“Unbelievably loose feel with the best backside turn of any board I’ve ever sailed”
“Feels compact, frisky, agile and a lot of fun, particularly in smaller waves. A bit like the old Mistral 84 Twinzer on speed!”
“The short nose and smaller feel do make it a bit more technical to sail. The 80L version would probably be a closer match to the rest of these boards”
At 74L the Tabou should fit well within this group, but it actually feels noticeably smaller than all but the Goya. The relatively narrow max width (54.5cm) and the narrowest tail width of the test (32.5cm) probably play some part in this. Board weight is very impressive – the lightest board on test at 5.73kg (bare).
Footstraps are a little harder than most, particularly at the bottom where they meet the deckpad. The pads are well contoured and textured, albeit a little firmer than most, while the fins are attached using the new ‘Slot Box’, which has also been adopted by Starboard. It looks a small board with a relatively short nose (shortest board length of the test) and a thin drawn-out tail shape.
Tabou claim that you can loosen this board up by using it as a twin-fin, and while this might be useful on the bigger sizes let’s be under no misconceptions here – this 74L version is the absolute loosest board we’ve ever sailed. Our Clones nicknamed it ‘the angry wasp’ on account of its riding abilities. It’s so small, agile, grippy and responsive underfoot that it’s hard to imagine ever wanting something looser than this board!
For backside riding it’s truly fantastic and scores top of the group. The narrow tail and quad-fin grip allow the board to snap around off the tail in a backside turn like nothing we’ve ever sailed before. It really is that good.
For frontside it suits short, sharp turns the best. It can turn tighter than anything in this group and actually holds its speed remarkably well through the turns. It feels incredibly ‘surfy’, as Tabou describe, and really lets you dictate where you want the board to be on the wave, rather than the other way round.
On bigger waves and more drawn out turns it seems almost too manoeuvrable at times, and doesn’t quite set a rail and drive as well as some of the other boards, preferring a looser, more surfing style instead. In a straight line it reminds us a lot of the old Mistral 84 Twinzer. It has a very compact, short, low rockered, yet settled feel to the ride. It’s actually quite rapid for a quad, and one of the more lively feeling boards. The fins start to struggle for grip a little when underpowered with bigger sails (4.7-5.0), and you could perhaps try a bigger set if you sail in these conditions a lot. Generally though it’s very good in a straight line.
The stance is extremely wide – 4.5cm wider than anything else on test, and nearly 10cm wider than the Naish! This is designed to give it a more surfy feel, and it certainly does help with that sensation. Some of our shortest Clones had to move the straps a little closer together as they found them just a bit too extreme.
The only areas of complaint that we have concern the size – it feels so much smaller than nearly everything here, and the short nose makes it a bit more technical to sail. With regard to size, an 80kg rider looking for one board to use with 3.7-5.3m sails would probably be better looking at the 80L version. This 74 is outside of its comfort zone when underpowered with 5.0m and above.
The ‘angry wasp’ is definitely a great description of this board. Its short nose and diminutive size make it a little more technical to sail than most, but if you’re up to the challenge you’ll be rewarded with one of the most agile, lively and exciting waveboards ever to go into production.
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