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Reviews for Aqua-Bound Stingray kayak paddle


Rated: 8.33/10 Based On: 39 Reviews

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09-21-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Many years ago I realized that your most important purchase if you want to be serious in kayaking is to get a high quality paddle. My go-to stick is a bent shaft Werner Cyprus for kayaking. But I also have an old beat-up Old Town Discovery 119 solo canoe that I would like to try with a double blade paddle and my kayak paddles are too short. I wanted a 240 cm paddle for the canoe but did not want to buy junk because I know I would not be happy with a clunky aluminum shaft paddle. So I used a gift card from my birthday and put it towards an Aqua Bound Stingray with the new Posi-Lok ferrule.

It is a good quality low angle paddle. It is light enough that its 240 cm length does not feel cumbersome. The Posi-Lok system seems very solid. There is no looseness in the ferrule and it snaps together soundly and then comes apart just as easily. The blade has been whacked against a couple of riverside (and river bottom) rock to no ill effect suggesting that it will stand up to normal abuse. The surface finish on the shaft seems fine and does not appear to lead to excess rubbing or blisters.

Within its price range, this seems like an excellent paddle. Within its price range I would give this paddle a 10 - compared to the best that are out there I will give an 8.

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04-21-2014
Submitted by: RFSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We just recently decided to stop renting and own our gear. The Aqua-Bound paddle was recommended by the local outfitter and has proven to be an excellent choice. We mostly Kayak local rivers and lakes in Northern Florida but we also RV 4-5 months a year and take the Kayaks with us.
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07-24-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Bought the Sting-Ray paddle to replace a cheaper aluminum-shaft paddle I had bee using. Much lower swing weight makes longer paddles much easier. The paddle seems stiff and efficient. Overall, I give it a 10.
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07-24-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have a number of Aqua-Bound paddles, largely because they seem to represent a good value proposition (quality and design versus cost) compared to the competition. The Stingray is my 'light day' paddle for those occasions where my wrists are a little tender or I just don't want to move as much water per stroke. Generally I prefer a paddle with a bit more surface than the Ray, but it has it's place. It would be a good choice for smaller or younger paddlers... or those who prefer higher tempo.

I have never had a problem with the sticking ferrules (my good fortune)mentioned by others. The ferrules do fit more precisely (a good thing?) than other brands. I paddle exclusively in salt water and always 'break' and wipe down my paddles (particularly the ferrules) after use. I do store them assembled / single piece.

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09-19-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Be conscious of when you purchased your Sting Ray. Aquabound took new ownership in 2008 (I believe), and brought the manufacturing to the US. I had a Sting Ray that I bought in 2004 or 2005 and I had the same issue… sticky ferrule. I contacted Aquabound a few years ago and got my problem fixed. Here is what their customer service said…
We recommend that you store 2 or 4 piece paddles completely disassembled and apart. Check the blade fit up before each use and if the fit up between the blade and shaft is tighter than you prefer, use sand paper and sand down the blade peg to achieve the fit up you desire. If your blade is already stuck into the shaft, we recommend placing a cold compression ice pack around the shaft at the joint area and wait 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove ice pack, make sure the push button is depressed. Grab a partner and place the blade under the armpit of one person and secure the blade tightly under the arm. The second person then can twist the shaft back and forth to loosen up the blade from the shaft. Repeat process as many times as needed.
Last summer I wanted a new paddle, so I ended up giving that paddle to my son. Because of Aquabound's reliability and weight for the price, I bought another Sting Ray. I don't know if it's the new ownership or if it's built better in the US, but I have had no issues with my new Sting Ray.

Be sure if you buy a nice paddle, like an Aquabound or Werner, you take the paddle apart between uses. Seems like the people that rated this paddle poorly had that same issue.

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09-14-2012
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love these paddles, very light, very strong...what a difference over my Alu shaft paddles. Also I never had an issue with the push button. Very good Quality for the price...
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09-06-2012
Submitted by: LMSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I am on my second Aquabound 4 piece paddle and I am very aggravated that the paddle does not come apart at the blade end, I've tried just about everything. This is very frustrating as I currently paddle with and Advanced Elements framed inflatable which I have put in a bag with pump, life jacket and accessories, but since the paddle will not come apart it does not fit in the bag, and I would also prefer not to announce that I have an expensive paddle in the car.

