The North Sails Ice is now into its 5th incarnation and this year has 2 important developments. Firstly the range is now designed for RDM masts (although still suitable for SDM) and secondly, there is an HD version of the Ice which offers full X-Ply construction for increased durability. The Ice sits in the North range as the all-round World Cup wave sail, next to the Duke (Power Wave/Freestyle) and Ego (concept wave).
"A World Cup Wave sail must have the potential to get the maximum out of every situation, because only victory counts. This is why the new ICE works even under the most different conditions, developing maximum performance even under critical circumstances." – North Website
For 2010, North have tweaked the Ice to work with RDM masts which they explain gives the sail a slightly softer feel. They have also brought the power back a little bit on the sail to deliver a fraction more bottom end performance.
The North Ice looks a quality product with great attention given to the detailing of the sail.
We love the North visual trim system, probably the easiest of all the trim guides. The sail also has a harness line position indicator marked on the sail, which is a nice touch and helps get the lines in roughly the right position before leaving the beach.
Luff length is middle of the group, whilst boom length is second longest in test (with Ego having the longest). With previous North Ice sails, we have found ourselves setting nearer to the ‘maximum’ trim guide on downhaul, but this year (due a lot to the softness of the sail) we were finding near to ‘minimum’ was working best for most conditions.
Two clew eyelets are offered with the top one adding a bit more back
hand pull to the sail (for those looking for a gruntier sail) and the
bottom eyelet offering a softer feel with more release. Choosing one
or the other doesn't completely transform the sail, but a subtle
difference can be noticed.
So first of all the things that remain unchanged from last year: The Ice is very light in the hands and one of the more forward pulling sails in the group. As a consequence, it feels very throw-about and has an excellent top end, making it one of the best sails for overpowered conditions.
The Ice’s forte however is down the line conditions where the light feel and forward pull make the rig very neutral and really allow the rider to simply get on with surfing the wave.
Backside/onshore riding is also great on the Ice where the same characteristics make the sail very controllable and manageable.
So what has changed for 2010? Well, the pull is slightly further back, which gives a bit more grunt and feel on your back hand and the sail feels slightly softer and springier both in terms of power delivery and sail tension.
Overall, we think these are very positive improvements which give the Ice more all-round appeal.
The Ice continues to deliver one of the most refined performances in this group, but for 2010 adds a bit more all-round appeal with better bottom end performance. If you like your sails light in the hands and soft in feel, they still don’t come any better than the Ice.
PHOTOS BY: Simon Crowther
"The ice for me is a big improvement for 2010 largely due to it being designed to work with the RDM as well as the SDM which is a first for the ice. this has given us a softer more forgiving sail as well as enable us to move the draft back somewhat and give ti some more power which for me gives it a more all round performance. i set the ice on max VTS and play with the outhaul to get my desired feel. the other good news for Ice lovers is we do the hole range in HD meaning all x-ply for the sailors who want that extra bit of security. last but not least i urge every one to really test the TwinTrimClew sytem as i think in certain conditions it really does open up some doors. in onshore gusty conditions were you need power or you are a heavy sailor then upper clew is the one for you but if you want the board to feel free and loose and you like your sail to have a lighter more free feeling then the lower clew will be best.