Mistral at the Dusseldorf Boat Show
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Germany’s Dusseldorf Boat Show beginning Jan 19th – 27th, where each year upwards of 250,000 visitors descend in order to view the latest offerings from the marine industry featuring, accessories, gadgets and apparel, luxury yachts, racing dinghies, RIBs, motor cruisers and famously, many board sports including windsurfing, SUP and more. As in past years, Sports Vibrations, run by Ulla and Wolfgang, Germany’s Mistral Red Dot Distributors and Retailers, will be at the show to show off most all of our 2019 range, including our new SUP Sunburst and Adventurist boards and plenty more.
See our latest windsurfing additions in the form of our Albatross and Freebird boards complete with Revival rigs, ideal for the entry level sailor or for those wishing to go back to the grass roots days of the sport with a modern feel and upgrade. Additionally, view our epic
Quikslide freeride boards and Zonda sails and rigs to match.
Also on show will also be our drop stitch inflatable kayaks, offering the highest quality on the market. Maurits Huisman will be on hand for some of the show to meet with those from the trade, while Ulla and Wolfgang will be available for the duration, where you can expect the very best advice and the great opportunity to view Mistral’s Water Life and Living world of products for 2019. Look for Hall 8A, Stand E27 adjacent to the demonstration pool.
SUP Equipment Perfected
With the arrival of SUP sport and recreation, came the adaptation to performing exercises on tethered boards in the form of pilates and yoga. The term SUP Yoga was coined and before long it became the impetus for the development of an entire new industry based upon the concept. Mistral were there at the beginning and developed the Yoga Mat Work Station, Stretch Bands and in recent times the use of Sand Anchors for tethering. Personal trainers and yoga instructors the world over took to the idea and within a short time, the concept was being practised in swimming pools and from the beaches of hotels and resorts, on lakes and lagoons.
If you want a board for both paddling and exercise, our Asana board is ideal, or if you’re more of a specialist or instructor our Lotus is the best board in the world for this and has no equal. New for 2019, we’ve reintroduced our Yoga Mat. Importantly, you will need a mens of tethering and our Sand Anchor is an ideal solution. Mistral first and last for your SUP Yoga and Pilates needs.
Investment in a Good Paddle!
One of the ways to fast track your paddling speed, efficiency, enjoyment and time on the water, is to invest in a top level paddle. In the world of paddle sports, there’s one universal agreement amongst the world’s best paddlers; the paddle is the most critical element when it comes to propulsion of the craft you’re paddling. This may sound obvious, however the other universal truth remains, the majority of recreational paddlers, downplay the relevance of the paddle and focus only upon the craft. This is not helped by the fact, many retailers often also fail to pay attention to the paddle and focus on the board and your budget, without appropriate consideration of the significance of the paddle, which should certainly be a consideration of your overall budget. It’s also true amongst top level paddlers, most will own not just one paddle, but a quiver for differing water conditions, races and craft and once a trusty paddle is found, these paddlers will hang on to them for years, while on-selling and replacing the craft they paddle. This is a reflection of the close relationship formed with the paddle, which is a true extension of the paddlers body. The paddle is a tool like any other and it can either be a precision instrument or a clumsy, heavy inefficient water whacker.
The lesson here for aspiring paddlers, is to consider investing in a high quality, lightweight paddle and not to under-value the benefits of a top level paddle. Importantly, there is no such thing as a ‘beginners paddle’ as such, only an economical, budget orientated paddle which by definition, are often heavy and clumsy compared to their superior counter parts; efficiently designed and lightweight. Another important historical fact remains, despite all the gimmicks of fancy blade shapes, the basic blade shape remains the most popular, proven and trusted. Here at Mistral, we’ve always maintained a policy of avoiding the production of super cheap, heavy, entry level paddles which can lead to injury, early fatigue and certainly lessen your water time and enjoyment of paddle sports. Children in particular, must use an appropriate paddle, that has also a narrower shaft for easier gripping, for this check our Tamarii. For those on a budget, our Kanoa is an excellent choice, whilst if you want to go straight to the best, then choose from our Gold Tear Drop, Ulani, Makani or Keanu.
Mauritius Indian Ocean
Embraced by mother nature and caressed by turqoise waters, looming mountains, peace and tranquility, Nico Kux and son’s David and Daniel operate from Cap Malheureux and for years the family ran the famous Kuxville Villas. Located in the island’s far north, their venue is directly in front of the famous Gunner’s Coin or Coin de Mire as it’s also known as.
