-- Last Updated: Jan-01-13 7:40 PM EST --
Paddle choice is a very personal decision. If it were possible in your situation, you should consider testing some and as many as possible. Also, listening to experienced paddlers is good, but in the end you will be the one using the paddle.
Feathering, paddle length and blade styles are very important variables that depend on your paddling style, physical morphology, and the boat you are paddling. Paddle choice is part art and part science IMHO.
I would definitely make sure that whatever you get has adjustable feathering. I've also found that my wood shaft paddle is much more comfortable at the end of the day than my carbon fiber shafts, especially on longer paddles. I prefer a 220cm length for my wider beam rec boats and 210cm for my narrower beam touring boats.
I will soon be going through the exact same process again as I choose a new paddle for my surf ski.