Posted by: airkayaks | February 13, 2019

AquaGlide Inflatable Kayak and SUP Product Line for 2019

We recently received details on AquaGlide’s inflatable kayak and paddle board product line for 2019.

AquaGlide Chelan 155 HB XL Inflatable Kayak

A division of North Sports Inc, the Aquaglide brand has grown steadily over the past 15 years, encompassing water sports products such as commercial and residential water trampolines, tow toys, recreational water equipment and the highly popular Multisport 270 – an inflatable windsurf/sailboat/pull toy/kayak combo.

Now entering the sixth season as a major manufacturer of inflatable kayaks and SUPs, AquaGlide’s paddling line has dramatically expanded the options available to water enthusiasts looking for portability.

Last summer, the North Sports product line, including the AquaGlide series, was purchased by Connelly Skis of Lynwood, Washington. Established in 1965, Connelly Skis is well known for their water skis and water sports equipment. While the North Sports headquarters shifted to Lynwood, the AquaGlide product line remains intact, with some minor updates for 2019.

The 2019 inflatable product line consists of 21 models including six paddle boards and 15 inflatable kayaks. The AquaGlide kayak models include the Rogue, Chinook, Columbia, Chelan, Blackfoot and Klickitat series. The SUP line includes the Cascades and Blackfoot fishing boards.

The overriding change consists of a new naming structure for all the models. The new names focus on the kayak length to help minimize confusion among potential customers.

AquaGlide Chinook 95 Inflatable Kayak

The three Chinooks are being reintroduced as the Chinook 90, 100 and 120 XL while the Rogue 2 becomes the Rogue 100.

AquaGlide Columbia 140 XL Inflatable Kayak

The Columbia One, Two and Tandem XL models will be renamed Columbia 110, 130 and 145 XL.

AquaGlide Klickitat 125 HB Inflatable Kayak

The high-pressure Chelans are now the Chelan 120 HB, 140 HB and 155 HB XL, while the Blackfoot SL and XL become the Blackfoot Angler 110 HB and 125 HB, and the Klickitats become the Klickitat 95 HB and 125 HB.

AquaGlide Chinook Series

Along this line, the Chinook 90, Columbia 110, Chelan 120 HB, Blackfoot 110 HB and Klickitat 95 HB are all single-paddler models while the Chinook 100, Columbia 130, Chelan 140 HB, Blackfoot Angler 125 HB and Klickitat 125 HB are models for 1 or 2 paddlers. The remaining three XL models – Chinook 120 XL, Columbia 140 XL and Chelan 155 HB XL – are longer kayaks designed for 1-2+ people, allowing paddlers to bring along a child, furry friend or extra gear.

The name changes will be rolled out throughout 2019.

AquaGlide Blackfoot Angler XL set up for solo paddling.

The current high pressure line – including the Blackfoots, Chelans and Klickitat kayaks – will feature screw-in drain plugs rather than the current friction-fit plugs. This will minimize potential issues of water leaking into the kayak.

AquaGlide Cascade 10 Inflatable SUP

On the paddleboard side, the Cascade 10, 11 and 12, as well as the Blackfoot Angler 11 and Angler Tandem continue unchanged. The new WIndsup series – Cascade 11 WS arrived midway through the summer of 2018. These come as a stand-alone board with integrated windsurf mount, as well as packages with a 4.2 or 5.2 meter sail rigs.

Prices continue into 2019 with no changes.

The updated high pressure models are in transit and will be available on the AirKayaks website in late March. Stay tuned for details or you can get on our Notification List as info becomes available.

We recently came across a nifty new product designed to take the guesswork out of inflation – the airCap from TRiB Outdoor Tech. The airCap is a solar-powered, high-accuracy pressure gauge which is compatible with Leafield C7 and D7 valves. It measures up to 20 PSI in real-time, making it ideal for a range of inflatable craft including rafts, kayaks, SUPs and RIBs.

airCap solar pressure gauge from TriB Outdoor Tech.The airCap is designed to replace your watercraft’s existing inflation valve cap. Simply unscrew the existing cap, remove the cap tether and replace it with the airCap. Once the craft is inflated, the airCap will give real-time readings, allowing you to see if the pressure gets too high or drops too low.

We contacted TRiB Outdoor Tech to find out more about the product. TRiB (pronounced Tribe) is a new outdoor technology company based out of Moscow, Idaho. According to TRiB’s co-founder, Erik Cegnar, TRiB’s passion is in paddlesports and rafting, with a focus toward innovation in outdoor and other watersports.

As Erik explains, “We are a group of engineers and designers, a small company with big dreams. We are starting this company with the idea of bringing innovative products to market to enable, empower and enhance the outdoor experience. We love the outdoors and think that those experiences can be and often are life changing. We have some amazing products in the works.”

As is often the case, the initial airCap idea came out of a first hand experience – while into Day 2 of a 6-day rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the “unspeakable” happened. During a break for lunch, Erik and companions were relaxing on the beach when one of the kayaks exploded. As Erik recounts, “As you can imagine, the rest of the experience was limited.”

Most paddlers are aware that inflation chamber pressures fluctuate constantly based on outdoor temperatures – if it is hot, the air inside your chamber will expand, increasing the pressure. Conversely, if it is chilly outside, or the water is cold, the air will contract and cause your inflation chambers to be under-filled. With real-time readings, the airCap can let you know if more air should be added, or some pressure released.

Coincidentally, after speaking with Erik we were sent a prototype kayak from another manufacturer for test purposes. The kayak arrived sporting an airCap, so we took the opportunity to take a good look, which convinced us to buy some.

airCap, Leafield valve and cap

We subsequently used the airCap on an NRS Pike inflatable kayak, and a Kokopelli Castaway XL Packraft. The image above shows the valve cap on the left and the airCap on the right.

Installing the airCap

We found the airCap to be pretty simple to install. Basically, remove the existing valve cap by using a pair of needle nose pliers to inch off the tether. Then replace with the airCap tether, making sure it swings around freely. Pump up your inflatable to the recommended pressure, then screw on the airCap. With suitable light, the airCap will start reading within a couple of seconds, with a range of 0.2 to 20 PSI. We did notice that one needs to press down a little harder to screw it in position, and make sure it is fully screwed on so that it doesn’t turn any more, before it will register..airCap features an extra seal to prevent air leakageHow does it work? Most pressure gauges work on reading back pressure. The airCap is designed to “open” the spring plungers on the Leafield valves when screwed in place, allowing continuous readings. It also features an additional o-ring seal, ensuring that no air leaks out of the valve cap.

airCap installed

For those that don’t have a pressure gauge for their pumps, the airCap can also be used as a “check point” as long as the tether does not get in the way. Simply pump up your inflatable and screw on the airCap – without attaching the tether – to see if you are at the appropriate PSI.

Erik explains, “If it is used this way, it would be best to remove the airCap tether since it will tend to get in the way – it can be cut off. If the regular C7 tether is still installed, it takes a little work to get the cap to screw on. So generally speaking the design is not perfectly optimized for this use. But if customers prefer this and it works for them, it’s perfectly fine to use it this way.”

We asked about the projected working life of the airCap. According to Erik, “All products have a life-cycle – the frequency and type of use impact this. The design is inherently long life because all of the electronics are solid state. This is why we worked really hard to not rely on a battery which would have otherwise been the weak link in the design. For infrequent users who take really good care of their equipment, they might see a life of 30 years. For super hard-core rafters who are on the water all the time perhaps the life would be reduced to 5 years. But in general, we think a 10 year life is a good target.”

airCap is rugged and waterproof

The TRiB airCap is rugged, waterproof and fully sealed. As it is solar-powered, there are no batteries or parts to replace, and it performs in low-light at dusk, dawn, and by headlamp. It also has a small footprint, with a 2.75 inch diameter and a weight of 1.4 oz; it’s a great option for back-packable vessels such as the Kokopelli packraft.

The initial airCap – which works with Leafield C7 and D7 valves such as those found on NRS inflatable kayaks and SUPS as well as Kokopelli Packrafts – is the first in a projected series of outdoor gadgets and is currently available. Plans are to introduce an HR (Halkey-Roberts) and Summit II version this spring, which will work on many of the other inflatables such as the Red Paddle, Hala and Advanced Elements paddle boards as well as the AquaGlide, Aire and Airis high-pressure kayaks and SUPS.

The newer versions will feature optional alarms that can be triggered when pressures have reached select unsafe levels.

airCap attributes

MSRP is $34.95. For more info or to purchase, visit the airCap product page at You can also ask to get on the notification list for the upcoming HR and Summit II version.

This past summer, Red Paddle Co announced the launch of their new 9’6″ Compact Inflatable SUP Package, a revolutionary game-changer in the inflatable paddle board industry.

