I just want the paddle to have the familiar feel that I am used to should I need it, so I want something with a familiar blade shape.
I keep my spare on the back deck. I've found that paddling through waves, pretty much anything on the front deck tends to start throwing spray up. I practice rescues crawling on the back deck right over the top of them (the two halves), and it's never occurred to me that they were presenting a serious problem over the years.
I decided years ago that I simply wasn't going to concern myself anymore with a paddle breaking and flipping out of my hands in rough water, going over, and pulling out the spare off of the deck to roll back up. It's a good idea, and I might try it, but I don't have high expectations of it working out, so I'm not willing to tolerate years of a front deck stowed paddle deflecting water up for that marginally increased probability of the unlikely actually working out for me. I think I realized that in a real situation, I'm probably going to need a few moments to pull myself out of the "Oh _____" moment. I decided that if my paddle breaks in rough water, something really went wrong, and it's ok if it takes a wet exit to get a paddle back in order to continue.
In any case, the same familiar blade shape that I'm using is what I prefer to be able to grab in such a situation. If I'm already challenged, I don't want to have to adjust to a different style paddle. If I'm not challenged, I'm just upright holding a broken paddle, and can probably find a variety of ways to safely handle the situation. That's just my conclusions so far.
Classic Freestanding Rack
Deck Rigging Gear
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