Aquabound Manta Ray vs. wing

Am I losing any power by using a Manta Ray instead of a wing. Seems to me the Manta Ray has a pretty solid bite on the water. Could a wing possibly give more. I have never used a wing and am just curious as to how they compare.

It’s not just size

– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 10:22 AM EST –

It is also the shape and the motion/trajectory thru the water that makes a wing more efficient in the water. Airplane/bird wings have the shape they do for the same reason.

Wing will always give more power than non-wing with the same surface, even if both are used in their optimum way.

Check the web site for some articles on the subject (they sell both types of paddles). Read stuff here:

EDIT: forgot to say that even a paddle like a mid-wing sized Epic would be too much power for most people in most boats, unless they want to go at a very high rate of exercise or plan to race (and do it in a fast boat). A smaller size wing would be much better for touring or long-distance paddling.

Not sure what a "Manta Ray " is,
but if it is just another name for a Euro touring paddle, than yes a wing will improve your speed.

You won’t find many racers not using wings.



I have both

– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 6:01 PM EST –

A Manta Ray (Aquabound) and a small to mid-sized wing that I recently won from a Current Designs photo contest.

I love my Manta Ray because it has a bigger bite but I paddle with a guy who has a huge paddle from Australia that he's had for 30 years. He always beats me in a 5-mile race - he is in better paddling shape but I also attribute it to his paddle.

Well I got the wing from Current Designs and it didn't help at all and felt funny. Another friend sent me a link to a "How to use a wing paddle" site. Being a typical male I didn't want/need instruction but I looked it up anyway. Basically, you use the wing with an aggressive (high stroke) just like the Manta Ray but here is what changed everything for me: instead of paddling straight along side the kayak, with a wing enter near the kayak and exit out from the side - like a "V".

Next time we raced, I kept up and actually edged my buddy out in the first 5 miles. He beat me with little margin on the second 5 miles.

I used the wing paddle in a CD Solstice and it works great but I'd like more bite. This last weekend I used the wing in my Scupper Pro with the correct technique and that kayak was flying. I still would like to try a mid-sized or larger wing. Not sure what size mine is with blades around 6 inches wide and 18.5 inches long.

The wing is now my main paddle with the Manta Ray as my back up. I feel the wing makes you use your torso more and with the same effort as with the Manta Ray, propels you faster.

I would not have bought a wing - too expensive and I was fine with what I had. Since I won it, I now have it in my arsenal.

Thanks for the advice. I was paddling
with my Manta Ray paying really close attention to any slippage in the water of the blade. I noticed none. Then I did a few sprints to see if I lost any bite and noticed none. So my next thought was why are wings so popular in racing. If the blade is fully immersed and you can apply full stregnth without it slipping isn’t that all you need?

I’ no expert but

– Last Updated: Nov-16-08 9:53 AM EST –

since all the racers use wings (I think) there must be something to them. It makes sense that they displace more water all else being equal but I agree that the force needed to pull them thru the water must go up for more displacement.

The thing I noticed with my wing is due to the technique - start near kayak and and away from kayak, it requires me to use my torso all the time so I am kept in form. This makes it feel like I am getting more power with the sdame or less amount of energy.

Then again, I am no expert and just like to go touring without getting too much involved with all the "proper" ways to do things. I am a simple kayaker who goes pretty fast and far and I don't know why - it just happens.

BTW: I'm making a Greenland paddle - not because of its mystique, etc, etc, but because I want to make one from wood - I like the art. I will try to use it but highly doubt it will replace any of my paddles. Maybe as a spare. It just looks cool and I like the looks of the wood.

I will play with it to see if I like it - I tried one once and didn't like it but I see so many others touting how it saves their arms. I am not convinced that a GP posseses mystical properties that ancient people figured out. They made the paddles that way because that was the size of the wood they could find.

Probably the easiest…
…and simplist way to state this is that I didn’t realize just how much my large bladed euro was slipping until I started using a wing.

Not the wood size myth again!
Large wood and excellent joinery methods were both available to the Inuit pre-white man. It’s that size/shape (range) because it works.

How well you like the GP depends highly an how well you shape and size it - and then on how you use it.

Since you have very limited experience with them, generally unfavorable impressions at this point, and obviously low expectations - I’m betting you’ll prove yourself right.

Seen it many times before. I’d love to be wrong. They’re not for everyone/everything - but when they are, they’re a lot more capable and enjoyable to use than you seem to think possible.

I knew I’d get a response to my GP
comment! Sorry, it was too tempting. Like I said I don’t know enough about them and haven’t given them a chance - but I will. There are too many well respected paddlers who love the GP and use them as an alternate or main paddle - especially on long hauls.

Unfortunately I’ve met several “elitists” who were “too proper” and use the GP to get more credibility and talk about them like they should be revered. I just want to go far and have fun - and I will try new things and sometimes I even learn something (like with the wing paddle). I just don’t get caught up in all the specifics - I just do it.

I still feel I may be right about the GP being smaller due to that was the biggest piece of wood they could find. I’ll do a little research so I’m not too naive about it. Appreciate any links that you find too so we can set the record straight!

