Simmer make four wave ranges although two of these are the same design in different construction. Those are the Mission and the Mission X. The Mission is their “Ho’okipa heritage” wave sail designed to be direct and responsive with low twist and quick depowering. The Mission X is the same sail in X-ply with a PVC window. It is said to be the same sail but a lot tougher and with a slightly softer feel occasioned by the material.
The basic outline, shape and set of the Mission X and Icon seemed quite similar, although the slightly lower aspect Icon appeared to have a little more twist in the head, a little more fullness and rotation and a little more spring in the foil. Both sails appear to feature a fair bit of preshaping low down, with more apparent in the larger sizes. They are relatively low twist sails with heads that don’t go very loose, and the twist concentrated quite high in the sail. Although the Icon has quite a bit of spring to the foil on the beach, both sails seem preshaped and tautfoiled on the water, feeling more tight and stable than soft and flexible. They are physically quite easy sails to rig, but we found that they benefit from quite a bit of experimentation to find the best combination of power and release. Both sails have high cut-outs for those who like a high boom. Simmer have asked us to point out that whereas our teamall found the sails felt at their best at the low / middle of their wind range, the Icon is widely regarded as having excellent top end performance – as is evidenced by the fact that Victor Fernandez used it to win both the windiest wave events on theWorld Tour this year (Pozo and Sylt).We’re going to do somemore work with the Icons on our next test trip and will report in a future issue ifwe do come to different conclusions.
Summary: We all thought that it felt quite similar to the Icon with similar strengths and weaknesses, but being a bit less powerful, flexible and accommodating than the Icon, was less comfortable for just sailing about on and is clearly designed to be a full on riding sail. For this reason it’s probably the less relevant of the two for most all-round UK wavesailors.
Matthew: “Impressions from sailing this sail were that it was a bit heavy, slow to plane and unpredictable. The 5.3 Mission X and Icon handle in a similar way they are obviously of the same brand, and are much more like each other than any of the other sails on test. Light to comfortably powered it is comfy and well suited to riding. It has a direct pull-up-onto-your-toes feel which I really like – it isn’t the sharpest in doing so though it’s not spongy either. Like the Icon, in choppy overpowered conditions its handling is hard.”
Emile: “It had the same upright stance and quite stiff feel as the Icon, although the power seemed quite a lot more twitchy and on-off. I found the sail quite jarring over chop. I never really felt settled into a good blasting position on it – the upright stance again seemed to make me want to go for stuff.”
Ed: “Very similar to the Icon.”
Ian: “Needs to be set well and certainly isn’t as comfortable and relaxing as many when going head to head, but I had a very good long session on the 5.3m when testing boards, and really got into it. I would be tempted to use it for heavily riding biased sessions, but would choose the Icon for jumping and blasting.”