An ideal spot for SUP surfing, windsurfing, SUP and kiting, this area offers a uniquely different experience to that of the south of the island, where everything is little more intense and crowded. The Kux family can advise you on all your travel needs to Mauritius and in some cases, kit you out with whatever equipment you may need on a hire basis. Their location knowledge and fluency in English, German, French and Creole, make them ideal contacts to offer you a great Mistral water sports experience, in great hands. Contact Nico directly for more information and discuss your visit to Mauritius email@example.com
River Dart Race UK
Head of the Dart Race England – (8 mile river race, Britain’s largest SUP race) Congratulations to Ginnie Odetayo for her 2nd place finish in the female 14′ division (Vortex) just behind the winner in a field of some 120 competitors and to James Van Drunen who also finished second racing his new 14’SD1 Vortex in a field of over 200 competitors, just a few seconds behind first place over the 8 mile course. James led for most of the race, but his tactics worked against him in the closing kilometre in a royal battle between he and former team mate Ryan James. The friendly rivalry will continue on the 28th when they and other competitors will meet for London’s Battle of the Thames, where James will be present to defend his title. On a footnote, James was also awarded a Junior Award for the 1st youngest competitor. Great job!
From South Africa
Meanwhile in South Africa – the Vanquish 14′ arrives on its shores along with other new models unique to the SA market. South Africa is a uniquely placed bastion of the world in relation to its waters and winds. While it has its protected areas, it’s a wild and crazy geographical part of the planet in relative isolation, fringed by wild oceans, winds, sea life, currents and winds and a breeding ground of some of the most accomplished waterman and women on the planet . . .
OK, so you want to buy an inflatable stand up paddle board and you’re now completely confused having begun your search and been overloaded with choice. You could go for the cheapest on the market and by this measure, you will be investing in it’s only USP (industry speak for Unique Selling Point) – the price.
If you travel this pathway, know that you will get exactly what you pay for; poor materials, poor warranty (if any), lack of rigidity and therefore performance, poor valve systems, ineffectual undersized bags, inferior hand pump and little or no resale value. All in all, they serve a niche market for the relatively disinterested end-user not particular interested in investing in quality but more of a disposable consumable, where brand quality means little. Importantly, don’t be fooled also into thinking your SUP inflatable should look surf-board like in shape, unless you aim to sup-surf only, in which case the laminated board is the best option, always. On the other hand, we’ve since discovered our Tribe boards are also fun in shallow plunging waves as we found out in Tahiti in the right hands.
Our entry level Tribe boards, Lombok, Sumatra and Java, so named to reflect the idea of a family tribe using them, were from the outset, designed to break the mould on typical elliptical shaped boards in the market. What we wanted to do was design a shape that made sense from a paddling and handling perspective.Rave reviews in the German Press, confirmed what we knew to be correct that this shape of board offered a fast, streamlined feel with improved handling upwind and in head chop, super high levels of stability with the wide tail providing excellent step back tail spinning fun. Additionally the boards hold a good line when paddled and the slide in fin makes setting up super easy.
Add to this convenient bow grab handle and cargo net, carry handle, rear and bow D-rings for mooring, D-ring for ease of leash attachment, a mix of smooth skin and diamond shaped crocodile EVA and top line striking graphics, you have a board that’s been well thought out with the end-user in mind. To seal the deal on these epic entry boards, our super neat and sturdy roller travel bag, big enough to carry your clothes for a weekend getaway all in the one back, along with our dual action hand pump. The bag, should not be overlooked in the buy-in process – it matters and we’ve put a lot of thought into them, up to and including the water-proof internal lining.
Last year we added the Bali board to the Tribe range – ideal for young children, it features all the great attributes of the other boards and presents in striking fun colours. So if you’re in the market to enter the sport or indeed kit out your school or resort, consider your purchase as an investment, not just a disposal item and reap the rewards of a Mistral designed and created product.
Mistral Inflatables – Better By Design and What to Consider
Our range of Squab and Cloud boards
SUP surfing is a niche interest area of our sport and only just recently it seems, SUP surfers are ‘discovering’ our range of Squab and Cloud boards and even our Levuka. Take this recent review where our Squab 7’10 was matched against JP and Starboard boards of similar spec where our Squab came out on top as the pick of the bunch. Aimed at the entry to upper level intermediate rider, our SUP surf boards are classic shapes, with a custom feel that should tick the boxes for most everyone. Seriously cool graphics, quality hand layups and all machine and hand shaped they include Futures fin boxes. There’s everything to like about these boards which defy their production status. Created by Chris Diplock and Steve West, the boards are ‘classic’ designs which will remain in the Mistral line up for some years to come.
Teamrider Surf Sport Castricum.
