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.Editor's Note: We updated this review on May 9, 2023 to inform about updates to the Sting Ray.
Aqua Bound Sting Ray FG Review
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Aqua Bound Sting Ray FG
|Price||$103.89 at REI|
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|Pros||Robust, vibrant colour||Exceptional value, quality blade design, fiberglass reinforced nylon blades||Affordable, durable blade construction||Easy on the wallet, functional, indexed shaft||Very economical, durable blade construction|
|Cons||Heavier than some||Heavier than some models, locking mechanism prone to wobble||Heavy aluminum shaft, play in locking mechanism||Aluminum shaft transfers heat/cold, flexible blades, wobble in connection point||Heavy, locking mechanism wobbly, foam grips prone to slipping|
|Bottom Line||A vibrant paddle utlizing cheaper materials to deliver an affordable and reliable paddle||This well-designed paddle delivers outstanding value without sacrificing on performance or durability||This is an affordable entry-level paddle that can get you and your family out on the water||Affordable, functional and suitable for the casual kayaker who is not looking for a high-performance paddle||A budget paddle for those who want to get on the water but are not concerned about performance|
|Rating Categories||Aqua Bound Sting Ra...||Werner Baja||Bending Branches Wh...||Pelican Poseidon||SeaSense X-Treme II|
|Ease of Adjustment (20%)|
|Locking Mechanism Security (15%)|
|Quality of Construction (10%)|
|Specs||Aqua Bound Sting Ra...||Werner Baja||Bending Branches Wh...||Pelican Poseidon||SeaSense X-Treme II|
|Measured Weight||41.6 oz||37.7 oz||37.0 oz||39.2 oz||42.0 oz|
|Shaft Shape||Round||Round||Round, oval||Round, oval||Round|
|Blade Material||Fiberglass-reinforced nylon||Fiberglass reinforced nylon||Polypropylene||Plastic/fiberglass||Fiberglass filled nylon blade|
|Blade Shape||Asymmetrical||Dihedral, asymmetrical||Dihedral, asymmetrical||Asymmetrical||Asymmetrical|
|Adjustment Style||Push button||Push button||Push button w/ basic ferrule||Push button||Push button|
|Blade Offset Settings||L45, 0, R45||L45, 0, R45||L45, 0, R45||L60, 0, R60||L45, 0, R45|
|Length Options||220, 230, 240cm||220, 230, 240cm||220, 230, 240cm||230cm||243cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Aqua Bound updated the Fiberglass Sting Ray paddle since our test cycle. The new paddle features an updated blade shape intended to facilitate a smoother forward stroke and a stiffer feel. The blade is also designed to be stronger than the previous iteration. We have yet to test the updated Sting Ray, so be aware that our review pertains to the older model. However, our affiliate links point to the new version.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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