Sunday, February 17, 2013


Finally, my new 2013 Tabou Pocket Wave is here!!  Now  I just need a good windy day to get my first ride and I can hardly wait.

I had been riding an 2008 Exocet Cross II 94 for the last few years on primarily 4.7 - 5.8 days and it was a great all around board. It excelled in B & J type conditions on the bays and sounds and was O.K. out in the ocean but lacked good wave riding ability.  So I began a long search for a board that would perform much better in the wave riding mode but still give good performance out on the more flatter water conditions.  I ended up deciding on the Tabou Pocket Wave because it has proven wave sailing peformance yet with a slightly flatter rocker and wider tail than its brother the Tabou Da Curve Quad and other pure down the line wave riding designs.

So as soon as I have got my first ride I will post a review and session report here. Stay tuned!


07 March 2013 Update:

So today,  I went to a spot on the New River in North Carolina called Hospital Point which can be good in a North West.  I rigged my Aerotech 5.3 Phantom on the Pocket and decided to go with the tri-fin set up initially thinking the 25cm San Carlos Weed/Wave might be little big for the stronger wind which was then about 22-26knots and gusty.

I initially caught a good long gust cycle and the Pocket easily got up on a plane with a few good pumps. I immediately noticed it seemed quite a bit shorter than I was used to and when up and planing it felt more like an 80-85 liter board in terms of maneuverability. Yet it was very comfortable to ride and super easy to turn. I spent the first couple runs figuring out how best to balance my weight. I had to lighten up on back foot pressure after pushing the fins out from under me a couple of times too but soon had the feel of proper pressure needed.

While fully powered up it felt quite fast but took a little figuring out on how best to distribute your weight along with sail position to get good upwind capability.  However, it still did not seem to go upwind as well as I would have thought it would. I probably just need more time on it to get it dialed in and/or perhaps once I try a slightly bigger center fin while using the side fins this will improve.

On one run back in the wind lulled back quite a bit but the Pocket seemed to have good coasting ability which I liked. Still once off plane and schlogging in lighter winds I found its shorter length a little tricky to manage. Putting my front foot forward of the mast and using minimal back foot pressure, or moving my back foot up forward of the front straps, was the best way to keep it schlogging and not rounding up.  Unfortunately this marked the beginning of a long period of lighter wind and I had to get back to work so wrapped it up. Of course while I was de-rigging the wind cranked back up.

Overall I did not get enough time on the Pocket to really be able to say I love the board yet but it certainly felt great the few runs I had when powered up. It was fast and very maneuverable but I didn't even really begin to explore its turning and jumping potential.  It did seem to require a good amount of power to get my 200+ pounds with full wetsuit etc., up and going but some of that may have been just due to the gusty NW wind conditions. So at least I have got it out on the water and it has given me a taste of its potential and performance. Now I can hardly wait for a more steady wind day and especially the chance to get it out on the ocean and into the waves.


                                     2013 Tabou Pocket Wave 93 
                                           -  Second Session -  

Spot:  Canadian Hole,  Hatteras Island, North Carolina, 16 March 2013

Winds:  Initially: SSW 22-25K and building to 30K.

Weather:  Partly Sunny with intermittent overcast and clouds.

Temperature:  Full wetsuit, boots and hood.   Several others were out with no hood and even bare feet but I would rather be a little too warm than too cold. 

Rider specs:  Weight 200 lbs (91kg), Height: 6'4" (193cm), Years windsurfing: 33 

FINALLY,  the place, the wind, and the conditions aligned and I got my first really good session on my new 2013 Pocket Wave 93.  After waiting all day the winds finally started picking up around 3:00 p.m. I rigged my 5.3 Aerotech Phantom on-shore power wave sail and headed out.  Previously I had switched the center fin on the Pocket Wave to a 20cm fin since my earlier experience with the stock 18cm fin did not give me the upwind capability I thought I needed.  I also decided to not start out with the recommended single fin for non-wavesailing venues as I wanted to get a better feel for how the board felt with the tri-fin set up.

