Paddling the Mistral Vortex and Equinox
So this week we've been paddling the Equinox and Vortex 23.5" and here's some info on what we think.
Being designed and tested in the UK by a highly respected shaper and paddlers (aka Chris ‘Bro’ Diplock, Steve West and Ryan James) these boards were always going to be great pieces of kit. Multiple prototypes have been created with Ryan testing and feeding back to Diplock to make tweaks to the shapes.They didn’t start to create an average board, they wanted to build something special and with the backing of a brand like Mistral who are pioneers in watersports, the relationship was always going to create something special.
The Equinox and Vortex are race and distance specific, you aren’t going to go fishing off these boards (well you could but you get my drift right?!). They have been designed for speed, glide and maximum efficiency in the water.
With a preference for ocean paddling, the Equinox is the board I was most keen on trying. I’m 100kgs and have been skeptical about the width being just under 25” as this wouldn’t be a board width I would usually consider. The first few strokes were a tad wobbly but after paddling a few hundred meters I found a good standing position and the wobbles were gone. The sea was pretty smooth with a light groundswell. The torpedo shape nose has been designed to punch through surf and be efficient upwind while extremely efficient downwind. Buoy turns took a few goes to find the right balance point and after a few dunks in the water I had it turning round the buoy with ease. Overall it felt great and I can’t wait to get back on it, especially in some downwind conditions. Caught a couple of waves too and it surfs a treat and cuts back surprisingly well. The weight of the Equinox is 10.5kgs which is a fantastic weight.
Now for the Vortex. The version we have is 23.5” and is the board that Steeve Teihotaata won the 11 Cities race on last year. Just looking at this board made me feel unsteady but I paddled it without falling in and it actually felt good considering my build. I love this board so much, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the width is right for my build but I paddled it well which is a good indication that it's not that scary. Need to mention that this board is a prototype and the production 23.5” Vortex has different volume placement and is expected to be more stable and I can’t wait to try it. When you paddle the Vortex you can tell it has been designed very very well. Once you get the right foot placement the water flows over the nose very smoothly. We’ll have a production demo soon in the 23.5” and 26”. The 26” could be a very popular board but I think many people will be surprised how stable the 23.5” is.
The boards were also used this week by an intermediate racer who is looking to get a new board for the up and coming 2016 season. The paddlers weight is 87kgs so as expected he found the Equinox extremely stable (even more stable than his current 14’ x 27” board). He found the Vortex a little tippy but it paddled so well well and cut through the water effortlessly. It was encouraging to hear him talk about these boards and hear the excitement of finding something fresh and new.
The key to these boards is to try them if can. Don’t be put off by the widths and keep in mind that these boards have been well designed by people who know their sh@t!