I believe the Stingray was quicker to get the sticking problem, perhaps in part because of the smaller blades. But the sticking the first pair is one reason I bought the Stingray in the first place, but I do prefer the blade of the Stingray.

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11-23-2011
Submitted by: JDCSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     The Stingray paddle would be a good general-purpose sea kayaking paddle if not for one fatal flaw: The snap buttons that held my hybrid 4 piece paddles together rusted out and began to break after only one year of use in a marine environment. These metal pieces are not made of a marine-grade stainless steel.
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09-01-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Buy the best paddle you can afford. These were right up there. They make them lighter, but not much. We both the 4-piece paddles to use and travel with our inflatable kayak and are very happy with them. At about 1 pound apiece, it's hard to remember what paddling with a normal paddle was like. Only after 6 ore more hours on a river do I begin to feel tired in my neck from holding the paddle up off the gunwales -- something you have to do if you're paddling. One caution, the "plastic" blade can swell up when wet, making it almost impossible to separate it from the shaft. Follow the manufacturer's instructions about lightly shaving the ferrule to make it slightly smaller. And ALWAYS wipe all dirt and dust off the outside and inside of the ferrules before joining the pieces or you will have a very hard time taking them apart. My wife and I love these paddles and are happy we traded in our lightweight wood ones, which did require yearly maintenance.
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07-27-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     For the past several years I've rented kayaks 1-2x a summer. They usually give you a very stable boat, and a sturdy paddle. Unfortunately, the paddles are usually heavy and by the end of your journey you are quite tired. This year I finally did it and bought my own kayak and paddle.

I am so glad I chose the Stingray. Its light weight makes such a difference - I can paddle for hours without tiring, and I paddle with no wasted strokes. I especially like the option for a thinner shaft since I have small hands; this helps me avoid blistering at the base of my thumb. I can't stress enough how important a component a good paddle is. People buy boats and then try to go cheap on the paddles. This is a huge mistake. You will be happy with the Sting Ray!

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10-04-2010
Submitted by: BernieSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Update to my 9/27/10 post:
Replacement paddle arrived 4 business days after shipping. Replacement paddle is an upgrade with a 22% stronger blade and stronger carbon shaft. The light weight is amazing. Branches LLC / Aqua-Bound provided outstanding after-sales service on their warranty with no scruples in replacing my damaged paddle.

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09-27-2010
Submitted by: BernieSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Purchased an Aqua Bound stingray paddle in July with carbon shaft. Sorry to say the shaft splintered in September while paddling in windy conditions. Sent an email to the manufacturer and provided them with the circumstances. They promptly responded requesting a photo and then agreed to replace the paddle shipping by courier. Outstanding after sales service in my opinion.
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10-07-2009
Submitted by: peteSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My Stingray tubes were sometimes difficult to separate. I lightly sanded the ferrule and sprayed it with silicone. Do not use grease or oil. It may seem nice for assembly and maybe one dis-assembly but as soon as any dirt or sand sticks to the oil, grease, Vaseline, etc. faggeddabowdit. Rarely do mine stick now unless the grand daughters drag it through the fine beach sand!
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11-26-2008
Submitted by: PaddlingFiestaSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I LOVE THIS PADDLE!!! Light weight, nice control and at a great price. I feel most paddles in the market today have an odd problem here and there, but Aquabound has always had great customer support. They have a customer for life.
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11-01-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Excellent paddle for the price. Light weight, very durable. Did experience some of the sticking problems during dis-assembly of the shaft. Lightly sanded the the solid portion of the shaft and have not experienced and further sticking problems. Definitely recommend this paddle.
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10-17-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I personally own 3 Aquabound Paddles, 2 of them are Stingrays and all are carbon fiber shafts. I purchased one of the small shaft Sting Ray twist lock paddles for my daughter. She had some problems with the mechanism, but the folks at Aquabound worked with me and the problem was resolved, which means the company stands behind its product. I love all my Aquabound Paddles...it is a good paddle for the cost. I would definitely buy anyone if anything happens to mine.
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09-22-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     These paddles work very well in practice. They are light and strong. However, I am experiencing the shaft sticking problem that others are talking about. I doubt that I will buy any other products from this manufacturer. I have been disappointed.
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07-21-2008
Submitted by: DSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Aside from the shaft-sticking-together issue (see earlier reviews), I love this paddle and have no beef with it. It's very light and a good value. After a year of use, it shows very little wear and tear. I paddle regularly with two other guys, we all own carbon Aquabound paddles. We all like them, and mine is the only one to have the sticking problem. Prior to buying boats and gear, we rented for several years from a well-equipped outfitter, primarily paddling with well-used Aquabound rentals, and never had a problem.

