Have you wanted to try whitewater SUP? If so, the Hala Radito may be the board for you. Yeah, you can find some gnarly footage of steep drops and Volkswagen sized boulders as a brightly colored paddler seemingly bounces down a fast-moving river. But whitewater paddling really boils down to reading the conditions, a bit of footwork and going with the flow. In this regard, paddling whitewater on a standup paddleboard is a lot like surfing and downwind paddling.
My first whitewater SUP experience was at the Payette River Games a few years back. I wasn’t there as a serious competitor, but had the opportunity to take part and write about the experience. The board I used back then was a non-whitewater specific inflatable SUP. It was fine for its intended purpose (entry-level all arounder), but it lacked the design features of a purpose-built whitewater SUP such as the Hala Radito. #DesignMatters
I had a rough and tumble time paddling at the Payette River Games, but it was an insane amount of fun and I learned a lot both from my own encounters and the opportunity to watch the top competitors first hand.
What makes the Hala Radito so good?
The Radito is the 10’ x 34” x 6” smaller sibling of the Hala Rado. The first thing you’ll notice about the board is the distinctive Colorado inspired color scheme. This board simply oozes vibes from the Rocky Mountain State in every inch of its fiber. Hala characterizes the Radito as a smaller burly whitewater / expedition board. You might think 10’ x 34” is not that small, but in the world of whitewater SUP the Radito is, as its name suggests, on the diminutive side. A few of the core features which make this inflatable standup paddleboard distinctive include:
- Full Rocker
- 10 Soft Rigging Points
- 2 Rubber Side Handles
- Bottom D-Ring For Towing
- Diamond Groove 4mm Deck Pad
- 1.5” Raised Stomp Pad
- 4 Fixed, Unbreakable, Low-Profile Side Fins
Patent-Pending Stompbox™ Retractable Fin Built In
Hala states, “the Hala Radito is ideal for smaller riders or people excited to play in tighter pockets. A new design gives you an insanely burly expedition board with the capability of all-around use while still maintaining the river maneuverability and playfulness.” I’m around 5’6” and 150 lbs, so I easily fit in the “smaller rider” category. I’m also a beginner whitewater SUP paddler and have been spending a fair amount of time working on balance and footwork SUP surfing and riding a skateboard in the past year. For me, paddling the Hala Radito was about as good as it gets!
Versatile and user-friendly
I paddled the Radito on multiple trips down the Los Angeles River through the Glendale Narrows last summer. The water was fast moving, full of rocks and contained a few small drops. At 34” wide the Radito was super stable and I felt very comfortable paddling the board on the fast-moving water. The full rocker was greatly appreciated and the swallowtail combined with the generously proportioned stomp pad made maneuvering the board easy, even for a novice whitewater paddler such as myself. The board made the experience a heck of a lot of fun. So much so, I ran one of the more technical sections over and over for about 45 minutes on one trip because it was simply that much fun!
The Glendale Narrows section of the Los Angeles River is a great section to get your feet wet paddling whitewater on a SUP and I’m hoping to make a couple of trips up to the Kern River this season to broaden my exposure.
Although I didn’t use them on the trips down the Los Angeles River, the side handles on the Hala Radito are perfectly positioned for grabbing the board from the water. I can see how this would be highly desirable on a more intense whitewater paddling adventure. The Hala Radito also makes a great all-around SUP for use as a family board. All the design features which enable the Radito to excel in whitewater make the board super stable for simply cruising around in the ocean or flat water. The Radito is a great SUP to use on a snorkeling trip and is able to easily glide over shallow reefs due to the low profile configuration of its fins. It’s also pretty fun to surf!
Bottom line, the Hala Radito is one highly versatile SUP.
Article written by Paddle Xaminer.