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Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece Review

We think this is one of the best options for most people shopping for a top-tier paddle
Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece
Credit: Aqua Bound
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $285 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fantastic paddling performance, easy to adjust, stylish
Cons:  Pricey
Manufacturer:   Aqua Bound
By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 29, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
90
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Performance - 30% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 10.0
  • Ease of Adjustment - 20% 10.0
  • Locking Mechanism - 20% 9.0
  • Aesthetics - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

If you are searching for a top-tier paddle, then we think the Aqua-Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-piece is a great option for the majority of people. It’s convenient and easy to adjust and has exceptional paddling performance in just about all conditions. This paddle only weighs a fraction more than the all-carbon counterparts, with barely any noticeable difference in performance. All in all, we feel this paddle performs 99% as well or practically identical to the top-tier carbon options, all while costing significantly less and looking a bit more stylish.

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
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$380 List
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Pros Fantastic paddling performance, easy to adjust, stylishLightweight, easy to adjust, high performanceCuts cleanly through water, durable bladeInexpensive, large adjustment range, durable nylon bladeFunctional, low cost
Cons PriceyPricey, blade can flutterHeavy, looks like a toyHeavy, locking mechanism can get in the way of hands when switching hands and/or paddlingHeavy
Bottom Line We think this is one of the best options for most people shopping for a top-tier paddleThe Trance is a breath of fresh air, with good performance and an unbelievably lightweight constructionThe Vibe is a great all-around paddle that moves water well and is easy to manageThis sturdy paddle is affordable, tough, and durableA heavy paddle, the Own the Wave Adjustable has the lowest retail price in our review
Rating Categories Aqua Bound Malta Fi... Werner Trance 95 Pe... Werner Vibe Bullet Proof Surf A... Own the Wave Adjust...
Performance (30%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (20%)
10.0
10.0
6.0
3.0
4.0
Ease of Adjustment (20%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Locking Mechanism (20%)
9.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Aesthetics (10%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Aqua Bound Malta Fi... Werner Trance 95 Pe... Werner Vibe Bullet Proof Surf A... Own the Wave Adjust...
Paddle Weight 1.2 lbs 1.2 lbs 1.7 lbs 2.2 lbs 2.0 lbs
Shaft Material 100% Carbon Carbon Fiberglass Aluminum Alloy
Blade Dimensions 87 sq in 95 sq in 100 sq in 95 sq in 95 sq in
Blade Material Fiberglass Carbon Injection molded fiberglass Nylon composite Nylon composite
Blade Design Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Dihedral Concave
Blade Shape Rectangular Rectangular Rectangular Teardrop Teardrop
Offset 10 degrees 10 degrees 10 degrees 10.5 degrees Not listed
Adjustablility (inches) 10 in 8 in 16 in 18 in 18 in
Length Range (inches) 64 - 74, 70 - 80, 76 - 86 in 70 in - 78 in, 74 in - 82 in, 80 in - 88 in 68 in - 84 in 71 in - 83 in 71 in - 83 in
Number of Pieces 2-piece 1-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 3-piece (available in 1, 2, or 3) 2-piece 2-piece (available in 2 or 3)
Compact Size 70 in NA 34.5 in 65 in 65 in
Includes Cover No No No Yes No
Locking Mechanism Interior Spring Pin Handle LeverLock Handle LeverLock "TwinPin" Collar Clamp "TwinPin" Collar Clamp

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Malta Fiberglass is a great option if you are shopping for a top-tier paddle but might not have a top-tier budget to spend on one. This paddle performs almost the same as the all-carbon options, while costing a bit less.

Performance Comparison


Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - this paddle moves through the water cleanly.
This paddle moves through the water cleanly.
Credit: David Wise

Performance


The Malta Fiberglass did exceedingly well in our paddling performance metric, earning one of the best overall scores. We rated and ranked this adjustable stand up paddle board paddle on how ergonomic and comfortable it is to hold, how balanced it feels, how it enters and exits the water, and how much power we were able to get from each paddle stroke in different conditions.


This paddle has an all-carbon shaft with a 10 degree offset for the blade — perfect for most paddlers outside of the competitive racers. This gives you a longer paddle stroke, making for a more efficient paddling trip. The grip is comfortable to hold, with no edges or other areas that have a high likelihood of causing blisters or hot spots over time.

Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - the inner portion of this paddle telescopes smoothly.
The inner portion of this paddle telescopes smoothly.
Credit: David Wise

The fiberglass blade has a rectangular shape with a dihedral profile to help scoop the water and minimize fluttering — we only noticed a small amount of flutter when driving the paddle at full power. The blade has an area of 87 square inches, allowing for more than enough power per paddle stroke if you are going for top speed. This can make the paddle a bit more fatiguing to use, which is something to consider if you are just starting out or if your training regime has been less than top-notch lately.

Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - we had minimal issues with fluttering.
We had minimal issues with fluttering.
Credit: David Wise

This paddle is lightweight and balanced, making for a smooth recovery and a clean water exit and entry. Overall, we think the Aqua-Bound Malta Fiberglass is easily one of the top competitors for on-the-water performance.

Weight


Our next testing metric for the Malta Fiberglass focused on its weight. Even small differences in weight can make it much more fatiguing to use heavier paddles over longer distances and make the recovery portion of your paddle stroke less efficient. The Malta Fiberglass fared exceptionally well in this set of tests, earning one of the best scores of the entire group.


This paddle is only surpassed in this metric by a few of the all-carbon offerings — and even then, by only an ounce or two.


The Malta Fiberglass tips the scales at 18.5 ounces or approximately 1.16 pounds. For comparison, the lightest carbon options we have seen are around 1.13 pounds or 18 ounces. This paddle also feels very balanced, leading to a snappy and efficient recovery on each paddle stroke and helps minimize additional fatigue for marathon paddles.

Ease of Adjustment


Our next round of tests focused on how quickly and easily the length of the Malta Fiberglass can be adjusted. This paddle again did very very well, meriting one of the better scores of the entire group.


The Malta Fiberglass offers 10 inches of adjustment and is available in three different sizes: 64 to 74 inches, 70 to 80 inches, and 76 to 86 inches. This paddle has a series of holes that an internal spring pin catches. It is quite easy to adjust, even when on the water in wavy conditions, but you only have discrete lengths to choose from.

Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - this paddle is extremely lightweight and easy to adjust.
This paddle is extremely lightweight and easy to adjust.
Credit: David Wise

Locking Mechanism


Hand in hand with ease of adjustment, our next rating metric focused on the ease of use and ergonomics of the locking mechanism that secures the paddle at the desired length. The Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece continued its dominating performance, claiming one of the top scores overall.


This SUP paddle utilizes a single internal spring pin. This single pin leads to a very clean look, with no chance of hot spots or blisters due to the locking mechanism on the handle. We love how this leads to a much sleeker and more comfortable to hold paddle. It just looks so much cleaner than other products with a mid-shaft cam lock or dual-pin system.

Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - the malta fiberglass easily holds its own against the all-carbon...
The Malta Fiberglass easily holds its own against the all-carbon options.
Credit: David Wise

Moving most of the components inside the paddle also protects them from wear and tear and there isn’t any need for adjusting the clamping force with a screw, like you would need with a cam lock system.

Aesthetics


Our final testing metric focused on the appearance of each stand up paddle board paddle — everyone wants to look at least a little stylish out on the water, right? While this is a highly subjective metric, we based scores on the opinions of multiple judges, the number of colors/styles each paddle is available in, the materials used, and how sleek and clean the profile and overall look of each paddle is. The Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece again did exceptionally well, meriting one of the better scores of the entire group.


The rectangular paddle is very sleek, with the hidden LeverLock locking mechanism adding to that significantly. The lines flow cleanly from the shaft to the blade and our judges just love the overall look.

Aqua Bound Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece sup paddle - overall, we love the look of the fiberglass malta.
Overall, we love the look of the fiberglass Malta.
Credit: David Wise

Even better, the Malta Fiberglass is available in a few different color options, compared to the pure carbon look that many of the other top-tier paddles are limited to. We tested the “Green Tide” version, with the blade having a striated pattern of different hues of green. The other two options are “Berry”, with mottled purples and pinks, and “Sunwave”, with a vertical gradient from yellow to navy.

Value


If you are searching for a performance stand up paddle board paddle, then we think the Malta Fiberglass 2-Piece is a great value. While it is a bit more expensive than the budget paddles, it goes toe-to-toe with the extremely expensive carbon options when it comes to performance, all while costing about 25% less.

Conclusion


We think the Malta Fiberglass is one of the best options available on the market today for anyone searching for a top-tier performance paddle. It has great paddling performance, it’s super lightweight, and is very easy to adjust. You could pay a significant amount more for a paddle that is minimally lighter or offers just a tiny bit more power per paddle stroke but the vast majority of users outside of the professional/racing/marathon paddle circuits probably wouldn’t even notice — and it comes in different colors!

Marissa Fox
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