The Tabou Pockets have received 4 years of development and Tabou are now confident enough in their performance that they have opted to maintain the same shapes for 2010 and change only the fins. The fin sizes have been reduced (with new shapes) to improve manoeuvrability, whilst according to Tabou, maintaining the early planing and directional performance of last years bigger fins.
In a straight line, compared with some of the other boards here, the Tabou can feel a little sticky to get going. It’s more a technique issue than anything else, but the nose is definitely slightly more catchy and takes a little getting used to at first.
Once up to speed, the stickiness goes and the Tabou is very settled and controlled. The nose sits quite low and the ride is more ‘planted‘ than the other single fins actually feeling a bit more like a twin fin in the way it rides. It’s not as directional or quite as fast as say the JP and RRD, but this is a wave board after all and it’s actually quite nice to have the feeling that the board is ready to turn and react at the twitch of a toe. The pads are very comfortable and the board rides with a safe and controlled feeling, even in the roughest conditions.
It's on the wave however, where this board really excels. It’s the tightest turning single fin in this group and with its short and wide shape, feels very compact and manoeuvrable underfoot. The Pocket is noticeably better than the other single fins (although not as good as the twins) at carving off the top, particularly in onshore conditions. It's noticeable that most single fins struggle to come around enough off the top for the sail to power up again in onshore conditions, but the Pocket is actually pretty good and can carve a surprisingly tight turn off the top.
It's a fairly easy board for maintaining speed through the turns (perhaps also helped by its fairly generous tail width). We did notice however that on bigger, faster waves, the Pocket seems to reach a maximum speed and is more suited to making tighter turns in the ‘pocket’ (hence the name!), than gunning out in front of a wave and coming vertically back into it. This trait was more noticeable in side-shore conditions than side-on.
Our 80kg Clones found that the Pocket worked best when comfortably powered up with 4.7m - 4.0m sails. When underpowered or using bigger rigs, the slight stickiness that we described earlier was more apparent and made the board a bit slower to get going, albeit still nice on the wave. The mast track worked best around the middle and a bit further back for smaller sails.
Well, the board's name says a lot about its character! With its compact feel and ability to turn tighter than any of the other single fins, it definitely feels like a board that was designed to ride in the ‘Pocket’. Novice and intermediate wave riders will love the way the board maintains speed through the turns and corners with predictably and ease. More advanced riders looking for this style of board, won't find a more suited single fin, but may be better off looking for a twin fin such as the DaCurve, which will give even sharper turning ability on the wave face.