It's an easy boat to get on, and you can stand, sit, kneel or lie down to paddle. If you're looking for a boat for a variety of skill levels at a lake, or a craft for exploring small streams, this is a great choice.
Newer versions include a handhold in back, as well as in front, and pads to help older joints kneel. But the versions we purchased were close-out models bought at the twice yearly Old Town Canoe and Kayak factory seconds sale; the second cheapest way to add new boats to your fleet.*
These boards come with an optional seat. The seats can attach at four points (Two by the center handles, two by the bungees.) When all four points are used, the seat is held open. We generally prefer to just use the two front straps, and travel with the seat folded over itself and flat. Sometimes we don't even bother to open the seat, we just sit on the back of the seat, or even use it as knee pad.
The boards do okay in moderate wind and chop, though they are a wet ride.
And you can see that they do very well with a Greenland Paddleboard Paddle. There are also hybrid paddles available. The Old Town factory outlet has a model with a tee grip end which can be changed out for a paddle. The model they had on hand could not compete with Marks' cedar GP for lightness or comfort though. Another option is to use a paddleboard paddle and store a break apart two-bladed kayak paddle in the hatch. We had no trouble getting a 240cm Warner break-apart in or out of the hatch.
Our sons recently came by to pick up "their" boats** to use for a day trip with friends up a beaver stream to a small pond. But, after testing the Nalu's, that's what they left with. The Nalu's were easy to transport and when the group was traveling up the winding stream it was easy for them to stand up and check on the other paddlers. These boats have the most flexibility for getting on and off, which was perfect for getting over beaver dams (and positioning to help other boats over the dams) as well as landing on a steep shore. One used the Greenland paddle, the other a SUP paddle, though he switched to a Euro-paddle to cross the pond in a strong wind.
So what are the flaws? There are a few. It is rated for up to 350 pounds. We did have a fairly large guy (close to 300 pounds) test it, he enjoyed the boat and found is quite stable. He also liked that he could easily get himself back on the board, a feat which is not possible with some recreational sit-inside kayaks. But I think the rated 350 pounds capacity is optimistic.
When anyone over average weight is seated, the back of the boat tends to drag. One option is to pull the seat pad further forward, but then foot brace positions are limited. Also, the seat angle is better for relaxing than power paddling.
The foot wells, while they add stability by lowering the feet, limit movement on the paddleboard.
Shifting from standing to sitting, and more so from sitting to standing is not as straight forward as you might imagine. Especially when shifting from sitting to standing, it's easier to go through a kneeling stage (and drag a leg off the side to do so.)
We bought these boats to use on the Penobscot River. The path to our boat launch is narrow with some steep drop-offs so carrying boats, even light ones, up and down regularly is more insane than buying additional boats. Since we plan to paddleboard regularly on the Penobscot River, we'd like to store boards down there. The Penobscot isn't a shallow stream, so the Nalu's keel isn't the advantage it could be other places, but I like to have the option to be able to sit, should the wind pick up while we're out.
After borrowing the Nalu's for the weekend, one son is thinking of getting one for his own use, which says a lot for their entertainment value. (Remember his real kayak is still stored here.)
* The best sale is the Old Town Employee-only Sale, held just before the public sale. Old Town employees are held in high esteem in this area.
** Some of the kayaks regularly featured in Penobscot Paddles are not technically our boats, but boats which were gifts to prior Penobscot Paddlers. I'm sure they appreciate us continuing to exercise their equipment...