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Mistral International, Industrieweg 4a, 7641 at Wierden, The Netherlands

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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.

12th October 2018

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 wid​e 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.

21st September 2018

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!

17th April 2018