Untitled photo

What to Choose? Hala Carbon Straight-Up or Hoss?

This is a super common questions I get asked all the time. They are the same shape, are roughly the same size, and both come as a Rival and Carbon Series. I have always been biased towards the carbon boards, because ya might as well get the best of the best, adds stiffness, detachable fins, and paddle super well. But back to the original question, “How does one know which board is the right pick?” I have ridden both boards a number of times, including multi-day river trips and Boundary Water trips. Plus, own both boards in carbon. So I have a very strong understanding of both the boards capabilities.

Said that, I almost always first ask, “What kind of riding are you looking to do the most? Whitewater, lakes, multi day trips, out and about? What is your paddling experience?” Along with asking the person their height and weight, if not talking to them in person. Knowing what they are dominantly using the board for and their paddling background really helps with this decision. Let’s break these questions and boards down a bit more.

I look back and see this kid fishing like this....hahahahahah

Straight-UP - Carbon and Rival

Starting with the Straight Up boards first. The Rival Straight Up is 10’ x 33” x 6” with a volume displacement of 311L. This board comes with a paddle, 4 fixed side fins, and a more economical price point. The Carbon Straight Up is 10’6” x 32” x 6” with the same volume displacement of 311L, but does not come with a paddle and side finds are click fins. Again, I own the Carbon Straight-Up and really enjoy it because it is a bit longer, narrower, stiffer for better tracking, and handle more weight (in my opinion).

Straight Ups are awesome all around boards for smaller paddlers, say paddlers under 6’ tall and/or 200lbs. I have a buddy 6’4” at 236lbs and you can tell the board is just to small for him, most of the side rail is under water when he is on it loaded up with gear. Then, when someone like myself 5’6” at 175lbs or smaller hops on, it looks like it fits like a glove. Straight Ups are fantastic for shorter distant paddles, hiking it in, little gear, or looking to save some space rolled up. Board takes less time and effort to blow up, due to its smaller size. Able to handle rivers (flat and whitewater) and tracks pretty well on lakes. I don’t say super well because it is on the shorter side, which takes away some of the tracking ability. But putting a longer center fin on does really helps with tracking and increases the stability of the board. The shorter length makes it super easy to maneuver and easier to carry around for shorter folks. This is the board I put almost every first timer on, since they can handle the shorter length a lot easier. It just hits that sweet spot shape and size wise to be very versatile, which people love!

Hoss - Carbon and Rival

The Hoss boards have bigger paddler, more gear capability, and has expeditions written all over it. The Rival Hoss is 10’10” x 35” x 6” with volume displacement at 368L and Carbon Hoss is 11’ x 34” x 6” with a little less volume displacement of 311L. Where the Straight Up boards are better for people under 6’ and/or 200lbs, the Hoss boards are for everyone one above. Designed with larger paddler in mind or someone looking for more gear capacity. Smaller paddlers can paddle a Hoss with ease, if they have some paddling experience. If you are smaller and the wind comes, you can easily drift away with bigger boards. Taking a little more effort to stay on track. I run the Carbon Hoss all the time and love it!

 I have years of experience paddling all sorts of boards, but my Carbon Hoss is my go to board. I love how well it tracks, is stable, and really handles everything I throw at it. I do a lot of Multi-Day trips so having a larger deck is key for all my gear, while leaving plenty of room to walk around, fish, and knock out some yoga after a hard paddle. I would take a Hoss over a Straight Up when doing longer and more challenging paddles. Again, I just feel it tracks better and can handle bigger water (waves and wind) better than a Straight Up.

  • Untitled photo
  • Catches one right way
  • Untitled photo

Quick Reference Guide

Paddler Weight <200lbs and height <6’ go Straight Up

Paddler Weight >200lbs and height >6’ go Hoss

Smaller Paddler with no experience go Straight Up

Smaller Paddler with moderate to lots of experience go Hoss, unless one likes a smaller board

Multi-Day trip with little gear go Straight Up

Multi-Day trip with >60lbs of gear and/or multiple gear bags go Hoss

Taking a dog, kid(s), or partner out of a paddle often go Hoss Yoga either works just fine on both and provides their own added challenges to your poses

Rival is more economical and comes with everything you need to hit the water.

Carbon provides more performance, stiffer, high grade materials, and has detachable side fins