Range of Mistral
Prepare for Winter Paddling
With our European summer behind us and autumn now in full force, it won’t be long before winter winds and sea temperatures will fall and many of you will be considering storing your boards away until the spring time. On the other hand, there are many beautiful low wind, clear sky winter days which can make for epic SUP conditions and provided you dress correctly, you can enjoy the use of your equipment more fully and reap the rewards which winter paddling can bring.
Before you rush to pull on neoprene however, you might want to consider, neoprene’s very nature is such that it performs best, in the water, not out of it and certainly not when wet and exposed to wind, as it acts similar to that of a car radiator. Wind passing over the outer surface of the neoprene, draws moisture from within the suit and cools the water and in doing so, your body is having to generate ever increasing amounts of energy to keep warm. In addition to this, neoprene makes you sweat. Sweating is for the purpose of cooling, therefore neoprene promotes readily, the very thing we need to avoid in cooler conditions. Ultimately you will loss energy and become cool quite quickly.
Materials which have a ‘wicking’ affect are often promoted as being ideal for paddle sports, permitting water molecules to evaporate out, but not let them in. However in winter, you want to keep the heat in and this generally means warm air which you generate, which leads to sweating. Fortunately, these types of fabrics will not make you sweat in the same way as neoprene and will tend to contain more of your sweat, rather than letting it all evaporate away from your skin.
If you consider you’re not likely to fall in on a calm day in winter, consider thermal layers on your upper torso, possibly a fleece top and a lightweight wind proof jacket and / or water proof jacket. Thermal layers can be pure wool or a specially made hydrophobic fleece top. For the legs, consider leggings of either lycra or a microfibre. There are speciality dry suits available for SUP which are excellent, but very costly. Generally speaking, it’s the extremities of the body which become coldest quickest – fingers and toes. Neoprene or water proof running styled shoes, can be worn over water proof socks and for the hands, neoprene rarely works well when wet. Consider a thin pair of leather gloves. For your head, a wool beanie is the best option.
Whatever you decide, consider your winter paddling wardrobe now and keep on paddling through and you will find yourself enjoying days on the water you previously would have avoided.
Mistral at paddleexpo
This coming weekend from the 5th – 7th Oct, sees the staging of Europe’s leading Kayak, Canoe and SUP show held in Nürnberg, Germany, the famous “Paddle Expo”. Here you will see many of the leading brands from each of these paddle sport disciplines. Ironically in the early days, SUP brands were often seen at Surf Expos. Over time, this alignment has lost traction so as many brands now steer clear of an association with surfing, preferring to foster an ever stronger alignment with paddle sports. This can be called a ‘Self Governing Process’ where time itself unfolds the truth of the matter.
Mistral are very fortunate to be represented at this years Paddle Expo as in past years, by Sport-Vibrations Germany, where you can find them on stand S77. Mistral’s ever expanding range of products now includes windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking together with our iconic apparel and accessory range. See our range of products at the Paddle Expo and say hello to Ulla and Wolfgang, two of Mistral’s longest serving supporters and representatives of the Mistral brand.
2018 11 Cities
The dust has more or less settled from this years 2018 11 Cities event and with it there was plenty of discussion as to its future and indeed the future of SUP. Nothing should be taken for granted, in so much as a sport or an event will take care of itself. Innovation and ways to keep things advancing and interesting, are key factors in any evolutionary process and a brand can of course form part of this process together with the demands of the end-users.
We introduced our Stealth Unlimited board at this years event, paddled by Dutch Champion Janneke Smits and while at the time there was little noise made, there certainly was following the event. The argument goes that boards of this nature are uniquely suited to this event type and that paddlers would cover the course faster and in more comfort, whether completing the 220km non stop or doing so over 5 days, but this is countered with cost issues and ideas of elitism.
Frankly we believe this is a very poor argument when you consider these board types were indeed present in the early days of the sport, for both open ocean and flat waters. Cost is all relative to enjoyment and indeed performance and specificity plays a large part in this. All sports have a wide variance of quality and cost performance related choice and should be no different for SUP.
Around the world there already exist a number of ultra-distance events, originally created for canoeing and kayaking. Stand up paddlers are now not only entering these events, but actively seeking them out, some as extreme as up to 1000miles (Yukon). The fact is, human beings have always sought out challenges and in today’s modern digital world, the opportunity to confront nature, to test oneself physically and mentally, has never been more relevant as a compensation for the world we now live in.
We acknowledge and salute these individuals who seek out such extreme challenges, whether it’s paddling from Spain to Africa, or the length of the Yukon River in the USA or the Murray River in Australia or the 220km 11 Cities course in Holland. We’re here to support the courageous, the ambitious the thrill seekers and adventurers in the pursuit of an extreme life through the manifestation of our designs which reject the rule books and offer up the best of what can be, as part of your water life and living, as is our promise to you.
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 . . .
Teihotaata 3rd Air France
Up against the best names in the world Steeve Teihotaata pulled out an incredible 3rd place at the Air France Paddle Festival, the opening leg of the Paddle League Championship. It was a truly titanic battle with many big names struggling up against many new emerging paddlers and a race truly worthy of full international world class status. Sitting with the pack leaders in 6th and 7th for much of the first 35 minutes, turning out through the reef for the run home, it seemed that Steevie was off the pace. Picking a good line and selecting good bumps on his Equinox 14′ x 24″, he made great ground and was in 4th place fighting it out with Titouan Puyo in the home stretch to overtake using the great qualities of the board and his skills to make the podium in 3rd place. Congratulations to 1st and 2nd place getters. To Steevie – we salute and recognise a magnificent, heroic effort!
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.