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Since 2016, we are constantly on the lookout for every conceivable innovation in the SUP sector.

New manufacturers sprout up like mushrooms every year. However, the majority of these companies are targeting the high-selling entry-level sector.

That’s why we were very curious when we found out that CALA Boards is a newcomer to the European SUP market that is attacking the established manufacturers in the upper price range with high-quality boards.

When it became clear that we would be provided with the CALA Kanaloa for testing purposes by the company and that I should test the touring board in wood look, the excitement naturally increased even more.

In the meantime, I have put the model to the test in all facets and would very much like to share my experiences with you.

I’ll tell you all the details and features of the board and the included equipment. As always, I name the light and dark side of the offer, far from the marketing promises of the manufacturer.

Great Fancy-looking Thermo-fusion Paddleboard
Cala Kanaloa
9.4/10Our Score

The CALA Kanaloa is a great-looking, very high-quality touring board with above-average width and reduced length, making it a good option for ambitious beginners to start right away with a glide-friendly alternative to the classic all-rounder and advanced paddlers looking for a great touring board.

Short on Time? Here’s the Most Important:

The shape (silhouette) with pronounced board tip (nose) and straight tail immediately reveals that the CALA Kanaloa belongs to the touring boards.

However, at 11’3″ x 32″ x 6″ (approx. 343 x 81 x 15 cm), it deviates significantly from the standard dimensions of the board class and belongs to the short and wide touring models. These deviations are very interesting especially for ambitious beginners and paddlers with the desire for versatility.

The setup with 3 removable fins in the Smartlock system underlines the adaptability of the board.

Also in terms of features, little is left to be desired, your action cam finds a safe place on the holder (“mount”) on the board tip, an optionally available kayak seat can be mounted on the 4 additional D-rings and the paddle can be attached to 2 removable paddle holders.

Another decidedly fat D-ring on the underside of the nose can be used to attach a SUP anchor or as a tow ring.

The large deck net offers enough storage space for lots of luggage and provisions on longer trips. The construction (“Fusion-Dropstitch” + “Double-Layer-Rails”) is very modern and combines a relatively light board weight with a very good stiffness.

In the section “Material and Weight” I will later go into great detail about the specifics of the material construction.

The CALA Kanaloa comes with an extensive accessory set that includes the following:

SUP trolley backpack, instruction manual, double stroke air pump (reversible), 3-piece carbon paddle (infinitely adjustable), coiled leash (spiral safety leash) incl. key compartment, 3 removable fins (Smartlock system), repair kit incl. valve key.

  • very good material quality
  • innovative, stiff and light construction (“Fusion-Technique”)
  • double-layered rails with fabric reinforcement
  • 3 removable fins (Smartlock system)
  • large luggage net
  • 2 carrying loops incl. removable paddle holder
  • high load capacity
  • solid tipping stability and good gliding characteristics
  • extensive, high-quality accessory package included in delivery
  • backpack with trolley function
  • action cam holder ( mount )
  • upscale price level
  • the white print of the test paddle was not abrasion resistant
  • instruction manual in computer-translated gibberish

The CALA Kanaloa Review in Detail

Due to our close cooperation with many manufacturers, we are always able to keep our finger on the pulse. We can share our practical experience directly with you and you will learn all the facts and features of the boards in detail at first hand. You benefit from our many years of experience and our constantly growing expertise.

If you have any further individual questions, please feel free to leave us a comment. We will try to answer you as soon as possible!

Product Specifications

Board Type Inflatable
Brand Cala Boards
Skill Beginner
Price CategoryHigh-priced
Area of Application Touring
Maximum Paddler Weight ca. 120 kg (265 lbs)
Length ca. 343 cm (11’3″)
Width 81 cm (32″)
Thickness ca. 15 cm (6″)
Weight 20 lbs (9.2 kg)
Accessories trolley backpack, instruction manual, double stroke air pump (reversible), 3-piece carbon paddle (continuously adjustable), coiled leash (spiral-shaped safety leash) incl. key compartment, 3 removable fins (Smartlock system), repair kit incl. valve key


The shape (silhouette) of the CALA Kanaloa reveals from afar that it belongs to the touring boards. The pointed nose (board tip) and the tail, which narrows towards the back with a straight end, are unmistakable signs of recognition. Only a closer look reveals some deviations from the standard board type.

With a length of 11’3″ (approx. 343 cm) and a width of 32″ (approx. 81 cm) it is a good deal shorter and wider than average. Accordingly, the rails (side surfaces) are clearly curved outwards. These adjustments in the dimensions give the board quite an all-round character in terms of riding characteristics.

