With the flooding of cheap inflatables onto the market you would imagine this has to be a bad thing for the sport let alone the major brands. Cheap boards, cheapen the sport, you could say and that’s not an unreasonable position to take, on the other hand it does open up the possibility of entry into the recreational, splash and dash grass roots essence of the sport. For major brands such as Mistral, our primary concerns are that of safety – how robust is the product and in addition, the environmental knock on effect.
If something is cheap and lacks longevity it can be considered a throw away item of a disposable nature, which, so long as you have your fun with your SUP over a summer period you will believe you have gotten your monies worth and it’s probably cheaper than hiring. That being said, in todays climate of concern, we all need to consider that what we buy is more durable and less likely to be of a disposable nature.
Cheap boards do not necessarily need to be disposable, dangerous or poorly performing, but for the most part they have been. At the present moment you do largely get what you pay. To add to this, SUP has been under pressure to review its future in relation to where it has arrived as a recreational pursuit, because for the most part it’s not a sport for the masses, but simply a recreation and there’s a big difference in mindset and budget expectations.
The sporting aspect of SUP resides in the more hard core areas of pursuit be it racing, down winding, surf or river running and in truth these purists are certainly the minority of end-users. Here there can be few compromises. Our aim will always to offer top quality in all that we do. Our R&D is real and not a bogus imaginary concept, whereby we research and test ever improving levels of materials and construction processes with the idea of longevity, in fact sometimes we frustrate ourselves with the process because of our exacting standards.
For 2020 you’re going to see some truly radical ideas in both inflatable SUP and Windsurfing technology presented by us and you may be lucky to have a sneak preview at the Paddle Expo in Nuremberg Germany October 4th-6th and early next year in Dusseldorf from the 18th – 26th January 2020. We will keep you posted.