When someone asks what makes a Hala river board unique, it only takes a one-word response to answer: StompBox.
A ton of other things make our inflatable SUP boards unique (our rigorous board testing, welded seams, specific rocker profile, large fin selection, patented technology, top-of the line manufacturing, next-level materials, and bomber construction...just to name a few) 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.
New 9" StompBox 2.0 Benefits:
- Tracking, Speed, and Drive: paddle forward more and use corrective strokes less. You can ferry, surf, attain, and get to where you want to be on the river with more precision.
- Secondary Stability: The 9" StompFin makes the the board more stable from side to side.
- Surf: The longer fin is specifically shaped for surfing performance, while giving you enough surface area for even more added stability. You're gonna love it.
- Ride A Smaller Board: The Atcha 711 and Atcha 86 are high-rocker – Boards with this much rocker will spin in circles without high-intensity corrective strokes, unless you’ve got the right fin on them. A high-rocker board that can surf tiny ledge waves without pearling AND can drive and accelerate to attain up a boiling half-eddy? Yes, please!
- Step Up Your Game: This fin rewards all of the hard work you have been doing learning how to paddle. You'll feel the difference right away.
- Fish, track, and paddle shallow water: Our larger boards with the StompBox 2.0 (like the Rado or Fame) mean you can rig your board with all of your gear for an adventure and you'll still be able to move stealthily through shallow water and track through deep water. You won't regret bringing a little extra with you!
And for the naysayers who like to paddle finless?
That's cool and all, and you still have that option because this finbox is completely removable, but the StompBox 2 gives you waaaaay more control when paddling. Think of sailing a sailboat without a centerboard. Think of riding a unicycle. Yes, these things can be done but you're trying too hard!
Simply put, a board without a StompBox 2 is not as much fun. You spend more time correcting and less time driving.
The StompBox 2 brings a level of precision and drive that most whitewater SUP paddlers didn't know was possible. Combine that with the rocker and shape of a Hala SUP and you have inflatable boards that can't be beaten.
Wait, 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.
That's right. Paddle wherever you want without getting hung up on rocks undertow.
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, primarily a tracking fin (not meant to have as much surf or maneuverability), 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?
Hall is all about designing better adventure crafts, and we set out 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 is a performance fin rather than a tracking-first fin like the OG 9" StompFin from 2018). This 9" StompFin 2 provides precision, 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 9” 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.
A particular note about the older orange 9" StompFin -- this fin shape is wider than the new 9" StompBox 2.0 fin. The surface area on the older 9" fin provides the straightest tracking of all the StompFins.
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 box 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 can be found on the following boards:
What else is new for 2021?
We now use a thick fusion dropstitch, making all new Hala Atcha 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.