Red Paddle Co Compact 9'6"

Based on the popular Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″, the 9’6″ Compact features a 32″ width with 4.7″ thickness, yet packs down to half the size of a conventional Red board without sacrificing performance, rigidity or durability.

Red Paddle accomplished this through a series of material breakthroughs and innovative design, starting from the ground-up and re-engineering each part.

While the initial shipment was scheduled for a November arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to obtain our first shipment early. This past week the UPS truck dropped off the new Red Paddle Co Compacts, which we immediately put to the test. (Please note, some of the information here will be repeated from other writeups.)

Red Paddle Compact 9’6″: Getting Started

The box as received weighs 32 lbs, measuring 26 x 17 x 15 inches.

What's inside the box.

Inside the box is the SUP body, Titan dual-barrel pump, pressure gauge, backpack, cinch belt, 2 removable fins, coiled ankle/leg leash, 5-pc breakdown paddle and repair kit – as well as a bonus cell phone case. Once rolled up, all items fit into the backpack. The instruction manual is fairly minimalist, but more details on many of the steps are printed on the components, such as the pump and military valve. (AirKayaks notes: The first shipment of Compacts did not include the instruction manual, but we have uploaded a PDF copy to our website. They also did not include a repair kit, but you can obtain one by contacting Red Paddle Co.)

Weight is 29 lbs for “all items” in the backpack, which easily fits in the back of a small car. The board alone is 15.6 lbs, while the pump is 5.5 lbs and the backpack 4 lbs.

Rolled up around the Titan pump.

The Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ inflatable SUP arrives rolled up around the high pressure Titan pump, inside the backpack.

Unfurl the Compact body.

For your first set up, remove, unroll and unfold the SUP body. Lay it out face up so that you can access the military valve.

Closing the inflation valve.

The Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ utilizes one spring-loaded military valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Before you go to all the effort of inflating the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.

2018 Red Paddle Co Titan Pump

The included Titan dual-barrel (or twin cylinder) pump comes with a built-in pressure gauge, so you can monitor the board’s PSI. It also now comes with multiple adaptors, which can be used on inflatable kayaks, dinghies and kite equipment. Instructions for using the pump are printed on the pump barrel. To start off, you will be using both barrels, allowing the board to be filled in less time, and with less strokes.

Attach the hose to the pump, making sure there is no cross-threading. Then attach the integrated adaptor on the end of the hose, to the board by pushing in and turning. You’re ready to pump!

Make sure the red plug near the pump handle is inserted in the hole before pumping; this ensures you are using both barrels for maximum filling.

Pumping up the Red Paddle Compact Inflatable SUP

We pumped about 50 strokes using both barrels until the board unfurled, and the needle was moving. By another 12 pumps we were at 5 PSI and it was getting tough. We removed the plug, switching to single action mode. Another 50 pumps took us to 9 PSI, 25 more to 11 PSI and and 25 more to more to 13 PSI, where we stopped.

Pumping up the Red Paddle Compact Inflatable SUP

The higher the pressure, the stiffer the board. The recommended pressure is 18-22 PSI; if you are a smaller person, you can easily get away with the lower-end PSI – no sense in spending more time pumping than one needs to.

Installing the Red Paddle Compact fins

Next step, install the tracking fins. The Compact 9’6″ uses an FCS fin box – this is a common, slotted box that allows one to use various fin styles. The Compact comes with two red 5.25-inch, FCS fins with pin, which quickly snap into position without need for hardware or tools. The two fins are located inside the backpack, in the mesh pocket.

Installing the Red Paddle Compact fins

Point the fins towards the board tail and insert the two slots on the fin into the two fin box slots. Then push toward the rear and you will feel them click into position.

TIghtening the grub screws on the fin box.

Inside the cell phone case is a red Fin Key. While it is possible to skip this next step (see our note below under On the Water), we HIGHLY recommend using the Fin Key to tighten the tiny grub screws on the side of the fin box – if lost, a 3/32nd (2.35 mm) allen wrench will work. (AirKayaks note: Red Paddle suggests adding the Fin Key to your key chain, but there is also a pocket at the very end of the coiled ankle leash cuff hiding under the velcro.) As a precaution, pull up on the fins to make sure they are truly attached.

Attach the ankle leash to the rear d-ring by opening up the velcro on the narrow end, and sliding it through the d-ring, looping back. Fold over the other end of the velcro, and then fold the remaining piece of velcro on top – this ensures a good seal. When down on the water, you will wrap the larger, padded portion around your ankle or calf.

Red Paddle 5pc breakdown carbon SUP paddle

Last step, assemble the paddle. All five paddle pieces are housed inside the bag. This includes the T-Grip Leverlock handle, a slightly longer tube that fits only onto the handle, two more shafts and the blade.

Assembling the Red Paddle 5pc breakdown carbon SUP paddle

Pull open the Leverlock and slide the handle tube onto the handle.

Assembling the Red Paddle 5pc breakdown carbon SUP paddle

Then attach the next two shafts using the push-pin system. You will note that one side of each piece is vee-shaped, ensuring a snug fit. Finally, attach the blade. A couple of notes here – the Leverlock latch on our paddle was quite tight, making it difficult to pull up; we finally used a stick to pry it open. The vee-edges on the handle shaft can be somewhat sharp, so be careful not to pinch your hands. As there is no guide to show you if you have the handle facing in the correct position, make sure that the writing on the handle is in line with the writing on the shafts. This will ensure that the handle and blade are in sync.

Ready for the water!

That’s it! About 10 minutes with an excellent upper arm workout, you’re ready for the water.

Red Paddle Compact 9’6″: Features and Specifications

Red Paddle inflatable paddle boards are well known for being some of the best on the market – this has to do with the internal construction.

Red Paddle Compact with Dropstitch technology

First, the Red Paddle Co boards are constructed using “dropstitch” technology. The top of the board is held together with the bottom via thousands of “stitches.” These threads are “double stitched” so if one were to break, another holds. This allows the boards to be pumped up to very high pressures of 18 to 22 PSI and ensures that air doesn’t move around inside the board, creating a stable ride.

In 2016, Red Paddle Co kicked it up a notch with the introduction of Monocoque Structural Laminate, or MSL fusion technology. In the past, the “board within a board” was glued together, creating extra weight and the potential for hand-gluing errors. The new process industrially-fused the second layer of polymer to the dropstitch core at the raw material stage. The end result is a material that is structurally more sound, even more rigid, as well as lighter – in fact, many of the boards are now 5-10 lbs lighter than previous models.

The Compact 9'6" is rigid.

With the Compact 9’6,” Red Paddle Co introduced the revolutionary PACT technology. Ten years in the making, PACT technology is a new weaving process which creates a denser, high-tensile thread matrix at the core of the board, with a super-strong, malleable outer layer. The Compact 9’6″ utilizes 120mm dropstitch technology, making the board more rigid than many boards yet still allowing the rider to keep a low center of gravity.

Rails on the Compact 9'6"

The weakest link in an inflatable paddle board is the rail (side edge) area – where the top and bottom panels join together. Most ISUPS are constructed with one rail layer – Red Paddle Co features four layers of staggered taping to ensure minimal chance of air leakage due to punctures.

At first look, the board is actually incredibly simple and streamlined.

Bungee deck lacing with 6 d-rings

A bungee deck-lacing system with 6 metal d-rings begins 26 inches from the snout, measuring 12 to 23 inches wide and 19 inches deep – a perfect spot to attach gear.

Red Repeating Graphics on the Compact Inflatable SUP Deck pad.

A textured, traction pad featuring the “Red Repeating Graphics” is 59 x 26.5 inches deep, beginning roughly 40 inches from the nose. The traction pad is separated into two pieces with a 3 inch channel.

Padded carrying handle

A 6-inch, padded carrying handle is now located just “left of center” beginning about 54 inches from the nose.

Military valve and hull ID number

There is one military valve to inflate the board – this is imprinted with inflation instructions. The Hull-ID number is located just below the valve.

Ankle leash d-ring.

One leash d-ring is located across from the military valve, on the right side. Both valve and d-ring are located roughly 8 inches from the tail.

Relocated valve, handle and d-ring create a "living hinge"

The relocated valve, handle and d-ring – in conjunction with the 3-inch channel – essentially create a “living hinge”, allowing one to fold the board in half and easily roll the Compact into a smaller package.

Compact quad stringer on the underside

A unique “quad stringer” system is placed on the top and underside; as the board is inflated, the stringer becomes tighter making the 9’6 Compact more rigid without the bulk. Each pair of the 4 stringers is 2″ wide, positioned 11 inches apart running the entire length of the board, both top and underside.

Red Click Fin System

The removable Red Click Fin System features two fully recyclable 5.25 inch FCS fins and fin box with an integrated pin system ensuring the fins are not lost while paddling. A red Fin Key is located in the cell phone case, allowing one to tighten the fin box side screws, ensuring the fins are not lost. The fin box is compatible with most FCS fins.

