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15 years of evolution?

Posted by Paul 
15 years of evolution?
1 September '07 | 11:49am
I enjoyed your comparison article of the Screamers, though my conclusion would be that the two boards are really aimed at different uses. It underlines the current emphasis on board width as an indicator of performance rather than volume. Maybe this is a problem with Mistral's marketing. The new screamer is a lighter wind bigger sail carrier than the old one of the same volume - it would have been better to compare the old screamer with a lower volume similar width board - which most people would now use in the same wind/wave conditions. As well as the emphasis on early planing you should test the other end of the wind range - how controllable is it in the top end?

Re: 15 years of evolution?
1 September '07 | 1:08pm
Hi Paul, thanks for your comments.

Yes its a difficult one! The new board is indeed bigger in practice and as such works with bigger sails than its older version. However I am not 100% convinced that it would have been 'better' to have compared the old board with a new version of similar width. There are several reaons for this:

1. Whilst width is an improtant factor (maybe more relevant these days than volume) it is not the definitive answer. For example 15 years ago, most people buying the 103 liter Screamer would buy it in the knowledge that they could easily uphaul it if needs be. This is surely still an important factor? Would the same person who bought this board 15 years ago, now choose an 85 ish liter board instead (because its planing performance is similar due to the width)? I am not sure, because I think many people would be put of by lack of volume making the board much more difficult to uphaul. So to that extent, I think there is still an arguement that these two boards are aimed at the same group of people.

2. To further enforce this, 15 years ago, very few recreational sailors would own a sail over 6.5m whereas nowadays its not uncommon for 8.5m to be used by recreatioanl sailors and 6.5 m is considered relatively small for freeriding. Again, this doesnt mean that the boards are aimed at different people, it just means that they are more able now to handle the bigger modern rigs that people tend to use.

So in defense of our review, I think that the 2 boards are aimed at the same person. its just that 15 years later, things have changed a bit, particularly with regard to the size of rigs people use. We could have done an very lengthy review going into all thses details, but we tried not to get too bogged down and techy with it.

With regard to testing the top end, we did mention that the older board was happy down to 4.5 m sails whereas the bigger board started to struggle with anything smaller than 5.9. We could have been more specific with performance etc, but the aim of the review was to give an oversight of how things had changed over the past 15 years rather than a detailed performance test between 2 models.

Anyway, just a few words in our defense! Its always difficult to do this kind of thing because there are so many ways of doing it. It would certainly be interesting to test the old screamer agains a modern board of similar width, but that wasnt the purpose of this review.

Thanks for your feedback, its always great to hear what people think!

All the best,

Re: 15 years of evolution?
4 September '07 | 6:22am

Article was a good read.

The results were pretty much as I expected, and really highlights the design change over the years to shorter/wider, but as expected there is always the trade off as shown in the speed results. It was interesting that the weight hasn't really changed though. I wonder how this goes over other brands too?

How do these older boards compare to the way the speed/slalom boards are being designed now? In terms of shape I mean, pads, fins etc we know are a great leap ahead.


Re: 15 years of evolution?
4 September '07 | 5:17pm
I thought the old mistral screamer was (originally) designed with a race-slalom board in mind, whereas the new screamer is a true freerider-shape. 15yrs ago the freeride concept wasn't really developed yet, or at least not at the current level. Hence, the target group has likely changed. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me the older board is faster and more fun, once you can push it. But, for most of us weekend-warriors I think that's not what we are looking for. Too bad that the new screamer is still as heavy as the old one. That is certainly a few steps back. Such a board could easily be 1kg lighter, without sacrifcing durability. I'd prefer the new screamer over the old one any time of day. I'd simply change the crappy stock fin for a more performance oriented fin, and get 1 or 2 smaller and bigger fins too, to increase it's performance even more!
Re: 15 years of evolution?
5 September '07 | 9:30pm
This year I have finally had to stop sailing my much loved 15 year old 103L screamer. I have replaced it with a 97L starboard Kombat, wider, shorter and lighter. It turns beautifully and is not such a bitch to handle in north sea chop, BUT my screamer could usually knock spots off anyone else for speed. I regret not having changed boards sooner as my windsurfing skills have improved meteorically this year and I now realise how hard I had to work with the screamer and there I think is the difference. If you want to go fast in a straight line in relatively flat sea then the screamer is great, if you want to have manoeuverability and not just hack through waves then the more modern boards are better and go nearly as fast.

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