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 our Ray Series paddles to help you decide what options are best for you.
What’s the difference between the Manta Ray, Eagle Ray, and Sting Ray?
The biggest difference is the blade profile.
Manta Ray: The Manta Ray is the muscle, due to the large blade size. These blades are perfect for large paddlers, high-angle kayakers, and kayak anglers. The Manta Ray series features a large, oversized blade coming in at 104 square inches (676 sq. cm). The large blades are best for high cadence paddling, a bigger bite, superior control, and moving a lot of weight in a kayak.
Sting Ray: The best-selling and most popular blade shape is the Sting Ray. The Sting Ray features a midsize blade profile coming in at 87 square inches (585 sq. cm). It’s significantly less fatiguing than other models due to the size of the blade and less wind resistance to zap your energy. The midsize blades are ideal for the majority of relaxed flatwater kayakers, older demographics, low-angle paddlers, and those prioritizing efficiency over control.
Eagle Ray: The Eagle Ray is designed for low-angle paddlers who want the bite of large blades usually found on high-angle paddles. The long skinny blade is designed for a more relaxed paddling stroke with less wind resistance, but the larger blades provide more pull. Many coastal and long-distance kayakers prefer this shape, especially when managing wind and uncertain open water conditions.
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 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 likely 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.
Snap-Button: The snap-button ferrule is a very common ferrule system across the kayak paddle industry, especially at more economical price points. It consists of a simple mechanism that snaps into one of two or three holes drilled in the shaft, offset at 60° left and 60° right hand control.
Posi-Lok: The Posi-Lok™ ferrule system was developed by the engineers at Aqua Bound and offers several advantages over the snap-button ferrule:
- 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 increments.
- 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.
Should I get a 2-piece or 4-piece paddle?
A 4-pc paddle is great if you’re traveling as it can break down into 4 pieces and pack into virtually any bag, but for most paddlers the 2pc is ideal.
Small shaft or regular shaft?
The small shaft option is available on the Sting Ray Hybrid or Sting Ray Carbon model. Our standard shaft diameter is 1.18”. Those who may have a more petite build or smaller hands might prefer the reduced diameter of the small shaft at 1.12”. This is a pretty small difference and is really more about personal preference and comfort.
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.
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 they available in different colors?
The Aluminum and Fiberglass models come in a mango color for high-visibility and safety on the water. The Hybrid models are available in white. The properties of carbon material only allows for our carbon blades to be black. It’s important to know when working with resins as proprietary and durable as our abX nylon, there’s limited color options at our disposal. Cheaper plastic come in more color options as they prioritize look over stiffness or longevity. We require our paddles to perform and hold-up in most any paddling conditions, so you get what you pay for.
Why is the shaft textured like that?
The shaft is textured with ridges to prevent your hands from slipping. 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 going to be lighter and stiffer than plastic options. If you’re paddling long-distance or overnight trips, you’ll appreciate the performance of those models.