The Gram was built with ocean surfing and bigger river waves in mind. At 8’ x 30” with a 4.75” rail, it absolutely slays its competition in the ocean. Paddling out into the surf or going downriver on this board is made substantially easier by the aggressively rockered nose. The board will buck and rise over rough beach break and waves as you paddle out. The rocker also gives you more room for error when dropping into steep waves, reducing the likelihood of pearling the nose. The “nut” shaped outline of the board creates a snappy, responsive feel on the wave that, when combined with the thinner 4.75” rail, allows you to drive the board down the line like no other inflatable on the market. An interesting and counterintuitive consequence of the “nut” shape can be felt if you move too far towards the nose of the board; it will engage the shoulders at the base of the hourglass shaped waist, creating drag on flat waves. To force this board down the wave face, a little pumping and paddling from a central stance is required rather than shifting weight to the nose. In the river, the Gram will excel on large waves like Glenwood and the elusive Big Sur.
The little brother to the Gram, the Miligram stacks up at 6’11” x 30” with the same 4.75” rail. This thing is tiny but stable and incredibly responsive. I received the protoype for this in the early winter and immediately took it to the Montrose, CO whitewater park. To my disappointment, the flows were very low but I figured what the hell, it’s not like I’m going to break an inflatable in shin-deep surf. I rigged up the low-profile river fins and got out there. I was shocked by how responsive the board is underfoot. Side grinds and spins come easy on this little guy and smashing it into the shallow rocks didn’t matter. The fin configuration consists of 5 click-fin boxes that are also FCS compatible. Running all 5 flex fins stabilizes the board immensely, creating a great learning platform. To loosen the board up and make it more playful, run a quad-fin or twin-fin setup. The Miligram can surf pretty much anything you find in the river from steep hole-like waves to tall, glassy features. It’s without a doubt the best inflatable river surfer on the market.
The Peño has some of the most unique design construction of any inflatable board available. It has two 3” chambers stacked on top of one another. The wider bottom chamber creates a 3” rail along the length of the board, the first of its kind. The narrow rail increases responsiveness when surfing and makes eddy turns and peel-outs easier when paddling downstream. At 6’11” x 32” it’s incredibly stable and is ideal for burgeoning surfers. This board shines as a “park and play” model with a blend of surfing and downriver designs. The heavily rockered nose and wider platform make it easy to catch waves on the fly while you’re goofing off at the local whitewater park. The click-fin configuration is identical to the Milligram, providing a multitude of options for beginner to expert paddlers.
Hala Rolling Backpack
These high-performance inflatables offer the traveling surfer a highly portable, incredibly durable and versatile option for domestic and international paddling. At 20 pounds the Gram easily makes it on the plane to Costa Rica with you. No more overpriced, water-logged rentals! A well-rounded surf quiver now requires a good inflatable board.
By Alex Garhart