-- Last Updated: Dec-23-12 9:18 AM EST --
J Winters referred to that shape as a "claw" paddle. Similar shapes are used in slalom racing by kneeling paddlers.
One benefit of the shape is that the claw forces an aggressive catch. The "cupped powerface keeps load on the blade a little longer than a straight blade, but the claw creates upward force sooner in the stroke, so pushes the paddler towards short, forward isolated, forward strokes. This is also a good thing.
Another benefit is trailed, the curved blade enhances otherwise weak J strokes, making this a fine entry paddle for solo canoeists.
If the blade is injection molded, the swing weight will be too high to please, but, again, seems a nice entry paddle for solo canoe paddlers.