The Bump

At this point, we want to mention “the bump” which can appear to be a defect to first time paddlers. As previously mentioned, drop stitch material consists of threads connecting the top and bottom layers. To install the military valve, the threads must be removed in that area, creating “the bump” which can be seen on the underside, below the valve. While this is mostly hidden by the fin box, it is still somewhat visible. This is normal and not something to worry about.

Revolutionary new Compact inflatable SUP from Red Paddle Co

The new Compact backpack went through a rigorous engineering redesign focused on adjustability and comfort. The result is an ergonomic carrying bag nearly half the size of the standard rollerpack.

Red Paddle Compact - Lumbar Support on the backpack

Lumbar support can be customized by raising or lowering the belt pack via an integrated velcro system. An adjustable, cushioned waist belt provides the perfect fit, and also sports two d-rings for more attachment points.

New backpack for the Red Paddle Co Compact inflatable SUP

The padded shoulder straps have two points of adjustment – top and bottom – with reinforced anchor points and concentrated padding. Each of these allow one to personally optimize the backpack for a more ergonomic fit.

Red Paddle Compact Backpack

The bag sports a quilted front and selectively padded back, a padded top handle and two padded side carrying handles; the handle cores are tubular closed cell foam. Two-way zippers (with very slick Red Paddle branded zipper pulls) allow the pack to be open on three sides, making it much simpler to get the board in and out.

Red Click Fin System

There are two interior mesh pockets with velcro closure. One pocket measuring 4.5 x 9.5 inches initially houses the cell phone case, but can be used for a water bottle. The second pocket, measuring 9 x 10 inches, is perfect for the 2 removable fins. Each pocket has a cloth loop, used to pull the velcro open, or to attach other gear.

Compact paddle inside the backpack

Two sets of elastic loops have imprinted lines showing where to stash the breakdown paddle components.

Outer measurements on the backpack are roughly 25 x 16 x 13 inches, allowing the board and all accessories to fit inside. Weight reduction is saved via the smaller size, and removal of the wheels. All this makes a lighter-weight, 4 lb./1.8 kg backpack that features 53% less downward force applied on the lower back.

2018 Red Paddle Co Titan Pump

The Compact 9’6″ comes with the highly-acclaimed dual barrel (twin cylinder) Titan pump. This features a large and small barrel; when initially pumping, both cylinders are used, putting in more air rapidly. When it gets tough to pump, remove the pump plug which utilizes just the slim barrel. The smaller barrel makes it easier to pump at higher pressures. The updated Titan pump is killer. The handle is reinforced so that it can withstand more pumping pressure. While the military valve adaptor is permanently affixed to the hose end, the Titan pump now comes with a variety of additional adaptors – a Boston valve adaptor, nozzle adaptor and two screw-on adaptors. These are attached via a very nifty system, allowing one to use the Titan pump on inflatable kayaks, dinghies and kites. Read our Titan Pump Review for more details.

Red Paddle Co Gauge

The gauge features three “green” zones – one from 1 to 4 PSI for lower pressure inflatables, one from 6 to 8 PSI for higher pressure kayaks and kites, and then the third from 15 to 22 PSI for paddle boards.

Paddle blade

The new Compact 9’6″ package also includes Red Paddle Co’s innovative new 5-piece, adjustable, breakdown paddle. Individual shaft sections are constructed from a rigid, high-modulus carbon. These have been cut on an angle to minimize twisting and are assembled with a push-pin system. The laser-etched nylon blade delivers durability and performance.

Leverlock system

A Leverlock grip system allows one to readily adjust the paddle from 71.5-80 inches/181-203cm (specs say 70.8/180cm to 82.7/210cm.) The system includes the leverlock handle (17 inches long/6 oz), handle shaft (19.25 inches long/4 oz), two pushpin shafts (19 inches long/4oz) and the blade (19″ long/17 oz) for a total of roughly 1.8 lbs/0.8 kg. In addition, the individual shafts can be removed to create a paddle suitable for smaller riders (55-64 in/140cm to 162 cm and 38-47 inches/94cm to 119cm), making it a great choice for families.

Red Paddle Co Coiled Leash

Last but not least, the 9’6″ Compact System comes with the popular Red Paddle Co Coiled Leash. The leash features an interchangeable ankle or calf cuff with quick release loop and integrated key pouch. The coils prevent the leash from dragging in the water, plus dual pivot points reduce twisting.

Red Paddle Co Compact 9'6" Inflatable SUP

We did measurement tests. The Compact 9’6″ inflated is 144 inches long, 32 inches wide, and just under 5 inches deep – on target with the published specs. Payload is up to 209 lbs/95 kg.

Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ On the Water

Red Paddle Compact - On the water

I took out the Compact 9′ 6″ on a slightly windy day with mild chop. Despite the shorter length (I’ve been more used to the 11’3 and up boards) the 9’6″ was fairly stable, and something that one would quickly get used to – and the lower volume makes it easier to pump up. The Compact tracked well, had a good glide, and was very maneuverable. And it’s zippy! Heading into the wind, the board rode over small swells easily and handled beautifully.

Red Paddle AllWater, Compact and Ride 10-6

The design of the Compact 9’6″ is similar to a “shrunken-down” Ride 10’6″. Yet, the Compact 9’6″ reminded me very much of the original AllWater 9’6″, one of the earlier Red boards. This was redesigned into the Ride 9’8“. In fact, the 9’6 Allwater was the first board I owned, and one of my favorites.

Red Paddle Compact - On the water

While I am more of a “fair weather” paddler, I took it out the next day in increasing wind, with larger waves. The Compact paddled downwind pretty easily, but the larger waves made it a more unstable ride. Experienced paddlers will be more comfortable in these situations than beginners.

Paddle shafts are angle cut.

While we sell many 3pc and 4pc breakdown paddles, we have never used a 5pc breakdown paddle. I was pleasantly surprised with the included Red carbon paddle. Despite having several connection points, the move towards the 45-degree cut/anti-twist connectors make the paddle act as one unit – the paddle felt sturdy and rigid, no rattling. And at 30 ounces, it’s lightweight! I did have difficulty opening the Leverlock handle, and – on a personal note – I do struggle with push pins. My only suggestion would be a mark on the shaft to easily line up the handle with the blade. That said, it’s a very nice paddle and feels good.

The Compact backpack is easy to carry

The “compact” size of the backpack is a great upgrade. Most inflatable SUP bags are so long, they hit the back of my knees while walking. The new Compact backpack is nearly half the size, and thus quite packable, quite adjustable, and very comfortable. I do want to caution that the padded back material is very fuzzy, meaning if you are near cut straw, dried grass and burrs, it will attract all of them. So grab a towel to drape over it in these situations.

As most recently we have used the larger boards (Sport 11-3 through the Voyager 13-2) it was quite refreshing to pump up a board with less volume, and surprisingly easy!

Red Paddle Compact - Used as a sit-on-top

A little-mentioned fact is how fabulous the inflatable SUPs are as sit-on-tops. While there are no appropriate attachment points, by gluing on two side d-rings, one could add a kayak seat and double-sided kayak paddle. Besides being very fast and fun to paddle, it’s a great option for long days on the boards, or when the wind kicks up.

At this point I do have to mention something which happened on the first use. As the initial Compacts arrived without instructions, I did not see the Fin Key in the cell phone case. I attached both fins into their slots, clicked them into position, and pulled to make sure they were secure. I then took the board down to the beach (fins in the water) and launched by pushing back. As I started to turn around, the board kept spinning and felt pretty unstable. Standing up was also difficult, so I immediately headed back to shore. At which time I noticed two bright red objects in the shallow water – the fins! As I paddled backwards to get out into open water, the fins hit rocks, popping them forward and off the board. So look for that Fin Key!

While I didn’t bring Cleo along this time, here is a photo of Eddie on an earlier version of the Race 12-6 shown above. Dog claws are no match for the beefy construction material.

Red Paddle Compact - Lightweight!

And did I mention how light it was?

Rolling up your Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6

Rolling up the Compact 9'6"

Deflating the board is pretty simple. Disassemble the paddle and put into the backpack. Remove the tracking fins and store in the bag. Burp the plunger a couple of times to release some of the pressure, then push the plunger to the open (down) position and immediately the air will swoosh out. Roll up the board from the nose to initially push out most air, and then unroll and fold the board in half down the centerline. Lay the Titan pump down on the nose end and start tightly rolling up the board from the snout. As you roll it up, air will continue to be pushed out of the open valve.

Rolling up the Compact 9'6"

When fully rolled up, replace the valve cover and then take the attached strap and cinch it around the bundle. If you’ve rolled up tight enough, the board will easily slip back into the backpack.

