I am updating my previous review. After nearly 2 years of use, it's overdue...
It's tough to admit you were wrong, but ...sniff...I was. In the pantheon of higher-end blades, the Manta Ray really doesn't flutter much at all. I have been using a Werner Cyprus as my main stick for the last 18 months or so. It has some great aspects, but lack of flutter isn't one of them. The Manta is probably the "least fluttery" of all my paddles (I own 5 now, 3 of which are "high-end").
My wife is the main user of my Manta now, she has small hands. That brings me to my revised, main complaint about the paddle - the shaft. I have the button ferrule model - no gripes there. But the single size (in diameter) shaft is a bit small for a man's size medium/large hands. Ultimately I was happy to pass the Manta along to my wife (she loves it) because i would experience some hand cramping on longer journeys.
The other observation I have is that while the blade shape is great for sculling, it can be tricky on a low brace in conditions. The back of the blade catches if you skim it up off the surface without care.
So to summarize my revised review:
- The decals are still uncool (and slowly cracking/peeling after 2 years)
+ The blade shape remains unique and mostly advantageous.
+ The paddle is a bargain in the high end market.
- The paddle could be greatly improved by offering 2 shaft sizes.
+ I see that AB now offers both the TLC and button ferrules as a choice, for awhile you could only get the TLC.
So I'm upgrading this to an 8 - which I think is excellent (there are many unsubstantiated "10s" assigned in these reviews). Minus 1 point for bogus decals, and appearance of the blades (looks more ABS than Carbon), and minus 1 point for the shaft. I miss this paddle, although I can do without the hand cramps it could give me. My wife would buy it anytime however.