The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Pau Hana Moon Jelly Review

This surfing SUP is much more suited to shredding waves than long paddles.
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Price:  $1,250 List
Pros:  Maneuverable, easy to move
Cons:  Not very stable, doesn't glide that well
Manufacturer:   Pau Hana
By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 10, 2017
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53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Glide Performance - 35% 4
  • Stability - 25% 6
  • Maneuverability - 15% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6

The Skinny

Product Discontinued
Pau Hana discontinued the Moon Jelly.

One of two surf-oriented boards in the group, the Pau Hana Moon Jelly didn't score terribly highly in our test. This board doesn't glide the best, but handles well and is easy to transport. It's not exceptionally expensive compared to the rest of the boards in the group, but there are other boards that scored better and cost less. This might be a great board if you are exclusively planning on surfing it, but this board isn't particularly suited for general use.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Pau Hana is a surfy, maneuverable board that is easy to transport and carry. It has a comfortable deck and would be great for surfing, but it doesn't have the best glide performance. It's decently maneuverable and stable, but not really a beginner board. This niche board would be the perfect fit for a small group of users but lacks widespread appeal.

Performance Comparison


The surfing oriented Pau Hana struggled a little in our gliding tests.
The surfing oriented Pau Hana struggled a little in our gliding tests.

Glide Performance


Earning the highest weight out of any metric in our test, Glide Performance accounted for 35% of the total score. To assess this, we conducted a time trial test to measure speed and a distance per paddle stroke to compare efficiency between models. We ran two version of each test, one in flat water and one in rough conditions. The Pau Hana delivered a subpar performance, getting a 4 out of 10.

For the flat water time trial, the Pau Hana finished towards the lower half of the pack, putting up an average time of 76.19 seconds. This was the third slowest time of the entire group, only beating the BIC and the California Board Company. The Pau Hana's performance dropped slightly in the rough water test, essentially tying for last place with BIC and California Board Company, with all of these three boards finishing within one second of each other, about 116 seconds.

For the distance per paddle stroke test on flat water, the Pau Hana actually did the worst job of the entire fleet, taking an average of 51 paddle strokes to traverse a course that only took 36.5 from the top models. It did handle the rough water version of this test a little better, taking fewer paddle strokes than the CBC and narrowed the gap with the next closest model.

The Pau Hana is mediocre when it comes to stability.
The Pau Hana is mediocre when it comes to stability.

Stability


Making up 25% of the overall score, our Stability metric was the second most important one of the test. This metric consisted of three tests: handling in rough water, transporting additional weight, such as coolers or canines, and the opinions of first time paddlers when using the board. The Pau Hana scored reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10 for its slightly above average performance.

Being a surf-centered board, the Pau Hana did alright in the small waves and wakes. While it couldn't match the unshakeable stability of the BIC, it didn't dump anyone unexpectedly into the water, like the Raven. The Pau Hana did alright at transporting extra weight, with Chewy, the veteran canine SUP tester giving it his seal of approval. Our novice paddlers were OK with this board, though substantially more shaky and unstable on it compared to models like the Isle and the Kraken.

The Pau Hana has one of the smallest turning radii of the entire group.
The Pau Hana has one of the smallest turning radii of the entire group.

Maneuverability


Again earning a 6 out of 10, the Pau Hana did well in our Maneuverability metric. This metric — worth 15% of the total score — consisted of two tests: a time trial through a buoy slalom course and a U-turn in a confined area. This board didn't do very well in our buoy slalom course, putting up the third slowest time of the entire group at 92.09 seconds. Only the Naish Mana and the BIC were slower. The board did handle the tight turns well, just not very quickly. However, the Pau Hana did redeem itself in the U-turn in close quarters test, actually performing the best of the entire group. This model's triple fin configuration helped substantially, allowing the Pau Hana to execute the tightest turn of the group.

It is pretty easy to transport the Pau Hana  with a single person usually able to load it on a car without assistance.
It is pretty easy to transport the Pau Hana, with a single person usually able to load it on a car without assistance.

Ease of Transport


Moving on to the performance of each SUP on land, the Ease of Transport metric accounted for 15% of the overall final score for each board. To test this, we compared and assessed the ease of carrying each model, loading it on a typical car, it weight, and the relative comfort of the handle. Continuing a trend, the Pau Hana once again earned a 6 out of 10 for its alright performance. The Pau Hana is on the shorter side of boards in the group, making it moderately easy to carry.

It's not a huge hassle to carry the Pau Hana over a short distance.
It's not a huge hassle to carry the Pau Hana over a short distance.

This board is about average in terms of weight, measuring in at 28 lbs, 5oz.


The recessed handle is moderately comfortable and ergonomic and it is quite easy to lift this board onto a car by yourself without too much difficulty.

Our tests left some noticeable scrapes and scuffs on this SUP.
Our tests left some noticeable scrapes and scuffs on this SUP.

Durability


Finishing up our test, our Durability metric took responsibility for the residual 10% of the score. To evaluate this, we gave each SUP a thorough once-over at the conclusion of our review, noting any damage sustained, its severity, and suspected cause. In tandem, we looked over every online review and forum post pertaining to these products, looking for any commonalities in terms of damage or other problems. Surprisingly, the Pau Hana once again scored a 6 out of 10.

This Moon Jelly held up to the rigors of testing relatively well, only receiving some cosmetic damage. This board has some scrapes and scuffs on the side, as well as some scratches that coincidentally corresponded to Chewy's paws. We didn't find any common recurring issues online, leading us to believe that this board is relatively durable.

Value


This Moon Jelly scored somewhat low and costs a little on the high side, precluding it from being a good value pick.

Conclusion


While the Pau Hana Moon Jelly may be great for surfing, it fails to distinguish itself in our tests. It's easy to move and exceptionally maneuverable, but it's much slower and glides poorer than other boards, lacking appeal to a general audience. We didn't really dislike this board and were fine paddling on it, but we wouldn't necessarily recommend it to most people.


Marissa Fox