Red Paddle Compact 9’6″: Bottom Line

Red Paddle Compact - On the water

This is a great board – particularly for smaller and average-sized individuals! It’s nimble, rigid and paddles well. Each of the board components are well-thought, creating a “compact” package that will appeal and adjust to a wide variety of paddlers sizes and ages.

Te Red Paddle Compact fits in the back of a small car.

The Compact is a great choice for families, easily packed in a car or RV and light enough for most members to carry. The backpack is infinitely adjustable for a wide-variety of comfort levels, while the 5pc breakdown paddle can be reconfigured from 94cm to 203cm in length.

Easily carried in the smaller backpack

It’s also perfect for the outdoor urbanite using mass-transit, or those remote adventurers wanting a backpackable option without sacrificing performance.

Red Paddle Co Compact Inflatable SUP

The Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ is a good all-round board, great for flat water, calmer shorelines, slow-moving rivers and that remote alpine lake, but nimble enough to be equally at home with an afternoon of light surfing.

While the Compact 9’6″ components fit neatly into the backpack, this is a great candidate for the original HP EZee pump, a slim-barreled, high-pressure pump that will take a bit longer than the Titan, but will allow the board to roll up tighter and will save another 3-4 lbs.

Rolling up the compact

Best of all, it rolls up into the included backpack – which can house all the necessary accessories – making it a great inflatable for traveling via plane.

Red Paddle Compact - On the water

The Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ is another winner. At $1899 MSRP, it’s on the higher end of the retail market, but it is truly portable, innovative and does include the carbon paddle, Titan pump, a premier backpack and coiled leash. For more details or to purchase, visit the Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″ product page at You can also watch our YouTube video, below:


Posted by: airkayaks | November 17, 2018

10 Neat Fishing Gifts for a Kayaking Angler

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Searching for gifts for a fishing kayaker? Here are 10 nifty gift ideas, sure to make any angler enthusiast happy. We’ve updated this for the 2018 holiday season!

1) Seattle Sports Digi Wallet & Audio Case – $9.95
Two compartments with two levels of protection for phones or personal items while on or near the water. The wallet side is waterproof and totally protects phones, cameras, MP3 players, money, credit cards and personal items – you can even talk, text and manage music right through the case. Features a headphone pass-through port with audio capability for your smartphone or MP3 player.

Advanced Elements Folding Anchor System

2) Advanced Elements Folding Anchor System – $33.95
The 3 lb. Anchor System is a unique folding/locking 4-fluke design. It is great for use with kayaks and canoes, and holds well on most types of bottoms – from sand to rock. The galvanized anchor has a sliding collar which keeps the flukes drawn up tight against the shank when stowed, and then drops to lock the flukes open when deployed. It is easy to remove the anchor from the water – simply pull and stow!

Advanced Elements Fishing Accessory Frame

3) Accessory Frame Mounting System from Advanced Elements – $59.95
Retrofit your inflatable or hardshell kayak for fishing, video and photography with an accessory bar! Once installed, add any aftermarket 1” rail-mounts, and customize most kayaks with rod holders, a fish finder, camcorder, cameras or other equipment. The Accessory Frame bar consists of three pieces of anodized aluminum with push-pin construction; once in position, the push pins keep the bar from sliding out, but allow for easy dismantling.

Seattle Sports Catch Cooler 204) Seattle Sports Catch Cooler 20 Fishing Bag – $59.95.

The Seattle Sports 20-inch deck-side coolers offer super-convenient access for stowing and keeping your catch fresh during a day on the water. Reel one in from your kayak or SUP board with easy attachment points and low profile design. Also available in 32″ size.

Blackfoot fishing cooler

5) AquaGlide Blackfoot Kayak Fishing and Beverage – $69.95
Carry your fishing supplies or picnic lunch while out on the water! The Blackfoot Fishing Cooler is perfect for carrying supplies or perishables while out kayaking. With 9 quarts (8.5 liters) of lined and insulated storage space, the Fishing Cooler can hold up to 24 chilled 120z cans with ice. Includes four extended rodholders, 2 side zipper pockets, large front pocket with flap and a clear map/license pocket organizes your gear.

Calcutta fishing vest

6) MTI Calcutta Universal Size Fishing PFD – $89.95
For paddlers, anglers, naturalists and birdwatchers who love pockets! This 30-56″ chest “all-person-fit” jacket is all-equipped for kayak fishing! Sized to fit slim to super-sized torsos, with cool open sides and adjustable front buckle straps that can be loosened for quick ventilation. Five pockets for holding all sorts of fishing gear – 2 big tackle box cargo pockets with 2 interior pouches, plus an exterior mesh pocket. A cross between a fishing vest and a PFD, but great for canoeing, kayaking and sailing!

Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler

7) Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Inflatable Kayak – $649
Designed with the needs of the kayak angler in mind, the StraitEdge Angler’s wide beam provides maximum stability when bringing in big catches. A revolutionary removable mounting rail offers a variety of options – by adding aftermarket rail-mounts, you can customize the kayak with rod holders, a fish finder or other equipment. Key features include the new high-back lumbar seat as standard (this has two rod holders on the back), stainless steel d-rings for drift anchor and stringer attachments, paddle holders and bungee deck lacing for abundant gear storage.  Coupled with the standard StraitEdge features of self-bailing plugs and aluminum bow and stern ribs – you’ve got an inflatable fishing kayak built for comfort, durability and portability.

8) AquaGlide Blackfoot Angler Inflatable SUP. $999

A rugged 11-foot inflatable SUP designed with the sportsperson in mind. Integrated Scotty mounts, multiple d-rings, double sets of bungee deck lacing and a 450-lb payload make this fishing specific board built to carry an arsenal. Comes with backpack and pump.

And the ultimate in kayak fishing …..

9) Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Kayak. $899.

A 10’6″ high-pressure inflatable fishing kayak with all the bells and whistles! Dropstitch floor, multiple accessory rails, comfortable folding seat and self-bailing ports. Wide and stable, this beauty is bound to create a splash.



Blackfoot Inflatable Fishing Kayak

10) AquaGlide Blackfoot Tandem XL Inflatable Fishing Kayak for 1-2 Paddlers – $999

A high-pressure inflatable kayak focused on the angler! Integrated Scotty mounts, removable fishing/beverage cooler and comfortable Pro-Formance seat with fishing rod holders. For one to two paddlers.

See all our angler gift ideas at

Posted by: airkayaks | November 16, 2018

15 Gift Ideas for Stand-up Paddle Board Lovers

Short on time and a long list of gifts to search for? We’ve compiled a list of 15 gift ideas for paddle board lovers in a wide range of prices, certain to make that special person happy! We’ve focused on portable options for those planning on travel or short on space, though many can be used by all paddle boarders. (Please note, this blog was updated on Nov. 17, 2018)

Seattle Sports Waterproof Cell Phone Case

1) Seattle Sports E-Merse XL Original Cell Phone Waterproof Case – $19.95
The Seattle Sports E-Merse R/S Original XL Cell Phone Waterproof Case offers maximum, submersible, waterproof protection for your electronics and valuables when properly closed. Use your cell phone while on the water – text, call and access APPS right through the case!

Advanced Elements Coil Ankle Leash

2) Advanced Elements Coiled Ankle Leash – $34.99
A 9 ft adjustable, coiled recreational paddle board leash designed to prevent excess drag while keeping you comfortably tethered to your paddle board. Comes with storage bag. Weight: 8.8 oz.


Red Paddle Co Schrader Valve Attachment

3) Red Paddle Co Schrader Valve Adaptor – $34.95
Easily pump up your high-pressure inflatable paddle board! The Schrader valve adaptor attaches to a standard bike, tire pump or air compressor, allowing you to pump up to high pressures without all the back strain. Works with Halkey Roberts military valves.

Red Paddle Co Original Insulated Drink Holer

4) Red Paddle Co Original Insulated Water Bottle. $39.00

A super insulated drink bottle of marine grade stainless steel. Holds up to 750 ml of hot or cold liquids. Easily attaches to most SUPs or kayaks with a carabiner.

Red Paddle Co Original Board Lock

5) Red Paddle Co Original Board Cable Lock – $59

Ensure your inflatable SUP is secure with the Red Paddle Co Original Board Lock. The 11 ft/340 cm length makes it possible to secure one or multiple boards at once – simply loop through the ankle leash d-ring(s). A programmable combination lock can be set to a code of your choice, reducing the likelihood of theft.

Advanced Elements Breakdown SUP Paddle

6) Advanced Elements Adjustable Hula 2pc SUP Breakdown Paddle – $63.95

An economical and rugged aluminum SUP paddle, perfect for traveling, varying water conditions or for family members of various heights. The wider blade is good for pushing more water. Adjusts from 67 to 83 inches.

