I agree thats a steep price for a paddle and I usually paddle long distance when I go out so I chose something light and efficient. I really didnt know how I would eventually benefit from the bent shaft when I ordered it, that was just a very fortunate coincidence. Your $50 paddle may be great for you as long as you use it and never cause you a problem. Its like how some people can wear flip flops every day and never have an issue, and then other people wear flip flops for 2 hours and start having arch and ankle pain. Unfortunately, I was one of the latter with my paddle.