Inflatable technology

With so much confusion in the inflatable SUP market, we’ve attempted to answer possible questions you may have and given some you may never considered. Mistral is a premium, high end, competitively priced brand and as experts in our field, we like nothing better than to share our knowledge with you during the decision making process.

  • You Get What You Pay For?
    If you’re reading this and thinking of buying an inflatable SUP, the best advice we can give, not only will you get what you pay for, but the cheaper you buy, the more vulnerable you are likely to be as a result of the use of inferior materials and poor build quality.
  • Why Inflatables Might Fail?
    In the past, seam failure represented the primary problem area when methods and materials were in development. Seam failure resulted due to the method by which the seams were bonded to the PVC. They were subject to degradation due to issues of humidity and being stored away when damp. Cheap boards use cheap seam technology and cheap drop stitch technology.
  • Cheap Corner Store Boards?
    Simply put, cheap corner store inflatables lack the structural integrity found in Mistral boards, which are not only better performing, but most importantly, inherently safer. Mistral takes this issue very seriously and therefore we offer no compromise on safety through quality, nor quality on price.
  • But I Can Buy Much Cheaper?
    If you’re worried about spending more than you can afford, it tends to reflect what you ‘choose’ to afford, rather than what you actually can. But ask yourself, do you and your family want the reassurance of having quality under your feet when out on the water, or the insecurity of cheapness and if that’s not enough, consider the resale value of a quality Mistral product, over that of a no-name inferior product? It’s this combination of Techno-Design which can make all the difference to your safety, enjoyment and experience. The safer you feel, the more fun you can have, making Mistral a great partner to have at your side.
  • Why is Older Drop Stitch Heavy?

    Older generation inflatable boards, used as many as 5 separate layers. This included the base cloth layer (to which the drop-stitch was woven) followed by 3 separate, PVC sheet laminates and a final EVA non-slip pad. This has been moderated to 3 then 2 and even 1 layer over time. Eliminating the need to cut and hand lay and adhere PVC fabric to the outer core fabric by hand application, resulted in greater chance for irregularities and human error.

  • Mistral Fusion Layer Technology?
    During 2017, Mistral introduced Fusion Layer Technology (FLT) in a dramatic response to ever changing user demands and the need to keep pace with new technologies. Uniquely, the outer surface layer of the PVC fabric is made water and air tight, through application of a liquid reinforced polyester which cures to form a tough outer boundary we call, Fusion Layer Technology (FLT). The finished fused material, consists of an inner sleeving core fabric to which the drop stitch is woven and the outer, sealed with reinforced liquid PVC.
  • What Makes FLT the Best?
    Mostly it eliminates the need for multiple layers of PVC, which were added in the past for reinforcement. Less material is less impact on the environment and less weight to carry around.
  • I’ve Heard about MSL?
    MSL (Monocoque Structural Laminate) and FLT (Fusion Layer Technology) are the same things. The difference for 2019 is that we have advanced our FLT to use ‘woven’ fabric, replacing ‘knitted’ making it lighter and stiffer and therefore the lightest most advanced inflatable drop stitch material on the market.
  • What is Drop Stitch?
    Drop stitches are interconnecting polyester strands, connecting the top and lower PVC layers of the internal chamber of the board. The excess amount of thread determines upon inflation, the distance separating the fabrics and therefore the depth / thickness of the board. The outer core material consists of laminated PVC. Without these ‘stitches’ boards would lack rigidity, be badly deformed and lack shape.
  • How are the PVC layers Stitched Together?
    In the early stages of fabrication, we use a highly sophisticated, fabric weaving machine, to weave polyester fibres to the upper and lower layers of an inner-core sleeving fabric. We use the finest quality, high density drop stitch polyester threads and core materials and use a cross-woven weave as against a weaker, linear weave, ensuring the best possible stability and strength between upper and lower layers to which the drop stitch is woven.
  • Cross-Woven?
    This relate to the way the internal polyester threads are stitched to the top and bottom internal layers of the board, within the chamber. This pattern, creates the strongest possible latitudinal and longitudinal stability, in the same way as cross-beams act on a bridge or building. This you can see on the outer skin of our boards, each dimple, being a connecting point for a cluster of fibres, connecting to the internal membrane wall. The resulting board is stiffer and higher performing.
  • What’s New For 2019?
    New for 2019 is the introduction of ‘woven’ FLT drop stitch material, representing a move away from the more traditional ‘knitted’ fabrics.
  • Why is Woven DS Lighter than Knitted?
    Simply because woven drop stitch material is thinner, offering increased tensile strength due to the way the internal fibres are woven. Less layers (laminates are needed) and you can expect up to 20% decrease in weight over a knitted drop stitch board. This is good for the environment and offers improved levels transportability, performance through added rigidity and less weight.
  • Rail Seams
    With the board shape template cut, rail edges are added consisting of an industry leading three layers of PVC seam tape, exceeding leading brands. This consists of an inner rail tape 3.75” wide on our 6” thick boards, 2.75” on our 5” thick boards. Seams are high pressure-bonded to the outer PVC sides. A further rail tape is fully wrapped over the entire rail to encase it. To our 6” thick boards we use a 5” wide tape and to our 5” boards, a 4” wide tape. A final narrow rail edge seam tape is added, butted up against the seam edge, to protect from snagging and complete what is the best rail edge construction on the market, adding stiffness, durability and aesthetics. This creates three layers between the very outer rail layer and the drop stitch outer fusion layer.
  • Non Slip EVA
    EVA is the final step in construction and is the non-slip material, machine pressed and fused onto the FLT PVC decking to complete the process of lamination. This can either be smooth for comfort or feature a diamond pattern, where grip is the main aim.