With the popularity of inland paddleboarding on the rise, Hala Gear, based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and an innovator in the paddleboard industry is set to open its new retail store to showcase their product lines and to connect the paddleboard community.
“The space is really designed to bring people together. I hope it is where people say they want to meet up. They can demo boards, and we have changing rooms right there. We are hoping it is where people can meet up at the shop before they go on their shuttles to go on their trip. I would like to think of it as the bar at the end of the day where everybody is getting together and talking about where they ran and what they did, and just having that thriving, inclusive community,” said Jake Castle, General Manager of Hala Gear.
According to Castle, the rise in popularity of paddleboarding can be attributed to greater access to the sport. Castle said that with the sport moving from primarily an ocean-based sport to a more inland sport, more people are being exposed to paddleboarding on their local the rivers and lakes.
“We tend to be followers as a species. The more we see people doing it, we want to try it. It is a snowball effect leading to popularity. As companies like Hala are growing with an inland mindset, a lot of people are catching on to the sport,” said Castle.
Castle said the 2017 Hala line includes 18 boards, all for a variety of uses. There are specific boards for racing, expedition, whitewater, flat water, yoga, fishing as well as a solid line of general all around boards according to Castle. “We have specialized our boards this year to fit the specific use,” said Castle.
For example, Castle said the Hala Asana is designed with paddleboard yoga in mind. The Hala Daze is a super SUP large enough to accommodate two paddlers in whitewater, with appropriate skill level said, Castle. The Hala Atcha represents on of Hala’s whitewater paddleboards and is one of Castle’s favorites.
Also new for 2017 is Hala’s Straight to Water package designed to bring quality and affordability to people interested in paddleboarding, but who may not be ready to make a significant financial commitment to the sport.
The package includes both a board and paddle, which are usually purchased separately said Castle. It provides affordable access to paddleboarding, which Hala hopes will connect more people to the sport noted Castle. “The packages are flying off the shelf. People like the one stop purchase of the full Hala package,” said Castle.
Hala looks forward to becoming a community partner through their new retail store to bring existing paddleboarders together, to educate more people, locals and tourists, about paddleboarding, and exhibit the sport’s suitability for all skill levels said Castle.