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Board Review: Hala Gear Gram

8′ X 30″ X 4.75″ (178 liters)
$1,099
halagear.com 

OUR TAKE:

One thing is certain: Colorado-based Hala Gear has its naming strategy dialed, not to mention its boards. The Hala Gram, an 8-foot, 30-inch wide inflatable, is part of the river-focused company's new Gram series (also featuring the 6'11" Milligram). Both are sporty models with an emphasis on river surf--or just playing on flatwater, in eddylines or anywhere on the river, really. Fans of Hala will immediately notice that these boards are much less bulky than many previous offerings.

The Gram is stable, thanks to nearly 5-inch rails and that 30-inch width, and its "nut" shape (Hala's word, not ours) makes the board responsive and fun. They say it's because the first point of contact with the water is closer to you, creating more maneuverability. All we know is it works. The board is super-stiff, too, not at all floppy, which makes it really useful in a variety of situations: running easy rivers, surfing park-and-play style waves at a whitewater park and even surfing ocean waves.

Hala has also figured out bomber construction for its rubber, making it super durable, which is ideal if you were to leave a board like this out on the dock all summer at the lake house. It comes with five fin boxes: the center fin is a screw-in and the quads are a simple, locking fin system called Click Fins, which a handful of inflatable companies are using. The Gram comes with a pump and travel bag so you can take it anywhere and with a three-year warranty, you can bang it up with little worry. It'll take whatever you can give it. -Joe Carberry

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