Posted by: airkayaks | February 15, 2015

Product Review: Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 Inflatable Fitness Paddle Board

This past month we received our first shipment of standup inflatable paddle boards from Mistral.

Founded in 1972, European-based Mistral rapidly became one of the leaders in the windsurf industry. Mistral has since refocused the product line, branching into paddle boards and kite surfing – even watches and clothing.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 inflatable SUP

Recently, Mistral expanded into the inflatable SUP market. The 2015 line includes the popular all-around Adventure boards, a fitness-oriented board named the Kailua Fit, and a new line of high-pressure, lightweight, sub-20 lb. boards made in Europe – the Equipes and Crossovers. With the introduction of the new Crossover inflatable WindSup boards, Mistral is brought full-circle, back to their roots.

Our first review features the Mistral Kailua Fit, an 11′ 5″ inflatable paddle board decked out for stand up paddling as well as yoga/fitness workouts.

(Please note: some of the info will be repeated from prior write-ups.)

Mistral Kailua Fit 11’5 Inflatable Yoga Standup Paddle Board – Getting Started

The board as-arrived is 33 x 18 x 10 inches in the box, weighing in at 34 lbs.

What's in the Kailua Fit box?

Inside is the Kailua body, backpack, repair kit, single action pump with pressure gauge, removable fin, fitness cord and instructions. Once rolled up, the SUP board fits into the backpack, as well as a breakdown paddle under 35 inches (longest shaft length) and the pump.

The Kailua Fit easily fits in a small car.

The board itself weighs 24.6 lbs, or 28.8 lbs inside the backpack with pump – these all easily fit in the back of a small car.

Unfolding the Kailua Mistral SUP body.

For your first set up, remove the SUP body from the backpack, and unroll. Lay it out face up so that you can access the military valve.

Opening the military valve

The Kailua 11-5 utilizes one spring-loaded military valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out) – before you make the effort to inflate the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.

The Kailua paddle board system includes a high-pressure, single-action pump with a gauge – what we term the “slim barrel” as it pushes out a bit less air, making it easier to attain very high pressures.

Attaching the hose and gauge to the pump

First, hook the gauge onto the pump then attach the hose to the gauge. Push and twist the military valve adaptor onto the valve, and lock into position – you’re ready to pump!

Pumping up the Mistral Kailua Fit.

Initial pumping is a breeze. I pumped for about 180 strokes (3+ minutes) until the board filled out and the gauge started to move. With another 50 strokes I was at 4 PSI, with 50 strokes more to 8 PSI. At this point, it started getting tough. Another dogged 50 pumps brought me to 12 PSI, where I quit – larger people may need to get to the maximum pressure of 15 PSI utlilizing the “half-pump” method. All-in-all, about 7 minutes.

Twist off the adaptor and replace the valve cap.

Deep water removable tracking fin.

Next, install the fin. The Kailua Fit 11-5 uses a 7 inch US Fin Box.

Installing the tracking fin.

With the fin pointing towards the stern, slide the back into the slot towards the rear, catching in the interior slot. Then remove the attached nut and plate. Reattach the nut to the plate, then use the nut to “guide” the plate into the interior slot. Remove the nut from the plate, and then use the nut to “nudge” the plate into position.

Installing the tracking fin.

Swing the front of the fin down, and screw the nut into the plate – pull up to make sure it is securely fastened.

Lightweight and easy to carry

You’re done! Under 10 minutes and you’re ready for the water.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 iSUP Construction

The Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 is constructed with a double laminate layer on the top and bottom of the board, featuring a heavy-duty 1000 denier PVC, hardened rubber materials and multiple layers of urethane, polymer and uv protection to create a protective barrier around a 660D drop stitch core.

Kailua inflatable SUP construction

This core features thousands of fine polyester threads connecting both the top and bottom layers – 2600 g/sq. meter – creating a strong link that can be inflated to higher pressures. Higher pressures provide a more rigid surface which enhances paddling performance.

Double layered side rails

The side rails also feature a double wall construction.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 iSUP Features and Specifications

The Kailua Fit inflatable SUP is very simple.

Military valve.

There is one military valve at the bow, one front d-ring on the underside (tether ring) and one rear d-ring for an ankle leash (located 17 inches from the stern).

Bungee deck lacing for attaching gear

Front bungee deck lacing – featuring 4 d-rings measuring 11 inches deep by  15 to 21 inches wide –  is located about 31 inches from the snout, allowing the paddler to attach gear.

Wide surface traction pad

A textured, 26.5 inch wide traction pad starts 32 inches from the nose, running the length of the board.

Center carrying handle and paddle holder

In the center is a low-profile cloth handle, beginning 68 inches from the snout, with an 8-inch integrated bungee handle which can be used as a paddle holder, making it easier to carry both board and paddle.

Multiple d-ring attachment points.

Two more sets of d-rings – one set located 68 inches from the bow, while the other is 26 inches from the rear – are positioned 42.5 inches apart; these can be used to attach gear or the included traction rope.

Mistral Elastic Band Fitness System

The Kailua Fit features the innovative Mistral elastic band system. The included 3.6 meter, fabric-covered rubber band attaches to the d-ring tie down points with heavy-duty hooks. The force of the bands is adjustable, allowing one to increase the intensity of their workout regiment. Optional strap sets with non-slip handles are also available.

