In the northern Hemisphere, summer is around the corner and water activities are heating up. While the standup paddle board craze has been on the rise during the past decade, more recreationalists are hopping onto inflatable boards due to ease of storage and travel-ability.
Well-known for eye-catching graphics and innovative technology, Hala Gear is one of the handful of standup paddle board companies focused on the inflatables market – most feature hard-shells with a few inflatables thrown into the mix.
Founded in 2011 by Peter Hall, Hala Gear headquarters is based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The company philosophy is committed to performance, durability and quality – in fact, each of the Hala inflatable boards carries a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
For 2019, Hala has 19 models for surfing, whitewater, recreation, touring and racing, ranging in size from 6’11” to 14’0″. This includes the introduction/evolution of two new models – the Carbon Playita 2+2 and the Peno 2+2 – and the retirement of both the Daze workhorse and Luya. All 2019 boards feature updated graphics and color schemes. Boards range in price from $999 to $1599, with some minor pricing changes.
As shape, thickness and construction all make a difference in a board’s performance under varying conditions, we’ll first give a little insight into the thought-process behind Hala boards.
Hala boards have three general construction types – carbon, core and fusion. The Carbon boards feature a carbon/kevlar-type woven stringer, strategically placed to give an extra layer down the central length of the board – think “rigidity and performance.” The Core boards are constructed with two layers of drop-stitch material and are typically found in the boards that will see more hard “core” action – think “bombproof.” The Fusion SUPs utilize a newer laminating technology that saves material and weight, think “lighter” and “value-priced.”
For 2019, Hala has refined their previous 3-style rocker construction, now separating the full rocker into surf and river, while maintaining the progressive and glide rockers. The Surf rocker features a minimal rise in the tail with a curved nose; this places the center of balance back further to allow the nose to rise naturally. The River rocker features a precise curve from tail to nose allowing maneuverability and surfability. The Progressive and Glide rockers continue to focus on performance and speed.
All 2019 Hala iSUPs come with the Back Country Comfort Rolling Backpack or Travel Tough Backpack – both feature integrated wheels, making it easier to thread through airport lobbies, while still comfortable enough to pack into the remote country. All boards come with the Hala pump and pressure gauge, a nifty little 12-volt car pump that allows you to fill out the board quickly, repair kit and instructions. The Rival series and Asana