The fourth, and final, speed board to be put through its paces by Adrian Jones and the Clones is the Tabou Manta Speed. Check out all of the tests through the links below…
TABOU MANTA SPEED
Length – 228 cm
Max Width – 48 cm
30cm Width – 30 cm
Track from tail – 121.5 cm
Volume – 64 litres
Weight – 5.42 kg
ON THE BEACH
Tabou offer two dedicated speed sizes to their all-encompassing Manta race range. The 48cm, tested here, is the smallest and sits alongside the larger 54cm version.
For 2015, the Manta Speed 48 is unchanged in shape from the previous year and as the importer was unable to get hold of the latest model at the time of this test, the model tested here is in fact the 2014 model – exactly the same except for the paint job!
Looking at the Tabou, there is nothing overly fancy or quirky about the shape, it simply looks like a sensible and natural shape for a speed board. It is relatively straight sided, with a wider nose than the Mistral, yet not as extreme as the JP and a tail width of 30cm, putting it wider than the Mistral, but narrower than the Fanatic and JP.
It simply looks like a sensible and natural shape for a speed board.
Jointly with the JP, the Tabou is the shortest board in test at 228cm, although to look at them, you would not guess this to be true. The more parallel sides of the Tabou give the impression of more length.
Hull weight is on the heavier side of the group at 5.42 kg (similar to the Mistral), but how much difference this makes on a speed run is a matter of debate. It most likely effects acceleration more than top speed and the Tabou certainly didn’t feel adversely heavy underfoot.
When it comes to sail carrying capacity, despite being the second narrowest board in test, the Tabou actually was second only to the JP for large sail carrying capacity. We recon you could push 7.5 m onto this board if needs required. At the top end, the Tabou had tons of control, so was quite comfortable well powered on a 5.5 m.
The first thing that strikes with the Tabou is just how easy it is to sail.
ON THE WATER
The first thing that strikes with the Tabou is just how easy it is to sail. With a twin-cam sail it could almost (and I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but its true) be described as freeride-like in the way it sails. It handles chop extremely well, gets up and going very easily indeed, can be cruised on as well as blasted at full speed and was arguably the best gyber of the group.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking this board isn’t a full-on speed board, however. On a speed course, this board can live with the best of them and the rougher it gets, the more at home the Tabou becomes. Like many Tabou’s we have sailed, the Manta Speed has a very soft and cosseted ride. This may come at the expense of a tiny bit of ultimate top speed, in perfectly flat conditions, but as soon as the water starts to chop up, the Tabou starts to cash in.
Despite the measurements slightly contradicting this statement, the tail of the board felt a little wider than everything but the JP, which definitely helped give that impression of being easy to ride. The Manta also went upwind extremely well (second only to the JP).
Tight reaching into a speed run, the Tabou stayed well planted and controlled, allowing you to handle the maximum size of rig into the run-up. As the board headed off onto the run, the smoothness became apparent. It doesn’t have that feeling of electric sharp acceleration that you get with the Mistral or perhaps the Fanatic, this may be due to the slightly heavier weight and more control orientated hull shape, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fast. On the GPS, The Manta appeared every bit as quick as the Fanatic and JP, with only the Mistral edging it consistently. As conditions got rougher, it’s advantage over the others became more apparent.
Needless to say, the ride was very smooth and comfortable with the board doing the majority of the work and only requiring as much input from the rider as they wanted to give at any point in time. The front strap did feel a little more outboard than on the other three boards, but generally foot comfort and control was very good.
The Tabou Manta is a board that you can really grow in to. It’s such a well mannered board that you can learn the basics of how to sail it, using a twin-cam sail and will be welcomed by its almost freeride like control and sailability. As you become more confident, you can then gear it up with a dedicated race rig, feeling rightly confident of holding your own against pretty much any production speed board of this size, particularly when conditions start to chop up a bit.