Sterling, welcome to the forum, congratulations on your Oasis and thanks for your review. As you may already know, the new Oasis is no slouch as a solo kayak either with Turbofins and ballast!
The earlier versions had a single scupper plug under the middle of the seat, so thank goodness you got the "new and improved" version. Self draining valves have their problems as well -- that's probably why Hobie hasn't gone to them. Since you typically sit above the water line in that boat, you can try keeping them loose or removing them -- especially in rough seas when you may expect water on board. A little experimentation will determine what works best for you.
I don't care much for the paddle-grip combo either, but alternatives are limited. IMO it's definitely nice to have the full paddle with such a large boat. I've learned to adjust the grip and no longer give it much thought.