Of Mistral’s two freeride boards the Screamer is the more targeted towards both performance in moderate winds and ease for intermediate sailors. It has undergone considerable design changes since last year with a considerable reduction in width in relation to volume. Type: All-round intermediate freeride.
On the water:
The Screamer is quite unusual to look at. It is long by today’s standards at 254cm, and the tail is very high in volume (thick). Both these traits will help the early intermediate sailor. The high volume tail helps sailors get back into the straps without immediately sinking the tail and rounding up into wind, while the length allows easier tracking, particularly in non or semi-planing situations. Being the slightly heavier budget version of the Screamer, there was a slight lag in acceleration compared to most other boards. Nevertheless, it is still an easy board to get planing and will easily take very large sails (happily up to 8.0m) for good moderate wind suitability. The deck shape with a special angle on the rail makes for a very comfortable riding position and although it doesn’t feel fast, it actually proved in comparative testing to be one of the quickest on test. This performance angle was rather unexpected but is certainly welcome! Due to the high volume tail and extra length, the ride feels a bit more ‘remote’, without quite the immediacy of engagement of the more manoeuvrable boards. This is noticeable both in the ease and control when blasting at speed and in response when gybing. However, the large tail does allow plenty of time and float for practising carve gybers.
Fittings: The straps are excellent, the deck shape good and the pads fine, though thin. The fin suits the board pretty well.
With its length and high volume tail the Screamer is principally a board for early intermediates, which came through clearly to all our testers and guesters. It is a good weight supporter and a very sensible board to use for getting to grips with harness and footstrap technique, and progressing on from there. Although there are a lot of other boards that are a bit more fun and exciting for burn-&-turn it still ticks all the boxes for enjoyable freeriding. It should be particularly relevant to inland sailors where its nonplaning and sail carrying attributes will be much appreciated, as will its straight line speed. Those wanting a bit of extra spirit and acceleration should consider the lighter Red Dot.