MTI Inflatable Belt Pack7) MTI Adventurewear 16G Inflatable Belt Pack PFD – $69.95

MTI Adventurewear’s new 16G Inflatable Belt Pack is a low profile, compact design providing 16.5 lbs of inflation with a pillow-style bladder. Fits adult universal with 30-52″ chest size, belt length 58.5 inches. Great for stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, kayaking and general boating. Simply wear it like a belt by passing it around your waist and buckling it to close, then tighten for a snug fit.

AquaGlide Crossroads SUP/Kayak Backpack

8) AquaGlide Crossroads DLX SUP/Kayak Backpack $89.95

The Crossroads DLX Kayak Backpack from AquaGlide is designed to bring your inflatable SUP or kayak and gear on your next hike or vacation. Made from a rugged 600 denier Polyester/PVC laminate and heavy duty components, the Crossroads DLX is built to last. L 12″ x W 17″x H 41″

Hala Gear Back Country Comfort Rolling Backpack

9) Hala Gear Back Country Comfort Wheeled SUP Backpack – $119

The rugged Hala Backcountry Comfort Rolling Backpack is constructed from a super-tough, woven nylon with wide-opening zipper, carrying handles and five compression straps. Rolling wheels allow you to easily transport your board through airports and sidewalks. Also can be used with inflatable kayaks!

AquaGLide Turbo HP Pump

10) AquaGlide 12V Two-Stage Turbo High-Pressure Electric Pump – $139.95

A powerful 12v electric pump designed for quick inflation of watersport inflatables utilizing high-pressure military valves.  Comes with two adaptors – HR-type high-pressure and screw-on. Uses heavy duty cable and alligator clips to connect to boat or car battery. SUP electric pump inflates from 1 PSI up to 20 PSI in minutes.


New Titan SUP Pump from Red Paddle Co

11) Red Paddle Co Dual Cylinder Titan Pump – $149.95

Easily pump your inflatable SUP up to higher pressures while saving nearly 40% in time. A unique dual-barrel action allows one to use both barrels to quickly fill the board, then switch to one barrel to top it off to higher pressures. Now comes with multiple adaptors for use with inflatable kites and kayaks.

Red Paddle Co Original Deck Bag

12) Red Paddle Co Original 22 Liter Deck Bag – $199

An easy-access and rugged, 22-liter, waterproof deckbag, loaded with features and built to last! Made from 100% waterproof TPU fabric and featuring a YKK aquaseal zip, the Red Paddle Co Original Deck Bag will keep your contents dry even if submersed. External pockets can hold up to two of the Red Original Insulated Drink Bottles while the unique luggage tensioning system means the deck bag is the perfect partner for any of your adventures.

Accent Indy Tour Carbon Breakdown Paddle

13) Accent Indy Tour Adjustable Carbon 3pc Breakdown SUP Paddle 70-86″ – $229

Designed to accommodate a wide range of paddler heights and water conditions! Only 27 ozs – a stiff and lightweight, adjustable carbon SUP paddle, ideal for cruising yet breaks down for travel!
The Indy Tour series of SUP paddles provide paddlers of all skill levels the highest level of construction at an affordable price.The Accent Indy Tour incorporates advanced design features with a carbon blend shaft to transfer more of your paddling power to the water for a more efficient stroke.

Red Paddle Co Carbon 100 Breakdown Paddle

14) Red Paddle 2019 Carbon 100 Adjustable Travel Paddle 71-86″ – $329

A stiff, lightweight carbon paddle for high-end performance – perfect for travel, only 29 oz. The Red Paddle Carbon 100 performance paddle uses a carbon weave for greater strength while keeping the paddle super light and responsive. The carbon teardrop blade shape with a single dihedral blade face allows water to flow evenly off each side creating a smooth and stable stroke even when power paddling.

And the ultimate ….

15) Red Paddle Co Ride 10-6 Inflatable Paddle Board – $1299 (now on sale for $1099 with free carbon paddle)

A number one best seller and all-round great paddle board. An 18-20 PSI rigid, stable and versatile 10’6″ inflatable SUP, now a mere 20 lbs. Bungee deck lacing, fixed fins, ankle leash d-ring and low profile traction pad. Comes with the dual-barrel Titan pump and roller-wheeled backpack, great for travel. Free carbon breakdown paddle ($199 value)! AirKayaks note: The Red Paddle Co line is currently on sale at 15% off. Now is a great time to purchase one as there are no changes in 2019!

Check our more paddle boarding gift ideas on our website at

Posted by: airkayaks | November 15, 2018

10 Neat Gift Ideas Under $25 for Paddlers

It’s “that time” again, and the pressure is mounting to find the perfect gift for a fellow paddler. AirKayaks has put together the Guide to 10 Neat Paddling Gift Ideas Under $25 – guaranteed to please a variety of water enthusiasts without breaking your budget.

Seattle Sports Digi Wallet and Audio Case

1) Seattle Sports Digi Wallet & Audio Case – $9.95
Two compartments with two levels of protection for phones or personal items while on or near the water. The wallet side is waterproof and totally protects phones, cameras, MP3 players, money, credit cards and personal items – you can even talk, text and manage music right through the case. Features a headphone pass-through port with audio capability for your smartphone or MP3 player.


Chinook 20-Liter Dry Bag

2) Chinook 40-Liter Rolltop Dry Bag – $16.95

Economical dry storage, perfect for a day of gear on the water. Measures 12 x 24 inches unrolled. Also available in 57L size.


Seattle Sports Paddling Leash

3) Paddle Leash from Seattle Sports – $17.95
Don’t be caught “up a creek without a paddle!” The streamlined, low-profile, retractable Paddle Leash cord is easy to pack and stays out of the way while providing an eight-foot expansion. A unique quick-release feature allows your paddle to be quickly and easily attached to and from the leash. Length 34.25 inches expanding to 8 ft, weight 1.8 oz


Seattle Sports Diamond Dry Bag

4) Seattle Sports Diamond RollTop Dry Bag – $19.95
An economical solution to protecting your gear. The large H2Zero Diamond RollTop Dry Bag from Seattle Sports offers a good combination of functional privacy at an economical price. Built with a rugged polyester exterior, the H2Zero Diamond RollTop Dry Bag features a clear, diamond-shaped window for easy visual access to gear. Great for clothing, food, gear.


5)  Seattle Sports Paddler’s Bilge Pump – $19.95
A must for any boater. The Seattle Sport 8 gallon per minute Bilge Pump features an easy-grab handle, super-strong pump shaft and heavy-duty impact resistant plastic.


Seattle Sports Waterproof Cell Phone Case

6) Seattle Sports E-Merse XL Original Cell Phone Waterproof Case – $19.95
The Seattle Sports E-Merse R/S Original XL Cell Phone Waterproof Case offers maximum, submersible, waterproof protection for your electronics and valuables when properly closed. Use your cell phone while on the water – text, call and access APPS right through the case!

AquaMarina 90L Backpack for Inflatables

7) Aqua Marina Magic Adjustable 90L BackPack for Inflatables – $20.80

The adjustable 90-Liter Aqua Marina Magic BackPack is a simple way to transport your inflatable, paddle, and pump – at an economical price!

chinook5mapgry6008) Chinook Aquatight 5-Map Chart Organizer – $23.95
A unique dual-section, trifold map case holds up to 5 standard-sized maps! Two waterproof compartments with view windows and four attachment points for lashing to kayaks, canoes, backpacks and bicycle handlebars. Available in gray or black.

Seattle Sports Map Case

9) Seattle Sports Magni-Map Pro Splashproof Chart Case. $24.95

Rugged and waterproof map case sized to fit maps up to 14.5 x 12.25 inches. It has an included flexible magnifying tool to enlarge tiny map details on the go.

PackLite™ Roll Top Dry Bag Set: AE3506

10) Advanced Elements Packlite Dry Bag Set – $24.95
A nifty, ultra-lightweight set of three rolltop drybags in three sizes – 3, 5 and 10 liters – for dry storage options. Bag measurements are 7 x 8.5 inches, 6.5 x 10 inches and 9 x 16 inches. Available as a set only.

Visit the website to see all of our paddling gear under $25.

Well-known for eye-catching graphics and innovative technology, Hala Gear is one of the few standup paddle board companies focused on the inflatables market – most feature hard-shells with a few inflatables thrown into the mix.

Hala Gear Rival Nass

Founded in 2011 by Peter Hall, Hala Gear headquarters is based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The company philosophy is centered on performance, durability and quality – in fact, each of the Hala inflatable boards carries a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

For 2018, Hala has 20 models for surfing, whitewater, recreation, touring and racing ranging in size from 6’11” to 14’0.

Our first review centered on the Carbon Nass with Hala’s unique carbon stringer. Based on that, we opted to test out the economy version Rival Nass package, which features the roller pack, dual-action pump and a breakdown paddle – part of Hala’s “Straight to the Water” package series.

