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Mistral Synchro RD 104 (2008)

15:59 28th April 2010 by Ed Davis
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A bit of background is necessary here, as many readers will have preconceptions as to what Mistral Syncros are about. This season Mistral have chosen to keep the Syncro name but change things around. There are still two types of Syncro (the Syncro and Syncro Style) but the equivalent of the old Syncro Fish are now just called Wave Fish. The smaller two of the current Syncros (84 and 94) are now called Style and are ‘freestyle-wave’ boards (or wave-biassed all-rounders) with quite substantial rocker keeping them similar in type to the Syncros of old. The three bigger sizes of Syncro (124, 114 and 104 tested here) seem materially different from any Syncro that has preceded them. Instead of being relatively slow and extremely wave / control biassed they have now been transformed into the fastest of the current crop with much narrower profiles and faster rockers.

On the water:

The 104 feels – and is – longer, narrower and flatter rockered than most of the competition. It planes up nicely early, with minimal requirements of effort or technique, accelerates very quickly and ends up going clearly a bit faster than any other board on test. The speed feels exciting yet not taxing. The stance is comfortable and the board is easy through the chop and controllable at speed. It feels one of the more directional boards, enjoying the mission of fast, purposeful blasting rather than feeling loose and looking to turn. However, it loves to gybe and the relatively thin, narrow tail cuts a very clean line in the turn allowing the board to be pushed very hard and fast, carrying excellent speed both in and out. It’s not just some sort of slalom board though, it also jumps quite nicely and feels light and flicky through freestyle moves with enough width in the nose to provide sufficient slide. It’s a little too flat in the nose, fast and stiff in feel to match the better wave crossover boards, yet it is still fully adaptable to coastal sailing and quite agile and very secure in the turn

Fittings:

Excellent connection to the board with good straps and doming, and the G10 fin suits the board well. The Mistral pads are still a fraction harder than average.

Sail sizes:

We can’t agree with Mistral’s recommendation of 4.5-6.2m for this board – it will easily carry and fully exploit up to 7.0m for blasting and feels right at home with 6.5m. However, we wouldn’t recommend using it with smaller than 5.2 unless you have no smaller board or nice flat water.

Popularity:

One of the most enjoyed boards in the test.

Overall:

This is a complete ‘about turn’ for the Syncro, which has gone – at a stroke – from perhaps the most manoeuvrable to the fastest freemove. We always liked the previous incarnation and we love this one too, but they couldn’t be more different! The 104 rediscovers the best of the slightly narrower, longer profile, delivering thoroughly enjoyable freeride performance with really easy but exciting speed and excellent gybing. It’s a board that will appeal to everybody but should be loved by advancing intermediates since it plays to the strengths of the burn-&-turn majority, even though it can offer more in terms of freestyle and bump-&-jump to advanced sailors.

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