Less popular than the standard pole spear, Hawaiian slings are a good alternative to a speargun in terms of range and power. They are most commonly used in places where spearguns are illegal or heavily regulated like the Bahamas or Japan.
They’re also favored by freedivers who just want to try something new or want a new challenge in their hunt. However, with different slings on the market, it can be hard to make a decision on what to pull the trigger on.
We’ve done the research and put together a short list of the best Hawaiian slings on the market for you so you can get in the water as soon as possible.
4 Best Hawaiian Sling for Spearfishing
- Best Combination Deal – AB Biller Combo Hawaiian Sling Package
- Best Value for Money (Platform Only) – Sea Slinger Hawaiian Sling
- Best Classic Sling – Hammerhead Spearguns Hawaiian Sling Shooter
- Editor’s Pick: Best Hawaiian Sling – Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling
Best Combination Deal
Key Features and Notes
- Solid mahogany wood construction for lifetime use.
- ⅜ inch bands for solid power transfer
- Stainless steel butt for construction integrity
- Comes with four ¼-inch shafts 60 inches in length.
This is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to do the extra time researching and picking out shafts.
¼-inch shafts are plenty to nail most game that is huntable with Hawaiian slings, and the fact that this package comes with four of them is great as freeshafting with a Hawaiian sling inevitably leads to some lost equipment in poor visibility or deeper diving.
Best Value for Money (Platform Only)
Key Features and Notes
- Well-designed ergonomic design with 1 ¼ inch diameter and 7-inch length – fits in most palms
- Traditional grip (as opposed to pistol grip) – better for staying hydrodynamic while dive-bombing
- Can utilize shafts up to ⅜ inches in diameter, which is heavy-duty enough to land the vast majority of reef fish
Note that with this platform, shafts are not included, so you’ll have to buy those. Thankfully, with the wide internal diameter, the sling can utilize an array of spears that you can pick and choose from.
The sturdy design lends itself to long-time use without degradation – just replace the bands once in a while and you’re set to go.
Best Classic Sling
Key Features and Notes
- Classic mahogany style handle – durable and long-lasting
- Holds 9/16-inch shafts
- Traditional grip like the #3 pick
Again, this platform does not come with any extra shafts. Take note that it will hold a 9/16 inch shaft, but you may want to scale down to a ⅜ inch shaft in order to ensure straight-distance shooting.
Similar to the #3 pick in the Sea Slinger, this Hammerhead Spearguns sling just needs some band replacements once in a while for it to last you a lifetime.
Note that because the handle is wood, you may need to give it some TLC with oil application and relaquering from time to time.
Editor’s Pick: Best Hawaiian Sling
Key Features and Notes
- Innovative bow design
- The design inherently centers the shaft for friction reduction and straight-shooting
- Up to 5/16 inch diameter shaft accommodation
- Can be upgraded to a line management system such as one by Headhunters
Although expensive, this is the most innovative design on the list by far to compensate for the extra cost. In my opinion and experience, this is one of the best Hawaiian slings on the market.
By taking notes from a pistol grip Hawaiian sling and adding stabilizers and an option for line management systems, the Sea Archer Hawaiian Sling is the quintessential piece of equipment for any Hawaiian sling hunter.
Although it can’t hold larger ¾-inch shafts, the 5/16-inch shaft should be more than enough to handle most games such as hogfish and lionfish.
It also has an easy flush fresh water rinse system to keep your platform salt free for years to come, and a stellar customer service department to answer any questions or help you with any maintenance issues you might come across in the future.
The sling is remarkably hydrodynamic and can outturn even a cuttlefish-hulled speargun to bring the platform to bear on your target.
How to use a Hawaiian sling
Hawaiian slings are an entirely different platform than a classic pole spear or speargun and need some getting used to if you’re going to be successful with one.
There are essentially two different ways to fire your Hawaiian sling – with a pull or a push.
With the pull method, you create firing power and band tension by pulling back the spear and bands, and with the push method, you do the same by focusing on pushing forward the platform while keeping the bands and spear taut.
In both methods, the shaft is fired by letting go of the spear and bands, propelling it forward with band tension like an arrow.
You need a decent amount of strength in order to get enough power behind the shaft to strike and land a target. It never hurts to do some research on YouTube to find some videos on how to shoot a Hawaiian sling.
Getting used to a Hawaiian sling platform can be tricky. Best practice? Set up a target and focus on hitting it over and over again.
With most Hawaiian slings it’s easier to shoot at a downward angle so you don’t have to compensate for gravity and drag as much since there’s less power than a loaded speargun.
As such, many Hawaiian sling divers forgo the aspetto technique in favor of a dive-bombing technique. Thankfully, fish species tend to be more receptive to dive-bombing in areas where Hawaiian slings are popular, as there is less speargun pressure on them.
Things to look for
Decide whether you want a traditional or pistol grip. Some divers think that a pistol grip is better as it’s potentially easier to aim, but I personally think that the traditional grip provides more stability once you get used to it.
The material matters too – if you don’t have grippy gloves, try to ensure you get a grip that has a solid amount of hatching for a better grip.
I personally also prefer plastic over wood, as you’ll have to re-lacquer and apply oil to the material once in a while whereas plastic only requires a freshwater rinse, however, it’s quite a small amount of work in the long run for the longevity of the platform.
Decide on the best diameter shaft for your purposes. In general, the wider the shaft, the larger game you can spear and land.
Keep in mind that if you’re running a lineless rig, a heavier shaft will be harder for the fish to fight and will improve your odds of recovering the target fish and shaft. However, the larger the shaft, the more power you need to effectively propel it.
Personally, I find that the range of ¼ inch to 5/16 inch is a good fit for the vast majority of environments.
If you’re freeshafting you may find that you lose Hawaiian sling spears in the case of strong currents, low visibility, deep diving, or feisty fish.
A line management system might be helpful depending on your environment. Keep in mind that the Sea Archer platform (our #1 pick) has an easy conversion to a line management system.
Hawaiian slings are a great way to hunt underwater in places where spearguns are prohibited or highly regulated. Although they take some getting used to, there’s nothing like the primal experience of a Hawaiian sling.
You can’t go wrong with the Sea Archer platform (which in my opinion is the easiest to use and best Hawaiian sling), but if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution or just want to try out the novelty, the other picks on the list are great too. Happy hunting!