At A GlanceThe Mitu Monteiro pro model range from F-One has been a hugely popular design.
One of the world's favourite wave riders Mitu from Cabo Verde has an insane amount of talent and is a good bloke too.
His boards have been developed with F-One for a few years now and last year saw a new shape coupled with the HD Foam Flex construction that F-One first introduced in 2015.
For 2017 the range expands even further with four sizes and three different construction methods!Sizes are 5'4", 5'6", 5'8" and 5'10" while the construction offered features the HD Foam Flex from last year, a new carbon version and the model we have on test here the ESL version.
ESL stands for essential, and the board has been stripped back to mirror that moniker.
There are no inserts for foot straps, so this is a pure strapless design.
There is also no front footpad so you can choose to add a pad or layer it up with wax.
The construction itself is the full bamboo sandwich technology that made the first F-One surfboards so popular in the first place. A full sheet of bamboo lies underneath and a double sheet sits on top to add extra protection from your feet.
The shape of the board is the same as the others in the range; it's just the construction that is different.
You still get that world class outline and aggressive swallow tail.
The Camel Deck is there to lower your centre of gravity and give you a solid connection to the board and the grab rails feature up front with the channels underneath to improve directional stability when you are landing on the nose.
On The WaterAfter years of being spoilt with the excellent F-One deck pad, which is shaped to enhance the Camel Deck, we were a little surprised when the new Mitu turned up looking rather bare.
A quick chat with the guys in Montpellier revealed that this was part of a new lineup explained above and that the lack of inserts and pad was particular to this board and not F-One's effort to push the strapless movement!
After waxing her up, it was time to get on the water.
The 5'8" Mitu in HD Foam Flex construction was one of our favourite boards last year, so we were keen to see how the new board stood up.
When I say new board I mean it, despite the construction technique coming from 2014 and the shape remaining the same as 2016 this shape of Mitu was never built in the Double Bamboo construction before.
What we have here is a breed of Mitu that has never before walked the earth!The Double Bamboo construction was hugely popular back in the day, offering a good amount of flex and durability.
Jumping on board the Mitu ESL for 2017 it was great to feel that familiar flex underfoot again.
The board is snappy and responsive while being smooth and forgiving through choppy water.
The shape is fantastic, and the board can be ridden aggressively in the pocket in a top to bottom fashion, or it is equally suited to smoother more drawn out lines on the wave.
In small to medium Euro-style waves the board is excellent, the width will carry you through the flat spots and help you to get plenty of power and drive when the waves are weak.
Once the swell picks up the board handles it with aplomb, arguably on really fast waves you do notice the width and the board will chatter a little, but it is manageable and still easy to control.Carving on the Mitu is smooth and predictable, the thruster shape throwing up no nasty surprises when you don't need them.
It's forgiving too, the extra volume helping to mask any mistakes you make and maintain good board speed.
Getting the Mitu in the air the shape comes into its own, the wide outline providing plenty of surface for the wind to catch and stick it to your feet no matter what tricks you are trying to pull.The broad front end encourages speed when the kite lacks power and the thin tail really allows you to dig in the rail knowing that the fins will bite and the board won't slip out.
We missed the added comfort of the deck pad, but riders who prefer wax on their boards will be glad to have the option available to them.
OverallGet one of the best shapes in the business with a classic construction method at a great price.
The ESL is priced lower than the other Mitu's in the range yet feels every bit as capable.
If you prefer wax to a deck pad and want a board that can handle a wide range of conditions, and pack a punch the whole time, this is the board to go for!
More info: www.proteusdistribution.com/surf