So, here is our product review on the Rival Nass inflatable SUP, a 12’0 by 32″ x 6″ recreational and touring model from Hala Gear.

Hala Rival Nass 12’0″: Getting Started

The box as received weighs 42 lbs, measuring 39 x 22 x 12 inches.

Hala Gear Rival Nass - What's in the box.

Inside the box is the SUP body, high-pressure dual-action pump, pressure gauge, roller backpack, cinch belt, removable blue race fin, breakdown paddle, instructions and repair kit with valve wrench, fin plate and patch material (no glue) – as well as a bonus 12-volt car pump. Once rolled up, the SUP board and pumps fit into the backpack, as well as the paddle.

Weight is 35.5 lbs for backpack, board, paddle and pump, which all easily fit in the back of a small car. The board alone is 23 lbs, while the pump is 2.5 lbs, the paddle is 2.35 lbs and the backpack 5.4 lbs.

Unfolding the Hala Gear Rival Nass

For your first set up, remove and unroll the SUP body. Lay it out face up so that you can access the military valve.

Opening and closing the valve

The Hala Rival Nass 12’0″ utilizes one spring-loaded military valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Before you go to all the effort of inflating the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.

If using only the dual action pump, you will pump up the board in the UP (inflate mode) position.

Filling the Rival Nass with the included 12-volt pump

If you are near your vehicle, you can start off with the included 12-volt car pump, which uses a slightly different process. Insert the cord into the car power point, and then extend the pump to the board (it has a 6 foot cord), with valve in the DOWN (deflate mode) position. Why do you do that? The pump does not have enough torque to open the valve when running. While the pump does come with a couple of adaptors, they do not couple with the board’s valve, one just needs to hold it over the valve, and turn it on. Immediately the pump will start inflating the board until it fills out (about 1 to 2 PSI ) taking about 1.5 minutes – you can hear a change in the motor. At that point, turn the 12-volt off but QUICKLY turn the plunger into the UP (closed) position so that the air doesn’t come back out. (AirKayaks note: the included instructions are not totally helpful. But, the instructions for both pumps are imprinted on the dual action pump as well as in the Hala SUP Manual.)

Dual action hand pump

Now we move over to the dual action pump. The Hala boards come with a single action /double action hand pump. One selects the mode by moving the red lever on the pump. Begin with the lever pointing towards the right which is the double action side. This means the air is pushed in on the up and the down stroke. This can become tough to pump as you get up towards the 5 PSI range. With a simple “twist of the knob” towards the left, the pump becomes a single action pump – pushing air in on the down stroke only, making it easier to reach the higher ranges.

Attaching the hose to the board

Attach the hose to the pump, making sure there is no cross-threading. (AirKayaks note – we did cross-thread the hose and lost some air). One side of the pump says IN and the other says OUT – for inflation, attach the hose to the OUT side. Then attach the integrated adaptor on the end of the hose to the board by pushing in and turning. You’re ready to pump!

Pumping up the Hala Gear Rival Nass

We started pumping in double-action mode – at 45 pumps it reached 5 PSI. We then continued another 20 pumps to 7 PSI – at this point it became tough. We switched to the single action mode, and with another 50 pumps were at 10 PSI. Once again, it started getting tough. We switched to single-action half-strokes – another 25 took us to 12 PSI.

Pumping up the Hala Gear Rival Nass

The higher the pressure, the stiffer the board. Hala’s recommended pressure is 15 PSI; if you are a smaller person, you can easily get away with lower pressure such as 12 PSI – no sense in spending more time pumping than one needs to. So, a total of about 150 strokes taking several minutes, along with the 1.5 minute 12-volt prefill.

Those that really want to make it easy, should take a look at the AquaGlide 12-volt HP 2-Stage Turbo, which will fill up to 20 PSI.

Last step, install the tracking fin. The 12’0″ Rival Nass uses a US Fin Box – this is a common, slotted box that allows one to use various fin styles. The Rival Nass comes with a blue 9-inch, Sarusurf race fin which quickly snaps into position without need for hardware or tools. The fin uses a finger screw to ensure the fin is secure.

Here was our first issue – the instructions said the thumb screw/plate was on the fin, but it wasn’t. We finally located it in the repair kit.

Attaching the fin to the Hala Gear Rival Nass

Note that one side of the fin has a pin, the other a hole for the screw and fin plate. Point the fin towards the tail, and insert the side with stainless steel pin into the center slot – pushing back.

Attaching the fin to the Hala Gear Rival Nass

Drop the fin plate into the center slot and move forward. This is easy to do if you minimally attach the screw into the fin plate, and use this to guide the plate into the “forward” slot. Push down on the fin, then screw through the fin hole, into the fin plate, tightening with your fingers – this gives a pretty snug fit. As a precaution, pull up on the fin to make sure it is truly attached.

Three-piece breakdown paddle

Last step, assemble your paddle. The Rival Nass comes with an aluminum, adjustable, 3-piece breakdown paddle. While there are no instructions, here is the assembly. Take the center shaft with pushpins, and insert into the blade section. You may need to push the interior foam further down into the blade shaft. Do NOT remove the foam – this creates an air barrier that will allow it to float for a short time.

Assembling the paddle

The handle with grip and center shaft are ovaled, making it easier to position in two ways – but only one is right. Open the clamp on the center shaft, and insert the handle end, making sure the numbers printed on the shaft are pointing towards the side of the clamp with screws – this will ensure the handle grip and paddle are both pointed in the right direction. While the paddle can be adjusted from 68 to 89 inches, adjust the paddle roughly 8 inches longer than your height – this may need to be adjusted later, but it’s a good start.

Picking up the Hala Gear Rival Nass

That’s it! About 10 minutes with an excellent upper arm workout, you’re ready for the water.

Hala Rival Nass 12’0″ Inflatable SUP: Board Design and Construction

As shape, thickness and construction all make a difference in a board’s performance under varying conditions, we’ll first give a little insight into the thought-process behind Hala boards.

Eye-catching graphics on the drop stitch material

First, the Hala boards – like most inflatable SUPs – are constructed using “dropstitch” technology. The top of the board is held together with the bottom via thousands of “stitches.” These threads are “double stitched” so if one were to break, another holds. This allows the boards to be pumped up to high pressures of 15 PSI.

Hala boards have three general construction types – carbon, core and fusion. Hala’s Rival series boards are constructed with Fusion Technology, a double-layer, machine-laminated process which reduces the amount of glue used, creating a lighter board that is structurally sound.

Side d-rings

The weakest link in an inflatable paddle board is the rail (side edge) area – where the top and bottom panels join together. Some iSUPS are constructed with one rail layer – Hala features two layers of taping to ensure minimal chance of air leakage due to punctures.

Besides construction type, the rocker (how straight or curved is the side view from nose to tail) makes a difference in board attributes. Hala has three generic types – glide, progressive and full. The Rival Nass features the Glide Rocker (depicted by a slight rise in the nose and tail, shown above on the Hala Carbon Nass) which increases glide and speed, yet still allows some maneuverability.

Hala Rival Nass 12’0″ Features and Specifications

At first look, the board is actually incredibly simple and streamlined.

Front carrying handle and military valve

There is one military valve for inflation, located a couple inches from the snout on top of the board. This sits next to a 6.5 inch woven handle.

Bungee deck lacing

A bungee deck-lacing system with four woven, cloth d-rings begins 46 inches from the nose, measuring 14 inches wide and 16 inches deep – a perfect spot to attach gear.

Crocodile deck pad

A textured, traction deck pad is 92 x 24.5 inches, the main portion beginning 43 inches from the nose.

Center carrying handle

In the center is a soft, padded 7 inch handle, positioned 72 inches from the nose. A stretchy, removable, padded handle cover makes carrying the board more comfortable, but it can also be removed to expose the low profile woven handle. Additionally, one can shove the paddle blade under the bungee deck lacing, then wrap the handle cover around the handle and paddle shaft, providing a simple and nifty means of carrying both.

Two more sets of d-rings are located 5 inches and 29 inches behind the center handle (36 and 60 inches from the tail.) The two back sets can be used to attach gear, but also can be used to attach an optional kayak seat for “sit-on-top” paddling.

Stomp pad

A rear stomp pad with an approximate 1.25 inch rise begins about 4.25 inches from the bottom of the deck pad. A 6.5 inch mesh rear carry handle with ankle-leash d-ring is located at the tail.

Bottom view of the Hala Gear Rival Nass

There is one removable, deep-water blue SaraSurf flexi fin measuring 9 inches, in a US fin box.

Dual action hand pump

As previously mentioned, the board comes with a dual-action, high-pressure pump with gauge, featuring both inflate and deflate modes, as well as a small 12-volt pump. (AirKayaks note: There is an additional o-ring included with the pump. This allows you to use the pump with other board valves which might have slightly different configurations.) The pump measures 25 inches tall with a 3-inch barrel and 12-inch wide foot base. The hose is 48 inches long with one adaptor.

