The Pocket Wave is the ‘stubby’ planshape board while the Da Curve (not tested) is the more conventional of Tabou’s two wave ranges. Although anyone could easily get on this year’s Pocket 72 and think it was the same board as last year, there do appear to be quite a lot of subtle changes. They seem to have slightly de-stubbied the planshape, adding a cm or two of length and narrowing it down just a fraction. The high levels of vee seem to have been reduced slightly while the rocker through both the nose and tail has certainly been increased.
Despite quite a bit of width through the tail andmid-point, theTabou is very short, quite low in volume and very highly-rockered. You know immediately that you’re on a small board, and the early planing performance is well below average. It is power hungry and needs to be well powered. It’s probably best thought of as a board for 5.0m and below, making it effectively smaller than last year’s board. We found it to be a board that is transformed by a strong wind – sluggish and luffy and slow upwind when underpowered but really compact, controllable, turny and fun when going nicely. It is very much a pivotal board that feels loose and low in grip due to the markedly stubby planshape and high rocker, but the vee does give it enough grip to jump quite nicely and track reasonably well given enough wind. Gybes are extremely easy and very snappy but exiting with speed, unless gybing onto a wave, is extremely difficult. High wind control is, however, very good without too great a tendency to slap in the chop. Waveriding performance is excellent so long as you can develop enough speed into the turn. It keeps going well in onshore waves and feels really turny and exciting and comes off the top beautifully.We got some excellent riding out of it in both small and bigger, faster, better formed waves, finding it brilliantly short, loose and compact.
Unusual fittings. Unlike last year,we found its own 20cmfin a little bit too small and got much better performance from a decent 22, though this is clearly dependent on conditions and sailor weight. Likewise the straps. Nearly everybody found them too spongy and restrictive and the board’s popularitywent up a notch or twowhenwe changed themfor somethingmore comfortable that could bemade larger.The back pad is very thick and absorbs landing shock well but is quite flat due to raised heel bumpers.
With the change of straps and fin and given strong wind the Tabou became a very popular board, well up in the ratings of all the guesters who tried it and very popular too with the testers when in suitable conditions.
The Pocket 72 is extremely fun and compact and would make an excellent, slightly riding-biassed smaller waveboard of two or ‘one board’ for a lighter rider (60-70kg). It isn’t a great all-rounder for an average weight sailor due to its high power requirement, but control and jumping are pretty good for such a small and pivotal stubby shape. It seems to have thrown off the tendency of last year’s board to bury the nose and trip at low speeds, but it’s not quite as quick to plane. The wind range has decreased, but its performance has improved for both riding and all-round sailing in a good blow.