The best canoe paddles balance weight, strength, flexibility and comfort. A flexible canoe paddle will absorb shock best on flatwater, while a strong, stiff paddle is better suited for whitewater canoeing. The grip on your canoe paddle is also something to take into consideration. Most canoe paddles have a palm grip which fits comfortably in your hand and is perfect for long canoeing trips. A t-grip lets you wrap your fingers around the handle, offering more precise control of your canoe paddle. For a day cruising on the lake you might want to consider go for a long and skinny canoe paddle blade. A short, wide canoe paddle blade will be better for rivers and shallow water. Most canoeists prefer a straight shaft canoe paddle which handles all-around paddling and excels on rivers. Those who are whitewater canoeing prefer the straight shaft paddle because it offers a variety of maneuvering and bracing strokes. A bent shaft canoe paddle is best for flatwater paddling because it enables more efficient power strokes due to the canoe paddle blade staying vertical in the water longer. Bent shafts also help position the canoe paddle blade for maximum efficiency. The best canoe paddle will maximize efficiency so you don't waste time and effort splashing in the water.