Stand up paddle addict and shop Owner of Surf Shop Castricum, Robert, travelled with his team buddy Jeroen to Plage Goulien-Crozon in French Britanny to test the new Mistral Squab against a couple of comparable sized boards. We are both big fellas (93+94kg) so opted for 115-129l compact boards. At Plage Goulien, we scored a variety of conditions from shoulder-high light offshore waves, to 3m peeling with a decent side shore breeze. Goulien isn’t a barreling wave, but it’s got plenty of speed and we scored long rides.
- Volume – 129L
- Length – 7’10”
- Width – 30.3”
- Thickness – 4.3”
The new Squab doesn’t look and feel at all like a production board. The rather square and wide tailed Squab has a custom board feel and build, in light weight glass-vector and epoxy resin paint construction, reinforced with a carbon tape stringer on bottom and deck. No paint or filler, makes this stylish baby, pure eye candy and looking very custom like!
On the deck the Squab has just a kick pad, so you can add a big pad on it yourself, or wax it for the ultimate surf feeling, or if you like, lightweight without the mess, add RSPro Hexatraction, which is what we opted for.
If you flip the board, you see 5 nice Futures boxes and a high quality quad set. The board has an intermediate rocker with a light mono-concave running in a channel with some serious tail kick.
On the water
We really didn’t know what to expect with the Squab. A wide and rather square board, but also lots of rocker, but the proof is in the pudding! The Squab paddles out very easy. The wide tail adds a lot of stability and the 7.9kg makes the board move easily through the water. Although there is no pad the board feels very composed, probably due the construction.
On a wave the big surprise started. The Squab takes off very quick, quicker than most boards we tried and when moving down the line you have a nice controlled feel, especially with the back foot on the tail pad the Squab turns on a dime.
Robert who is a true goofy footed back foot quad lover, was ripping like I have never seen him doing before. Nice bottom turns, showing some fins in-between and sliding top-turns with some serious spray in 2-3m waves.
After seeing Robert ripping, I wanted to try it as well. Like Robert, great acceleration and back-footed, Wow! Not the fastest board we tried when chasing down the line, but the loosest and most playful board we tried in normal conditions, especially when the wave wasnt that spectacular, the Squab has ample of drive and shows it’s true strength. A perfect board that makes you feel like ‘Kelly’ in the not so perfect conditions.
When pulling into some steeper, faster sections that needed to surf more over the front foot, it started to slip and slide a bit in the top turn. A tri-fin set-up might help there as well, by keeping everything under control; but for such waves, there are different boards.
We are were both very impressed by the Squab, specially for the smaller, softer waves and back footed riders the Squab opens up a whole new ‘turny’ dimension.
- Custom board appeal and graphics
- 5 fin Futures boxes
- Takes off very quick (quicker than most boards)
- Nice controlled feeling
- Turns very quickly (on a dime)
- Nice bottom turns
- Very playful board even when waves aren’t great
- Plenty of drive
- Experiment with fin set up.
Author: Jeroen van Gessel, Teamrider Surf Sport Castricum.
Mistral Creative Juices
No matter how long you’ve spent on the water, on a wide and varied number of water craft, in as many water and weather conditions, when it comes to the design process, working in a small team with like minded individuals, helps to validate your intuitive ideas and take them forward with greater confidence. Our Mistral Design and Creative Team, Chris ‘Bro’ Diplock and Steve West, have between them, over 60 years of design knowledge, ranging from surfboard, windsurfing, prone paddleboards, outrigger canoes, paddle and sail design and more recently Mistral hardboards coinciding with the sports arrival onto the scene.
Good design is a complicated process, which requires an initial brief or idea as to what the board will be intended for, so as it can perform successfully within those parameters. From conception, to making the 3D files, to computer cutting the foam blank, hand shaping the final details and laminating, it’s an anxious time as you work towards that first sample test board and the on water sessions which follow. Feedback from team riders, provides the primary bases for adjustment or not, with some testing often carried out by West in order to ‘feel’ if the overall end-goal in performance is being met and that riders can indeed get out of the board what they put in. While designs can indeed be fine tuned over time, the catalyst for this, can also sometimes be due to improved abilities of the riders, as a sport matures, but equally at Mistral, we strive to create, ‘Classic’ boards, as an acknowledgement end-users prefer constants, rather than continual change.
‘Bro’ hails from Cornwall, Britain’s bastion of surfing and is something of a UK legend in his field, whilst West, has lived a varied waterman’s life in Africa, Mauritius, Australia, the UK and all parts of the Pacific and its islands. Competitive successes, combined with work within paddle sports in particular, is documented through his books and used as reference sources at the Universities of Hawaii and the University of the South Pacific. Together, they have created such record making boards such as the Slipstream, Vortex , Equinox 14‘ boards and more recently the new Vanquish 14‘, not to overlook the popular Levuka, Fiji and Levu boards and all of our other Mistral hardboards.