The versatility is further emphasized by the fin setup with 3 removable copies in the Smartlock system. A change between single fin and 2+1 fin setup succeeds in a short time and changes the running behavior noticeably. This allows you to react flexibly to changing conditions on the water.

The board has a single air chamber, whose volume is unfortunately not exactly named by the manufacturer. From my personal experience and comparison with similarly cut models, I estimate the capacity at 300 – 320 liters. Together with the stiff construction, the board makes a very buoyant and resilient impression.

The upward curved board tip (“Noserocker”) is worth its weight in gold in wavy conditions, as the nose stays very nicely above water. In very slippery conditions, however, the nose is a bit high and can therefore not cut through the tide so nicely.

Load Capacity

The load capacity of the Kanaloa is estimated by CALA at 135 kg, but I would like to put this value into perspective based on my practical experience. The board can safely take loads up to 100 kg without any changes being noticeable. Up to 265 lbs, so for example with a child, dog or 2 light adults on board, the running characteristics are also still good!

Above this weight, the volume slowly comes to its limits. The stiffness is really top, the board has not deformed at any time. Nevertheless, it sinks deeper and deeper and this is immediately felt in the running properties… everything becomes more laborious and sluggish.

For swimming fun and very short laps on the swimming lake, it carries but certainly also the specified 300 lbs and maybe more!

Areas of Application and Driving Characteristics

First of all, there are certainly more gliding and nimble touring boards than the CALA Kanaloa, but that is not the purpose for which this model is built.

The above-average width and the resulting increased water resistance lead to concessions towards a very solid tipping stability, which makes the board an enticing alternative for sporty beginners. The outward-curving rails and reduced length make it fairly agile and nimble to steer, for a touring board.

Nevertheless, it runs much smoother than any all-round board. Exactly this mixture is the exciting thing about this board. Especially when you mount all 3 fins, the stability and versatility is very nice to feel. This allows you to ride almost any water and enjoy a stable base even in challenging conditions.

On my favorite SUP water, Lake Constance, small waves with short distances and a light wind are part of the daily routine. Due to the “Noserocker” the board easily puts this away and always stays on top. The reduced length also has a positive effect in these conditions.

Especially in currents and waves, longer touring boards tend to become the plaything of the tides. The CALA Kanaloa is therefore also well suited for SUP hikes on rivers and offers enough storage space for extended tours in the large luggage net.

If you prefer long and straight stretches on calm waters, you can also switch to the single fin at any time.

This improves the directional stability, although I have to say that this effect is not quite as nice as on touring models with straight rails due to the rather bulbous side line.

The tipping stability also decreases abruptly with this setup, which surprised me quite a bit to this extent. This is due to the fact that the side fins turn out quite large and therefore contribute elementarily to the stability.

The performance of the board is nicely completed by the possibility to mount a separately available kayak seat. The board thus becomes a powerful SUP kayak in no time, with which I would also dare to very choppy waters at any time. The large space is also sufficient for SUP yoga, fitness and fishing fans.

Material and Weight

The construction is made up of a combination of different, high-quality elements. The core is the very dense “dropstitch core”, whose polyester threads connect the top and bottom sides and are additionally woven in an x-shape to form a stable fabric (“X-Woven Dropstitch”). The fabric cover of the core is fused inseparably with the stable outer cover made of UV-resistant PVC under the influence of heat and high pressure (“fusion process”).

The rails are manufactured in double layers, with the outer layer consisting of fabric-reinforced PVC. This element contributes decisively to the high rigidity and makes the stressed side surfaces robust against damage. Looking at the manufacturer’s schematic, some knowledgeable paddlers will immediately notice the parallels to Red Paddle’s “MSL-Fusion” technology.

Of course, CALA has also come up with its own name for this design, calling it “HDX Air System Technology.” This technology is very modern, combines lightweight construction with very good stiffness and is also a bit more environmentally friendly, as glue can be largely dispensed with.

This is reflected in the comparatively light weight of 20 lbs. Handling and transport are child’s play and are made even easier thanks to the trolley backpack.


Here I must emphasize that the CALA boards, at least on the European market, are very new. My following observations therefore refer exclusively to my own subjective experiences with the test board.

What immediately struck me positively are the very clean transitions to the rails and deckpad. Especially the side surfaces make a very robust impression and the fabric-reinforced material is also visually eye-catching.

