Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New Mistral Boards


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:
·         95/58/240
·         105/64/243
·         115/70/246
·         125/76/249

This picture comes from Boards.uk

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.

Good winds


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Severne Sails and Zulu Fins - news


I want to say a bit about Karo van Tonder, one of Joos’s daughters who recently became a Severne ambassador.  Karo is an uber-woman with astonishing levels of fitness, massive enthusiasm for the sport and high levels of skill. 

In other words a perfect choice to promote things windsurfing.

Her infectious positivity is going to benefit all the brands associated with her so congratulations to Karo and kudos to Severne and Raffaello (our new Severne agent) for selecting her.  

I notice that Robbie from Zulu Fins has also dropped some fins off with her.  Well done all round.
Robbie, Raffi and Karo

If you visit the area from abroad and are interested in the Severne range, or in Zulu fins, please give Karo a shout when you arrive.
The guys dropped off the new sails last week and have allocated her 3 Reflex 7’s  (5.4, 6.2 and 7.0) and 2 feather-light Blade Pro’s (4.2 and 4.7)  

I will try to get a ride on the 7.0 Reflex and will report back on the sail if we have reasonable slalom conditions.  I will click the rig onto my Falcon 113/Zulu 40cm.  The new Reflexes are awesome in the flesh and Karo can’t stop raving about them.  I am really looking forward to a ride.

Karo flying the 6.2 Reflex7

I will speak to you soon, hopefully with some impressions.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Two Nice Videos of Sailing in our Lagoon


Here are the two videos I spoke of in the previous post. Both of them are too large to be included on the face of this post but please click on the links.

The first link is from Fanatic’s website and contains some good footage of sailing on our lagoon.


The stills on this post are all from this video.
The first minutes of the video contain orientation footage of the area. The herd of eland picked up by the drone is nice for me because we often bump into this group when  cycling through the park in winter.

Miriam is shown rigging up at Kraal Bay - a Viking woman in our lagoon – very cool. When I saw Miriam on our main beach during the racing I did not recognize her at first because in my mind I had her on Challenger sails/NoveNove boards. She has changed her sponsors to Loft/Angulo of course.

Anyway here are some notable sections of the video:

  • At around minute 2:10 Danny looks round and alters course slightly to join up with Vincent (Pt-7). From around 2:23 we can compare the behavior of the Warp vs the AC-1 as they both speed towards the drone. The Warp’s behavior is quite simple – flexing slightly in the gusts. The AC-1 seems alive somehow, exhausting and recovering rapidly and constantly. This lightning response probably accounts for the stability people find with this sail particularly in strong winds.

  • At around 3:30 you see Craig speeding in. Look carefully and you notice his left ear strapped with duct tape. About two weeks previously he wiped out badly on one of our stormy days and crashed so violently that he burst an ear drum. Duct tape, the windsurfer’s friend, fixes all things!

  • From around 4:05 Miriam is captured entering her gybe which she goes on to sabotage by bending her arms and leaning backwards instead of forwards. These are such common gybing problems that I thought I should highlight them for you.

The second video is of one of the races. It was posted by a hydrofoiling site called FoilEver.


The coverage is pretty good but for me positioning the drone directly behind and above the field is not ideal. With side-on footage (looking down) we would have been able to identify individual racers, compare stances, equipment behavior, passing tactics etc. Anyway, quite a nice bit of racing.

Note at the end of the video, how far ahead Vincent is from the rest.  He absolutely dominated most of the races, and then went on to win the downwind dash that weekend.  The foiler right alongside him reminds us how far this side of kiting has progressed.

Good winds