Read reviews for the Manta Ray Hybrid by Aqua-Bound as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
Bought a new kayak for the first time back in April and thought I'd treat myself to a better than aluminum quality paddle.
Since I'm 6'1" and I bought a fairly wide kayak, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 140, I bought a 230cm Manta Ray Hybrid blade. What an improvement over the "includes a free paddle" style! I love the Posi-Lock system, having all those options in feathering gave me the chance to really try out almost every degree before I found just the right amount of feather for most circumstances for me (0 degree, straight as can be).
As I put more miles on the paddle and got used to it, I found out a couple of things. First, I don't need a 230cm paddle (not their fault). I find a high angle to be the most comfortable when just cruising along. Second, the hybrid blade has a fair amount of bend to it. As I paddled I could feel the tips fluttering in the water and robbing me of propulsion. I guess this means that I've outgrown it.
Currently I'm in the market for something MUCH stiffer. A friend let me check out his Ty Warp 215-225 cm full carbon paddle and while I wasn't a fan of the extra weight, I LOVED the lack of flutter while paddling.
At the moment I'm torn between a Werner Cyprus or an Eddyline Mid-Swift in Carbon. Guess I need to check the reviews.
This is a great, high-angle touring paddle for active paddlers or rough conditions. I switch between it and Accent Lenai (low angle) depending on conditions and for variety.
While not as light as a pure carbon paddle, the Manta is more durable and still very light. Other than a few minor blemishes, it looks and performs as new. The shaft and blade is stiff, and I can detect no significant flutter. My only minor gripe is that the shaft is just a bit wide for me, but that's understandable: I'm an average-size paddler, and this paddle is intended for somewhat larger paddlers.
Though I don't feather, the Posi-Lock ferrule system is precise, durable, simple, and entirely wiggle-free. Unlike many other ferrule systems, it's also very easy to clean and less susceptible get jammed.
I'll conclude by arguing this paddle perfectly illustrates the 85/50 rule: Generally, you can get a product 85% as good as the top of the line for about 50% less. At list price of about $200, Aquabound carbon/nylon paddles are about 85% as good as $400+ paddles. Unless you must have the lightest paddle, this is a great paddle at a great price.
I was searching for the perfect blend of lightweight, efficient (flutter-free) design, and the durability that I require from a paddle that wouldn't cost a small fortune. (I tend to be a bit rough on my paddles) The Manta Ray not only offers an exceptional 104 square inch blade design, but it's ultra-light abX resin is tough stuff!
This flutter-free blade allows me to really churn out some speed and feathers beautifully thanks to the very clever Posi-Loc ferrule system. It adjusts from 0 to 60 degrees, left or right, instantly and easily.
What I really love about this paddle is ergonomically designed shaft. It feels so right in my hands, typical of the highest quality paddles I've used. It's not too small as with low end paddles, and not too large, so it can accommodate a wide range of paddlers. Hard to find a paddle this comfortable without spending nearly twice the price!
I paddle a 17' P&H sea kayak in big open water; Atlantic Ocean, large lakes, bays, and rivers, and seemingly always in high winds and chop. The Manta Ray not only gets me cruising at top speed with ease, but it provides the necessary power and control that's needed when conditions change on the open water. This paddle does it all; looks great, feels great, and won't hurt your budget.
I rate it a 9 out of 10 simply because the ferrule system is a bit large, and a different composition than the shaft, so I can't be sure how this will be perform in extreme weather (blazing hot summer sun/heat or freezing winter morning temps) I would prefer a smaller (diameter) ferrule if possible, and perhaps a slightly stiffer ferrule material. But with a 2-year warranty, and very reasonable price, I'm not terribly concerned.
I truly believe this is an exceptional value and a design that is well matched for most high-angle paddlers.
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.
Despite the problems with the locks/connections, I think this is the best value (for graphite) paddle available for a sit on top or sea kayak. The blade generates a ton of power, the shaft is stiff and very light weight
I've owned Werner, Mitchell, Bending Branches and Galasport paddles for both kayak and canoe