Opening up the Hala Gear Rival Nass

The included “Hala Rival Rolling Backpack” (size Small) features a 2-way zipper with a neat slanted feature, that allows one to really open the bag enough to get the board back in easily. Integrated roller wheels allow one to pull the bag across harder surfaces such as sidewalks, parking lots and airports.

Hala Rival Rolling Backpack

Inside, an integrated cinch strap system allows one to strap the board into position, while three outer compression straps (two sides and one top) allow one to tighten up the load. One upper and one side handle allow one to carry the bag in alternate positions – these also feature removable handle covers. The bag weighs roughly 5.4 lbs with approximate measurements of 36 x 17 x 12.

Ajustable, padded shoulder straps, chest and and waist strap allow one to use it as a backpack. Two d-rings are available to attach more gear. When traveling, the straps can quickly be hidden inside a rear panel pocket measuring 20 x 16 inches, behind the panel so as not to “snag” on other objects. There is one interior zippering clear pocket measuring 14 x 9 inches, perfect for stashing the fin. An ID slot is located on the back exterior as well as one more cloth carrying handle.

Side view of the Hala Gear Rival Nass

We did measurements. The board length came in at roughly 144 inches (12 feet), 32 inches in width, and 6 inches deep – on target with the advertised specs. Carrying capacity is estimated at 250 lbs.

Hala Rival Nass 12′ 0″ on the water.

I took out the Hala Rival Nass for a short time on both calm water and some chop. First impression, this is a really nice board!

Hala Gear Rival Nass on the water.

On calm water, the Rival Nass handles like a dream – very smooth glide, good tracking, and relatively fast. The board’s 32-inch beam feels quite stable but also fairly maneuverable. In chop, the board also handled well, gliding over small swells.

The included pump and adjustable aluminum breakdown paddle are entry level but sufficient.

Adding a seat to the Hala Gear Rival Nass

I headed back in to grab a kayak seat and paddle. While not the seat sold by Hala (I had an AquaGlide Core seat) just about anything with good support will do. The seat straps can quickly clip to the two sets of rear d-rings, though the addition of four small carabiners would make it simpler.

Hala Gear Rival Nass used as a sit-on-top

In sit-on-top mode, the Hala Rival Nass is a dream – smooth and fast with great turning capabilities – rivaling the handling of some inflatable kayaks.

While I did not bring out my furry paddling buddy, Cleo, I would have no hesitations in bringing out a canine companion; doggy claws are no match for the board’s rugged construction, and the slightly wider silhouette is more forgiving to “sudden movements” when spying some fish.

Hala Rival Nass 12′ 0″ Inflatable SUP: Packing it Up

Packing up the Hala Rival Nass is pretty simple. First, remove the tracking fin. (Make sure to screw the fin/plate back onto the fin so it doesn’t get lost.) Then simply open the valve and much of the air will swoosh out.

Folding up the Hala Gear Rival Nass

With the board face side-up and the valve still open, fold up the end of the board to the US fin box, then tuck the tail under. Once started, simply keep folding tightly, kneeling on the package to keep pressing out excess air.

Unpacking the Hala Gear Rival Nass

At the end, replace the valve cap to protect the valve. If you’ve rolled tightly, you can easily cinch the roll together and put into the pack, along with the pump and paddle.

Bottom line on the Hala Rival Nass 12’0″ Inflatable SUP

Hala Gear Rival Nass : Side view

Like its big sibling, the Carbon Nass, the Rival Nass 12′ 0″ is a great, all-around performance board. The Glide rocker – with a slight nose lift, flat center and minimal tail rise – optimizes speed, glide and traction, while the wider 32-inch bullet-shaped silhouette provides a stable base without sacrificing performance.

Paddle attached to the board

A front bungee deck lacing system and centralized rigging provide enough attachment points to stow an afternoon of gear.

The Hala Gear Rival Nass easily fits in the trunk of a car.

The included Rival roller bag easily fits in the trunk of a small car, yet quickly converts to a backpack, making it a great option for RVing, back-country treks or remote vacations. The fusion-material construction is rugged yet lightweight – at a mere 23 lbs, the Rival Nass is easily carried by most people. Stash the straps in the hidden pocket and the Rival Nass is just as easily wheeled through an airport or across a parking lot.

Hala Gear Rival Nass with a kayak seat

The Rival Nass is perfect for lake crossing, coastline cruises, lazy rivers and day-long excursions. When the wind kicks up, or you need a break, strap on an optional kayak seat and paddle; the Rival Nass makes a fabulous sit-on-top vessel – zippy with great tracking – extending the usability.

Add in eye-catching colors and graphics, economical pricing and a well-thought out “Straight to the Water” package with backpack, 12V, paddle and pump and you have a winner. MSRP is $1199.

AirKayaks note: A limited amount of 2018 Rival Nass “Straight to the Water” packages are available at AirKayaks for a sale price of $899. Now is the time to pick up a great board – replete with backpack, paddle and pump – at a really great price!

For more information or to purchase, visit the Hala Rival Nass 12′ 0″ inflatable SUP product page at Or give us a call at 707-998-0135. Stay tuned – we hope to have the Rival Nass 12’0″ video out in a few weeks.

Posted by: airkayaks | October 5, 2018

2019 Innova by Gumotex Inflatable Kayak Line Update

We recently obtained details on the upcoming 2019 inflatable kayak and canoe product line for Innova Kayaks by Gumotex.

Gumotex is well-known in Europe as a manufacturer of high-quality inflatable kayaks and canoes which are environmentally friendly as they use minimal PVC. Each can be inflated up to 3-PSI, making them more rigid for better performance. Additionally, the manufacturing process and materials produce kayaks that are quite compact, making them a great choice for travel.

Innova Seawve with double deck and three seating positions

In 2016, Gumotex acquired the company and assets for Innova, Gumotex’s US-based dealership, and began importing more of the Gumotex product line to the US under the name Innova Kayaks by Gumotex.

For 2019, the Innova product line has been redesigned with product tweaks, material upgrades, price changes and the introduction of one new model featuring high-pressure, drop-stitch material.

Innova 2019 Twist 1 and Twist 2

On the entry-level side, Innova has redesigned the popular 8’6″ Twist 1 and 11’10” Twist 2. Both kayaks are now constructed from Nitrilon, the rugged material used in the original Sunny and Helios models and currently used on the Solar and Safari models; the 2018 models were produced using Light Nitrylon, a less rugged and lighter material. Nitrilon (also called Nitrylon) consists of a synthetic rubber coating over polyester on the inside and outside of the tube; it is stronger, more abrasion and puncture-resistant than PVC as well as being greener – there is minimal out-gassing.

Innova Nitrilon MaterialWhile the kayak silhouettes remain virtually unchanged, the added material thickness increases the kayak weights from 16 and 24 lbs, to 20 and 29 lbs respectively. With the material upgrade comes price increases. The Twist 1 pricing will rise from $399 to $449, while the Twist 2 increases from $519 to $599. The Twist 2 interior has been redesigned slightly to include additional d-rings, providing an easy conversion from a tandem to a solo kayak, thus more versatile for larger paddlers, or those needing more space for extra gear.

Innova Solar 410C in red

The 13’5″ Solar 410C has been redesigned as the Solar 2019 and can be considered for 1-2+ paddlers. While material construction remains the same, the interior has undergone some updates with seating placement, splash guards and added bungee deck lacing. The kayak comes with two seats, but there is the option to purchase a third inflatable seat, allowing two adults and a small child. The Solar comes with the upgraded 80L backpack similar to the one included with the Sunny and Helios. Prices remain the same at $759.

Innova Swing II Ln Inflatable Kayak in Green

The decked Swing series – consisting of the 10’4″ Swing 1 and the 13’2″ Swing II – have also undergone changes. While the upper deck still features a polyester (PES) fabric with polyurethane (PUR) coating, the kayak hulls have transitioned to Nitrilon, matching the construction of the current 13’6″ Swing EX. The two kayaks now come with draw-sack carrying cases. Prices have increased on both; the Swing 1 moves from $599 to $699, while the Swing II changes from $799 to $879.

While there are no design changes to the Swing EX touring model, the 2019 price has decreased from $899 to $799.

Innova High-Pressure Thaya Touring Kayak

Biggest news is the introduction of the Thaya DS, a 13’5″ high-pressure touring kayak – similar in design to the Solar – now featuring a unique blend of Innova’s traditional Nitrilon material and dropstitch technology. Dropstitch technology consists of two fabric layers held together by thousands of threads, allowing the chambers to be inflated to much higher pressures. This creates a kayak body that is quite rigid, stable and maneuverable. The Innova drop-stitch material utilizes Nitrilon rather than the PVC found in other high-pressure kayaks, and is glued and welded to the side tubes. The Thaya features a 34 inch beam with a max payload of 507 lbs and weight of 39 lbs. Similar to the Solar, the Thaya is touted for 1-2+ paddlers, with the ability to reposition the seats as well as purchase an optional third seat. The Thaya DS comes with the upgraded 80L backpack. MSRP is $1219.

