Our 2018 Foldout reveals our belief in hanging on to our Classic designs however it doesn’t reveal the full story.
Late in 2017, we had to make some creative decisions, based on creative thinking. What our 2018 Foldout does not reveal, is the introduction of 2 very special boards, the Vortex Air 14′ and the Slipstream Air 12’6 tri-chamber boards, our new KANUyak uno and duo designs or our 2 unlimited boards, the Stealth 17’6 flatwater missile and the Interceptor 17’6 downwind board. We’ve kept them under wraps to ensure that they are showcased in a manner befitting their special and unique nature and their will be more detailed information leading up to Christmas 2017.
While SUP is still on an upward trend, there’s no escaping the fact it’s a highly competitive market and no more than in the inflatable segment. But if you think you’re buying a bargain on the basis of an iSUP being ‘cheap and cheerful’ you might want to consider the adage ‘you get what you pay for’. Low-grade PVC construction with low density drop-stitch fibres all add up to boards which are inherently less safe and durable than those boards of higher price and quality.
You have to face facts and ask why cheap iSUPs exist and the answer is very simply in the build quality on all levels and often a lack of simple add on basics, such as handles, cargo net and so on and often over-looked items such as the bag which the boards are carried in,essential to the convenience and relationship you form with your board.
We’ve resisted the temptation to make changes to our essential range, in a show of faith that we believe in what we created for 2016 and a philosophy that supports the Mistral belief in creating Classics that can stand the test of time.
On the other hand, what are working on is the creation of an entirely different form of inflatable board, with not 1 chamber but 3, one which offers improved rigidity, not through using exotic materials and reinforcing membranes, but simply buy going back to simple engineering principles. Improved fabrics will only give you so much, but if you really want to make a difference, it requires a complete consideration of construction. These two boards we shall reveal in greater detail shortly and will be named and designed around two of our race boards, the Vortex 14’ and Slipstream 12’6 and while they are not on our 2018 Foldout – we consider them as stand out products which will feature their own place within our range, indeed within the market as being uniquely the first of their type.
For entry level boards, we appreciate its about basic performance that can meet a budget which ensures value for money in the quality being invested in. Our move into higher end inflatable in a search for improved performance we believe to be essential in pushing the sport forward, while acknowledging, intermediate paddlers want to improve and more advanced paddler will always want to go further with every stroke taken. Speed of water for less effort put in, can only result in more water time and enjoyment.
Meanwhile our Trekker, dual chamber boards have done exceptionally well. A true Adventure board, for ‘Hiking on Water’ as we like to say, the dual chamber provides a genuine added safety feature. The stability is sensational and the use of high density drop stitch is old-school, but tough!
We’re also very proud of our new Bali 8’6 x 27” board which complements our Tribe Range, so as we have a genuine kids board with a bag to suit.