Most Recent Reviews
When I moved up from a ten foot rec boat to the Whistler, on my first test paddle I noticed a looser feel. The first few degrees of tilt have little resistance, but as I tilt the boat farther the resistance builds. It is actually difficult to go all the way over, the only times I have were in rescue practice with the paddling club. The boat is fairly fast, and tracks well, but with a bit of edging turns easily. The secondary stability is so high, that with a spray skirt on and a bracing sweep, I have edged so far over that the rim of the cockpit has been over two inches below the surface. It will comfortably cruise between 3 1/2 to 4 miles per hour (GPD reading), and I did 6.2 for 25 seconds on flat water with no wind.
On the negative side, entering large waves or power boat wakes, the bow slides down a bit, requiring steering correction (The Storm does less of this due to longer deeper "V" at the bow) but taking wakes full broadside is easy to deal with as the soft chines react rather slowly to the angle of the water.
It is heavy. At 65 pounds the roof rack on my 4X4 truck seems high.
I am rating it high, an 8, as I believe anything can be improved, and while okay, the seat could be better, and foot supports a little bigger (top to bottom) for more comfort on long paddles. And the trim tape around the hull more durable.
The Manta Ray is 13 ounces lighter than the one it replaced, and takes hard strokes without a trace of flutter. I chose the hybrid for price and weight. An all-carbon version is only three ounces lighter and cost a lot more. Further, I tend to be hard on equipment, I push off from gravel with the paddle and lean rather hard on it when entering and exiting the boat. The reinforced ABX blades are claimed to be better suited for this than carbon. The large blades move the boat rapidly when side sculling, and give fast reversal when I need to back ferry away from a strainer.
All in all I am very satisfied with the paddle, and rate it a nine. I rarely rate anything ten, as almost anything can be improved.
All in all, it does what I expect for a boat in its class. I carry a spare paddle, a single blade for threading though heavy cattails and reeds in the rear deck bungies. On the down side, the seatback seems too high,, and the foot room a little tight, although the foot rests adjust easily. I am rating it high for its class, but it is not suitable for big water.