When someone asks what makes a Hala river board unique, it only takes a one-word response to answer: Stompbox.
Yes, the swallowtail, welded seams, rocker profile, large fin selection, bomber construction also make our inflatable SUP boards special, but as whitewater people, we'll be straight up with you: we can’t imagine going back to the days of using a board with a fixed, non-retractable fin.
What is a Stompbox?
Hala's Stompbox is a retractable center fin.
Since its introduction in 2015, our patented Stompbox has become the most desired feature in the whitewater SUP industry. It is essential for river running because it allows you to paddle in shallow places without the risk of catching a fin on a rock.
Before the Stompbox came on the scene, fin to rock contact whilst paddling meant your board would stop dead in its tracks. This jarring, jolting stop often resulted in paddlers falling over the front of the board. At Hala, we like to describe the forward, falling motion "supermanning."
To avoid "supermanning," paddlers would have to swap their center fin for a smaller fin (or even paddle fin-less) to get through the shallow sections. Swapping to a smaller fin resulted in decreased tracking and drive. Before the Stompbox, paddlers were forced to choose between lower performance or risk catching their fin on the bottom of the river.
The original Stompbox was introduced in 2015 and came with a 4.5” fin, which provided enough tracking to successfully navigate shallow rivers.
In 2018, Hala introduced the 9" Stompfin that riders could swap within their Stompbox for increased tracking in deeper rivers like the Colorado River and the Green River.
What's new about the Stompbox 2.0?
Our brand ethos is all about designing better adventure crafts, we decided to upgrade the Stompbox alongside our 2021 lineup.
The result? The Stompbox 2.0 features a fully retractable 9” fin, reminiscent of a longboard surf fin. This provides performance, drive, and agility in all conditions.
When you are paddling deeper rivers, you have a full sized fin to track across boils and reactionary waves.
When you are paddling shallow rivers, the 8” fin retracts allowing you to safely paddle shallow sections without catching a fin.
Additionally, the longer fin reduces the need for side (also called side-bite or click) fins. You can size down your side fins and feel confident that your whitewater performance will not be compromised, especially in low water.
In addition to the improved fin, the entire Stompbox 2.0 is now removable. At first, this might sound strange, but the advantages of a removable center finbox are undeniable.
- You can now roll your deflated board to be significantly smaller for travel and storage
- You can swap out your fin in a matter of minutes
When you unbox a 2021 Hala board, the Stompbox will need to be inserted into the board before you can paddle. To do this:
- Assemble the Stompbox by installing the fin
- Inflate your board to a minimal PSI so that your SUP holds its shape
- Insert the finbox into the void on the underside of the board
- Inflate the board to pressure – 15 PSI
- When the board is deflated, you can remove the Stompbox allowing you to roll your board much tighter than before
For travel via airplane, bus, or even for storage in an apartment, boards with the Stompbox 2.0 will roll down smaller than any other river board. For extended travel, you could carry a spare Stompbox for peace of mind.
The Stompbox 2.0 can be found on the following boards:
What else is new for 2021?
We now use a woven drop stitch, making all new Hala boards 3-4 pounds lighter on average.
All new Hala boards have welded seams, creating a bombproof mechanical bond instead of the traditional technique of gluing boards together.
Finally, all 2021 boards have an industry-leading 5-year warranty.
Questions about our new 2021 boards? Reach out to us at SUP@halagear.com and we can walk you through our new lineup!
Photos courtesy of Trinity Wall.