This year we had our first hands-on experience with Mistral’s inflatable SUP line. Well-known for decades as a leader in windsurfing, the Mistral line originated in northwest US, but is now based out of Europe. Most recently, Mistral has forayed back into the US market, bringing their expanding inflatable SUP line.
This winter, Mistral introduced the Crossover and Equipe inflatable SUP line to the US, remarkable for its weight – or should we should say – lack of. Manufactured in Romania, the new SUPs from Mistral utilize a futuristic German material that is REACH-certified and environmentally-friendly, combining light weight with extreme stiffness. In fact, the Crossover line (shown above) starts at 16 lbs, reaching a high of 18 lbs with the 12-5 Equipe.
We first wrote up the Mistral Kailua inflatable paddle board , part of their standard line and an 11-5 foot SUP touted as a fitness board, but also a great all-round paddle board and sit-on-top. This was followed by the Mistral Adventure 11-5 inflatable SUP.
Now we check out the Mistral Equipe 12-5 inflatable paddle board, weighing in at a minimalist 18 lbs. (Please note: some of the info will be repeated from prior writeups.)
Mistral Equipe 12-5 Inflatable WindSUP – Getting Started
The board as-arrived is 33 x 17 x 13 inches in the box, which weighs 27.8 lbs.
Inside is the Equipe 12-5 body, backpack, repair kit with Gorilla glue, single action Bravo pump with pressure gauge, a removable fin, valve wrench and instructions. Once rolled up, the SUP board fits into the backpack, as well as breakdown paddles under 36 in length; the pump fits in the large front pocket or the bag. The board itself weighs 17.2 lbs, or 24.2 lbs inside the backpack with pump and other accessories – these all easily fit in the back of a small car.
For your first set up, remove the SUP body from the backpack, and unroll. Lay it out face up so that you can access the military valve.
The Equipe 12-5 utilizes one spring-loaded military valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Not to worry, the instructions are printed on the valve. But before you make the effort to inflate the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.
The Equipe paddle board system includes a Bravo high-pressure, single-action pump with a gauge – what we term the “wide barrel” as it pushes out a bit more air, though takes a little more effort to attain very high pressures.
First, screw the gauge onto the pump. (AirKayaks Tip #1: Make sure you screw the gauge on carefully – I did manage to cross-thread it, and air started leaking out of the hose. If that happens, slowly loosen and retighten so that minimal air is lost.)
Next, attach the hose to the gauge. First attach the Boston valve adaptor to the hose (conical nozzle 1/2 inch in diameter) then take the military valve adaptor and friction fit it to the Boston valve adaptor. Carefully screw the military valve adaptor onto the valve to lock into position – push on the adaptor slightly to make sure it is friction fit. You’re ready to pump!
Initial pumping is a breeze. After 100 pumps, the board body had unfurled, but the gauge wasn’t registering. I pumped for about 150 strokes (2+ minutes) but the gauge still was not registering. At 184 pumps, the hose blew off the adaptor – I quickly pushed it back into position (firmly) with minimal air loss.
I continued, and at roughly 200 strokes, the gauge started to move but the pumping was getting tough and I switched to the half-pump technique. As the gauge begins reading at 8PSI, it was approximately 75 more pumps to reach 12 PSI, where I stopped. In fact, while the maximum pressure is 15 PSI, the recommended pressure is 10 PSI.
CAREFULLY twist off the adaptor while it is still seated in the Boston valve fitting – we learned the hard way that if you remove the Boston valve adaptor from the military valve adaptor, the air will swoosh out. Then replace the valve cap. (AirKayaks Tip #2 – if you don’t plan on using the pump for other “toys” then we suggest gluing the military valve adaptor onto the Boston valve adaptor.)
Next, install the fin. The Equipe 12-5 uses an AIR7 US Fin Box. With the fin pointing towards the stern, slide the back into the slot towards the rear, catching in the interior slot. Then remove the attached nut and plate. Reattach the nut to the plate, then use the nut to “guide” the plate into the interior slot. Remove the nut from the plate, and then use the nut to “nudge” the plate into position. Swing the front of the fin down, and screw the nut into the plate – pull up to make sure it is securely fastened.
That’s it, you’re done!
Mistral Equipe Construction
Manufactured in Romania, the Equipe 12-5 inflatable SUP from Mistral utilizes a futuristic German material that is REACH-certified and environmentally-friendly, combining light weight with extreme stiffness.
Mistral’s revolutionary internal construction technology consists of multi PVC layers with a three-dimensional woven structure; in simple terms, the top and bottom layers are connected by multiple threads that are cross-woven rather than straight, creating 50% more durable warp and weft tensile strength than existing drop stitch technology. The result is a much lighter, stiffer and durable board, which can be inflated to 15 PSI – though recommended pressure is 10 PSI.
Mistral Equipe iSUP Features and Specifications
The Equipe inflatable SUP is remarkably simple.
There is one military valve located in the bow, a tether d-ring on the underside, and one rear d-ring for an ankle leash – this is located 21 inches from the tail.
