Yes, I know, I have to post the 2nd part of last summer’s session, but I still miss the photos my friend Giorgos took ages ago…
In the meantime, according to various declarations, some of which even indicated last summer as the launching time, I expect 2016 to be quite interesting.
So first we have to see what the delayed HTS summer 2015 new line has to present. If the boards are shaped again by Marco Copello – like the previous Triton slalom race & Proteus slalom free, there is no doubt they will be sensational. Let’s not forget that Copello still works on the flexible tail (Bioflex) concept, while in 2009 he shaped the 3D Flex Tail Freeride boards of HTS (see the video).
We have to wait a bit to see what the brand is up-to windsurfing wise, because so far they have only revealed some SUPs.
Mistral is a brand with a heavy pedigree, having built early its reputation on the shaping skills of Rick Naish and the unparalleled sailing of his son – the one and only Robby. Having gone through hard times, the famous brand fights back to the high levels of the sport, with Anders Bringdal* at the helm, Neil Scheltema as the main shaper, assisted by a great team consisting of Chris Diplock, Steve West and David Rigaud. Mistral has been experimenting with the variable rocker concept since the late ’80’s, with the production of the Challenger Flex board, but now we have the evolution of the concept applied on a modern board, flexing both vertically & longitudinally (OK Capello had managed this earlier), plus the amount of the flex is adjustable.
Four FreeSpeed VRTS boards are already being produced (visit the Mistral site & watch the video)
95 Liters 58 x 240 cm
105 ” 64 x 243 ”
115 ” 70 x 246 ”
125 ” 76 x 249 “
3 FreeWave VRTS board sizes will soon follow.
Here are the features presentation of the innovation:
Extended Planing Time, Improved Ride and Smoothness
Under full-power, tail-walking is all but eliminated. The trim-plate flexes (tensions) and releases (relaxes) pressure build up, encouraging extended planing time due to improved consistency of the laminar flow of water. Gybing smoothness and therefore speed, is greatly improved. Over choppy waters, it comes into its own, making for a much smoother cushioned ride, improving control, flat-line speed and of course, rider enjoyment.
Reduced Cavitation Issues
Ventilation is lessened and therefore cavitation, being as the flex-plate extends beyond the fin-box and the end of the board, inhibiting air suction downward from the surface.
Tensioning and Winding Off the Tensioning Screw
Winding off the screw in lighter winds, will permit the flex-tail to compress and spring back to shape over a great range of travel, acting as a shock-absorber, while also reducing the wetted-surface area, without fear of loss of control.
As wind strengths increase, tensioning of the screw downward, to either be in contact or just off from the plate, helps negate increased pitch (angle) of the hull as the board rolls-back onto the tail as the nose rises with increasing speeds, increased foot-pressure and lift generated through force acting on the sail. As the plate flexes, it will meet the screw and its travel will be stopped. Tensioning the screw therefore, lessens the rocker line almost to neutral if you wish, encouraging early planing times and reduces incidents of stalling, so as the angle of attack remains optimum.
Conversely, should you feel you’re being over-powered by too large a fin, you can wind-off the adjuster, so that it effectively de-powers or de-tunes the tail, so as to increase the boards angle of attack, soften the ride, increase control and give you the sensation, you are travelling using a smaller fin. You could perhaps think of it as Sports-Mode in a car or perhaps as Traction Control – where you have the ability by increments, to switch it on or off, resulting in varying degrees of looseness or stiffness, all with the turn of a screw.
The more flex you permit (angle of travel) of the flex-plate, the looser the board will become and vice-versa. It will also act to cushion the board over choppy waters.
I’m anxious to test ride one. It should be a hit.
- *February 11: I was just informed by Konrad through Mistral FB page, that Anders has left the company…
T1 – Thommen
A different path decided to follow Peter Thommen. After a short-lived production of the carbon T1 version 6 range of boards, he decided to concentrate on custom & semi custom boards of new shapes. Check the updated site.