Innova 2019 Vagabond Canoe

The 1-2+ paddler Vagabond canoe has been updated with a sportier look, narrower bow and stern and elongated hull to improve handling. The canoe length was increased 8 inches to 13’1″ with a decreased beam of 35 inches. The new silhouette offers more room for baggage and a greater variety of seating positions. Foam-covered plywood seats allow one to paddle sitting or kneeling, with the ability to carry lots of gear or add an optional third seat. Pricing remains the same at $899.

Innova 2019 Safari Whitewater Self-Bailing Kayak

The 10’10 Safari 330 self-bailing whitewater model, the 14″11 Seawave touring model, and the 12’4″ Halibut fishing kayak have undergone minimal changes. The Safari 330 and Seawave maintain the same prices at $699 and $999 respectively. The Halibut pricing will be increased from $1199 to $1249.

Innova 2019 Halibut Fishing Kayak

The 2019 Innova models are expected to be available in late Spring 2019.

With introduction of the new models, material and design changes – as well as some price increases – now is a great time to purchase an Innova kayak. All in-stock Innova kayaks are currently 15% off, with prices ranging from $339 to $959. Deeper discounts are available on the remaining few Helios 1 and Helios II kayaks, now $499 and $699 respectively.

For more info or to purchase, visit the Innova product pages at

Posted by: airkayaks | September 30, 2018

Hala Gear Inflatable Paddle Boards – What’s New in 2019

Well-known for eye-catching graphics and innovative technology, Hala Gear is one of the handful of standup paddle board companies focused on the inflatables market – most feature hard-shells with a few inflatables thrown into the mix.

Hala Carbon Hoss

Founded in 2011 by Peter Hall, Hala Gear headquarters is based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The company philosophy is committed to performance, durability and quality – in fact, each of the Hala inflatable boards carries a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

For 2019, Hala has 19 models for surfing, whitewater, recreation, touring and racing, ranging in size from 6’11” to 14’0″. This includes the introduction/evolution of two new models – the Carbon Playita 2+2 and the Peno 2+2 – and the retirement of both the Daze workhorse and Luya. All 2019 boards feature updated graphics and color schemes. Boards range in price from $999 to $1599, with some minor pricing changes.

Hala Nass

For 2019, Hala Boards continue to feature three general construction types – carbon, core and fusion. The Carbon boards feature a carbon/kevlar-type woven stringer, strategically placed to give an extra layer down the central length of the board for rigidity and performance. The Core boards are constructed with two layers of drop-stitch material and are typically found in the boards that will see more hard-core action. The Fusion SUPs utilize a newer laminating technology that saves material and weight, making them lighter and less costly.

2019 Hala Rocker Shapes

Also for 2019, Hala has refined their previous 3-style rocker construction, now separating the full rocker into surf and river, while maintaining the progressive and glide rockers. The Surf rocker features a minimal rise in the tail with a curved nose; this places the center of balance back further to allow the nose to rise naturally. The River rocker features a precise curve from tail to nose allowing maneuverability and surfability. The Progressive and Glide rockers continue to focus on performance and speed.

Hala Pena Surf Board

A new, patented “double stack ” technology debuts on the 9′ x 32″ Carbon Playita 2+2 and has been revamped on the 6’11” x 32″ Peno surf boards. The double stack technology is a method of construction that gives the boards a narrower 2-inch rail, which is then double-stacked 2″ for rigidity, stability and volume. This creates a surfing inflatable that handles closer to a hard board. Both boards feature the new “surf” rocker; with the Playita geared towards performance ocean surfing and the Peno as performance river surfing. The two boards will debut at $1499 and $1299 respectively.

Woven mesh d-ring

All 2019 Hala boards now feature woven mesh d-rings rather than metal d-rings. The mesh d-rings are softer, lighter-weight with a higher tensile strength, eliminating scratching issues associated with metal. The d-ring locations have become more centralized, allowing better control over weight distribution when carrying gear.

2019 Hala Carbon Series

The performance-oriented Carbon series with woven Kevlar-type stringer consist of the 14′ x 26″ Nass-T, 12’6″ x 30″ Nass, 10’11” x 30″ Playa, 11′ x 34″ Hoss and 10’6″ x 32″ Straight Up and new Playita 2+2. The five original models continue virtually unchanged except for a graphics makeover and d-ring redesign; prices remain the same for 2019 at $1399 for the Hoss and Straight UP, $1499 for the Nass and Playa, topping at $1599 for the Nass-T.

2019 Hala Rival Series

The “light-yet-tough” Rival Fusion series includes the Rival Hoss, Rival Playa, Rival Straight UP, Rival Nass and Rival Asana. The Asana fitness board has been redesigned in the more portable Fusion construction rather than the heavier Core construction of 2018. Graphics and d-ring setup on all five boards have undergone a redesign as well. Prices on the Rival Hoss and Rival Straight UP packages will increase $100, making all the Rival packages equally priced at $1199. Each of the Rival series will also be bundled with an upgraded 3-pc breakdown paddle touted to be stronger yet lighter. An upgraded t-grip handle has also been designed to prevent potential “handle spinning” issues.

2019 Hala Surf & River Running Series

In the rugged Core series, the River rocker will be found on the 9’6″ x 36 Atcha, 8’6″ x 34″ Atcha 86, 10’10” x 35″ Rado and 10′ x 34″ Radito. Both the Rado and Radito have been redesigned with click fin boxes rather than the fixed side fins, allowing more customization options. Otherwise the boards remain the same with updated graphics and d-rings. Prices increase slightly on the Rado and Radito to $1349 while both Atcha’s remain at $1299. The burly 11′ x 36″ Fame board continues as a fishing favorite with a more stable progressive rocker, a possible added stomp box and similar graphics redesign – at $1299, there is no price increase.

Also in the Core series, the Surf Rocker can be found on the 8′ x 30″ Gram and 6’11” x 30 Milligram boards, again featuring new graphics but with prices remaining the same at $1099 and $999 respectively.

Hala Backcountry Comfort Roller Pack

All 2019 Hala iSUPs come with the Back Country Comfort Rolling Backpack or Travel Tough Backpack – both feature integrated wheels, making it easier to thread through airport lobbies, while still comfortable enough to pack into the remote country. All boards come with the Hala pump and pressure gauge, a nifty little 12-volt car pump that allows you to fill out the board quickly, repair kit and instructions. The Rival series – called the Straight-To-The-Water package – also include an adjustable, aluminum breakdown paddle.

Expected availability of the 2019 boards is February to March, 2019. Ask to be put on our Notification List if interested in any of the 2019 products.

2018 Hala Asana

As the 2019 board updates are predominantly cosmetic, those interested in saving some money will find a limited amount of 2018 Hala Gear boards currently available at 20% to 25% off – all Rival Hoss, Rival Playa, Rival Straight UP and Rival Nass packages are now as low as $899, while the performance models start at $1199.

For more details, visit the Hala Gear Inflatable SUP product pages at

You can also read our Guide to Choosing Your 2018 Hala Gear Inflatable Paddle Board.

Posted by: airkayaks | September 27, 2018

Innova Inflatable Kayaks now up to 15% off

Save up to 15% on all in-stock Innova inflatable kayaks during AirKayaks’ End-of-Season Sale!

Innova kayaks from Gumotex are made in the Czech Republic from PVC-free materials. With 10 models to choose from, water enthusiasts will find a wide variety of 1, 2, or 3 person kayaks for sale, designed for touring to whitewater. And they’re highly portable – Innova kayaks are a great choice for travel!

We’re cleaning out the warehouse in anticipation of Innova’s new 2019 kayak line. Now is a great time to pick up a lightweight, environmentally-friendly kayak at super savings!

Pick up the popular, lightweight Twist 1 or Twist 2, now starting at $339 and $449.

Innova Solar 410C in red

Need more interior space? Check out the Innova Solar 401C boasting open seating for 1 to 2+ paddlers, now $639.

Looking for a more enclosed option? The Innova Swing series now range from $509 to $769.

New Innova Seawave inflatable kayak for 1-2+ paddlers.

Save $150 on the popular Innova Seawave performance touring model, which features an open design for 1 to 2+ paddlers and the ability to add optional decks or rudders.

Shop early for best selection. For more details, visit the Innova Kayak Product Pages at Or give us a call at 707-998-0135.

Stay tuned, we will be posting on the upcoming Innova Kayak Line for 2019.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: