Durable, lightweight and affordable—the Ray Series kayak paddles by Aqua Bound represent some of the best values in the industry. We compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions on this series to help you decide what options are best for you.
What’s the difference between the Manta Ray and Sting Ray Kayak Paddles?
The biggest difference is the blade profile:
The Manta Ray provides the horsepower and muscle, due to its large blade size. The Manta Ray series features an oversized blade coming in at 102.5 square inches (661 sq cm).
These shorter, wide blades are best for high-cadence paddling, a bigger bite, superior control and moving a lot of weight in a kayak. Large paddlers, high-angle kayakers and kayak anglers will love this series.
Our best-selling and most popular blade shape is the Sting Ray. The Sting Ray features a longer, more slender blade profile coming in at 92.5 square inches (597 sq cm).
It’s significantly less fatiguing than other models due to the size of the blade that offers less wind resistance to zap your energy. These blades are ideal for most relaxed flatwater kayakers, older demographics, low-angle paddlers and those who prioritize efficiency over control.
What’s the difference between the Carbon and Hybrid models?
The difference between the carbon and hybrid models is the blade material.
Hybrid blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades (key word there being “fiberglass”). The black blades on the carbon models are made from abX carbon-reinforced nylon blades and are a few ounces lighter than the Hybrid blades. The properties of carbon also make it more durable and stiffer than fiberglass.
Both the Hybrid (White or Sunset Red blades) and Carbon (Black blades) models are known for being the lightest options available at their given price points. Compared to what else is available on the market, you’ll also appreciate the tight fit, durable blades and longevity these paddles offer.
What is a ferrule and which option is best for me?
The ferrule system is how the two halves of a kayak paddle fasten together to become one piece. A ferrule makes feathering your paddle possible (we’ll touch on that later) and able to break-down for transport and storing.
Our Ray series kayak paddles come with two ferrule options: Posi-Lok™ and Versa-Lok™.
Posi-Lok™ Ferrule System
The Posi-Lok™ ferrule system was developed by our engineers at Aqua Bound. It offers several advantages:
- The parts are constructed of fiberglass, which is much stronger than plastic and won’t rust like metal. This is especially helpful in saltwater.
- It offers multiple feathering angles in 15º
- It’s extremely easy to use and adjust, even as you’re paddling.
- It fits tightly with no wiggle.
- Since it’s an external ferrule, sand and debris can’t collect inside your paddle shaft. That means less maintenance for you.
Versa-Lok™ Ferrule System
The Versa-Lok™ ferrule system was also developed by our engineers at Aqua Bound, and is our newest ferrule (introduced with our 2023 product line). The biggest difference with Versa-Lok™ is its adjustable-length feature—up to 15 cm longer:
- It has a 15-cm adjustable length. This is ideal for paddlers with boats of different widths, or if others will be using the same paddle.
- Its components are made of nylon, plastic and stainless steel, so there’s no possibility of corrosion in salt water conditions.
- Like Posi-Lok™, it offers infinite feathering options to help you out in windy conditions.
- The locking mechanism is easy to use and ensures a tight, secure fit.
Should I get a 2-piece or 4-piece paddle?
A 4-piece paddle is great for avid travelers, as it can break down into 4 pieces and pack into virtually any bag, like a check-on bag on a airplane or a backpack.
For most people, though, a 2-piece paddle works just fine.
Are the shafts ovalized?
All our kayak paddle shafts are ovalized—they’re shaped to fit more comfortably in your hands than basic round shafts (commonly found on more novice/recreational paddles).The ovalized shaft also lets you feel the orientation of the blades when they’re feathered or when one blade is in the water.
Learn more: How We Design Our Kayak & SUP Paddle Shafts
Do these paddles float?
All Aqua Bound paddles come reinforced with foam plugs and corks that trap air inside the shaft, keeping it afloat and preventing leaks for the lifetime of the paddle.
Are the Ray Series paddles available in different colors?
The Manta Ray and Sting Ray Fiberglass models come with the blades in either Sunset Red or Electric Green, for high-visibility and safety on the water.
The Hybrid models are available in White or Sunset Red.
The Carbon models are available in Black only, since the properties of carbon material only allow for black.
NOTE: When working with resins as proprietary and durable as our abX nylon, we have limited color options. Cheaper plastics come in more colors, as they prioritize look over stiffness or longevity. We require our paddles to perform in virtually all paddling conditions, so we choose durability over more color choices.
Why is the shaft textured like that?
The shaft is textured with ridges to prevent your hands from slipping, especially when both your hands and the shaft is wet.
For those who prefer the paddle shaft to be smoother, customers have found success using a light grit sandpaper to gently remove some of the edge of the ribbed shaft.
Should I upgrade from the Ray Series to the Whiskey or Tango models?
The main difference between the Ray Series and our performance models (the Whiskey and Tango) is the blade material.
The Whiskey and Tango come standard with compression-molded blades, which are lighter and stiffer than the less-expensive blades we use on the Ray Series. If you regularly paddle long-distances and do overnight trips, you’ll appreciate the performance of those models.