Feeling I needed a high wind Bump and Jump board for the notoriously rough Port Phillip Bay I treated myself to a Birthday present and purchased a Tabou 3S 86 which I received a few weeks before Xmas. I have now had a chance to ride it 4 times so thought I would share my impressions.
I was a little bit nervous about getting this board as I had not ridden one but on paper it appeared to meet the brief, lots of V and concave to smooth out the rough water and the test reports were positive saying it was a genuine all-rounder, reasonably fast but also pretty loose. My concern was based around a) is it really 86 litres as board companies have a tendency to overstate volume and b) would it be a bit too composed and I would find it boring? Those concerns aside I went ahead and purchased one from SHQ deciding on the heavier CED Glass construction as I found it hard to justify the cost of the LTD for the type of sailing I would do on it.
When I pulled the board out of the box I was quite impressed. Well finished and love those thick squishy pads that will be so kind to my ageing knees. The graphics?... well frankly not really my cup of tea, a bit fussy but I can live with that. Straight onto the scales…. 6.6kg’s nude…100 grams over quoted weight so that is OK. Being a designer I had to check out the shape. It is pretty compact at 230 X 59.5, quite wide between the straps but narrows in the tail with the wingers and the swallow tail is neat. The rails are well tucked and soft forward, crisp and reasonably thin in the tail. The bottom shape has ample V right through and a pronounced parallel double concave with side flats under the mast track fading in the rear. I was surprised for a Freestyle Wave board how much rocker it has, definitely designed to be pretty manoeuvrable and very different to my old beloved RRD FSW which had a very flat rocker. The fin is a G10 freewave design, powerbox and looks OK.
Now all I need is wind!!!
First ride……. 22-25 knots at Elwood, SW very onshore and rough. Rig 5.3 2016 Killer, want to make sure I am well powered up. Jump on…. Not much wind in close and dogging …. It feels pretty small but is supporting my 90 and a bit kg’s… just. Finally the wind fills and it pops up on the plane pretty well….off I go. Smooth as silk, man this thing is just soaking up that rough water and as I put the hammer down it responds and starts to ride more off its tail. Nice…… it’s not too boring, easy but not boring. Now the gybe, push on the rail and whoosh, cool, this thing really carves, in fact it is turning a bit quick for me, need to pick up my game. So I have a very nice sail until the wind decides to shut off. Try dogging back but it shuts down completely and I now get the reality of it being an 86 litre board. A swim in the Pookipa s...t and a walk of shame was not the ending this fun session deserved.
Second ride…… Beaumaris SW really similar conditions to the first ride. Off my game, tired and feeling like a walrus after a big Boxing Day lunch, not a great sail, purely operator malfunction.
Third ride….. Classic Ricketts Point SSE, 20 to 30 knots super messy really steep chop. First time with a 4.7 on it, 2017 proto Killer 4.7 and this combo was sweet!!!!!! 4.7 is the sweet spot for sure on this board for my weight. I had a good sail, tough conditions with really nasty chop but the board handled it well and soaked up the terrain as well as I could expect any board to perform in that mess. I was really starting to get the carves dialled and was loving the inside gybe in the slightly flatter water, the board engaging the rail and holding for really smooth high speed carves. Nice!!! It was way too rough to try any real speed but I had one shot at it close to shore and peaked at 28.5 knots before I ran out of water. I was pretty happy considering and can see the potential for this thing to do respectable speeds.
Last night….. Ricketts again…..Easterly not as windy as the previous night and back on the 5.3. Had a great sail and really feeling at ease on this board now. Loving the gybe, really enjoying how easy and fast it is through the carve. Found a couple of ramps and went for a few jumps, you can really lauch this thing as it has plenty of speed. There were some bigger waves near the reef and managed a few turns, it really is quite loose and responds great to back foot turning. The best sail I have had for a while.
So overall I am extremely happy with this board as it is meeting the brief as a fun high wind bump and jump board perfectly. I love the carve and the composed ride and those squishy comfortable pads help me stay on the water longer. It is fast enough to keep me engaged and although very smooth and easy there is enough life in the ride for it not to be dull. I like the way it has 2 modes, composed and relaxed if you want to stand more upright and just cruise and carve, faster and more lively riding off the tail if you put the hammer down. A board that will not tire me out through a long session.
Is there anything I don’t like?... well as I mentioned the graphics are not my cup of tea and I like the 2015 graphics better, but this is purely subjective. The fin did not fit in the board that well sitting quite over flush. I have fitted it a bit better but need to have another go at it. It would be nice if they could fit the fin to the board before it leaves the factory. Overall very happy and would definitely recommend this board as a high wind rough water board for farting around, jumping and carving. I hazard a guess it would be quite respectable in waves as well for the occasional wave sailor.
It’s a sweet little board. Fun!!
Appreciated your review Mr Love.
Can you please post your thoughts on merits of RRD FSW versus 3S.
Sure Scoob I can but in reality I am not sure how relevant it will be as my RRD was a 2010 96. The current RRD is a different design.
The RRD had a totally different bottom shape being flat V with only a tiny hint of concave and lots of V, big amounts. The rocker was flat, from 750 off to the tail it was pretty much dead flat. The tabou in comparison has lots of concave and obvious rocker. I have not measured it accurately but it looks to have around 5 mm of tail rocker. The RRD was 100mm longer than the Tabou 86 and 10 litres bigger.
On the water.....The RRD was instantly fast, jump on and it just accelerated up to a pretty decent top speed. Understandable with that slalom board rocker line. The Tabou is more progressive in its acceleration, not as intuitive and you have to consciously say 'OK I am going to put the gas on now'.
The Tabou is looser for sure. The RRD felt stiffer, still carved a nice gybe but not with the ease of the little Tabou.
I loved the RRD, a great bump and jump board and enjoyed blasting on the Bay with it, really easy to go fast on in the rough water and I rarely got passed. It also had nice squishy pads and the generous V sliced through the chop with ease. A different personality to the small Tabou 3S though, this thing feels turnier quite like those classic single fin Wave boards from a few years back. The bigger 3S 96 up has a flatter rocker and is longer but still has some tail rocker and lots of concave . I have only ridden the 106 twice so too early to comment and I think the fin is crap and holding the board back. I will do a report on this once I have ridden it more and get a decent fin in it.
So as I said, the RRD was a 2010 and the current V3 RRD FSW is a different board so my comments are probably not particularly relevant.
Sound s good Mr love ..I also have been bitten by the Tabou bug purchased a 2015 rocket 105 ced .wider than previous years ..loving it.jumps without thinking .very smooth in chop ..due to large concaves in the haul .also agree with you about the fin .even though a different model...I found it too small.
Used the next size up 3S in Maui last year, was awesome, was impressed with the Tablou boards, so comfy smooth and quick.
I purchased a 93pocket wave for my B&J wave, by far my fav board just don't get use it often enough!!
Replaced the fins with a Black Project thruster set up and really makes a world of difference to the get up and go and power of the board.
The Pads are awesome, all boards should have 'squishy thick comfy pads!' I don't get why more don't?
I have the 2015 3s 86 and totally agree with your review.
It's the best bump and jump board for the bay.
In the waves it turns slow and smooth. It gets by but turns like a mini mal. If you want to snap your turns you will need a wave board.