Mistral Syncro 114 (RD) (above):

The Syncro name is now the domain of three freemove models, spanning 104-124L. Also available in standard sandwich construction, the 114 is tested here in the more expensive carbon RD outfit, and the first thing you notice about it when you pick it up is how light it is for its size. Fittings are as for the Screamer, and indeed there are many other similarities; they’re very similar in volume and have a similar underwater section, featuring increasing vee in the nose and tail and a bevel in the mid-section.

The difference, of course, is in the width; 3cm is enough to make these boards chalk and cheese, and it’s easy to determine which is right for you according to your sailing style and the conditions you’re likely to use the board in. If you want a light wind machine opt for the wider Screamer; if you want a top end blasting thoroughbred you won’t go far wrong with the Syncro. They have tried to give it light wind performance too by supplying it with a large and chunky fin that does indeed give plenty of lift. However, the tail is significantly narrower in comparison to the Screamer, and just doesn’t seem to release as much. The board needs that little bit more power to get going, and it’s when it’s partnered with an efficient sail and taken into properly powered conditions that you begin to realise the 114’s niche and potential. The most endearing aspect for the experienced rider is that it just keeps accelerating – the more power you put into it, the more fun it becomes. It has a sporty but safe feel – you could confidently take it into any arena and know you’re going to have a fun sail, safe in the knowledge you can throttle back if things get a little hairy. It also looks and feels the part, thanks to its elongated nose shape sitting low to the water at all times as you lock out into your best power stance.

Downwind it’s blisteringly fast and exciting, helped in part by the shoulders looking as if they are going to catch at any moment, yet they don’t, even going over the back of large rolling swell. In the gybe, because of the speed it holds you need to enter with commitment, but the rewards are relatively easy to attain as it grips well and provides the reassurance that it won’t bounce out. Carve harder and harder and the bevel in the board’s mid-section really holds it into the turn.

+Exhilarating to sail, yet the performance is relatively easy to unleash.

+Excellent coastal blasting board.

-Marginal wind performance is ordinary.

The Syncro is one of our favourites in this category for powered high wind coastal blasting, ideal for experienced riders who would rather retain some comfort instead of continually scaring themselves on a slalom bullet.