The D-rings are super solidly incorporated and the copy on the bottom of the nose makes the impression that you can tow a ship with it. The intricate design print is also very high quality.

Still, there are a few minor flaws as well. On one of the fin boxes there is adhesive residue on my board and the large center fin could initially only be fixed with massive pressure in the Smartlock system. However, this problem has resolved itself after repeated use.

What annoyed me a lot, however, is that the white print on the paddle blade is not abrasion-resistant. You should therefore always attach the paddle to one of the two paddle holders on the carrying straps.

I stuck the paddle blade under the luggage net during a break on my 3rd tour and the white paint left thin marks on the surface that I unfortunately can’t get off.

These mentioned points of criticism the company should definitely turn off, because most customers in this price range are (rightly) very demanding!

Great Fancy-looking Thermo-fusion Paddleboard
Cala Kanaloa
9.4/10Our Score

The CALA Kanaloa is a great-looking, very high-quality touring board with above-average width and reduced length, making it a good option for ambitious beginners to start right away with a glide-friendly alternative to the classic all-rounder and advanced paddlers looking for a great touring board.


If you look at the design of the Kanaloa and the other models in CALA’s board range, it becomes clear that eye-catching designs are part of the brand’s concept.

If you want to blend in with the blue and white mass of SUP boards, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The successful wood look in combination with the “tiki totem” on the nose are the highlights of this board.

Looking at this “SUP God”, you can only hope that he is well-disposed to you! But seriously, I was not really thrilled at first with the images on the Internet, but find the board “in real” really beautiful. The dark petrol of the contoured deckpad with white image of a paddle makes a great contrast to the imitated wood surface.

In the back of the top, a “tribal-style” pattern decorates the surface, which is also used on the tread as a banderole. The rails are deep black and the fabric is also visually well accentuated. In the back of the side panels, the board is labeled “Touring Series” on one side and “Kanaloa 11’3″ x 32″ x 6” on the other.

On the front side panel you’ll find the CALA lettering and the brand’s turtle logo. Design is a matter of taste as we all know, I personally really like it as the “surf style” embellishments also reflect the Polynesian roots of Stand Up Paddling.

Other Features

The CALA Kanaloa has many thoughtful features that I would like to introduce to you in more detail:

  • Deckpad: On the top of the board is an anti-slip deckpad made of EVA by BLOOM. This company makes more environmentally friendly plastics and so this material is actually 20% sea grass. The diamond structure provides a secure footing even when wet. The deck pad is a bit firmer and absorbs less water than I’ve seen on other boards, but it still feels very comfortable.
  • 6 free D-rings: For hooking the included coiled leash (spiral-shaped safety line) there is a stable D-ring at the tail, which is integrated into the rubber patch of the valve. 4 additional D-rings are located on the side of the footprint and are used to mount an optional kayak seat. There is another very solid one on the bottom of the nose (anchor or tow ring).
  • 2 carrying straps with removable paddle holders: In the middle of the board, a central carrying loop is attached and also marks the most stable standing position (“sweet spot”). At the rear there is another handle. Both loops are made of webbing material and are covered with a removable paddle holder made of neoprene.
  • 3 Removable fins: Both the smaller side fins and the large center fin are removable via the Smartlock system.
  • Luggage Net: There is a black elastic cover net in the front area, which is attached to 6 more D-rings. Most pictures on the internet show only 4 rings here! Here you can safely stow equipment or provisions. So that everything stays dry, you should rather store your luggage in a waterproof dry bag. CALA also has very good models on offer here.
  • Action cam mount: You can securely attach your action cam to the nose and document your adventures in the form of photos and videos.
  • Clearly visible serial number: Next to the fin box of the large center fin, the serial number of the board is clearly visible on a rubber patch. This serves as registration and proof of ownership in case of theft!


The CALA Kanaloa comes with the following accessory package:

