Just purchased one and the grip was not "ovalized".
First, my experience with BackCountry has been exceptional. The price of the paddle was the best I could find anywhere and the product was received very quickly.
Regarding this paddle - being a strong paddler, I had no idea that my inexpensive, aluminum shaft was keeping me from a better kayaking experience. The Aqua-Bound MantaRay fiberglass has made paddling my sit-on-top a much better experience. Lighter, less blade flex, and the comfort of the fiberglass (less heat/cold transfer) has made it so I am not whipped after six hours (every Sunday) on the water.
Good stuff !