Aquabound Carbon vs. Hybrid blades

Hi, I need help to choose between a Manta Ray Carbon and a Hybrid.
Weight is not a problem, budget… so so (but I can reach the more expensive one, if justified)
I need some clarification upon performance and/or stiffness. I have an Eagle Ray Carbon and it is a really good paddle, but it really doesn’t feel super-stiff when paddling, in fact the blade tips flex a bit. So I’m not sure if the difference in money is worth it.

I mean, if it’s just a couple of ounces of weight, I prefer the fiber one which is quite a bit cheaper. But if I lose performance, I prefer the carbon one.

I live in a small town in Argentina where it is impossible to compare them, so I appreciate if you can help me. And maybe your experience can help others in a similar situation than me. Thank you!

I used to own an Aquabound Splat. This was a whitewater paddle and had the hybrid blades. I found it to be a very good paddle and the blades were tuff. Handled the abuse, and I never worried about having to baby it. Another plus was its price.

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The blades on the Manta Ray carbon and hybrid paddles are injection molded nylon with chopped up fibers of carbon or fiberglass to add some strength and abrasion resistance to the blades. My guess is that the nylon provides the primary stiffness since the fibers aren’t long or interwoven. So the stiffness probably isn’t much different between the two.


While that’s true of their lower end models. they do make actual fiberglass and woven carbon fiber bladed paddles. When he said Manta Ray Carbon I assumed he meant the Manta Ray with carbon blade, not the reinforced plastic one.


Thank you very much, both comments are relevant and useful. I referred the “cheap” (not in Argetina, because our exchange difference) Manta Ray with nylon injected blades

To make the full jump to FG & Carbon composite blades/shaft in the Aquabound line you need to look at the Whiskey and Tango models.


Fiberglass Carbon composite paddles = " mucha guita " and as Marshall said, you would have to look at the Whiskey or Tango paddles. After paddling with a Manta Ray Carbon, a reasonably priced, very good paddle I much prefer my Whiskey paddle in the conventional, fiberglass version. It is a high angle design but is stiff and lighter but maybe more delicate when hitting rocks than the Manta Ray. The Whiskey costs less than the high end carbon version paddles. ($315 vs $399).

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Thank you all, I apologize, I guess the topic title is not well expressed… My doubt is between carbon and FG reinforced nylon blades.
I’m sure that Tango and Whiskey models are a real step up from Manta Ray, but I want to compare between low end models, not the higher ones. Thank you :+1::+1::+1:

As I’m understanding your question, you are asking which is stiffer/better, glass reinforced nylon or carbon reinforced nylon?

In general carbon fiber is stiffer and fiberglass more flexible. But I question how much difference you would see in a fiber reinforced nylon paddle.

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I have used an Aquabound String Ray Carbon paddle with carbon reinforced nylon blades for five years and about 1,500 miles. This is the low-angle version of the Manta Ray Carbon. The paddle grips the water very well and is as tough as a battle ax. I mostly hug the shores and inevitably the blades occasionally hit submerged rocks and the paddle must double as a pole or pry to free my kayak. There are many surface scratches but it continues to perform beautifully with no apparent loss in strength.
The Aquabound website indicates the Manta Ray Carbon is 2.2 ounces lighter than the Manta Ray Hybrid. If you are strong and do not plan to paddle long distances, you probably will not feel the difference and will save $50 dollars.
Check the Aquabound guide on paddle length. Too long or too short and can contribute to paddling discomfort. If you have relatively long legs and a short torso for your standing height, perhaps go down one size from what they suggest, and if you have a relatively tall torso, perhaps go up one size.


Thank you one and all for your kind responses, I probably will leave to the universe the final decision, since both versions are quite similar in terms of stifness as you all remark… In a couple of weeks arrives to my country a new stock of Aquabound paddles with posilok ferrules, I will check which Manta Ray version is available and go for the best one my budget allows these day, cause durability is also important since I’m planning to use the paddle on rivers and rocky creeks😉

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For my first “real” paddle (above the OEM aluminum paddles that came with my IK) I had to make the same decision: Aquabound hybrid (carbon shaft/ glass re-enforced nylon blade) for $150 or for $50 more the carbon blade version. the Posilok adds $10 for either version. I was tempted to just bite the bullet and get the carbon + posilok to not miss anything. I decided to be cheap and just get the hybrid version without posilok for the following reasons:

  • the carbon version isn’t the real carbon anyway (as mentioned above)
  • Either version will be much better than my aluminum nylon paddles
  • As a noob, I still have to figure out what length and shape works best for me - so at some point I upgrade anyway.
  • As a noob I likely don’t care about feathering. That turned out to be true and I’m glad to not have the posilok
  • My first IK is 36" wide. I knew this won’t be my last boat. So I wanted to figure out what boat I finally end up with before investing in a really good paddle for $400. Narrower boat requires shorter paddle etc.
  • I may or may not damage the paddle scraping on rocks etc.

