It helps when the 2007 Freestyle World Champion develops your Freestyle board and that’s exactly what Marcilio Browne did for Mistral with their Joker RD range.
The Joker RD is available in two sizes; 99 and 109 litres and only in Mistral's lightest RD construction. This test looks at the 99 litre model.
"The name says it all – freestyle tricks are as easy as cracking jokes. Whatever you ask for, these boards will deliver. The redesigned cutting-edge rails in combination with a new bottom shape give the board the easiest ‘pop' ever, while the spock tail gives you effortless slide and glide through even the most sophisticated spinning moves." – Mistral website
The Mistral achieved a GOLD Quality rating with the following scores:
Mistral have really picked up their game over the past couple of years and the Joker RD is a quality product. The standard fin is very good, the straps are great and an extra point is scored for offering a double screw attachment for all three straps.
The only minor niggle is with the deck pads which although very grippy, just felt a bit too hard under the heel of your back foot when blasting in a straight line.
Both the Mistral and Starboard felt noticeably smaller on the water than any of the other boards. To some extent this is reflected in the measurements with Mistral being the shortest board in test at 230cm long.
It's also one of the narrowest boards at 63.5 wide and with a tail width of 41cm (measured 30cm from the tail). Board weight is good at 5.94 kg making it the 3rd lightest in test.
It becomes clear pretty quickly that the Mistral is a proper freestyle board and bang up to date with its design. With the new format of the PWA, Freestyle has moved away from the big tanks of the past that offer great stability on flat water, to make way for more nimble designs like the Joker RD aimed at faster more powerful moves.
With this in mind, you can see why the Mistral scores well for basic freestyle (jointly with Fanatic, Starboard and Goya) but doesn’t quite match the big, stable RRD.
If you are competent at spocks, flakas and grubbys, you will love the Mistral. If you are in the learning stages, you may find the Mistral a little fast and frisky. It does however have an incredibly good slide that just seems to keep slipping backwards for ever!
Ponches, burners, shakas, switch stance and double moves are what this Mistral is all about. There is no freestyle board in this group that can match the Mistral for advanced freestyling.
It has great speed, slides better than anything else and makes your moves look fast and powerful. It’s hard to find fault with the Mistral for big freestyle moves.
The Joker is a great carving board. It certainly helps that it feels smaller than the other boards but that aside it really does carve well – even good enough for the occasional wave riding on small waves if you feel the need!
For burning around on chop and popping forwards etc, the Mistral is great. It is short, compact and nimble underfoot with a good turn of speed.
However, there are some problems. The deck is very flat and with a relatively hard heel bumper under your back foot, it's not nice covering distance at speed. It also lacks control when overpowered. Whilst other boards in the group stay locked down, the Mistral gets quite frisky and top speed is limited by the lack of control rather than the board's actual top end.
None of this is a problem if you burn from one trick to another but if you are more keen on blasting longer distances, you might not be so happy.
As has been stated above, the Mistral is certainly not a ‘freestyle tank’. It feels modern and lively underfoot. It feels like a board that you could win World titles on (if only you had the skills)!
The Joker feels small. Largely because it is small compared to most of the other boards in the group with a nose that is most noticeably shorter than anything else.
With regard to comfort, there is no disguising the fact that the deck is very flat and the pads not as cushioned as other boards.
If you are buying this board, you are probably well into your new school freestyle. In which case you will already have a small fin to put in the board. The standard fin is surprisingly ok (despite its size) but realistically this board needs something smaller for its intended purpose.
Mistral claim a sail size of 6.4m and below for this board. Our Clones sailed it with 6.1m and whilst ok, they wouldn’t want to go much bigger.
For sailors of around 75-80kg, 4.7-5.7m is probably the ideal sail range. It coped ok with a 4.7m and could go a little smaller but control in chop is the limiting factor.
The Mistral Joker RD is the ultimate new school freestyle board for advanced riders. It copes ok with lesser mortals on board but you always get the impression the board is waiting for you to push it harder. If you are up to the challenge, you will love the Joker!
A 20cm (or smaller) fin for new school freestyle.