Aquabound Manta Ray Carbon Paddle Review

by • February 21, 2014 • Paddle, Seat, and PFD reviews, Product ReviewsComments (0)5084

Manta Ray Carbon
MSRP: $189
Blade Width: 7.25 in (19 cm)
Blade Length: 18 in (45.72 cm)
Blade Surface Area: 104 sq in (671 Sq cm)
Shaft Type: 100% Carbon
Weight: 29.5 oz (836 g)
Shaft Color: Black
Blade Colors: Black
Drip Rings: Black, Heavy Duty
Ferrules: 0º & 60º – L or R

 

When I purchased my Jackson Kayaks Cuda (my first kayak) the dealer was offering 15% off any accessories I purchased at the same time as the boat. Being a noob, I asked, “Well what else do I need?” Turns out that’s the wrong question to ask a kayak dealer. Thirty minutes, a hatch insert, a cooler, a PFD, a paddle, and several extra hundred dollars later, I was finally the owner of my first fishing kayak.

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The Cuda recently after I purchased it.

The paddle I purchased that day was described as a “mid-level” paddle. It wasn’t as fancy as the “pro-level” paddle that cost almost $300, but it was a step up from the fiberglass “beginner” paddle that was my third option. That paddle was the Aquabound Manta Ray Carbon. I knew a little about paddles, but I was very green. The “must-haves” that I had been told to look for from my friends were that it must have a lightweight carbon shaft, large blades (the Cuda 14 is not small, nor is it light), and must have an adjustable ferrule. The Manta Ray Carbon fit the bill without the massive price tag of the fancier paddles I had looked at previously.

Fast forward two years later, and after countless trips, exposure to the sun, saltwater, and everything else, the Manta Ray Caron looks almost brand new. I use the paddle as a traditional paddle when navigating through the waters of the Texas coast, as a stand-up paddle while navigating the marshes and inshore waters of the gulf, and as a push pole to move my kayak along when it’s too shallow to paddle anymore. I could not possibly be happier with the performance and durability of this product. Whenever I am asked for advice on a paddle, it is always my first choice for kayak angling. Sure, you’ll see lots of people/vendors pushing more expensive alternatives, but they are loaded with bells and whistles that I just don’t need.

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The Cuda, fully rigged with my stand-up fishing bar.

The Manta is offered in shaft lengths from 210-250 cm and weighs in at a mere 29.5 oz. The paddle blades are 7.25″ x 18″ and have a total surface area of 104 sq in. The ferrules offer 0 degree (flat) and 60 degree angles to both the left and the right. The shaft also comes with heavy duty black rubber drip rings. The Manta Ray Carbon only comes in one color option for the blades: black. The Manta Lacks some of the “bells and whistles” of more expensive paddles, such as the adhesive ruler on the shaft. If that’s a serious concern for you, I recommend you buy a “RodRule”, throw it on the Manta, and call it a day. You’re welcome, I just saved you about $100. Oh, did I forget to mention that part? The Manta is CHEAP. You can pick one up for about $189, while comparable paddles may be $250 or even more. I’m pretty sure if you go into your local kayak shop and hold the Manta in one hand and a much more expensive paddle in the other, you’re not going to feel $100+ of difference in the paddles.

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The Manta Ray Carbon Paddle from AquaBound

So, my conclusion: The Manta Ray Carbon is a great paddle for all levels, beginner to pro. It’s got an entry-level price point combined with pro-level performance. It’s an all-around great paddle for all situations, it holds up under repeated use (read: abuse) and comes back for more. You really couldn’t ask for a better product. Bravo, Aquabound.

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