ah, I use only straight shaft paddles:
Werner Cyprus 205 and 210 cm
Bending Branches Evening Twilight
(I use greenland paddles as well)
never have had wrist or elbow issues
so far so good
most important thing is technique, second most important, the paddle (length, weight, and swing weight).
with the drip rings removed (useless things IMO - it's a wet sport, esp. if you paddle high angle) I have complete freedom to slide my hands up and down the shaft which is nice and quick for a variety of techniques. The dips in bent shafts get in the way.
Here is what a very wellknown Werner rep, and respected pro paddler, told our group seminar about paddle selection:
"Bent shafts cost more and weigh more.
If you don't need one, don't get one.
If you do need one, you may need it bec. you are holding the paddle too tightly and creating strain on your lower forearm. If you really do have a medically verified wrist or tendon issue, the bent shaft *may* help, or may not. It's not a panacea."
As for a lot of coaches and instructors at Grand Marais using them... LOL, they get them at pro discount or less, so they don't have to lay out as much money as we would in trying them.