Mistral Interceptor sup hardboard

While the Stealth is forgiving in small choppy waters and excels in glassy waters, the Interceptor belies the fact that it is something of an all rounder. The problem in designing a board that is specific for downwind paddling is that it will tend to be compromised heavily by design the moment it points in any other direction other than downwind and down swell.

Mistral Interceptor SUP hardboard

Unlimited 17.6

Key Features

Pro Level
  • 17'6" x 24.3" x 363L
  • 12.5kg

While the Stealth is forgiving in small choppy waters and excels in glassy waters, the Interceptor belies the fact that it is something of an all rounder. The problem in designing a board that is specific for downwind paddling is that it will tend to be compromised heavily by design the moment it points in any other direction other than downwind and down swell.

Investing in a board specific for down winding also suggests you should be living in an area of trade winds in order to maximize your investment through use. Therefore, we’ve set out to create a board which is certainly a great performer downwind up to moderate conditions of intensity so far a wave height is concerned, but will also hold its own upwind and in cross chop and even flatter waters. This is achieved by avoiding any radical rocker lines front a back in order to maximize water line length and prevent any snow-ploughing when the water flattens out.

Rather than opt for a flat underside which alludes to a planning hull, we have ensured a rounded displacement in the forward section so as keep the hull fast and loose in this front section which proves very much more efficient when wanting to push onto small bumps or larger and certainly improves flat water performance in reducing surface tension and resistance.

The nose volume and rocker combine to keep the nose from nose diving without overdoing the curvature which only serves to reduce potential hull speed and act to push water rather than glide over it. This then translates into a flat spot under the paddler when they are in the neutral position over the boards center of gravity and buoyancy. We have taken the view that the paddler should for the most part be standing over a flat spot of the board, however we’ve then morphed this into a single concave which serves in keeping the water ‘dirty’ and moving along under some level of compression towards the rounded tail.

While a stand-inside board has obvious merits in lowering the paddlers center of gravity, permitting more radical hull shapes, the issue for boards used for rougher waters is one of recovery, swamping and mobility. While you want to lower the paddler center of gravity, in the case of ‘tippy’ hull shapes, there are mixed views in the case of downwind, rough water boards and to a degree it is largely a matter of preference, though there are definitive realities.

If you fall from a board that is significantly ‘dug-out’ recovery is considerably more difficult all but for the most athletic. Swamping is also a constant issue and while scuppers can be fitted, the stand in area is significantly larger volume than that of mere foot-wells in a surf ski.

That being said, the stand on top, classic solution offers none of these limitations or hindrances and consequently is an easier animal to live with on many levels, but in saying this, it requires a slightly different approach in one’s paddling.

There is an expectation the paddler will and can move around more and can take advantage of rail to rail transitioning, which is not so achievable in stand-in boards, due to being unable to fully drop and control rail edges to the same extent. The stand on top board permits a greater engagement of the paddlers movements and all in all, it will pay dividends where conditions are truly challenging.

Our Equinox 14’ board holds downwind course record times in South Africa, has been a podium place winner for the past three years at the Air France Paddle Pacific event up against the toughest competition and won numerous races worldwide. A top performer in seas to around 3’ (1m) and strong breezes, the Equinox excels in catching the smallest bumps and runners for the smallest amount of paddler effort. When downwind paddling, you need to catch the small runners and bumps (the running sea) in order to catch the larger swells, therefore you need this quality to be inherent in the design.

Taking the basic Equinox form, we’ve stretched it out and ensured that we did not go over board with making a board for extremes being that the vast majority of paddlers are of course paddling in flat to moderate conditions. This makes the Interceptor versatile and user friendly and a board as happy on the ocean as it is upon sheltered waters. You could just as easily use it for a long distance race on rivers as you would across the bay or in more challenging circumstances. The Interceptor is fast, forgiving and above all, fun and a true paddlers board.

Rudder System
Fabricated from carbon fiber, the steering system is tunable in being able to be set at varying distances according to finding the ‘sweet spot’ that works for you. The nature of the board, will tend to mean you will be standing over the tiller arm for most of the time.

Supplied with 2 differing tiller arms, you can opt to set up for ‘Goofy’ (right foot forward) or ‘Regular’ (left foot forward). It’s important to establish which foot you favor and you establish this for example by standing feet together and have someone push you from behind. The foot you step forward with, will determine your ‘footedness’. Right foot forward will tend to mean you’re a Goofy footer, left foot forward and you will a ‘Regular’ or ‘Natural’.

Using the Rudder System
There’s an art to using the rudder system, the key to which is to use it as little as possible. Its best function is in compensating for any cross-winds, whereby you can offset side forces so as you can switch paddling sides in comfort as against paddling on one side for long periods of time.

Only small relative rudder movements are needed to bring about significant directional changes. Keep in mind, when the rudder is turned this creates resistance and drag needed to create the turning moment, but it will also result in some speed loss. Use the rudder sparingly and only when you cannot achieve with the paddle effectively what you need to do with the rudder. You should never have to over steer by exerting excess force to the tiller arm; apply subtle movements and anticipate early any correctional shifts required.

Setting the system up is a simple process, but worth the time and effort in order to suit paddling styles and standing position on the board. The fin supplied is in the order of 4” and raked enough to avoid tangling in the weeds and ample for the job in hand. Set at 65cm (25.5”) from the tail, directional stability is maximized without compromising drag in having too big of a fin area.

Rather than use stainless steel wire, we have opted for a high strength polymer based line as used in sailing and kiteboarding. This line will of course will not rust, stretch or indeed present problems of broken, sharp strands and is easily replaceable, but should give many years of service without issue.

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