The Good: Built for abuse with durable materials and enough rocker to stay stable in the rough stuff.
The Bad: Pricy for an inflatable, but with this much durability in there it’s gonna last.
Stand-up paddleboards are fast becoming the preferred way to paddle around in the surf, flatwater, and the occasional river. I’ve been hooked from the first time I jumped on a board and immediately saw why standing up on the water was way better than sitting. Sure, there’s a place for kayaks, but even the rough stuff can be enjoyed on a paddleboard if you’re up for the rush. Of course, not just any board can take on the whitewater, it takes a durable, stable board with plenty of rocker to keep upright when the river wants to tip you.
That’s where the Hala Atcha Whitewater SUP comes in. Hala sent one over to us this fall to test out on some of our local rapids and we weren’t disappointed. The Hala Atcha is a 9’6″ board with plenty of features that make it stand out as a great board in the rough water, but still perform well during a flatwater session. The ultra-wide board just felt stable no matter where we paddled and that makes a big difference when it matters. First, the board is made with durable materials that are beefed up at common contact points like the nose and sides. Next, they added an almost full-length stomp pad for plenty of room to move around. They also designed in plenty of rocker to keep the tip from burying in the big waves, then added the StompBox which has a spring-loaded center fin that keeps the rider from bailing off the front when the fin hits shallow areas. Because the board is inflatable, it packs down easily into a small roller bag that easily fits in a trunk for simple storage or transport. Once at the river, it takes about 15-20 minutes to be on the water paddling so set-up is fully worth the convenience of never strapping something to your roof.
We took this paddleboard out for a few flatwater sessions on a local lake and it kept up well with all the other paddlers, so the bulk didn’t feel like much of a disadvantage compared to longer,
lighter boards, and then of course we took it down some whitewater. The river sessions were noticeably more stable than the other boards we had out there (Red Paddle Co. and NRS), even with our heaviest rider, it was agreed that the Atcha was decidedly the easiest board to keep upright in the rapids.
Overall, the Hala Atcha is worth every penny, especially if you’re looking for something that can serve you well no matter where you want to paddle, this is the most stable board I’ve been out on, especially for larger paddlers. So, if you want it all, this durable beast is built to last for years of paddling.
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