Removable deep water tracking fin

The included removable, deep-water tracking fin is housed in an AIR7 fin box, and measures 5.5 wide x 7.5 inches wide.

Rugged backpack carrying case

The drawstring backpack is made from a rugged, commercial-grade material with mesh sides, front zippering pocket, adjustable side straps and adjustable padded shoulder straps. Bag measurements are 30 inches tall with a 16 inch diameter.

The Bravo “slim-barrel” high-pressure, single-action pump measures 21 inches tall with a 3.5-inch diameter body and 9-inch base, a metal pump shaft, 48-inch hose with adaptor, mesh carrying bag and a pressure gauge. The gauge can measure from 0 to 20 PSI.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 Inflatable SUP

We did measurement tests. The Mistral Kailua 11-5 inflatable SUP ran 11′ 5.5 inches long, 32.5 inches wide and just under 6 inches thick – pretty much right on target. Air volume is 290 liters while the weight capacity is 285 lbs.

Mistral Kailua Fit iSUP On the Water

I took the board out on a calm day for a first short jaunt.

Mistral Kailua Fit as a standup paddle board.

It was stable, tracked decently and had a smooth glide. Turning was fairly nimble, and it felt firm – I didn’t feel flexing underfoot despite being inflated to just 12 PSI.

The board was roomy and stable enough that I could see bringing a child or dog along for a ride; the dropstitch material is certainly rugged enough that dog claws would not be an issue, and the longer 11+ foot waterline will allow a passenger without obstructing the paddling.

As I am not a yoga buff, I did not have a chance to test it out in “stretching” mode. The surface looks wide-enough, stable and yoga-friendly, and the traction pad is low-profile, covering most of the board. The additional d-rings and included fitness cording are nice touches.

The Mistral Kailua Fit is a great sit-on-top!

One thing I noted immediately were the four mid-to-rear d-rings, which few boards have. I grabbed a kayak paddle and an AquaGlide kayak seat from the storage room. While the two rear straps on the seat were too short to reach the back rings, the seat was firm enough to provide support off the two front straps.

Kailua Fit as a sit-on-top kayak

Bingo. This is a really nice (great) sit-on-top when paddled kayak style. It’s comfortable, zippy, and tracks well. With some slight seating modifications – such as rigging up a foot brace – this could be a great all-around board. The addition of a WindPaddle downwind sail could really be fun.

Mistral Kailua Fit Inflatable Paddle Board: Packing It Up

To deflate the board is pretty simple – push the plunger to the open (down) position and immediately the air will swoosh out. But, when drawing off the high pressure, you should do this slowly, so as not to “pop” or unseat the o-ring that completes the valve seal. So, slowly tap the valve to “bleed” off the high pressure several times for a few seconds, increasing the release time as you go.

Remove the tracking fin and store it in the backpack.

Packing up the Kailua Mistral

Leaving the plunger in the deflate mode, flip the board over (fin side down) and move to the stern of the iSUP. Start rolling up the board from the tail. As you roll it up, air will continuously be pushed out of the open valve.

When fully rolled up, replace the valve cover and drop it into the backpack.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 iSUP – Bottom Line

The Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 is a really nice, versatile board!

Mistral Kailua Fit as a standup paddle board.

It feels rugged, tracks well and has a good glide. It’s stable enough for beginners, easy to set up and is easily handled by small paddlers. At 15 PSI, the board is also good for larger paddlers up to 285 lbs. with gear. This is a good choice for a family board, as it’s versatile enough for adult, kids, or adult and small friend – and a multitude of on-the-water activities.

Mistral Kailua Fit as a yoga board

Whether floating down a lazy river, or drifting on a gentle bay, the full EVA-foam deck and wider 32″ inch silhouette and tail provide an exceptionally stable floating platform, perfect for yoga, fitness workouts, or fishing. This is a great choice for lakes, calm rivers and coastal inlets/bays.

Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 Inflatable SUP

The multiple attachment points (9 d-rings on top) and bungee deck lacing provide ample space to attach extra gear, making it a great candidate for longer excursions.

Mistral Kailua Fit as a yoga board

The included 3.6 meter rubber band system can be attached to the board in numerous configurations providing a varied exercise regiment. The elasticity can be adjusted to gradually increase the workout intensity. And for those interested in group sessions, Mistral also offers a unique Kailua “docking” system, allowing multiple fitness buffs to workout together.

The Mistral Kailua Fit is a great sit-on-top!

By simply adding an optional kayak seat, the Mistral Kailua Fit can be transformed into a wonderful sit-on-top kayak.

Backpack is great for remote hiking.

Best of all, at 28 lbs with the included backpack, the Mistral Kailua Fit is highly portable, a great choice for travel, stashing in an RV or car for “spur of the moment” fun or storing in a closet.

Mistral Kailua Fit as a standup paddle board.

MSRP of $1219. For more information or to purchase, see the Mistral Kailua Fit 11-5 Inflatable SUP Product Page at AirKayaks.com.

More questions? Feel free to call us at 707-998-0135. Stay tuned, we have an upcoming YouTube video on the Kailua Fit.

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