Tabou Rocket 125 GT (2008)

The Rocket is the only freeride range marketed by Tabou and is targeted both at the intermediate and performance moderate wind recreational sailor. The 125 is unchanged from the board that we tested and enjoyed last year. It is at the larger end of this test by most parameters (volume and width) and feels it, but the next size down 115 is quoted at 64cm and therefore too much smaller than the other boards to fit comfortably into this line-up.

Type: Chunky all-round freeride with good performance.

On the water:

The ratio of volume to width is quite high in the 125 meaning that the hull feels quite thick and buoyant. This reduces responsiveness for lighter sailors, but is a boon to heavier sailors as it allows good float and support in gusty or fresh water locations. Being one of the biggest boards here, it will take very large sails (up to 9.0m) without complaining and allow planing windsurfing in very marginal winds. It doesn’t accelerate quite as quickly as the smaller lighter boards and doesn’t plane any earlier with sails below 7.5m, but it does go considerably quicker and more easily in that threshold just before planing, easing the transition for less able sailors. Once going it is very comfortable with an ergonomic deck shape and a good choice of outboard strap positions. It has a definite performance feel, going pretty quick for its size and making ground very well to windward. Its ride over swell and chop is not the most lively but it is very smooth and comfortable. While it is inevitably less responsive in the turn than the majority of slightly smaller hulls, the gybing performance is actually pretty good with a predictable and stable arc and good reserve volume for clumsy footwork.

Fittings:

Not our favourite straps but quite adequate on a freeride board. The fin is large but works well, particularly in moderate winds. A smaller foil would be a good investment for stronger winds. The deck shape and strap positions are excellent although there is no provision for very early intermediate inboard straps.

Overall:

The Rocket 125 remains a very good board for getting good performance and a smooth, comfortable feel in moderate winds. It is particularly well suited to larger sails (7.0-8.5m) and for flatter, perhaps inland, waters. It has a slight bias towards competent sailors rather than early intermediates, partly due to the strap positions and partly due to the relatively low width and therefore stability in relation to volume. This high volume slightly compromises response and manoeuvrability but will be a big bonus for the heavyweight.

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