Aqua Bound’s Manta Ray vs. Whiskey Kayak Paddles

6-minute read

Our Manta Ray and Whiskey kayak paddles are both high-angle paddles designed for power and speed. Let’s compare the two models to see how they’re different…

Aqua Bound's Whiskey and Manta Ray blades "Manta Ray vs. Whiskey"

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Blade Size

While both models are high-angle paddles, the Manta Ray has slightly bigger blades—102.5 square inches compared to the Whiskey’s 95 square inches. There’s quite a difference in blade shape, though, as you can see from the above photo.

The Manta Ray’s blades are longer and slightly narrower at 7.5 x 18 inches while the Whiskey is 7.8 x 16 inches. Here’s why:

The Manta Ray is designed for a variety of high-angle or loaded-boat situations: for flatwater paddlers with heavily-loaded kayaks, high-energy paddlers, packrafters and kayak anglers. It’s a universal large profile for these types of uses.

The Whiskey’s blades are the true high-angle shape sought after by sea and whitewater kayakers. The short-plus-wide combo in the paddle’s blades is ideal to edge around the gunwall of the kayak for optimal forward propulsion when the blade is closest to the kayak.

kayak surfer with aqua-bound's whiskey paddle


Kayak surfers love the Whiskey! (photo courtesy of @pete.lavigne)

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Blade Materials and Colors

The Manta Ray’s blades are crafted with nylon reinforcement and designed to take a beating. This gas-assisted nylon resin is the most durable plastic option on the market. These blades have a thin profile and sharp dihedral, so they're lightweight and flutter-free in the water. 

And kayakers can take their Manta Ray into the unknown with no concerns about the blades holding up in any conditions. Performance + durability + value.

Carbon fiber is black by nature, so the Manta Ray Carbon’s blades are black. The colors that work best with the nylon resins are limited, too. We’ve developed several colors that come through the cleanest and offer the most consistency for the Hybrid, Fiberglass and Aluminum models. Currently, they’re available in Sunset Red and Electric Green for high-visibility and to match many kayak designs.

The Whiskey’s blades are compression molded to provide the lightest performance. They’re truly designed to reduce fatigue over long distances. They’re not as strong as the Manta Ray blades, but are still tough enough to handle most paddling conditions. Performance + weight savings + a lifetime of paddling.

As with the Manta Ray Carbon, the Whiskey Carbon is only available in sleek black, limited to the color of carbon.

The Whiskey Fiberglass blades are made of compression-molded fiberglass. We’re able to offer gorgeous color patterns by including two layers of silk fabric in the mold. These paddles are available in Northern Lights, Fuego, Green Tide and Sunwave.

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Shaft Materials and Styles

With the Manta Rays, as you move from fiberglass to carbon you get noticeable  upgrades in weight, strength and overall performance. You can take longer paddling trips with less fatigue. 

As you go up in price, the shaft material becomes more expensive to manufacture but offers substantially better value to the user. 

The 100% carbon fiber shaft on the Hybrid and Carbon models isn’t the most expensive carbon out there, but it offers consistent performance and doesn't cut any corners like blended shafts do.

The carbon shafts with the Whiskey—now we’re talking elite levels of performance. This is the same carbon fiber used to make jets, Olympic ski poles and road racing bikes. This shaft is designed to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio and keep you on the water longer with less effort.

Besides the standard straight shaft, the Whiskey is also available in a bent shaft model for supremely ergonomic strokes.

bikerafter with aqua-bound's whiskey paddle

Packrafting on fast-moving rivers is a high-angle sport (photo courtesy of @thebikeraftguide)

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Ferrule Systems

A kayak paddle’s ferrule system is the way the two halves of the paddle are connected in the middle.

The Manta Ray is available with our Posi-Lok™ ferrule system for unlimited feathering angles or the adjustable-length Versa-Lok™ ferrule system that adds 15 cm of flexibility. Both systems are made with a carbon fiber ferrule insert for extra strength and minimal weight. Our most affordable model, the fiberglass Manta Ray, comes with a snap-button ferrule.

The Whiskey only comes with the Posi-Lok™ ferrule system. In this model, the Posi-Lok™ is constructed of 100% carbon, which is another way we can keep the weight down.

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Weight

The Manta Ray is a very nice mid-range paddle while still offering as much durability as you’ll ever need. The carbon model weighs just 29.75 ounces, the lightest high-angle injection molded paddle available.

From there, the hybrid model weighs 31 ounces and the fiberglass weighs 34 ounces. You can see how the materials used make quite a difference.

Aqua Bound's Manta Ray Hybrid paddle in Sunset Red
The Manta Ray in Sunset Red (photo courtesy of Headwaters Kayak)

Now look at the Whiskey

The Whiskey Carbon with the straight shaft weighs a mere 23 ounces! Light as a feather. The bent shaft model is just 25.5 ounces. The fiberglass models are 26 ounces and 28.5 ounces.

Manta Ray vs. Whiskey: Price

The materials used and the weight differences are what make up the price difference in these paddles.

The Manta Ray Carbon 2-piece paddle is $224.95. The Whiskey Carbon 2-piece straight shaft paddle with the Posi-Lok™ ferrule is $399.95. For a more affordable price point that still has the benefit of a lightweight carbon shaft, the Manta Ray Hybrid 2-piece is $174.95.

See the Manta Ray models.
See the Whiskey models.

Which is for You—Whiskey or Manta Ray?

We recommend all paddlers buy the lightest-weight paddle they can afford. As the paddle goes up in price, the weight will begin to come down as more expensive paddles use higher-quality components. 

The rule of thumb: every ounce of weight saved equals 100 less pounds carried in an hour. So if your paddle is four ounces lighter and you paddle for five hours, you just saved yourself 2,000 pounds of paddle in a day. 

solo canoeist using Aqua Bound's Manta Ray Hybrid

(photo courtesy of Ken Whiting)

The Aqua Bound brand is known for offering the lightest-weight and best overall value at every given price point. Other paddle brands may offer different bells and whistles, but our track record has proven you get what you pay for.

Got more questions? Get in touch with our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team help you choose your new paddle today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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