Obviously nothing wrong with getting the more expensive one. But there is the ladder that adds $50 and some improvement, another $100, and more improvement, another $100, and some more improvement. Just make an executive decision what to buy now and use for a year, then with more knowledge you upgrade, or not. What you buy now, can be your spare paddle later on.

For me personally the decision to not go crazy with he kayak paddle turned out to be good since I decided to get an iSUP and use that standing with a SUP paddle, and sitting with the kayak paddle. So I may only use the kayak paddle 20-40% of the time. No need to go crazy for the kayak paddle. YMMV.


Thank you :+1::+1::+1:

You improve immediately if you use $100 increments but it quickly becomes less bang for the buck as the cost increases.

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I have the Manta Ray carbon. I managed to find it for the same price as the hybrid, so I bought it. It’s a really good paddle with a good amount of power. I also have a Sting Ray hybrid. At a one ounce difference, I can’t feel it. Not sure how much difference an additional ounce of weight would feel.

If you find a good deal on the carbon, go for it. If you can’t and want to save the $50, I don’t think you will be hurting much with the slight increase in weight. It’s a great paddle either way you go.

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For my Pungo, the Manta Ray Carbon ( recently purchased from Outdoorplay -$168, free shipping) and for my Tsunami, a glass Aquabound Whiskey (from Kittery Trading Post) ; both have the Posi-lock, a much appreciated feature.

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Hey you guys, thank you very much for your kind and useful responses, I just pre-ordered a 2.30 Manta Hybrid Posi-Lok, I hope in a couple of weeks I will receive it at home. I will tell you after testing it!
Here there is a $50 money difference between carbon and hybird, but same price for snap button or posilok, so I prefered to wait a bit while the “posi” version arrives to my local dealer, since the system is great, easy to use and with a strong feel.
Thank you very much, again!

I’ve used a number of brands and styles of paddles for open water kayaking. More important than weigh is a design that fits your paddling style: proper length, straight/bent shaft, round/oval, small/large diameter, stiff/flex (I personally dislike flex, while others feel that its easier on muscles. Flex seems to be a waste of energy, but must admit, that notion is probably hyperbole), large power blade vs. longer touring style blade with smaller square inch surface.

Don’t invest big money in a paddle until you use an entry level paddle for a while. I own several Aqua Bound Sting Rays and Manta Rays for guest paddlers. Both are very nice paddles, but my personal preference is Warner paddles. Differences are often so subtle, you have to use one for several months, then switch back and forth to notice the difference. That’s how I found out. I often trade my favorite paddle to a guest paddler. They get to try out a high end paddle, and I become reacquainted with the low end paddle. The difference is striking to me, but the novice paddler rarely notices anything but the light weight. In the end, they almost always prefers the low end paddle. The only exception was my sister who usually partnered with me on trips. I’d get a new paddle and switch off with her for at least an hour. Within several trips, she wanted to keep the better paddle.

Light weight is a real delight that you truely only appreciate on a long trip. A few ounces is nothing to sway your choice, but I found that the lighter paddle also incorporated better blade design. The superior blade design is often incorporated in both power face blades and touring blades of a brand’s high end paddle group. Some paddlers like foam core blades, while others don’t; similarly, some have a preference for reinforced plastic blades or fiberglass, for durability, over the lightness of carbon. The main advantage to paddling with a group is that you can trade off paddles, which is the best way to test a paddle’s features. The owner can point out charachteristics and where the paddle excels. Don’t be offended because someone doesn’t agree that your paddle is the greatest. I paddle occasionally with my Nephew who initially used an aluminum shaft paddle. He tried my Werner several times. Then he told me about the great paddle he bought, a Manta Ray. Yeah, nice paddle, I used one for a while, three paddle upgrades ago. We traded paddles several times, but we both prefer our own favorite paddle. Manta Ray is a good paddle.

Discussing paddles with far more experience kayaker, a few of them use my paddle to stake tomatoes plant and pole beans, preferring a paddle with more surface area, while I’m looking for less. It’s personal and depends on how your muscle group works, your paddling cadence and the water you paddle.

If anyone missed the earlier posts on “Convinced Me to Buy a Better Paddle” or Aqua Bound vs. Werner" or the Greenland Paddles and Carbon Paddles, you’ll find a load of solid information and some of the best discussion on the forum.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate the time you took for your detailed response. I will read the post you suggested :+1::+1::+1:


You will get much more from those posts. I plan to go through them again, because the replies were from some of the best of the forum members. I need to go back because I’ve gain experience and the posts will.mean more now.