The SUP scene is not a particular innovative one. This can be explained by the fact that all great SUP brands have emerged from the windsurfing scene. Taking this into consideration, it should therefore not come as a surprise that most SUP R&D derives from a windsurfing school of thought, using windsurfing shapers and know-how. The end result is a market place offering identical paddles and boards which only differ in nuances. Mistral goes one step further.
Ernstfried Prade, head of development and one of the three founders of Mistral: "We obviously had to acknowledge the fact that the sport of SUP encompasses two different scenes. On the one side the surf scene and on the other side the - until now woefully neglected - paddle canoe racing scene. Compared to the canoe racing scene, the SUP scene is still in its infant stages. Canoe racing has already established itself over the last 100 years and seen many innovations during this time. We now consistently want to merge the best of both worlds in our SUP products!”
The first step in doing so was taking on Markus Perrevoort as worldwide manager for Mistral SUP.
With a background in nearly all kinds of paddling sports – from canoe racing (in which he won many German league titles) to dragon boat to flatwater and SUP racing, Mistral SUP has enlisted a well decorated and truly respected athlete. Markus will bring his paddling experience to the table and work closely together with Ernstfried Prade and his R&D department to design and develop innovative SUP products from the ground for Mistral SUP.
Through his contacts in the kayaking scene, Markus was then able to enlist two-time white-water world champion Stephen Stiefenhöfer as a SUP Team Rider He is personal Trainer is not only one of the most successful paddlers in Germany, but also a certified trainer of Max Hoff whom currently is the fastest paddler in the world. He is a hot favorite for Olympic gold in the One kayak over 1000 and the toughest opponent of Max Hoff. Stephan will be a SUP design consult and share his kayaking knowledge and experience for the development of Mistral SUP hardware.
Markus Perrevoort: "As a Team Rider, Stephen is a fantastic figurehead for Mistral SUP. However, for Ernstfried and me he is even more valuable as a SUP consultant. His advise will massively contribute to the development of Mistral SUP hardware like our new flatwater race boards and the new paddle system, which means, in our opinion, a quantum leap in the SUP sport”.
Ernstfried Prade, "We will introduce a system of paddles to the market which offers a choice between two different shafts, three paddle blades in different sizes and three different handles. This will enable paddlers to construct their own paddle out of six individual componant options. Furthermore we offer a length-adjustable shaft – the ‘ Vario model’ - made of the highest quality carbon. Whether taking part in a contest whilst paddling a long distance race with a small blade or cruising with the middle blade or using the shaft with the large blade, the whole family can use the paddle because of the Vario properties! "
Markus Perrevoort adds: "most sensational is the ' bent' bow shaft. We took the concept by integrating canoe racing and stand up paddling to the limit".
1) Unlike the paddles currently available on the market, the 'bend' in the Mistral shaft allows for a total and perfect grip for all five fingers holding the shaft.
2) The bow shaft provides more efficient paddling due to the fact that the blade of the paddle touches the water closer to the nose of the board.
3) Thanks to the 'bent ' in the bow, the upper hand pressure of the paddler is reduced, allowing the paddler to develop more pressure and ensuring that the body to weight ratio of the paddler is closer to the board.
But that's just the beginning; during the european largest SUP fair in the SUP world - the Sup Expo in Nürnberg this coming September – Mistral will unveil their latest sensational innovations. It looks like Mistral’s historic & legendary status in windsurfing will spectecularly change the face of SUP in the future.