Pics: James Jagger
Moving on from our test of Mistral’s Quikslide freeride board range we now shine the spotlight on the brand’s accompanying range of three freeride sails – the Zonda line. Coming as a 5.4m, 6.5m and 7.8m there’s a size for most wind types. Or another way to look at it is: a complete quiver for the modern freeride windsurfer.
Firstly you’ll notice the lightweight nature of each Zonda size. Even the biggest 7.8m doesn’t have excessive weight – particularly welcome when you get above 6m regardless of which brand you’re considering. Rigging is swift and easy with all three sails.
They’re not especially sensitive to tuning, although there’s a decent amount of range you can irk out. That said, for the splash ‘n’ dash rider who doesn’t have time to faff, simply sheath, downhaul, outhaul and go. In nearly every scenario this’ll see you right once afloat. For those that do like to tinker then we’d suggest keeping the leach fairly tight will yield best results. Using the Zonda’s outhaul is the best course of action if you need to flatten or make the sail fuller.
On the water and all three sails display the same handling traits. Obviously, swing weight increases as you go up in size. But for the most part the 5.3m, 6.5m and 7.8m are towards the softer end of the feeling scale. They won’t bend riders out of shape and absorb the strongest of gusts, transferring energies into efficient forwards momentum. Using some sails does take its toll on rider bodies whereas the Zonda range won’t causing ache and strains for days after your session.
This forgiving nature is also noticeable through moves and maneuvers. Jumping, for instance, where flat landings may be common, are brushed off by Mistral’s Zonda sails, as they react accordingly. Round corners sailors will feel a positive pull; the sails allowing riders to develop confidence and trust. They’re therefore a good choice for anybody looking to stomp gybes and moves like downwind 360s for the first time – or develop consistency. They’re great to pump as well. Reacting instantly when effort’s put in, even with marginal winds in effect, will generate speed to get your board planing.
Forgiving in nature each of Mistral’s Zonda freeride sails does its intended job efficiently. Powering up progressively they’re pumpable and dependable. Harsh conditions are brushed off yet they have enough bottom end to unstuck stubborn boards when needed. Through the top end all three Zonda sails remain composed and balanced allowing riders to focus on the task in hand. If you’re looking to nail your first gybes then choosing a Zonda (or possibly all three) would be a good course to follow. Driving through turns in a positive yet forgiving fashion will lead to success on this front. Lightweight and striking colourways top off a likeable quiver of windsurfing tools.
5.4m (complete rig package) – £1249
6.5m (complete rig package) – £1279
7.8m (complete rig package) – £1299