BEST FOR: Anything from surfing to a multi-day outing. THE TEST: While longer, touring-style boards are better for distance paddling, the beauty of shorter, wider surfboard-style shapes is their versatility. And the Nalu is one of the most versatile new SUPs out there. At 32 inches wide and nearly 4.5 inches thick, it’s as stable as any board but paddles with the glide of a bigger SUP. Credit the six deep channels running lengthwise along the board’s bottom, which help funnel water and keep the board tracking straight. Despite those channels, the Nalu was surprisingly maneuverable and fun in the surf. THE VERDICT: A great all-rounder and close runner-up for Gear of the Year. 10'10"; 31 lbs
Six deep channels (which look like ripples) on the base of the Nalu direct water from nose to tail. It lends the Nalu the speed and tracking of a board two feet longer.