It was a little light at first requiring some pumping to get going but the PW quickly jumped up on a plane and was off. I was immediately impressed with its acceleration and apparent speed. This surprised me as I had almost expected the tri-fins to feel a bit slow but this was not the case.  At first the wider stance between your front and rear feet, evidently typical of the Tabou wave boards, seemed strange. Not uncomfortable but just different to what I was used to.  However, after a few runs I gained comfort with it and didn’t even notice it later.  According to Andy McKinney, local Hatteras Pro sailor and owner of Wind-NC windsurfing shop in Avon, NC;  the benefits of this wider stance will be readily apparent when wave riding.  The Tabou foot straps and board pads felt very comfortable too. I was more appreciative of this later when the wind built more increasing the chop size resulting in a rougher ride at speed.

The wind strength soon increased enough to get the PW up on a plane very quickly.  Its speed in a straight line continued to impress me for a wave board and turns were smooth and effortless.  I found the board easy and wanting to chop hop indicating that it was indeed going to be a great jumper when out in the surf and ocean waves.  It jibed and duck jibed tight or wide with ease but I felt I was only beginning to explore its turning and maneuvering potential. 

After about an hour and a half using the tri-fins, I switched to the single fin mode with the Maui Fin Company - San Carlos Weed Wave 25cm fin. Some kind of weed fins are almost always needed on the sound side at Hatteras and these fins seem to work very well there for both weed shedding but still offering solid wave fin performance as well.   Immediately I noticed the board felt looser, especially in the tail and faster too.  The looser feeling tail was not a negative thing at all but just seemed to make it a more livelier ride which I liked for the typical Canadian Hole B&J conditions with lots of wind chop. 

 Maui Fin Co. San Carlos Weed Wave 25cm on the Pocket Wave

 It then dawned on me why a lot of multi-fin board testers talk about certain boards having a “planted feeling". The sudden switch to the single fin made me realize how glued  to the water or “planted” the PW had felt in the multi-fin mode. I could now see how the multi-fins would make driving the board off the wave face into a bottom turn feel powered and controlled.  Also it would seem that there would be fewer tendencies for unwanted fin breakout with the tri-fin set up when on the wave face. Still this is something I will have to wait until I get a couple of ocean/wave sessions under my belt to know for sure as I have never sailed a mult-fin board before in waves.

The wind then picked up more to around 30 knots and so I rigged down to 4.5. I tried a couple runs with the 4.5 on the PW.  Although I felt the 25cm fin was a little too big for that smaller sail  in those winds, the board itself did not feel oversized and continued to handle well. Still I could tell a slightly smaller fin (23cm ?) would probably have balanced out the rig and board better.  However,  since I did not want to take more time to switch down to a smaller fin, a 22 cm,  I grabbed my 2009 Exocet X-Wave 73 liter and finished off the day riding that with the 4.5. 

So overall, I am very impressed with the Pocket Wave so far. I  am glad I had the opportunity to get such a great session in on it in the flatter waters at the Hole before heading out into the wave the first time too. This will certainly help me to be more familiar with the way the board rides, and to get comfortable with it, before dealing with all the other challenges thrown into the mix typical of wave sailing. 

Additionally, despite its being 93 liters it does really feel like you are riding a 80-85 liter board and is impressive in its wind range.  It gave me all the speed I would ever need for a wave board and based on its demonstrated chop hopping ability, I know it is going to be a super jump board in the waves.   Also, even though it is only 233cm long it felt easy to ride and control at speed. I did not try to quick tack it however, but looking down at the short nose felt it was going to be a bit tricky.  Next time perhaps?   I will be anxious to compare the tri-fins with the single fin in the waves and to see how it performs with a larger 5.7 - 6.0 range sail too.  More reports to come but at this point I am very happy and satisfied with the Pocket Wave!!