Pics: Foilshop UK, Steve West
17 wing foil wings, 86 hydrofoil combos and 27 different foil boards… That’s how much kit I’ve had the privilege of testing/demoing to date. And that’s just within the realms of wing foiling, SUP foiling, windfoiling, eFoiling and foil surfing. (If you take stand up paddle boarding then that’s in excess of 2000 products! Add windsurfing kit and kayaks and you’ll appreciate that’s a load of gear).
As part of my role with SUP Mag UK and Windsurfing UK I test kit for review write ups that appear in each issue. Over the years my reputation of understanding equipment and being able to communicate findings has stood me in good stead. So much so that many different brands have approached me for R&D feedback, for both prototype gear and already marketed products. I feel very honoured to be in this position and can’t thank the brand’s enough for this opportunity. I should add that another reason I get asked for opinion is because I approach watersports equipment testing from a real world rider point of view, rather than pro level (which I’m most definitely not). That makes my opinion (hopefully) applicable to end user – you!
Of late I’ve been working with Mistral and Steve West on the brand’s new foray into foiling – wing foiling being the focus but with windfoiling and SUP foiling also in the mix.
Steve’s in depth design understanding and wealth of watersports knowledge in general, plus my on water foiling experience, has proved a good match. We’re able to bounce ideas back and forth in an informal manner with insights and lightbulb moments springing up accordingly.
Mistral, as any long term windsurfer will be aware, have an extensive history in watersports. Their rosta of windsurfing royalty gracing their books and using their products is well documented – the one and only Robby Naish being one such case in point. Recently stand up paddle boarding has seen more focus, with again, Mistral enjoying considerable SUP racing success in events such as 11 Cities.
But the future beckons and Mistral contacted me about foil gear testing and providing R&D feedback for their new Air Force range of equipment being launched very soon.
It’s been an insightful process seeing from third party perspective how a large lifestyle brand goes about bringing new kit to market. On a personal level it’s just been fun taking new waterports ‘toys’ for a spin.
At time of writing Mistral’s Air Force wing foil, windfoil and SUP line is nearing completion with a few fine details to be sorted. As spring 2021 rolls round proper you can be sure Mistral Air Force foil gear will be showing up on beaches near you – especially as the brand just signed an exclusive equipment distribution deal with Yorkshire based Zyrofisher.
Watch this space for more on Mistral Air Force foiling kit as it develops…
Check out more from Mistral here – https://www.mistral.com/
And also keep up to date with Foilshop UK happenings via the Foiling Knowledge page here –