Regarding the problem of the shaft sticking together, there is a solution that worked for me. After a year of use, my Stingray paddle shaft was sticking to the point where feathering while underway was impossible, and separating the two sections became a two person job. I went to the Aquabound website, emailed a description of the problem, and promptly received a response from the owner describing how to adjust the fit so that the shaft would fit together again. It took me about 30 minutes of fine adjusting. The result is not exactly like-new, but close enough. If you're having this problem, don't suffer in silence, email the manufacturer for help. As described in some of these other reviews, the customer service is great.

Would buy again, recommended.

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07-01-2008
Submitted by: Notice
Rating: 10 of 10

     
---------------------------------------------------------------
Disclaimer:
Aqua-Bound changed ownership the summer of 2008 and bought the production of their paddles to the United States. Significant paddle quality improvements have been made with the new ownership and customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
---------------------------------------------------------------

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04-14-2008
Submitted by: JSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     We have a kayak rental business here in S. Florida and all sorts of paddles in my beach mix. The TLC Stingray seems to take my rental environment the best relative to not jamming with sand and abusive use (so far, have had them for 7 months). I have Carlisle paddles - just not durable enough. Harmonys - won't come apart anymore. My fancy expensive Werner Camanos, unless kept perfectly clean, are hard to get together and now won’t come apart either. Unless someone comes up with a foolproof system for real use, I think one piece paddles are the way to go.
And then there is the problems with footrest / rudders for my kayaks...

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03-31-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     The stuck together shaft ferrule is a common problem with Aquabound. I belong to a club so I paddle with a variety of people. I have seen several tug of wars with two people trying to pull apart an Aquabound paddle. A good product otherwise, but they have a serious problem with that.
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03-25-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I had been borrowing a friend's Carlisle Magic but got a Sting Ray very lightly used. We normally go about 5 miles but the first paddle with it (in a new, very old kayak which leaks) turned into a 14 mile ocean trip. It was the first time that I didn't get blisters on my thumbs EVER and my arms didn't ache at all so I was thrilled! I would give it a 10, but where the 2 halves join is really sticky and takes at least 2 people to get apart. I guess the person before me abused it somehow...
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02-09-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have used several AquaBound paddles and have found them all very durable and light (carbon). Excellent paddle for the money.
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01-21-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I used the carbon Stingray with the white abx resin blades for maybe a year or more. I love it. I didn't think I would ever get another paddle (unless something happened to it)... couldn't believe how light it was. For Christmas I told my wife I wanted an all-carbon stingray: 26 oz and $300.00. I didn't think she would get it.

Well I got it. Now I can't believe how heavy the other ones are... and they are super light. I would never have bought the all carbon for myself and I'm really glad my wife did. They are just great... the store did give her 20% off the price so it was a little cheaper. anyway, worth every penny.

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01-10-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The white blade/carbon shaft Sting Ray is my first paddle, and I'm loving it. 'Tho still a "newbie" to the sport, I can't even think about getting another paddle in the future. This baby is light and powerful! And easy to disassemble and store. Congrats, Aqua-Bound -- you guys got it right!
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10-31-2007
Submitted by: Tim LSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We have had Aquabound Sequels for the last five years, great paddles but a bit heavy, indestructible, but with a couple of newly purchased kevlar sea kayaks decided it was time for something lighter. I picked up a Stingray and Manta ray all carbon paddles with the TLC this spring at the Seattle REI store. What a difference the lighter weight made, really nice paddles.

There is a very distinct crunching, snapping sound when two carbon fiber shafts are crushed flat to the pavement by a car tire. The crunching sound was followed by a nauseous feeling in my gut similar to when I misplaced by visa card. As I folded the remnants of my 2 paddles into a green garbage bag, I felt resigned to forking out another $400.

Back at the REI store, I told my sad tale to the sale clerk who refused to sell me another couple paddles until I contacted Aquabound. “They have great customer service” was all she said.

