Can't speak for the Mistral Pacifico, but I have a Pacifico Wave, Mark Nelson design, and I like it for sail-surfing on small Great Lake swells. But don't think I would put footstraps on it nor try to make it plane. Having done it a few times, I can see that's just not what sail-surfing is about. I define sail-surfing as sailing out, sub-planing mode, and then surfing the waves back in (with/without sail power to facilitate glide and catching waves).
Konas, therefore, are a different breed intended to both sail-surf AND planing windsurf. Sail-surfing is about glide, walking all over the board, sailing backside front to back, and is VERY laid-back; windsurfing is about planing in the straps and harness, frontside sailing, amped-up jumping, etc. It's like the difference between cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. Two completely different sports (though descents on modern XC skis is a blast and a lot closer to alpine than ever).
From what I've read, the step-tail design facilitates doing both kinds with one board, but like all watercraft it has got to be a compromise. To get the best of both worlds, it surely takes a gliding hull for one and a planing hull for the other (i.e., 2 different boards). But if the Kona can do both modes fairly well, the ease of use and convenience of just one board seems pretty nice.
I understand the Longrider is a total blast, though it sends up a water fountain through the slot when it's planing. To me, 340 x 70 @ 170L is a very nice set of dimensions, especially for a 70-90 kg sailor. The Kona Surf is probably too narrow for good SUP, but I suspect in the right hands it sings.
The Longrider and the Kona Surf are really the closest we have to the old Mistral Malibu, which was a board I rode when I was beginning and I really liked it a lot. I think the industry needs more boards in the 320-340 x 70-75 @ 170-190 L range. Good for flatwater cruising, sail-surfing, longboard planing, family board, freestyle. This was windsurfing one-board/one-sail at it's spiritual best, and we need to get it back.
(And of course the perfect sail for it is a brightly-colored Freak).
Last edited by Geoff (2009-07-27 16:25:19)