SIMMER ICON 4.7M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The Icon is aptly named, being Simmer’s go-to wave sail for varied conditions found throughout the world. Available in standard monofilm/X-Ply/Q-Ply construction (as tested here) or an X-Ply/Q-Ply HD version, the brand has evolved the Icon significantly for the new season, stealing the thunder of the Blacktip and Apex with their refined luff curves and low aspect ratio outlines. Now recommended for use on a 370cm mast, the 4.7m is 8cm shorter in its luff, yet a whole 10cm longer in the boom than its predecessor. Setting with lots of shape low down, there is plenty of movement in the luff sleeve, which combined with the Dacron luff panel helps the sail to breath into a very powerful profile. Crank on the downhaul and the leech falls away smoothly, without pulling all the shape from the sail, leaving enough play in the outhaul for fine-tuning.
“The Icon will perform perfectly wherever I go to compete or freesail and in any conditions; no matter if it’s onshore or sideshore, it’s super easy to tune. It’s very stable for high wind jumping and gives you heaps of drive for down the line wave riding. For me, it’s the ultimate all round wave sail.” Ben Proffitt.
On the water, the Icon’s already distinct low down profile is complimented by extra movement in the draft as the wind fills, developing an impressive amount of soft, dependable bottom end grunt. Breathing into action and pulling the board forward, there is quality to the drive provided – some testers described it as the V8 of the group. The centre of effort is placed low and forwards, delivering positive feedback to both hands; an obvious enough power source for the heavier sailor, yet balanced and manageable for the lighter rider. Accelerating efficiently, the Icon was exceptional in a bump and jump role, pinning the board down and encouraging a locked in stance as it charges around a break at speed and provides the impetus for rocket air. We did find ourselves using slightly less outhaul than was stated on the sail’s increments, the stability of the sail being such that we could afford to reduce the boom pressure to enhance the useable feedback delivered to the backhand. As the wind increased, the Icon didn’t lose its balance or poise, its low aspect outline adding to its compact useable nature. On the wave it did feel a little heavier and more cumbersome in movement through transition compared to the lighter, less battened sails in the group. Yet, it certainly doesn’t render the Icon any less useful in a wave environment and is a small price to pay for its stability and range.
While there is an obvious shift by other brands to less battens and performance in lighter airs, the new Icon keeps the candle burning strong for the 5-batten sail, delivering a fantastic benchmark performance. It comes recommended for those that demand obvious useable power over a huge wind range.
Other sails in this test: