics of a kayak. What the racers discovered was that it was possible to create a feathered blade that would swiftly move through the water with one side and through the air with the other.
If your goal is speed, having a feathered blade does make a big difference. If you are just cruising and enjoying the nature and the water around you, you are probably paddling at a much slower pace. In this case, the design of a paddle won’t play an important role because you will never feel any air resistance.
The majority of paddles for amateurs are feathered at about eighty degrees because some kayakers believe that an angle of about ninety degrees would cause wrist inflammation and damage the tendon. However, there is not enough evidence that having even smaller angles, around forty-five degrees or so, would reduce the possibility of injury. What is known about small angles is that they definitely eliminate a lot of aerodynamic advantages.
Kayaking today is a sport that has a lot of variety to it. There is cruising and exploring and touring and racing. Because of this, you want to choose a paddle that is right for you and sometimes more expensive or advanced does not mean better.