Last week, Hala Gear formally announced a new material in the construction of its colorful range of inflatable SUPs. Carbon. The same material which gives hard boards their stiffness and low weight was woven into Hala Gear’s 2017 lineup. The Carbon Construction offers many advantages over competitor designs and I’m excited to partner with Hala Gear in a new column, Pumped Up Paddler, which focuses exclusively on inflatable SUPs.
Launched in 2011 by Steamboat athlete Peter Hall, Hala Gear employs a meticulous design and testing process to produce an unrivaled collection of inflatable SUPs. Hala Gear boards are performance shaped, super durable, and excel in all waterways. Hala has engineered unidirectional carbon fiber into the top and bottom of its boards to maximize stiffness and responsiveness. According to Hala, the innovation has resulted in a 300 percent increase in rigidity over conventional, non composite-reinforced six-inch-thick inflatables, giving Hala boards a significant performance advantage.
“We were ecstatic to achieve as much as 300 percent rigidity gains from our Carbon Construction,” said Hala founder and president Peter Hall. “Other carbon technologies only report marginal gains in the 30- to 40-percent range.”
Combined with the company’s Fusion Drop Stitch™ construction, Hala Gear inflatable SUPs now boast three-times more rigidity in flex testing. They delivering more power and efficiency than any other inflatable product on the market. The carbon stringers can still be rolled up when deflated, preserving the much-desired durability and portability benefits of inflatables. Best yet, most Hala boards featuring Carbon Construction still hit the $1,399 price point.
The introduction of Carbon Construction is an industry first as the design competition among inflatable SUP manufacturers heats up. Inflatable SUPs have certain advantages over their hard board siblings, but generally lagged in performance. One notable exception is the whitewater paddling market. The gap in performance capabilities has significantly narrowed with Hala Gear’s Carbon Construction.
Inflatable SUPs are inherently easy to transport; they can be rolled up and secured in a bag. Inflatables are also more durable than most hard boards. You can drop an inflatable SUP and not worry about incurring any damage.
Hala Gear has invested in significant R&D to shed the perception that an inflatable SUP is nothing more than a glorified pool toy. Hala’s boards are top of the line performance SUPs. Inflatables will always be compared with hard boards and I won’t shy away from making a comparison of my own. Hala Gear is the Infinity of the inflatable SUP market and is leading the progression of inflatable SUP design in the same way Infinity reigns supreme in other aspects of the industry.
Through this column, readers will be introduced to the Hala Playa, an ocean surfing and touring longboard shape built with Hala Gear’s Carbon Construction. I hiked down the Palos Verdes trail to Bluff Cove with the Playa strapped to my back last week. It was my initial encounter with the 2017 Carbon Hala Playa and I walked away thoroughly impressed with the experience.
In addition to an in-depth examination of the Hala Playa, I’ll be heading back to explore the navigable sections of the Los Angeles River north of downtown Los Angeles on Hala’s flashy new whitewater SUP, the Radito. The Radito doesn’t contain the Carbon Construction. It is, however, equipped with Hala’s innovative Stompbox™ Retractable Fin. The Stompbox™ is another first and allows the center fin to retract into the board upon contact with solid objects. The flow in the LA River is up as a result of the heavy rainfall in California last winter. It should be a fun ride.
If you’d like to join me for an adventure or have an idea worth exploring, feel free to reach out via social media. There has never been a better time to be a Pumped Up Paddler!