Carbon Fiber Makes Inflatable SUPs Better

When stand-up paddle (SUP) boarders go shopping for a board, they’re usually faced with the difficult choice of either buying a hardshell model or an inflatable.


Hardshells have the advantage of providing better all-around performance in terms of speed and tracking, but they can be difficult to store and transport to and from the water. On the other hand, inflatables take up very little space at home or in the trunk of a car, but often don’t handle as well on the water. But SUP manufacturer Hala Gear has come up with an innovative new approach to making its boards that looks to put an end to this conundrum once and for all. 

For 2017, Hala has become the first company in the SUP market to introduce what it calls “Carbon Construction” to its inflatable product line. Through this process the company weaves unidirectional carbon fibers throughout the top and bottom of the board, which greatly improves rigidity without adding much in the way of weight. The result is much better performance, with speed and maneuverability to rival a hardshell.

Hala claims that Carbon Construction improves the stiffness of the board by as much as 300 percent, which translates to more power and better efficiency for paddlers. In fact, the company has been so pleased with the results of this approach to manufacturing that it has rolled it out to its touring, surfing, and all-around performance line of SUP boards. Prices vary depending on the model of course, but most fall around the $1399 price point, making them competitively priced with other high-end inflatable.

But the best news of all is that the addition of carbon fiber to these boards hasn’t impacted the benefits that we’ve all come to expect from an inflatable. The new models from Hala can still be rolled up like any other inflatable on the market, making them easy to transport to the river or lake and store when you get back home. These boards also happen to be highly durable, too, which is another benefit of an inflatable. In other words, you still get the conveniences of easy storage and transportation, but with a level of performance that is closer to a hardshell.

Article published by Digital Trends.

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