I was blessed with the purchase of both 50" and 52" lengths of this paddle for half price, brand new at our local canoe club gear swap (a paddling shop owner in the club is slowly closing up his business). I would have bought another 50" and a 48" if he'd had them. I've only use one other wooden bent shaft paddle, so I have limited experience on which to base my review, but my wife and I both like these paddles better than my standard design bent shaft. The curled palm grip is very comfortable and reduces strain on the wrist of the top hand, it felt very natural and I barely even noticed it while paddling. Even though these lengths are probably longer than ideal for us, we both preferred the longer Sawyer Mantas to the 48" Voyageur Northligh bent shaft paddle that I bought the same day. The Mantas just feel good to paddle with. The blades should be very durable because they have fiberglass over both faces and rock guard around the entire perimeter.
I highly recommend these paddles. I was originally concerned about the weight of these paddles (about 23 oz) because I had been planning on Zaveral or other lightweight (15 oz or less) carbon fiber paddles, but after paddling our royalex Wenonah Solo Plus with these Mantas today, I think that the carbon fiber paddles can wait for another day (unless I find a half price deal).
I rate these a 9, because there is probably a paddle out there that I'd like better, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy these paddles again. Oh yeah, these paddles look very beautiful too.