  • CALA Kanaloa Trolley Backpack: the set includes a silver backpack trolley with matching design elements and 2 compartments. The large main compartment is designed for the rolled up board and large pieces of equipment. Furthermore, the model has a handle, a transparent address compartment, 2 side slots and several straps (inside and outside) to fix the contents or the paddle parts to the side.
  • The additional zippered front pocket is suitable for storing smaller pieces of equipment (fins, etc.) or your personal belongings. With the wide and softly padded carrying straps as well as the adjustable chest and waist strap, the backpack can be adjusted close to the body.
  • The additionally padded back section increases the carrying comfort. For air travel, the trolley backpack is also well suited, because the straps can be stored in a separate back compartment, so they can not get tangled in the luggage belts at the airport.
    If the luggage is too heavy for you, you can simply pull the backpack behind you as a trolley thanks to the two integrated off-road wheels. The model is really top notch and among the best I’ve seen so far!
  •  CALA Kanaloa Carbon Paddle: The included paddle is a 3-piece model with a carbon shaft. The paddle blade is made of reinforced nylon, as is the handle. It is continuously adjustable from 5.5 – 6.8 ft and weighs only 1.7 lbs. The handle part can be secured bombproof via the adjustable clamp closure, unfortunately the click connection (spring bolt) from the paddle blade part to the shaft has some play with me. The design of the two sides of the paddle blade fits perfectly with the board. Unfortunately the white color is not abrasion resistant!
  • CALA Kanaloa Double Stroke Air Pump with Pressure Indicator: With the double stroke air pump you can make the inflation of your SUP board more efficient. In double stroke mode, you pump air into the board both when pulling up and when pushing down the handle. The majority of the volume is thus quickly achieved.
    Towards the end, however, the counterpressure increases considerably and pulling up becomes more and more strenuous. Then simply switch to single-stroke operation by turning the small plug out of the pump housing. It will then only pump when you push down, saving you a lot of effort.
  •  3 removable CALA Kanaloa fins: Both side fins and the large center fin are removable and are attached to the board via the so-called Smartlock system. The side fins are much larger than the fixed ones in a classic 2+1 fin setup. As a result, they create a higher resistance in the water, which has a positive effect in terms of stability and maneuverability.
  • These fins are very stable, make a robust impression and are even contoured in cross-section (“elliptical”) to achieve the best hydrodynamic properties. To install, simply insert the desired fin into the rail, push it down and fix it with a small integrated lever. The system is very fast and convenient.
  • It is also used by numerous other well-known manufacturers (e.g. Bluefin, Thurso Surf, iRocker etc.). Unfortunately, the market for spare parts is also in the hands of these companies. Here you can find a guide that deals in detail with the sometimes annoying procurement of Smartlock fins.
  • CALA Kanaloa Coiled-Leash incl. key compartment: A so-called Coiled-Leash is also included in the delivery. With this spiral-shaped safety leash you can connect yourself to the board at the ankle via a stable Velcro sleeve made of neoprene. Should you fall into the water, the leash stretches to its full length (10′ or 305 cm) and prevents the board from drifting without you. A small Velcro pocket in the leash provides additional space for a key.
  • CALA Kanaloa Repair Kit incl. Valve Wrench: This small kit consists of black PVC patches, glue and a valve wrench with which you can tighten the valve or replace it completely. Small damages on the board can be repaired by yourself.


How long does it take to inflate the CALA Kanaloa?

Due to the quite high volume you need about 7 – 10 minutes to inflate the board. Learn more about the Cala Kanaloa. Learn more about the Cala Kanaloa.

To how much PSI should the CALA Kanaloa be inflated?

The recommended pressure is 12 – 15 PSI. I personally prefer 15 PSI (about 1 bar). The board has even been tested up to 20 PSI (1.37 Bar), which speaks for a very good quality. Learn more about the Cala Kanaloa.


The CALA Kanaloa is a really high-quality touring board with above-average width and reduced length, making it a good option for ambitious beginners to start right away with a glide-friendly alternative to the classic all-rounder. The board is versatile and can be adapted to a wide range of uses thanks to the 3 removable fins.

The very high-quality material construction and the used “Thermo-Fusion-Process” convinced me very much in practice. The advantages of this modern technology in terms of durability, weight and stiffness are clear. The CALA Kanaloa is resilient and is also well suited for larger and heavier paddlers.

The points of criticism mentioned refer to small optical defects on the test board and the quality of the carbon paddle (paint not abrasion-resistant, spring bolt connection has some play), it is quite possible that this is not the case with other sets.

Other plus points for me are: the light weight, the multitude of successful, well thought-out features, the fancy look and the outstandingly good trolley backpack. A warranty of 2 years is of course also very pleasing, although that is also an absolute must in this price range. Overall, it is a very powerful model that is also absolutely up to date in terms of manufacturing technology!

Great Fancy-looking Thermo-fusion Paddleboard
Cala Kanaloa
9.4/10Our Score

The CALA Kanaloa is a great-looking, very high-quality touring board with above-average width and reduced length, making it a good option for ambitious beginners to start right away with a glide-friendly alternative to the classic all-rounder and advanced paddlers looking for a great touring board.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

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