The Best Hawaiian Sling For Spearfishing in 2023

The Best Hawaiian Sling for Spearfishing

Get your hands on the best Hawaiian sling if you’re looking for range and power when you’re spearfishing (but don’t want a speargun).

Buying a Hawaiian sling can be a smart move, especially if you’re spearfishing in an area that doesn’t allow spearguns. Places like The Bahamas that have blanket restrictions on speargun use, your Hawaiian sling becomes a powerful alternative to a pole spear alone. In this article, you’ll get my thoughts on the best Hawaiian sling for spearfishing.

This proved a rather fun day of testing. Because here in Australia, Hawaiian sling’s aren’t that popular. We generally start using pole spears and then upgrade straight to a speargun, so it was a learning experience for me. From all the tests we ran, the best Hawaiian Sling for spearfishing is the Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling.

It’s design allows for an easy grip while you draw your shot, and is almost like an underwater bow and arrow to use. Click here to buy this Hawaiian sling.


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The Best Hawaiian Sling for Spearfishing: Reviewed for 2023

 

JUMP TO: SEA ARCHER HAWAIIAN SLING  |  HAMMERHEAD SLING COMBO KIT   |  I’A HAWAIIAN SLING  |  SPEARFISHING WORLD SLING SHOOTER  |  KOAH SIDE SLING  |  BUYING GUIDE  |  CARE TIPS 

 

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Skip to the good part:

  • Best Overall: Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling
  • Best for Professionals: Koah Side Sling MX
  • Best for Beginners: I’A Hawaiian Sling
  • Best Cheap Option: Spearfishing World Lightweight Hawaiian Sling Shooter
  • Top of the Line: Hammerhead Sling Combo Kit

 

It wasn’t too long ago I used my first Hawaiian Sling spearfishing in Australia. Honestly they’re not all that popular over here. Which surprises me, because they’re a nifty weapon that packs a decent punch. Generally, we start with a pole spear and then upgrade to a speargun, completely forgetting to use a Hawaiian slings in between.

They’re a unique spearfishing device that works more like a bow and arrow than anything else.

From a safety perspective they’re also quite a bit safer, as you’ll only draw it to load right as you’re about to take a shot. I put a number of different Hawaiian Slings through the works for this review, and the clear winner in my opinion is the Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling. Click here to get yours now.

 

Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling

Editor’s Choice: Best Hawaiian Sling

The innovative bow design of this Hawaiian sling from Sea Archer makes it a clear winner. It’s like a hand-held bow, with a pistol grip handle that allows you to get the most powerful draw on any of the other models. What I liked was that each time I pulled. the spear stays centered, so there was no drag or friction to slow the release.

In your hands, it’s lightweight and easy to swim with, even if you’re spearfishing from the shore.

Where Sea Archer impressed me was the ability to add a reel to this model, which can help you target even bigger game than you would typically be comfortable spearfishing with a pole spear (or any other Hawaiian Sling for that matter). It’s practical, and the most powerful alternative to a speargun that you’ll find.

The only downsides to this model is that you will need to buy your shafts separately. And also remember, that the largest shaft it’ll accept is a 3/4 inch, which should be plenty big enough for most of the spearfishing you’ll be doing.

Why we think Sea Archer make the best Hawaiian Sling for spearfishing:

  • Comfortable grip that allows for both right and left-handed use
  • Patented self-grasping spear cup to hold shafts in place as you draw
  • Can upgrade with extra parts to attach a shooting line
  • Fits all traditional shaft diameters (1/4″, 17/64″, 9/32″, 19/64″ & 5/16″)

Of course, I did test a few different Hawaiian slings before reaching this conclusion. So here’s a few more you might want to consider before you purchase.

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Hammerhead Spearguns Hawaiian Sling Combo Kit

Best for Professionals: Best Hawaiian Sling

Now, the perfect balance of this Hawaiian Sling combined with the hand carved wooden handle is just a beautiful result. I love the mahogany finish, and that it’s also made in Hawaii (*unlike most of the other “Hawaiian” slings you’ll find on the market).

Personally, I really like the pistol-styled grip over the more traditional circular handle, as it allows me to get a bit more force behind each pull. You can fit up to a 9/32″ shaft with with this sling, and it’s deadly in the water. Perfect if you want to start targeting even bigger game spearfishing with a Hawaiian Sling.

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I’A Hawaiian Sling

Best for Beginners: Best Hawaiian Sling

Another great alternative for spearfishing is the I’A Hawaiian Sling. It’s perfect if you’re just getting into spearfishing, with a simple slingshot mechanism. Simply feed your shaft through the handle and into the spear holder locking mechanism, and stretch the rubbers back to fire.

You’ll get more range and flexibility with your spearfishing using this instead of a pole spear, and can be used if you’re both left or right-handed. Just remember, that this with this model you will need to source your own shafts, the handle can handle shafts up to 3/8″ in diameter.

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Spearfishing World Lightweight Hawaiian Sling Shooter

Cheapest option: Best Hawaiian Sling

Now, it’s not a heck of a lot cheaper than the I’A product, but this would be your option if you’re after the cheapest Hawaiian Sling on the market.

