Hope y’all had some great time with family and friends over the Holidays- Anne and I were all over the east coast and even got caught in that blizzard on the 26th. Good ol’ fashioned white knuckle driving! It was worth it, though, to catch up with all of the fam and friends. That said, I’m stoked to be back in Hatteras- there’s nothing quite like driving over that bridge and breathing a sigh of relief, not only because you made it, but because of where you made it to! This island holds a certain, relaxing charm, that’s for sure.
Anyway, enough waxing poetic. Let’s get down to business. Just before I took off for the Holidays, I received a new board in the mail. It was the Team Edition 2011 Tabou DaCurve 85. The DaCurve is Tabou’s pure hardcore wave board, and comes in two separate models- the Original is a slightly longer single fin version, and the Team Edition is a bit shorter and can be run with 2 fins or 4 fins. Running a 4 fin setup will do a few things to a board:
1) small fin depth, near the rails, gives very little torqueing moment. ie, it takes very little effort to roll the board onto it’s rail or back and forth between the two rails. This characteristic corresponds to twin fins, as well. Compared to the effort of turning a single fin, I think the difference is very noticeable.
2) lots of short, wide fins = a ton of chord length = great planing, drive, and acceleration. They’re also very happy, grippy, and drivey when barely powered/planing. That seems to translate into very good upwind performance, even underpowered, and great maneuverability and ability to accelerate from low speeds to high speeds if you do catch a gust or drop into a wave.
3) having smaller fins near the rails allow the board a ton of control when overpowered- without all that torque from a bigger single fin, the board can happily ride flat and controlled no matter how juiced up you are.
Those are some pretty neat characteristics! Well, I finally got a chance to take the DaCurve out this morning at The Lighthouse- side shore, light power 5.3, lots of current, with waves in the waist to shoulder high range. It was a great test session, because I encountered everything- overpowered/underpowered both on the way out and while on the wave, small gutless waves/top to bottom barreling waves, backside rides/frontside rides, and with the wind shifts and wave wrap I even encountered side on and side off wave riding conditions. Holy smokes, no wonder I’m tired! Here are some thoughts on the performance of the Tabou DaCurve-
“Slot Box” Detail- The Tabou is designed to be sailed with the smaller fins in front of the bigger fins, therefore it is referred to as a “Twinser” even though it has four fins.
Fittings- Four fins and fin boxes can add some weight to a board, but Tabou helped to develop the “Slot Box” which drastically reduces the weight. The fins feel very secure, and the Slot Box allows the user to slide the fins forward and backward to fine tune the ride. Also of note are the footstrap positions- Spacing between front and back is a bit wider than on traditional boards, but the stance feels very natural while up and running. They also offer two angles for the front strap- one normal, and one seemingly parallel with the back strap! I must admit, the inside position feels really good on a wave face, as you can get your foot way over the centerline of the board. Aside from that, the Carbon/Kevlar deck is strong, stiff, and visually stunning in concert with the graphics.
Planing- Once it’s moving, it doesn’t stop- even if the wind does! The board seems to just keep motoring along and creating it’s own lift and drive through lulls like nothing ever happened. I think the tight spacing between the fins might create a bit of a squeeze, which when combined with all the concave helps to keep things moving.
Upwind Ability- Incredible, even when barely powered. No matter how high you point and how hard you push on the fins, it won’t fully spin out. If one fin starts to cavitate, a simple twitch of the back toes will re-engage it.
Jumping- It has enough drive and speed to jump very well. Having a touch more weight directly underfoot seems to add better control in the air. Beware the short length if you do have a bad landing- you’ll want to keep a lot of weight near your back foot to avoid bogging and getting pitched over the front.
In her natural habitat- ohh la la!
Wave Performance- Ooooooooooh Baby, this is where the Tabou really shines!! Putting this board on it’s rail is exceptionally easy and has a nice progressive feel- as in, the harder you push it, the better it responds. I have a feeling that it’s darn near impossible to trip the board up with too tight or too aggressive of a turn; I sure haven’t found that limit. But where it really shines is transitioning from one rail to the other- In the top turn, rolling onto the heel of your back foot feels seamless, and you can bury as much power into that tail as you can possibly muster, without fear of breaking loose or bouncing out or getting tripped up. The real kicker is that after that top turn, as the board rips around 180 degrees in less than a second, it just rolls back around underneath you to redirect you down the line again, like nothing ever happened. Seamless.
In summary, the DaCurve 85 TE is the most natural feeling and radical wave board I’ve ever sailed.
**Disclaimer- I just reread this post before putting it up, and it sounds a bit “sales pitchy.” Please know that it’s all just my opinion, and all from the heart. You’re welcome to demo my board if you want to feel the radness for yourself!**