When I watched my
Euro as it goes through the water, there is some cavitation behind it. And this is with an ONNO F.A.S.T. Tour paddle. When I tried a Wing, the cavitation was almost non-existant.

It’s my understanding that the cavitation will decrease the efficiency of the paddle.

antoher advantage o wing paddles
is that they force you to learn and concentrate on technique. The good news is that they “tutor” you themselves - you will definitley get some quick feedback from a poorly used wing!!!

Excellent comment and true


If I use good technique with the Manta
Ray and good technique with a wing what am I going to see for an improvement if I switch to a wing. The reason I ask is that I have been working on technique and am to the point where the only improvement I see coming in the future is to work on my fitness. But if a wing will help then I will look into one.

They don’t compare

I have used both and they are two distinctly different.

I paddle with a 220 Manta Ray and it is a great paddle which I use on extreme trips (851 miles) and on a daily basis but it is quite different than a wing paddle. The Manta Ray takes a great bite of water but the style/shape of the wing is much stronger. I would use a wing for racing but not for an everyday paddle.

If you ever get the opportunity to try one give it a go but start out slowly and enjoy the potentialof the wing before paddling fast. It takes so time adjusting to the new action. And also get someone to show you how to use one properly because they have a different stroke pattern.

Enjoy your Manta Ray

Paddlin’ on


end use
You might not always get more “bite” with a wing compared to a large, flat blade, but the “bite” will have a different character.

Most “bite”, or thrust, from paddles is from drag, with a larger surface area obviously providing more. All paddles can also be manipulated to produce lift, as well, although the direction of force may not always be the most appropriate…

Wing paddles do produce significant lift in addition to drag, and the forces do resolve into the correct direction. What this means is that a wing will not slip sternwards as much as a larger flat blade.

Perhaps of greater note, wing paddles exhibit absolutely no flutter (“alternating vortex shedding”). While it is possible that one can manipulate any paddle in such a way to reduce flutter, there is, IMO, still a lot of residual control the paddler has to do on any non-wing. Most of such control becomes unconscious; it is only after going back to one’s usual paddle immediately after using a wing that one notices how much you normally have to do.

Indeed, the manner of holding onto the paddle can be different with a wing. I normally have my lower hand held open, with the shaft held in the hooked fingertips (for a brief time, sprint paddlers experimented with shafts nearly pencil diameter).

Will this help you? Depends…wings are often claimed to be 2%-5% “faster”, although what “faster” means in a sprint race may not translate into paddling at 3-4knots.

My wife prefers using her wing most of the time, even on long trips with a loaded boat at touring speeds. She feels it is more efficient for her (5’3", 99lb, but not slow), even in winds up to Force 5! For me, I don’t really like touring with a wing, despite my racing background. Personal preference. The lack of slip, in touring situations, may be tough on joints.

There is one place where wings will be of decided advantage. If you paddle your boat close to hull speed, a wing will be a significant advantage. At those speeds, the boat will decelerate very quickly between strokes (which is also why technique and timing become nearly equal with fitness at those speeds). A wing, properly used, will be more noticeably efficient than anything else then.


Very good explanation

– Last Updated: Nov-18-08 11:04 AM EST –

Got to agree with most of it and it was very well put.

I have been paddling the wing for the second half of this year and it is always amazing to see how much more solid and planted it is in the water even compared to large poewrful blades like the Werner Ikelos, which I just had a chance to evaluate briefly before deciding that there's overall no benefit for me owning it at present and sold it.

If the power of a wing is too much for touring, I think one should get a smaller size. Then it does not feel so overpoewring yet still maintains most of its original characteristics and efficiency in the water, with the added benefit of less wind resistance upwind due to the slightly smaller surface.

I'm still in the beginning stages of learning a Greenland Paddle and I begin to see that this is an alternative to the wing for me more than an euro paddle could ever be.

The GP does very well most of the things a wing is poor at. The only thing that a Euro blade does better than a wing is really advanced control strokes, but these are just as well if not better done with a GP.

I can see the case for a fat short euro blade in shallow waters or white water, where a GP would not get enough depth to get enough bite. For this, I'd consider a euro blade over the GP though if the goal is to just go downstream in a not too twisty fashion, a wing works just as good there.

Both a GP and Euro are less optimal for forward stroke than a wing, except in very high winds where the GP is better.

So to me, the ideal set of paddles for now is a GP and a wing of the right size for either touring or active training.

Yes, you will
Check the two posts below for more explanation and if you have not, read the Epic web site write-up on wing paddles that explains why you would see an improvement if you use it right and have the right cockpit to allow you to use it right.

Good points
Should also add that the wing will also work on his fitness. The technique takes better advantage of core power (even using “same” wing technique with both paddles), but you are still supplying all that power and it’s not a free ride.

In a kayak that is narrow enough to compliment a wing - and it’s cockpit outfitted to let you move enough - and if you regularly paddle above 4 knots as an average touring speed - you’ll adapt a lot easier and get more out of the differences.

Might expect 3-6% from the paddle - with potential for a good bit more as you get more fit (why many say 10%).

Working on fitness will always yeild more bang for the buck. Gear upgrades (new toys!) are best used as motivation to do the work and get the most back from it.