The new Pocket Wave from Tabou unfortunately only arrived near the end of the test trip and we only managed to use it in 5.2m weather, but as it was one of the bigger and faster boards on test we were able to get some good sessions on it nevertheless. The Pocket is a board that has changed considerably through its short life. It started originally as something of an Evo clone (a single concave stubby) before developing its own identity as a very short stubby with high vee and high rocker. This season sees it change again to fill a now very different market slot. The vee has been toned down slightly, particularly under the front straps while the rocker has been changed completely. It has gone from being a very highly rockered waveboard in ’08 to a fast rockered waveboard in ’09, with tail rocker of just 6.5mm. The short, rounded planshape is similar to last year’s 72L model, though in keeping with its extra 3L, a fraction bigger all-round. The main difference is a nose that is even wider proportionally than last year at 40cm.
On the water:
The Pocket Wave certainly feels a bit bigger than the quoted 75 litres, due to its generous all-over width and fast rocker. It could take up to 5.7m at a pinch. With 5.3 it gets going very quickly and easily and accelerates rapidly. It is a great jumping board because of the very solid back foot grip, easy speed and very wide nose giving loads of lift. We found it to be a fun and controllable blasting board that could be gybed very tight, yet still kept speed on exit. Although by the time the board arrived we’d had three weeks practising our waveriding we are still happy to credit the board rather than our improving technique for giving us some of our more memorable rides at the harbour wall. It isn’t outrageously loose and for sure its width might get found out at high speeds but it bottom turned extremely easily even with low power, and gave us very snappy top turns. What’s more, it seemed to make the whole process easier than most other boards and feel less stiff than other fast rockered boards.
At long last Tabou have got rid of their bulky, spongy footstraps and fallen into line with the rest of the windsurfing world to provide basic, comfortable, practical straps. The fin provided is relatively large at 24cm, giving good performance with bigger sails and for jumping and getting upwind. You could get away with smaller in strong winds or if you want to loosen the feel on a wave.
The Pocket Wave has now become a ‘fast rockered stubby’. We didn’t get to use the board in stronger winds so can’t comment on its range, but we’d suspect it to feel quite big and fast with 4.5m and below. However, its all-round performance with 5.3 is very impressive in every department, and it is easier for general sailing than most of the more rockered, single concave stubbies of similar size. We think that it would make an excellent UK waveboard for medium winds and it’s very accessible too, both in the sense that it is easy to use with lesser technique, and that it will allow anybody to usefully access lighter and smaller conditions than most other waveboards.