The Mistral Adventure paddle board is a mid-priced board that sits in the middle of Mistral's inflatable range. This beginner-friendly board is a great all-rounder and is perfect for river exploration and coastline navigation alike. We reviewed it to see if it's fit to sit amongst the best beginners' paddle boards, or today's best inflatable paddle boards.
Stand up paddle boards have become an increasingly popular way to take to our waterways, explore our coastline or catch waves, but often being in excess of 10-foot, the hard-bodied versions can be a pain to store and transport. Handily, inflatable boards get around this issue by packing down to the size of a large rucksack making them much more user-friendly.
You can pick a basic inflatable SUP from your local supermarket for a couple of hundred pounds, or a top of the range model will cost you almost a grand. We've tested a board from the budget end of the scale (the M.Y. PointBreak paddle board) as well as one from the upper echelons (the Red Paddle Co Ride MSL). The Mistral Adventure paddle board sits in the middle of the market – but does it deliver on performance compared to those super-budget options? Read on for our full Mistral Adventure paddle board review.
- Add one of the best dry bags to keep your valuables safe
- Stay warm in winter in one of the best wetsuits
- Don a pair of the best water shoes, designed for amphibious adventuring
Mistral 11'5 Adventure Paddle Board review: construction and board accessories
Mistral Adventure: specs
Size (LxWxD): 350cm (11'5") x 78cm x 15cm
Board weight: 9.2kg
Total weight: 14.12kg
Bag size: 90 x 50 x 30cm
Paddle: Two-piece, aluminium
The Mistral 11'5" Adventure gives you everything you need to get set-up and out on the water. As well as the board itself, you get a two-piece aluminium paddle, track-type pump, removable fin, puncture repair kit and a coiled leash. The board itself has a section for cargo with bungee cords near its nose and rings on the underside, at the nose and tail, for tying off the board if required. A carry handle is situated in the middle of the deck which makes it easy to transport the board while inflated.
The Adventure's body uses a single skin made from Mistral's Fusion Layer Technology which helps to make it lighter than double-skinned paddle boards. A surface layer of PVC fabric is combined with reinforced polyester and an inner core of fabric. Interconnecting polyester strands run between the upper and lower faces of the board to maintain the correct board shape and add extra rigidity.
Mistral 11'5 Adventure Paddle Board review: portability and setup
Everything you need to set-up the paddle board and take to the water can be carried in the Adventure's large bag. At 90L x 50W x 30D (cm) it's a pretty bulky item though and at 14.12kg, it's pretty hefty too. Fortunately, you can pull the bag along its in-built wheels if taking it on holiday. For transport to the water's edge, pull-out shoulder straps enable you to wear it like a backpack – though it's not the most comfortable as the plastic base digs into your buttocks/lower back. On the whole, the bag is well made and has plenty of room for the board and accessories, however, a handle tore off our test sample when lifting the laden bag up to carry on our back and the diagonal zip can be a pain to close.
Setting up the board takes five minutes or so, which is mostly spent pumping. The single-chambered, plastic -bodied Mistral pump is nothing like the quality of the one found on the Red Paddle Co MSL which is disappointing of a board of this price. A fair bit of effort is required to get the board up to the required 20psi pressure and we had to guess the pressure by hand when the pressure gauge on our pump broke during its first run out.
Once the board is at the required pressure, you'll need to flip it over to fit the single 8” fin. It attaches to the Adventure via a longboard surfboard style system in which the fin slots into the bottom of the board then gets bolted into place. It's pretty straightforward, though it can be a bit of a fiddly process, particularly if sand or debris gets into the slot.
The two parts of the aluminium paddle slide into one another and click in place. The length of the paddle can be adjusted to best suit your height – which is handily marked on the inner section, though disappointingly the height markings soon rubbed off after a few sessions on the board.
Mistral 11'5 Adventure Paddle Board review: performance
When fully inflated, the Adventure is impressively rigid and there's very little give when standing on the deck. The rear two-thirds or so of the deck has a compressed EVA foam layer which gives additional grip and comfort whether you're standing or knee paddling. After several hours of being inflated and plenty of time in use on the water, we didn't notice any loss of air pressure in the board.
We tested the Adventure in calm estuarial waters and at beach settings in breaking waves. On flat water, the board glides across the surface extremely well and despite a slightly pulled in tail for extra manoeuvrability, its super stiff body helps to keep things stable. Paddling out through breaking waves is a lot more challenging, but with its long, rigid-feeling body the Adventure fared better than we expected. Once away from the shorebreak, the board paddled nicely over unbroken waves and remained well balanced despite the rise and fall of passing lines of swell. Inflatable SUPs are not the ideal craft for surfing with, but with practice, it's possible to catch small unbroken waves and ride them towards the shore. Anything much bigger than waist high is likely to pitch you over the front of the board, but it's great fun giving it a go. The board is big enough to handle carrying two people when one sits in front of the paddler.
Video by Donald NG
Mistral 11'5 Adventure Paddle Board review: verdict
The Mistral Adventure is built from quality materials and the board itself performs very well in a wide range of conditions. When properly inflated it's super rigid and stable, which helps make the board easy to paddle and manoeuvre.
With an RRP of €679 (£580), we'd expect better quality accessories – the pump is very similar to ones found on much cheaper paddle boards. We'd still highly recommend the Mistral Adventure though, as the board is a great piece of kit that's capable of taking you on all kinds of waterborne adventures.