Made from durable yet lightweight plastic, it’s a good option if you’re just getting started (or want to learn to spearfish in an area where spearguns are not allowed). This particular model will shoot up to a 5/16″ shaft, which you’ll also need to purchase to use with this sling.

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AB Biller Combo Hawaiian Sling Package

Top of the line: Best Hawaiian Sling

Including a beautiful pistol grip sling shooter, and four different sling shafts (two 1/4″ diameter at both 60″ and 66″ in length, as well as two 5/16″ diameter at both 60″ and 66″ in length), AB Biller have put together a top-of the line Hawaiian Sling set that will help you land bigger fish, just like the Pinder brothers a half a century ago.

Tough spring steel shafts will help your shots continue to fire true, while the sling is fitted with a beautiful mahogany Hawaiian Sling shooter plus a heavy-duty natural latex band. It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s exactly what you need if you want to take your Hawaiian Sling spearfishing game to the next level.

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Thoughts on the other Hawaiian Slings we tested

Now, I get this wouldn’t be a great article if I just showed you the top pics. So keep reading to learn about the other slings we tested for this review, just in case any of these Hawaiian Slings are the ones you’re thinking of buying. To ensure you’re putting your money into the best spearfishing gear.

 

Spearfishing for fish with a Hawaiian Sling

 

Sea Slinger Plastic Hawaiian Sling

Shortlist: Best Hawaiian Sling

Using a similar design to the Spearfishing World and I’A Hawaiian Sling models, this option from Sea Slinger is another choice. There’s an adaptor to change this from a traditional grip to a pistol grip, but I’ll be honest. It didn’t feel all that secure. I would worry it won’t stand up to the force of a proper pull.

Not wanting it to snap off in my hands using it, I unscrewed and removed the 90-degree pistol-grip part. Once I did, I was much more comfortable using this sling. You can choose between floating and sinking versions, which accepts up to a 3/8-inch shaft (9.5mm).

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Koah Side Sling

Shortlist: Best Hawaiian Sling

EDIT: This was initially one of our first choices for a top of the line Hawaiian Sling, but due to availability issues we’ve ranked it here. If you can find it online, the Koah Side Sling is definitely worth a buy. 

For anyone seeking a heavy-duty piece of spearfishing equipment, the Koah Side Sling is a great choice. Not quite as aerodynamic as the Sea Archer model in the water, where this Hawaiian sling wins out is on the quality. You can feel in your hands that it’ll last a lifetime.

The added wrist support is a nice touch that helps you maintain control, power, and accuracy in your shots.

The Koah Side Sling also features a shaft holder to keep it in place as you draw, and it can handle up to a 5/16-inch (8mm) shaft. Comfortable for both right and left-handed use, the pistol grip is easy to hold, while the over/under band design helps each shot fly straight and true.

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AB Biller Heavy Impact Hawaiian Sling Package

Shortlist: Best Hawaiian Sling

Including both the straight sling shooter, and two spring steel shafts, (5/16″ in diameter at both 60″ and 66″ in length), this is a pretty good package from AB Biller if you’re looking for a basic combo kit as you start sling spearfishing.

Personally, I prefer the wood grip that they offer to this plastic one, and I much prefer the pistol grip handle. But for anyone seeking a simple and straightforward Hawaiian Sling kit for spearfishing, this isn’t a bad option for you.

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How we determined the best Hawaiian Slings for spearfishing

Putting these Hawaiian Slings through the works was a fun day out on the water, as I was also teaching myself how to spearfish with what’s essentially a very traditional technique. One that helped the Pinder brothers (and their cousing Charlie) grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, way back in 1955.

And the models haven’t changed much since then.

When it comes to choosing the best Hawaiian Sling, what was important for me:

  • How tight and confidently could I grip the handle?
  • What kind of shooting range was I able to achieve?
  • The quality of both the sling and the shafts
  • Whether a shooting line could be easily attached

And after putting all the different Hawaiian Slings to the test, the model I liked best was from Sea Archer. Nothing beats their new innovative design, for range, ease of use, and the ability to quickly and easily add a reel when you’re targeting bigger and bigger fish. Click the link below to get your hands on yours.

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Whats the difference between a pole spear and Hawaiian Sling?

Now I know it can be confusing between the two, so it’s important to make the distinction.

A pole spear is a length of aluminum (or fiberglass). It has a spear tip and a loop of rubber power band attached to the butt of the spear. You tuck your thumb into the rubber, stretching your hand towards the middle of the spear, and grip it tight. To shoot the spear, you release your grip, and the entire spear shoots forward to hit your target fish.

A Hawaiian sling is a block of plastic tubing or wood, with a guide hole that’s large enough for a spear to pass through. Attached to this block is a rubber power band. To use it, slide the spear into the guide hole. The butt of the spear will sit in the holder in the middle of the rubber. As you draw it back (using a similar motion as a bow and arrow or a slingshot), your other hand rests on the handle. Releasing the shaft, the tension in the rubber shoots your shaft forward.

 

Why buy a Hawaiian Sling?

