Mistral’s windsurfing operation as I’m sure you know, has had a difficult time in recent years. I recall Anders Bringdal trying to bring it back to life a few years ago but that effort came to nought.
The irony is that Mistral always produced really nice boards. What went wrong? I don’t know – maybe a combination of misplaced marketing and a failure to keep things on the cutting edge. Who knows?
Anyway they have a new concept and a new line-up which looks quite promising. I have been slow to pick this up so forgive me if it is old news to you.
For those who may have missed the hype, the new concept involves an adjustable plate at the back of the board which flexes over chop, banks in the turns, steams upwind, virtually eliminates spin-out and absorbs the bumps.
The VRTS system was developed by Neil Scheltema in Australia. Here is the promotion video from Mistral’s site.
It seems that the new system is being patented so I have to assume that it differs from the old Tinkler system used by Mistral in the 80’s.
I must also assume that it differs from Marco Copello’s work at HTS.
Here is one of Marco’s videos:
On the face of it, the new Mistral system seems really interesting, offering all things to all windsurfers.
My problem is that the only person telling me how great it is, happens to be the developer of the system. The action footage looks great I have to say, but we need an additional something to really get our attention:
- Some compelling race results (Defi, Lancelin, Langebaan Downwind Dash, …). We don’t necessarily need wins but let’s see some VRTS riders near the front.
- A few independent reviews by people we trust (Surf Magazine, Boards, …). If they rave about the boards, I will believe!
The current line-up of Mistral’s fast boards (FreeSpeed VRTS) comprises:
The boards are quite long and I think this is a good thing.
They also have a FreeWave line-up planned but no indication of dimensions.
Mistral, if you are out there please send a board or two to me for testing. You have an office in Cape Town and this place attracts hordes of foreign windsurfers from November to March. You need exposure here and we can help! Just a thought.