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With their experience in windsurfing, Mistral have decided to apply their knowledge and expertise to the wing market by offering a range aimed at the intermediate rider looking to progress their skills further. With the development of performance wings utilizing high performance materials, Mistral have released the Skywave wing as a high-performance wing to complement the existing Sphinx model. We tested both the 3.5m and the 5m in combination with the Mistral Skywave 75L wing board and Sultan foil.
The Skywave wing utilizes Ho'okipa fabric – an Ultra PE fabric produced by Challenge Sailcloth – instead of Dacron in the leading edge and struts to give the wing a stiffer structure whilst also being able to reduce the diameter of the leading edge. These design changes not only save weight but also create a much more durable wing as Ho’okipa is much more resistant to abrasion than conventional Dacron. Another striking feature about the Skywave is the use of radial panels instead of the more conventional panel layouts seen on most wings. Inspired by spinnaker sails, the radial cut layout aims to reduce torsional loads on the wing creating a more uniform tension in the canopy from the trailing edge to the leading edge. In line with the market trend and the seeming increase in demand for hard handles, the Skywave has two large rigid handles. These are generously sized and well placed. Despite being slightly larger in diameter, the soft rubber coating made them quite comfortable without fatiguing the forearms. The wing also comes with a comfortable wrist leash, well sized bag, and the bag for the repair kit also doubles as a sandbag which is a well thought out touch for when you need to leave your wing on the beach.
As with most performance wings these days, the Skywave is inflated using a dual inflate to ensure optimal pressure in both strut and leading edge. On the beach feeling the power of the wing, you notice how direct it feels. This is both due to the rigid handles as well as the Ho’okipa material and translates to how the wing pumps on the water. In lighter winds (11 knots, gusting 14) we were able to pump up onto foil with the 5m, despite the Sultan foil being 1100cm2 and the 75L being 4’11, with each pump leading to a direct acceleration of the board.
On foil the wing is stable with a positive, even pressure in both arms. Both the 3.5m and the 5m are powerful wings and definitely feel at least half a size bigger. Their stiffness and directness make them great wings for boosting high and riding fast thanks to the reduced diameter leading edge which gives the wing less drag. This also means you can take harder upwind angles with the wing, giving a very confidence-inspiring locked-in and controlled feel. The stability translates when free-winging, with the wing having no tendency to want to flip on you whilst wave riding but can make the 5m a bit harder to throw around with more complicated maneuvers. This wasn’t something we experienced as much on the 3.5m however, and is also something that is symptomatic of larger wings.
The Skywave is a powerful, balanced wing perfect for the winger who is looking to push into the realms of riding fast and boosting high. It also lends itself well to course racing, a growing discipline thanks to its upwind ability and ease of pumping onto foil.