So I emailed Aquabound, and received a phone call the next day. “Send me what you have, and we will make it whole again” was the reply. Within 3 weeks, I have my paddles back, in perfect shape, with new carbon shafts and a bill for only $50.00.

I don’t recall the last time I’ve experienced such excellent customer service. BRAVO!!! REI, BRAVO!!! Aquabound

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10-22-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     This is a follow-up to a review on 5.15.07.
Aquabound replaced my original two paddles with updated (I guess) models. I wish I could post a positive report but we continue to have problems with the locking mechanism. Now, one is hard to lock and the other is hard to unlock. Yesterday we stood on the beach for >15 minutes trying to get one of them to lock. We finally gave up and paddled with our spare. The paddle that does lock cannot be unlocked with wet hands. We have to either dry the paddle and our hands to get a good enough grip to unlock it or wait until it dries.

I am disappointed with the locking system for an otherwise great paddle.

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09-25-2007
Submitted by: larrySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is a follow-up to a review I submitted 6-22-2007 in which I described my experience with the TLC locking mechanism unlocking without warning.

Despite the fact that I had returned my paddle for a refund and bought a Werner, Joe Matuska of Aqua Bound sent me a new paddle with an upgraded version of the locking mechanism. It has seen about ten hours of paddling without incident. I have concluded that the problem with what is otherwise a first class paddle, has been solved.

Cudos to Joe Matuska for excellent product support on this issue.

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08-29-2007
Submitted by: pH2inNCSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Great Paddle! Money well spent! Great, light swing weight and balance with no discernible energy-sapping flex.
I was skittish about the price tag but with a Christmas gift card, my REI dividend, and 20-percent-off coupon I got the all-carbon version of this paddle for ~50 bucks out the door. If I had it to do over knowing what I know now I'd pay the $200- without a blink.

I've paddled easily over 100 miles this summer in all kinds of boats, my own craft being a Heritage Marquesa/Redfish 14. The majority of those miles I've covered with my girl as my faithful sidekick AFTER the ~horror story I'm about to relate:

Looking to save some room in my Xterra for a long trip from NC to PA this past June I stashed our broken-down paddles in my girl's Ultimate 12 which sits in a J-Rack on the truck's roof. Up to PA and all around all week this arrangement worked just fine. On our way back I must've caught the wind just right and, hearing a double-thump, I checked the mirror to see half of my paddle sailing up, up... and then sailing to the pavement of the freeway somewhere around Annapolis, MD during morning rush hour. In the interest of not making any exaggerated claims I'm going to assume that the resulting damage occurred upon the female half of my paddle returning to Terra Firma and not as the result of being run over by any one of about 8 cars that were (thankfully a good distance) behind me. What resulted was the removal of a good chunk of plastic about 1/2 inch wide and reaching up almost to the hilt on the outside collar of the TLC system (female half, remember). There was and is a gap of plastic missing there. I thought my paddle was done for, but no. It still locks fine and holds a feathered angle with no problem. And, as I said... I've paddled easily 100 miles with it in this condition, from leisurely after-work stretches to a 3-day Pacific Northwest expedition in a touring boat the month after it was cracked. My Stingray has held true and the backup paddle has not been needed.

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08-06-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I own a new Stingray, all carbon, compliments of Aqua-Bound. It features the improved twist-lock (TLC) coupler. I had issues with my old TLC on my Manta Ray and Joe Matuska from AB sent me a new paddle with a new TLC design. It has a more positive “click” as it locks into place. I’ve had no problems with this paddle coming apart after two separate outings of 3 hours each.

Paddle has a nice light swing weight and no flutter whatsoever under aggressive paddling. I gave the paddle a 9 based on the fact that I’ve only used it for six hours. I think if it was going to come apart, it would have by now.

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06-22-2007
Submitted by: larrySend Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     I purchased the Stingray Carbon at La Cordee in Laval in March. I tried it the same day amid the ice floes in the St Lawrence.
It's a beautifully balanced paddle with a dangerous flaw. While paddling hard to run up on an ice floe, it unlocked without warning, feathering in the water resulting in a near capsize. Thinking that I hadn't locked it properly, I realigned the shafts and twisted the locking mechanism as tight as possible. Despite this, a light twist with thumb and forefinger was all it took to unlock it. When I returned the paddle, I checked all the Stingray paddles in the rack. All would unlock with next to no torque regardless of how tightly the locking knob was turned. I exchanged it for a Werner Camano which has a positive locking mechanism.
Paddlers have to be able to trust their equipment. This simply isn't possible with the Stingray. Beware!

