For those of you with A.D.D. or if you simply get bored of reading really fast, skip ahead to a quick clip I threw together today. It has a few shots of just the 99 ltr board and 5.0 ID sail. If you care about my impressions of the 2012 goodies, keep reading and watch the video at the end.
I was anticipating the new gear arrival for a long time now. And my excitement was at a level higher than I can remember in recent years to get my hands on the new gear. Why was the excitement about this years gear more than years past? Well, for one, the Skate, my favorite board of all time has changed in design for 2012. My anticipation for the new skate was mainly based around the fact that it didn't need it to get any better. I was just hoping that they didn't screw it up. But it wasn't just Fanatic that was throwing a new product into the lineup. Northsails also came out with a pair of new wave sails. They still have the Ice, and Duke. Now they have also introduced the Hero and ID for 2012. The Hero being a 4 batten wave sail and the ID being a very lightweight combination of the Ices and Dukes. A lighter version of my favorite sails, I think I'll take that one!!
So Now I've had a few sessions on the new boards and sails and have a good idea of the new gears capabilities. So lets start off with the boards. I know people are in love with their 2011 skates and everyone was just hoping that Fanatic didn't screw up a good thing. The First thing you'll notice about the new skate are the specs. The 99 ltr lost 1 ltr from last year but still has the same width as last year at 63.5. It is significantly shorter than the 2012 model at 228cm. It seems like the nose is also beefed up a bit from last year.
So how do these changes affect the performance of the 99 ltr. They don't!!! At least for your average Joe that buys the board for it's incredible freeride performance. It planes up at least as early as last year, has every bit of speed that last years board had and carves the same perfect jibe that the 2011 model did. So then what did these changes in the 2012 model do? Well, If you're like me and want to go crazy spending as much time spinning, sliding and flipping as possible, you'll be very happy on all 3 accounts. For moves like an Air Funnel, or Ponch it's absolutely amazing. The shorter length lets you rotate freely without the longer nose grabbing the water and stopping the rotation. With the beefed up nose, it also has less of a tendency to bury the nose at the end of a sliding trick, and spinning all the way through double and triple flakas has never been easier. Basically, if the Rodeo and Skate from 2011 had a baby, the 2012 Skate would be it. No matter what you want to do on this board, it will be more than capable.
I also have the 89 ltr model which in my oppinion has improved significantly over last years 90 ltr. The 90 ltr last year was a bit more dedicated to freestlye than the 2011 100 ltr. The 90 ltr didn't carve as well as I would have thought for it's size, but the new 89 ltr, put some turn back in the board. I couldn't get over how much fun I had playing with the 89 ltr and 4.5 in the shoulder high side-on waves at West Meadow. Then when it came time for a trick, it had every bit of speed, pop and control that I loved about the 90 ltr last year. Now the 89 ltr is also a board for everyone just like the 2011 100 ltr and its 2012 99 ltr brother.
For the sails, I have some Ices, Dukes and my new favorite ID. I haven't had much of a chance to try the Ices and Dukes, but the ID is absolutely amazing! I have the ID in 4.5, 5.0 and 5.4 sizes. The first thing you'll notice as soon as you pick up the sail is that it's light. Really light!!! The ID weighs the same as a 1.5 meter smaller Ice. So the 5.4 ID weighs the same as a 4.0 Ice!! And the weight savings isn't everything. The maneuverability and range of this sail is just incredible. I was switching back and forth between my 4.5 ID and 4.0 Ice one day, and the ID felt even more locked down than the Ice when it got overpowered. The draft just does not move around on the ID. There is still more than enough low end power there for anyone. Possibly even more than last year's Ice/Dukes. So if you're in the market for a new sail, and you want something easier to maneuver and super comfortable to sail, the ID is the way to go.
So how did the ID get so light? Well, mostly due to the new hi-tech material "ODL". There is still some x-ply on the ID in the areas that are "crash prone" like at the foot of the sail, but the ODL is used on most of the areas where the x=ply would be on the Ice. I did a little research on what exactly ODL is. Basically it's a laminate material, like x-ply, but using lighter weight materials. Technora seems to be the main ingredient. North has also added (or taken away) a few little weight savers compared to the Ice. The seems on the ID are single stitched, where on the Ice and Duke there is a double stitch. There is still protection on the backside of the batten tensioners to protect against wear while rigging, but instead of the usual full plastic backing, there is only a small strip of plastic. It still looks like it should do the job. They also dropped the double clew grommet from the ID. Honestly this thing has so much range, that I'm not sure you'd really need it. Other than that, the ID is pretty similar to the Ice. Really great handling, lots of range and just plain fun to sail only in a significantly lighter package.
Also, if you're into freestyle the ID does the duck moves unlike anything I've sailed. You just duck and put the sail where you want it. I made more Air Funnels and Bobs in my first session on the 5.0 ID and 99 ltr skate than the past 2 months of sailing combined! For freestyle, there is no comparison and you shouldn't even think twice about the ID. For everyone else, will you like the ID better than the Ice or Duke? Of course. But will it be worth the $100.00 premium over the Ice? That's up to you. For me it sure is.
I had a little downtime this morning, so I decided to make a quick little video with some of the details of the Skate and ID. I know I repeated a few shots, but when I was trying to find out more about the boards and sails, those were the things that I wanted to see the most. Enjoy