The Tabou Rocket is described as ‘the flagship model’ of the Tabou line. The range consists of 6 models, spanning 95-145 litres and is offered in two constructions, (standard or limited). The 125 and 145 models are also offered in a cheaper GT construction.
All shapes are by Fabien Vollenweider and we chose to test the 125 in regular construction. The shape of the 125 remains unchanged from it's introduction last year.
"Rocket 125 has proven it is the one to watch! Last year’s new addition stays the same and shares its good points with the rest of the range."– Tabou Website.
first impressions, fixtures & fittings
The Board comes standard with a large, but well matched 44cm fin (the largest in the test).
The Tabou marginally missed our GOLD quality rating. Had there been a mast track scale or rear centre strap option, the board would have reached GOLD status. Overall however it’s a nice looking product with great fittings. You won’t be disappointed.
The interesting thing about the Tabou measurements are that nothing is extreme. Width, length, weight and tail width; it pretty much sits in the middle of this group for everything! It’s quoted volume of 125 puts it nearer the top end of the spectrum, but in practice it did feel like the real volume may be somewhat higher than this.
The feature that does stand out is the pronounced double concave at the nose of the board (see pic). Rather like the front of a R.I.B, this helps to improve comfort by cutting through the water smoothly and reducing ‘slap’.
ease of planning
Without question, the Rocket is the quickest board onto the plane in the group. The thing that impresses most however is the ease at which it manages to get going. It really is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to true ‘ease of planing’.
You don’t need any sophisticated technique. The big fin no doubt helps, but it really is the shape of the hull that delivers the goods. There is enough volume in the tail to forgive the heavy footed. There is enough width to provide unrivalled stability. There is enough ‘bite’ in the shape to prevent you having to bear off the wind and the straps are so well positioned that you can slip into them without worry of unsettling the board.
In this department, the Rocket lives up to its name. It really is a quick board, but in keeping with form so far, it’s the ease at which it goes fast that impresses.
The big fin gives it more of an advantage upwind than down, and for ultimate speed performance we would recommend a smaller fin (maybe 40cm), but the board remains comfortable, predictable and well mannered, with a nice stiff feel to it.
Do the maths; high volume, biggest fin in the test and great early planing performance. You would expect the Tabou to be a bit of a wild horse when it came to control….but it isn’t.
In a similar way to the Fanatic, the Tabou feels like a big board, but is able to disguise the likely pitfalls quite nicely. The nose stays low (even in the biggest gusts), the board handles chop well and the ride is safe and predictable. You can’t ask much more from a board of this size.
Advanced carve gybe
This is a big board and as such, it’s never going to be the most exciting to gybe. It’s a competent gyber and an advanced rider will turn it with ease. There is a little bit of scope to adjust the arc of the turn mid gybe, but generally it feels stable and safe rather than nimble and exciting.
beginner / intermediate carve gybe
Like the Fanatic, the shortcomings in advanced gybing are what makes it the group leader for intermediate and beginner carve gybers.
The board is extremely stable, tolerant to heavy footed technique, maintains planing exceptionally well and has great inboard footstrap positions for gybing. Not only this, but when you do drop off the plane, you are on the most effective board in the group for getting back onto the plane. What more can you ask for?!
overall feel, ride & foot comfort
‘Big’ is the first impression you get when you sail this board. It definitely feels like the biggest in the group.
The chubby domed tail make your feet (back foot particularly), feel higher above the water than on any of the other boards. This gives a nice comfortable foot position but also adds to the impression of size.
The Rocket feels stiff, fast and exciting enough to keep pretty much everyone entertained in a straight line.
Rider input we scored at -1 (passive). The board tends to do a pretty good job on its own and doesn’t require a great deal of rider input to extract performance.
set up recommendations
The standard 44cm fin is the biggest in the test, but does seem to suit the board well. For better performance with sub 7.0m sails, we would recommend an additional 40cm fin.
Tabou claim the sail range of the board to be 5.5-8.5m sails. We are confident that the board will be happy with sails of up to 9.0m, but have reservations about going down to 5.5m on it. The board felt big with our 6.2m quiver sails and we wouldn’t like to go much smaller unless on very flat water.
The Rocket was equally comfortable and worked well with inboard or outboard strap positions.
Tabou have really hit the nail on the head with this board. For blasting, gybing, early planing and fun, you won't find a better board on the market.