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Aqua Bound Sting Ray FG Review

A vibrant paddle utlizing cheaper materials to deliver an affordable and reliable paddle.
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Price:  $110 List | $109.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Robust, vibrant colour,
Cons:  Heavier than some
Manufacturer:   Aqua Bound
By Sara James ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 13, 2019
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53
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Performance - 40% 5
  • Ease of adjustment - 20% 5
  • Locking Mechanism Security - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Fiberglass offers a robust and highly functional paddle at an affordable price for recreational kayakers. The dihedral blade design guides the flow of water equally across the surface of the blade, delivering a flutter free and powerful paddle stroke.

The abXII fiberglass reinforced nylon blades can stand up to the toughest of users, without fear of being damaged. Due to the reinforced blades, this is not the lightest paddle on the market, but it is also far from the heaviest. Those looking for elite performance may consider other paddler purchases, but if simply getting out on the water is your goal, this paddle may be your match.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Robust, vibrant colour,Reliable, lightweight, easy to adjust and extend.Featherweight, sleek blade design, enhanced paddling styleVery sturdy and durable locking mechanism, smooth blade performance, easy to adjust, lightweightSecure locking mechanism, light weight carbon blend shaft
Cons Heavier than someQuestionable graphicsExpensive, not for the careless userIn the more expensive rangeHeavier than some models available, locking system can become stiff to adjust
Bottom Line A vibrant paddle utlizing cheaper materials to deliver an affordable and reliable paddle.A versatile, lightweight and reliable paddle that delivered a strong performance across all metrics.A featherweight full carbon paddle engineered to provide you with an exceptionally smooth but powerful performance.This paddle consistently was a top performer across all metrics and it was not hard to select this paddle as a winner.Don’t be fooled by the bland rental paddle look, the Skagit FG has premium quality features and is able to perform.
Rating Categories Aqua Bound Sting Ray FG Pungo Glass Werner Kalliste Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon Werner Skagit FG
Performance (40%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
5
Ease Of Adjustment (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
Locking Mechanism Security (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Weight (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
6
Durability (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
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9
Specs Aqua Bound Sting... Pungo Glass Werner Kalliste Aqua-Bound Sting... Werner Skagit FG
Measured Weight 1180g 970g 816g 850g 1000g
Shaft Material / Construction Fiberglass 50% carbon/50% fiberglass Carbon fiber Carbon Carbon blend
Blade Shape Asymmetrical Asymmetrical Asymmetrical Dihedral, asymmetrical Dihedral, asymmetrical
Shaft Shape Straight Straight Straight Straight Straight
Style Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle Low-Angle
Offset Adjustable to 60 R None 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 L and R 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 L and R
Weight (230cm) advertised 949.7g 850.5g 652g 865g 953g
Breaks Down To 2 piece 2 piece 2 piece 2 piece 2 piece
Blade Material/Construction Fiberglass-reinforced nylon fiberglass composite Carbon fiber/foam core abX Carbon Reinforced Nylon Fiberglass reinforced nylon
Length Options 220, 230, 240 cm 220 - 240 cm 220, 230, 240 cm 210, 220, 230, 240, 250 cm 205 to 260 cm in 5 cm increments
Adjustment style Push button Rock-solid Leverlock® ferrule system Push button Posi-Lok® ferrule system Smart View Adjustable
Other Options Also available with higher blade construction ( Hybrid or Carbon) Also available with higher blade construction ( Pungo Carbon) N/A Available with smaller diameter shaft Also available with higher blade construction

Our Analysis and Test Results

What makes the Sting Ray FG paddle stand out is its robust but effective blade design. Constructed from durable abXII fiberglass reinforced nylon, you don't have to be careful when using this paddle. The price and design lend this paddle well to use in top-end kayak rental companies, and the vibrant yellow blades are a familiar and attention-grabbing site on the water.

Performance Comparison


The durable nature of this paddle makes is a good ompanion for adventure travels.
The durable nature of this paddle makes is a good ompanion for adventure travels.

Performance


Aside from being constructed from different materials. The String Ray FG is almost identical in design to its sibling, the String Ray Carbon. Both use a dihedral blade design to guide the flow of water equally across the surface of the blades, ensuring an effective and powerful stroke. The fiberglass reinforced nylon blades are heavier than other options and alter the balance of the paddle somewhat in comparison to more elite models. The performance is, therefore, not a distinctive feature of this paddle as it did not perform as well as those constructed from more expensive materials.

You may need a friend to help you dismantle this paddle  especially after extensive use.
You may need a friend to help you dismantle this paddle, especially after extensive use.

Ease of adjustment


When new, snap-button mechanism is straightforward to use, offering a choice of three blade feather setups. Unfortunately, with frequent use, the components are prone to jam, making it occasionally difficult to adjust or dismantle, particularly in cold conditions. Although suitable for the infrequent user, the snap-button mechanism is significantly inferior to the Posi-Lok option that Aqua-Bound offers for its high-end paddles.

The snap-button system used in this paddle is adequate for a budget paddle.
The snap-button system used in this paddle is adequate for a budget paddle.

Locking Mechanism Security


The locking mechanism is perfectly functional and does not impede the effective use of this paddle. The paddle felt ' tight' immediately after it was purchased; however, after extensive use, we noticed there was some rotational give in the paddle at the joint. This same concern was observed in all paddles that used the snap-button system.

The snap button can get clogged in sandy or dirty conditions. A regular rinse and service should help to maintain this component in functional order.
The snap button can get clogged in sandy or dirty conditions. A regular rinse and service should help to maintain this component in functional order.

We were surprised that Aqua-Bound does not offer this paddle with their signature Posi-Lok adjustment system as we felt this is far superior in its simplicity and reliability.

The study blades mean that paddlers pay a bit extra in terms of weight; however, this is balanced out with a fiberglass shaft.

The weight of this paddle is noticeable if you are traveling long distances but for short jaunts  it should overly tire your arms.
The weight of this paddle is noticeable if you are traveling long distances but for short jaunts, it should overly tire your arms.

Weight


The fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades make this paddle heavier than some of the models constructed of full fiberglass, or better still carbon. However, the fiberglass shaft ensures that is it still lighter than the heaviest of models, some of which utilize an aluminum shaft.

The additional weight of this paddle and the distribution of the weight make this paddle feel notably more sluggish to use than its Carbon blend sibling.

We weren't concerned about this durable paddle in shallow water.
We weren't concerned about this durable paddle in shallow water.

Durability


The fiberglass reinforced nylon blades were resistant to significant abuse. After extended use, the paddle blades showed no signs of wearing down, unlike the full fiberglass and carbon models tested. This paddle is ready to be thrown around and used with little fear of damage.

The adjustment system was noted to become less tight over time and also suffer from the build-up of sand and grit. A basic cleaning helps to maintain this paddle at its best.


Value


The paddle was a strong contender for the best value award due to its great performance to cost ratio. There are cheaper paddles available, but none that perform on par with this budget model.

Conclusion


This paddle is perfect for those that expect their paddle to last and perform suitably but are not concerned about weight or having the most elite of options.

Other Versions and Accessories


Available in the following increments - 210cm 220cm 230cm 240cm

Available as 2 or 4 piece paddle


Sara James