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Reviews for Aqua-Bound Manta Ray (TLC Twist Lock)


Rated: 7.87/10 Based On: 15 Reviews

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09-07-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     Two disclaimers: First one is that the Aqua-Bound Manta Ray paddle I got was used, and so is an old model. The second is that I got hold of one too short for my needs -- a 220 when I need at least a 230 and perhaps a 240. This fact may well invalidate the review for you. It's the reason I'm still giving this paddle a 6 our of 10, instead of lower. But the truth is that, when I replace my paddle, the LAST brand I'll be looking at is AquaBound.

Ugh! I've been kayaking for only 2 months now, but I've gone out almost every week, and my experience with the AquaBound paddle was the worst paddling experience I've had. I was quickly exhausted. I got blisters on the inside of my thumbs.

Again--much of this could be due to the length issue. But is all of it? I'm not willing to take that chance.

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06-16-2014
Submitted by: RickSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I tested the AquaBound Manta Ray Hybrid paddle and was impressed. The increased surface area gave me more power For fitness paddling as well as an excellent fishing paddle also. This in my second AquaBound paddle. I have the Stingray full carbon version in a 240 size.

The Manta Ray is priced very low for a carbon shaft paddle, but the quality is still there. I bought the 230 size so it is 6" shorter than my longer Stingray paddle. I tend to use a higher angle stroke with this paddle. Flex is less also compared to the Stingray.

Overall a great paddle for the price and has the new ferule system which so far has no issues.

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08-23-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Purchased two Aqua-Bound Manta Ray paddle 230cm.
Pros: light weight and very versatile, perfect for long days out on the kayak, easy to adjust the feathering and quickly lock in when you need it.
Cons: price

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11-11-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have a Manta Ray TLC carbon/carbon 230cm.
I have used and abused this paddle. It's been used on flatwater with my Folbot Cooper (220 would be better for this application but it's ok), solo paddling a Mad River Adventure 14 canoe (240 or 250 would be better but again it's ok) and paddling a Coleman Fastback inflatable kayak on both flat and whitewater (where the 230 length is Just Right).

I have no complaints. The TLC works flawlessly- I'd love to make some smart-alecky remark like "you have to be smarter than the paddle" but just because mine works great, doesn't mean they all have.

This paddle is light yet strong. I've really beaten on it, it keeps coming back for more. Bashing through class III rapids, prying my way through beaver dams (with a really big, heavy canoe!) the paddle handles it all. I haven't been paddling long enough to say anything intelligent about the "flutter" or other characteristics. The decals don't offend me but I'm not the type to care about such things.

I finally bought a legit whitewater boat, this paddle is way too long so I'll be buying something under 200cm. The AB Shred is top of my list right now.

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04-03-2009
Submitted by: PuppeSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     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.

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09-09-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My wife and I have been using a Aqua-Bound paddles for two years now. I have the Manta Ray, she has a Sting Ray, both with carbon shafts, plastic blades, and twist-lock coupler. We've had no problems, and are very happy. You have to make sure the twist-lock coupler is tight, and perhaps check it once during the day.

As over-50 weekend paddlers we wouldn't notice blade flutter or lack of stiffness that some report, as these are irrelevant to us.

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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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02-06-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have a 230cm AquaBound (AB) MantaRay paddle in fiberglass (carbon?) I use in a low angle paddle stroke. It does not have the twist lock...
I too have noticed some flex in the shaft when I really "dig" to pick up speed an but other than that i have had no problem with it.. It's very lite and easy to paddle with. the other thing I have noticed is it seems to have a some "stick-tion" to it ....it doesn't want to come up out of the water cleanly if you overpaddle the stroke, something I get around by flipping the blade 180 degrees, once I get under way , using the blade backwards. It comes out of the water with less "stick-tion" that way. you almost feel nothing as the blade glides up and out of the water when used in this fashion.
The flex in shaft and/or blade is why I only gave it a 8.

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11-29-2007
Submitted by: SkiffraceSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have bought my Aqua Bound Manta Ray carbon shaft + plastic blade for $130 at Adler Creek in Portland (the paddle was on sale)

Pros:
+ Very light weight (for the price) - 31 oz
+ Large efficient blade with good grip on water
+ Trouble-free operation so far (2 months)
+ Dihedral shape reduces flutter

Cons:
- Not as stiff as I wish - sprinting and pulling at full power produces noticeable flex
- Dihedral shape reduces efficiency

Overall:
* nice paddle regardless of price
* super-nice paddle for the price

I did not give it 10 because I want to see how it performs over the long run.

