Aqua-bound Manta Ray experience?

Anyone here have experience using an Aqua-Bound Manta Ray paddle? My wife is using my old aluminum shaft Sting Ray paddle and wants something lighter. She doesn’t like the feel of my Werner Camano for some reason and prefers the feel of the Sting Ray. She is paddling a WS Pungo 140 so she thinks she would be better off with the Manta Ray as she wants more power to pull the Pungo along and it should have similar feel to the Sting Ray. I’m just worried that the Manta Ray may take too much of a bite and cause issues for her. Short of trying one, any advice on this paddle would be appreciated as there aren’t too many reviews of it that I could find.

My brother loves his but he has the
upper body to handle wide blades.

My personal preference is for a
slightly smaller blade. But then, paddles are like our boats. It’s what works for you and fits.

A wider blade may push more water, but it could take more energy, depending on your strength.

A non aluminum paddle are much lighter and should you paddle in the cold of winter, they are warmer on the hands. I learned that my first winter of paddling.

Plus Ferrule
When i first started i had a few different aquabounds of various blades and materials, but then when i stepped up to the carbon version i didn’t like the flex of the aquabound ferrule system. To me it felt like if i got a big blade and really took a hard dig it flexed and felt like i had to back off a little. After a while i tried a friends Bending Branches Slice (the full carbon chaft, abs/carbon blade model no longer available) and it had the plus ferrule, which i loved where a switch from boat to boat alot. Since BB bought out aquabound a while ago, i don’t know if they offer the plus ferrule yet in any of the aquabound models, but if they do definetly take a look at it, if there is nothing in a model you want see if bending branches has anything in the range.

On a side note this spring i also tried an H20 crystalX carbon paddle, and it is the best feeling paddle i’ve ever used. Werners are a tad lighter, but i found their blade shape works very smoothly in the water, check them out as well.

Bending branches paddles now

– Last Updated: Sep-10-11 9:15 AM EST –

are Aquabound paddles and i just contacted Aquabound as their website does not show the Plus ferrule (adjustable length versions).

The customer service person told me that they indeed are available. I dont quite get why they dont mention it on their site though. She said they are the same paddles. same 2 ferrule options as when Bending Branches (i chose 215-230)

Well I tried to tell her that a bigger blade doesn’t translate into going faster if you don’t have the fitness for it. I just don’t want her to get hurt. She gets tired quickly as it is. I’m thinking of maybe just getting another Sting Ray but in carbon for her.

Stingray carbon
We use the Stingray carbon for our rec boats. I’m small and not very strong, and I find any larger blade than that to be tiring. If your wife likes the feel of the stingray, she’ll love the weight of the carbon version.

Perhaps the boat itself is too big/heavy for her and that’s why she feels she needs a larger blade to propel it?

conflict here
Hmm. You say she wants to “power the boat along” more yet you also say she “gets tired quickly as it is.” A larger blade (as you also seem to realize) will NOT solve her paddling issues and may create more of them. Sounds like she is working too hard. I suspect what she may need more than a larger blade paddle is some good instruction and maybe even a smaller blade paddle. Even compared to using good form with a standard blade paddle like a Camano (which I used to carry as a spare), I find I can paddle just as fast and for much longer without tiring, with a Greenland paddle (at the faster cadence the light stick allows). Maybe that seems goofy with a Pungo, but I used my 213 cm GP with a 25" beam Feathercraft Kahuna when I had one. In fact, I grew to prefer it even with that boat.

Even staying with a standard paddle, the two I find are most comfortable and fastest of the many “regular” paddles I own, are a vintage two-piece wooden Walden and a Voyageur brand fiberglass. Both have narrow tapered blades that are about 50% longer and 30% narrower than most standard blade paddles.

What would be ideal (besides some added instruction in technique) would be to get out paddling during a local regatta or with a group, where there are a lot of different blades she could borrow and try. That’s where I first had my GP epiphany. I think it would help for her to be able to physically experience how bigger is not always better.

Manta Ray blades are HUGE
even compared to other brand paddles of the same style. I think that would just contribute to her getting tired. See if there’s others she can try… what exactly about the Camano did she not like?

May or may not be to her liking but I’d bet an 88" or 90" Greenland paddle would work fine with a Pungo.

I have the Sting-Ray Carbon Hybrid

– Last Updated: Sep-10-11 10:08 PM EST –


I have the Aqua-Bound String Ray Carbon Hybrid, which is basically similar to the Manta Ray version, except slightly smaller blades. If your wife want's something light, then I would recommend anything with a carbon shaft. Oddly enough the carbon hybrid (carbon shaft with fiberglass blades) is technically more durable than the pure carbon blade and shaft. The only caveat with the hybrid version is that it weighs slightly more than the pure carbon version.

From my experience between the Sea Eagle aluminum paddles and the carbon hybrid from Aqua-bound; its definitely worth getting a carbon shaft paddle. My friend and I went on the Mohawk river near lock 7 and he was pooped out from using the aluminum paddle on our way back. So I switched paddles with him as we were making our way back to shore and he noticed a huge difference in terms of performance and ease that the lighter paddle provided.

P.S. - I forgot to mention that I have the ferrule (TLC) version, which allows me to feather the blades at 0, 30, 45, and 60 degrees. It works great and extremely light. Please be aware, as someone else mention, there is some flex from the carbon shaft, which may give her a little boost or tire her more depending upon her paddling technique.

I’m not sure exactly what she didn’t like about the Camano. She just said that she didn’t like the feel? She must be noticing the differences in the blade shapes. The materials of the two are different as one has an aluminum shaft and plastic blade and the other carbon composite shaft and fiberglass blade. All I know is if I get her what she likes she will paddle with me more:)

I agree
She just thinks bigger equals faster. I’ll work on her to go to a class with me. I’d rather her increase her cadence with a smaller paddle.

I paddle with a skinny stick
and i am always asked does it make me actually move in the water ! hell yes ! I keep up with the best of em! It is so much easier on my joints.

spouses and paddling
My approach is to refer my spouse to the “expert” down at the local shop and take myself right out of the equation. I find this approach promotes marital bliss.

I use a Manta Ray with a canoe…
I sit with a backstrap and footpegs and the canoe is a 50 lb Royalex solo, so it’s similar. I use that paddle in moving water so that I can grab a bit more water for maneuvering. I use a lighter, smaller blade for flat water and wind. I offset my Manta Ray 30deg and this seems to reduce torque on my shoulders and elbows. Very important to keep one’s hands and elbows down below shoulder height to reduce the danger of dislocation. The paddle definitely grabs a chunk of water, so you might not want it for your wife.

There is a big difference between
the Manta Ray and Sting Ray. You can over power a Sting Ray much much easier than a Manta Ray. I started out using Manta Rays and now use Sting Rays. I only use the Manta Rays when paddling rivers and need the extra grab on the water. I have an old Aqua Bound AMT Expedition model which blade size is right in between the two and I find myself liking it the more I use it. It is comparable to the Eagle Ray model.

See if a local paddle shop will let you try them side by side. When ever I go paddling with my nephew I always grab different styles of paddles and kayaks and we swap back and forth during the day. What an eye opener. You notice differences right away!

Sting ray
Just go for a carbon fiber sting ray. That’s about the cheapest paddle that is worth paddling. Big move up from the metal shaft.

And then put her in a narrower boat. The Pungo 140 is a bath tub, she’ll be working too hard and wearing out too quickly until she gets a more efficient boat.

Not happening
The pungo is brand new and not a bad boat for our purpose. I enjoy paddling it as well. It is not that slow if that is what you are getting at but we are discussing paddles here.