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06-21-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Aquabound paddles - I own a sting ray - are great paddles for the money and they perform well. My only complaint is where the blade and shaft join. It seems unfinished and then they wrap electrical tape around it. Minor detail; but...?
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06-20-2007
Submitted by: thetrailbossSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This was the paddle that the EMS store suggested for us. It lists for $95 (the standard version and not the carbon shaft). I was considering getting a real basic paddle at LL Bean for $35, but after looking at these paddles and reading this board, we went to the $95 one.

We have NOT had any problem with the joints. Ours still can be disconnected. The shape of the blade is nice.
Very light...last weekend we rented a boat for a friend and my fiancee use the paddle that came with it. She was begging to have her Stingray back.

We have 230 cm models -- good length for what we do. Very durable paddle that has stood up well.
Best of all, not made in China. Made in Canada.
Good basic paddle. Do wish it had a better grip on the shaft, and that the rubber splash guards did not slide down the shaft. Minor details though.

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06-18-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     We purchased the Stingray about a year ago. It is indeed very light, handles well and had the right price point for our budget. The reason I dropped the rating so low is for the simple fact that once the paddle was joined, we cannot, for the life of us, get it unjoined. It is as if the two ends are fused together. This makes automotive transport a pain.
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06-01-2007
Submitted by: BLSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the Stingray all carbon paddle from REI.
Couldn't ask for a better handling paddle for touring. Feathering while in the kayak is simple and easy... the locking mechanism works very well... the light weight is great for long distances... superb paddle.

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05-15-2007
Submitted by: wulfpackerSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     I could not resist buying this paddle at the recent REI sales event - $128 with the members 20% discount. After ~16 hours of paddling with it I am disappointed with one aspect - how the paddles are joined. Instead of the traditional snap joint the paddles are joined by a short connection and "locked" by rotating a locking ring. However, for whatever reason, this ring does not stay locked and the paddles come apart. Both my wife and I experienced this problem. One can be paddling along, there is a cracking sound, then the paddle separates. Very irritating. I will be taking it back.
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08-11-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Extremely durable poly/fiber resin blades, a light carbon wrap shaft, under 31oz and retails for $140? I had to get one.

I was not disappointed. This paddle performs far beyond its price. It is a near perfect combination of construction, low weight, value, and performance. I have a distant feeling that this paddle will do VERY well in the marketplace as more local shops begin to carry it. REI is stocking it regularly now as well. NB: A small shaft is also avail.

There is also an all carbon Stingray with a braided shaft (as opposed to wrapped)that retails for $180, if an additional $40 buys you carbon blades too.... although for rocks and docks, the resin blend is a surefire way to keep the blades intact and pretty for the long haul.

Bomber reputation for the rec paddles brought this company up in the world... now the entry carbon tour paddles for this price level are going to make a whole lot of people take a close look. Don't pass this up without a close look. The alternative will empty your wallet at least another $75-100 bucks.

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08-04-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I think the stingray paddle is incredible value for the money. It's a very light 220 cm at just under two pounds with a carbon shaft and an ABX blade. Because of the shape of the blade, I find it easy to conserve energy and paddle longer distances. I have not had any problems so far with either assembly or disassembly, and I kayak in an ocean environment so the paddle is frequently exposed to sand. The only fault I can find is I have put some deep scratches into one blade as I use the paddle to aid in entry from the beach. However, I can't see how the scratches could interfere with the blade performance, so I am unconcerned. I would highly recommend.
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08-03-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I was in the market for a rec/touring paddle to go along with a bout like the Necky Manitou. I went to local outfitters who had wide array of paddles, but all of them seemed either too expensive or very novice and heavy. The sales people's advice was "Werners always work good..." Turns out, this paddle was 6 ounces lighter than the Werner for only $15 more. The carbon shaft is amazing. I could feel a great difference just by paddling air. In the water, it’s great. The medium sized blade is good for medium sized trips. At $140, I don't think there is a better light touring paddle made.
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