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

     I wanted to update my previous review regarding the Twist Lock (TLC) on the Aqua-Bound paddle.

I was contacted by Joe Matuska, General manager and founder of Aqua-Bound paddles, after he read my review of his product in which I stated that the twist lock had come undone two times while paddling. Now keep in mind that I had never even called him to complain. So imagine my surprise when he called me to offer a brand new paddle with an updated TLC design. I did have the Manta Ray but asked him to send a Stingray instead. The new paddle arrived in short order, free of charge. I have never experienced this level of customer service from any other company. Canít recall the last time the general manager of any company ever called me to try and resolve a problem... ever. Needless to say, I was very impressed.

The new TLC design has a more definite ďclickĒ as it locks in. I have used it on two separate occasions (6 hours total) and had no problems whatsoever with the paddle coming apart on me. The new design is definitely superior to the previous generation. In all fairness to my old Manta Ray, the twist lock never came apart on me again aside from the two occasions on itís first use. I think after I got a little sand in and out of it, the increased friction in the coupler helped keep it from unscrewing.

Iím very happy with my new Stingray which Iíll review in the Stingray section.

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06-11-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     Carbon shaft and blades make for a nice swing weight. The blades do flutter a little bit which is a shame. I've also had a problem with the twist lock coming apart. Just like a previous reviewer, I thought I had not secured it properly but when it happened a second time I knew it was the design. I'm thinking about gluing this thing together. I regret this purchase...
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06-11-2007
Submitted by: AdamBSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Just got back from a 6 day trip on the Tanana River in Alaska. I used my new Aquabound carbon mantaRay paddle with the TLC. Lots of bite with this blade and the blades took a lot of punishment pushing off the ice flowing in the river. Initially I had some problems with the locking mechanism unlocking, but it was my fault. I just had to crank on it when I locked it and it was good to go.
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04-30-2007
Submitted by: Bruce BSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have used the Aqua-Bound Manta Ray twist lock paddle for over four months and I have no complaints. It is fairly light and always reliable. I am on the larger side (6', 235 lbs.) and I have used it to sprint into a 25 mph headwind. The paddle stayed rock solid. As good as advertised, I think, which is saying a lot.
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04-25-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Alas, life comes at us with much hyperbole. One needs to meet it with an appropriate level of skepticism, eh? I got a Manta Ray a few months back. NB: It's the older model with the push-button style ferrule. I can not speak to the newer design, so I'll give my impression of the paddle as a whole. Mine is the Carbon shaft/Carbon blade version that weighs about 29 oz.

The fit and finish are generally excellent. My only "beef" is the somewhat cheesy-looking decals Aquabound (hereafter "AB") uses on the blades. The blades themselves are unique. They are slightly asymmetrical (more symmetric than most Euro paddle blades) and have a face that is both a dihedral and spooned. This isn't illustrated in any of the available product literature. It makes for a very agile blade in sculling, drawing and ruddering strokes. AB describes this paddle as an aggressive, high angle stroke tool. That is how I've tried to use it - for sea kayaking.

Advantages: Way cheaper than competing products from other manufacturers (like 1/2 the price of Werner and Lendal's high-end sticks). Blade shape excels at control strokes. Pretty clean entry and low cavitation. Good weight, on the low end of comparables.

Disadvantages: Some blade flutter. No small shaft available (if you need such things). Uncool decals on blades.

Overall, if I followed the apparent standards of most reviewers I'd have to give this at least a "9". I'm giving it a 7 because: It could be lighter, given the materials they used; The AB product blurb says "flutter free", which is optimistic at best; and the push-button ferrule is old school, but it seems that they've discontinued that without a proven successor. Maybe I'll revise that score upwards after using it over time.

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04-20-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 1 of 10

     I would actually give this product a "0" but the rating would not allow it. This paddle is GARBAGE!! And I'm being easy on it. The TLC twist lock loosens and comes apart. This happened to me twice. The paddle is new and the second time it happened was the second time I used it. The first time I thought I had not locked it all the way. Today I was out on a local river and in the middle of a 300 yard or so class II-III rapid the thing came apart. There I was not even close to the end of this set of rapids with half the paddle in each hand and no way to brace. Aqua-Bound will be getting this paddle back. This design is horrible and unsafe. Don't wast your money!! I will be purchasing a new paddle this evening.
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