A wooden paddle, carved from a single piece of carefully chosen wood, is a joy to paddle with. It flexes during the stroke, not so much as to be inefficient, but enough to reduce the strain on muscles and joints, making paddling not only less tiring but also more ergonomic.
The blade shape that I offer falls within the otter tail family. It is my preference for deep-water touring. The long blade requires deep water; the angles make for very clean entry; the relatively narrow blade allows entry close to the canoe for greater efficiency; and having the widest point nearer the lower hand makes the mechanics of extended paddling much easier than the other way round.