Hawaiian slings became popular in the 1950s when spearfishing started to take off. But these days, they’re generally used in areas that ban triggered spearguns. In some places, the only spearfishing device you’re allowed to use is a Hawaiian sling, like the Bahamas.

Personally, what impressed me most with a Hawaiian sling was the range – I was expecting it to compare to a pole spear, but the different setup gives me about twice the range.

Hawaiian Slings also shoot a thinner shaft. Making it a more streamlined weapon with a more aerodynamic spear.

The grip makes as big difference, you want one you’re able to hold tight as you draw it to shoot. But because the shafts aren’t fixed to anything, I would make sure you’re targeting fish on the bottom. I’ve lost one shaft already by shooting horizontally out into the gloom. And while I did recover it later, it was a frustrating waste of time searching for it (or you could always attach a shooting line, something that was an easy upgrade on the Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling).

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How to use a Hawaiian Sling

There is a knack for learning how to draw and fire a Hawaiian Sling. But it is a simple piece of spearfishing gear. So it’s pretty straightforward to use. You will need a decent amount of strength to fire a Hawaiian Sling with any power. The whole motion of drawing, aiming, and firing happens in a few seconds.

There are two ways you can draw and shoot the device.

If you’re using a traditional grip (i.e., no pistol handle), I hold the device in my left hand. That’s my non-dominant hand. It starts with my left arm straight and my left hand down by my knees. I grip the butt of the spear where it rests in the power bands with my right. In one quick movement, I draw my right arm back, stretching the bands tight, as I raise my left arm to aim and release.

The alternative is to use a “push” movement instead of a “draw.” I have a spearing buddy who prefers this technique, and it works like this.

With your non-dominant hand, so for me, that’s my left. Pinch your thumb and index finger around the cup in the middle of the power bands. Bring your left hand to your cheek or jaw, and grip the sling handle with your right. There shouldn’t be any tension yet. Take a tight grip and keep your left arm in place as you push your right arm forward.

This creates your shooting tension, and you’ve got a superior line of sight down the shaft to aim. Then release your left hand to fire off the shaft.

 

Perfecting your aim

It will take a little practice to get the hang of a Hawaiian sling. The best thing you can do is to set up a target for a bit of practice.

Find a clump of seaweed on a sandy bottom, or use a proper spearfishing target. Start about 5 or 6 feet away, at your diving depth, and take several practice shots. Don’t worry if your first few completely miss. The key is to adjust and make your next shot a little more accurate. Keep at it. Increasing your distance as your aim improves, until you’re confident in your shots.

I find I’m more accurate from a top-down angle instead of coming in from the side. So you’re not working against gravity especially as you increase the range of your shots.

 

Why use a Hawaiian Sling to go Spearfishing

 

Buying Guide to the best Hawaiian Sling for spearfishing

If you’re trying to decide which Hawaiian Sling is best for you, there are a few things worth considering. I’ve tried and tested quite a few different setups. And while I do most of my spearfishing with a speargun, here’s what I’d look out for before you buy.

 

Consider which grip you prefer

Hawaiian slings have been around for 50 or 60 years. Today, you’ve got a choice between traditional and pistol grips. When I asked around, many spearos said they prefer a primitive (simple) design. Though I find I get a better grip with a proper handle.

It’s easier to keep my wrist locked in place with the pistol-grip models like the Sea Archer sling. The key is to find a grip that won’t slip once it gets wet and is comfortable to draw. A few models now have an added wrist brace to help you draw it back even further and get more power into each shot.

 

Think about shaft thickness

When shooting with a Hawaiian sling, you have a trade-off decision to make with the shaft.

  • Short and thinner shafts will shoot faster, but they’re less durable. They’ll bend and will have less “punch” on the fish you hit.
  • Longer and thicker shafts will help you land a considerably more powerful punch, but they’re slower shooting (and less range).

Most Hawaiian slings will allow shafts from 1/4-inches (6.5mm) to 5/16-inches (8mm). Buy the right shaft for the conditions you’re spearfishing in. I found a 9/32-inch (7mm) shaft to be a good middle-ground between the two.

 

Don’t discount lost shafts

New designs have significantly increased the Hawaiian Sling’s range, and it’s quite common to lose your shaft. They’re not expensive to replace, but it does add up.

If you’re spearfishing in deep water, poor visibility, or targeting larger fish, do this. Add a shooting line. It attaches to the spear’s shaft with a slide ring and works much like a speargun’s shooting line. Tethering the spear to the sling, your floatline, or even your belt, so you can always retrieve your shaft.

You can also buy reels for Hawaiian slings, though it does give you one more thing to get tangled. Unless you’re after big pelagics and a speargun isn’t allowed, don’t attach a reel.

 

So what’s the best Hawaiian Sling for me?

Ultimately, you need to choose which of the different types of spearfishing gear are best for you. In my opinion, you’re going to do great with the Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling, as it’s easy to use, packs a powerful punch, and is easily upgradable should you ever need to attach a shooting line.

Happy spearin!

 

 

Learn to Hold Your Breath Underwater for Longer

 

 

The Best Hawaiian Sling for Spearfishing

 

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