The BOARDS Team first tested a Mistral Screamer in 1989, and it has bagged innumerable test wins since then. The shape has changed completely in those 20 years, but the essential billing is the same: fast, fun and lively! This is the smallest of the three-board range, which is available in two different constructions.

Design: The longest board on test at 252cm but also the shortest planing flat, with its 2cm point at 145cm. It has a small amount of tail rocker (2mm) and not very much vee. It has a smaller tail width than the other freeride on test, and a much smaller nose width, giving it a much thinner and more elongated look on the beach.

On the water: With the narrower tail and relatively curved rocker profile it didn’t plane quite as early as other boards on test but once up and going it really got your attention, instantly feeling so lively and exciting that it more than made up for the slight lack of early planing. It has an excellent top speed and manages to hold its ground easily against boards that are marketed as being much quicker. It feels much smaller underfoot than other boards on test and also a lot looser, giving it more scope in both stronger winds and bump-&-jump conditions, and making it extremely forgiving in the gybes and easy to sail.

Fittings: The 35cm G10 Powerbox fin seemed very good with a nice amount of twist. It included the Mistral screwdriverless fin bolt system, which is perfect for those of us that forget to take our tools to the beach. There are a variety of strap positions for advanced and expert riding. The straps were very comfortable, as were the pads. The deck features ridges between the straps, which are apparently for comfort and rigidity, and don’t really impinge on your riding experience.

Overall: The Screamer was a really fun board to sail that will appeal to many. Although it didn’t plane quite as early as the other freeride board on test, it was quick in a straight line and could carve much tighter turns. The board felt exciting and more lively than its competition. We would recommend it to advanced sailors looking for a fast and fun freeride for use in flat water or swell, and to good intermediates looking for a board that will be challenging to start off with but more enjoyable in the long term.