Front bungee deck lacing measuring 11 inches deep and 12 inches wide – is located about 36 inches from the snout, allowing the paddler to attach gear.
A textured traction pad begins 2 inches from the tail, and extends 88 to 100 inches with smooth cutout side panels.
A central, low profile cloth handle with bungee serves as a carrying handle and paddle holder; it is located 68 inches from the tail.
There is one tracking fin – a deep water tracking fin measures 10 inches deep by 6 inches wide.
The clamshell backpack is made from a rugged, commercial-grade material with one mesh side, top and side padded carrying handles, padded and adjustable shoulder straps and padded and adjustable waist band. The back of the bag is covered in a thick, padded, breathable mesh material with carrying handle, padded and adjustable shoulder straps with d-rings, and a padded, adjustable waist belt. The front of the bag features a 24-inch deep gusseted pocket 10 inches wide with zipper. Another clear zippering pocket measuring 10 x 8 inches is on that. The bag measurements are 36 inches tall, 17 inches wide and 10 inches deep. There are two integrated, interior cinch belts to keep the board in place when “packing.”
The Bravo “thick barrel” high-pressure, single-action pump measures 21 inches tall with a 4-inch diameter body and 9-inch base, a metal pump shaft, 48-inch hose with adaptor(s), and a pressure gauge. The gauge can measure from 8 to 22 PSI.
We did measurement tests. The Mistral Equipe inflatable SUP ran 12 feet 5 inches long inflated, 31 inches wide and 6 inches thick – almost spot-on with the specs.
Weight capacity is 290 lbs. person and gear.
Mistral Equipe 12-5 iSUP On the Water
I first need to point out that this board is light as a feather; in fact, I can carry it with one finger hooked into the strap as well as toss it over my head. How many people can do that with their 12.5 foot SUP? Despite the light weight, the material – and board – feels solid.
My first jaunt with the Equipe was a short ride on a calm day. It was stable and had a smooth glide. As the board is longer, turning is not as nimble as a shorter board – but not bad! I didn’t feel flexing underfoot.
The wind started kicking up slightly, and I moved into the wind. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Equipe handled very well in the slight chop, and I was balanced enough on the board that stability was not an issue. In fact, the Equipe seemed to thrive on mild chop, gliding through pretty evenly. I headed back in a slight downwind, and the board still handled well.
Mistral Equipe: Packing It Up
To deflate the board is pretty simple – push the plunger to the open (down) position and immediately the air will swoosh out. But, when drawing off the high pressure, you should do this slowly, so as not to “pop” or unseat the o-ring that completes the valve seal. So, slowly tap the valve to “bleed” off the high pressure several times for a few seconds, increasing the release time as you go.
Remove the tracking fin(s) and store it in the backpack.
Leaving the plunger in the deflate mode, move to the bow of the iSUP. Start rolling/folding up the board from the nose, top side up and fin-side down, with the bottom on the outside. As you roll it up, air will continuously be pushed out of the open valve.
When fully rolled up, replace the valve cover – the board will easily slip back into the backpack.
Mistral Equipe 12-5 iSUP – Bottom Line
The Mistral Equipe 12-5 iSUP is a really, really nice, touring board that just keeps growing on you – it paddles well, is speedy with a long, sleek waterline. The more I use it, the more intrigued I get. It’s good for all around flatwater, but also tackles some chop with aplomb as well as some downwind. It’s narrow enough that experienced paddle boarders can enjoy, yet stable enough that anyone – and all sizes – can jump on and have a great time.
And for those environmentally-conscious paddlers – it’s REACH certified. What does that mean? All components of the Mistral double-walled fabrics are compliant with European regulations on chemicals. REACH’s aim is to improve the protection of human health and the environment. Take the board out of the box for the first time, and notice the lack of smell; there’s minimal out-gassing and the materials feel good.
The Equipe is a great touring board for paddlers up to 290 lbs for person and gear. Its also a great choice for a family board – versatile enough for adults or kids. For those headed out for a few hours of paddling, the bungee deck lacing and d-rings provide ample space to attach extra gear.
And it’s actually pretty easy to pump up for its size.
My only beef is with the included pump – it could be a bit more rugged.
And saving the best for last, let’s not forget it’s highly portable. At 17.2 lbs, you can easily tuck it under your arm, in fact you’ll need to tie it down in a stiff wind. You can jump on this board and feel confident, yet it’s light enough to toss one-handed over your head, (think airplane storage compartments).
The included backpack is perfect to store in a closet, or stash in a car for spur of the moment fun. Traveling? Take your Equipe on a backpacking trek or on your next vacation or for a jaunt to a secluded beach.
Smaller people, or those wanting a bit more maneuverability may want to look at the Equipe 10-5, shown above, weighing in at a mere 16 lbs.
Street price on the Equipe 12-5 is $1475, while the smaller 10-5 Equipe is $1359. For more information or to purchase, see the Mistral Equipe 12-5 Product Page or the Mistral Equipe 10-5 Product Page at AirKayaks.com. Stay tuned, we have an upcoming YouTube video on the Equipe.