TABOU 3S+ CIF 96L
2020 TEST REVIEW
The Tabou 3S is a fantastic freewave all-rounder, whose ease of use and practicality belie its potency when pushed. A one board solution with masses of range – its broad suggested sail size range is not an exaggeration!
The 3S Plus range was introduced last year as a complete range of new-school compact crossover designs sitting alongside the more established ‘3S Classic’ designs of previous seasons. Whilst the three Classic boards championed the merits of the single fin setup, the four boards in the Plus range all came supplied with thruster fins, aimed squarely at the freewave sector. There is no change to the lineup for 2020, apart from a new blue and orange colour scheme and the introduction of Carbon Innegra Flex (CIF) as the brand’s premium construction option. Looking at the 96 in more detail, its outline is full and rounded, with width retained in the tail and shoulders to extend the length of its parallel mid-section. There is plenty of rocker flat in the board, before the nose rises quickly for a bit of kick at the end. The tail of the board is quite the feature though, with pronounced wingers feeding distinctly tapered rails in the swallow tail. This thinning of the tail would result in a significant reduction in volume and float, were it not for a mound mushrooming up through the centre of the board, around the central finbox and under the back deckpad. Supplied with MFC thruster fins, four Velcro straps and soft, thick dual density deckpads, like the Da Bomb tested last month. The 3S+ benefits from six front strap options in the inboard position, to account for differing wave riding stances and styles.
“We experimented a bit with the new 3S+ and came up with a great mix of a modern tail and a more classic nose that allows both fun on the straights and in manoeuvres.” Fabien Vollenweider.
We tested the 3S+ 106 last year and summed its review up by saying it was, at last, the board that was missing in the Tabou range. If anything, this 96 litre version of the 3S+ simply goes on to cement that belief we have. It has a very calm user-friendly and passive character when you first step on, but ask more of it and it simply delivers. Feeling stable and voluminous underfoot at rest, it can carry weight easily, its wide shoulders and tail providing the ease and stability to mask over any clumsy footwork. It has genuine inboard and outboard strap positions, which combined with a fin change can dramatically alter the nature of this board. Set with inboard straps and the MFC thruster fins supplied, the 3S+ responds willingly as a gust arrives and it’s turned off the wind, accelerating smoothly. As with the Da Bomb tested last month, the Tabou deck pads and straps are some of the softest around, offering great comfort, but similarly need to be adjusted correctly, otherwise they can feel sloppy, reducing the sense of security and feel available. Naturally fast and efficient, the 3S+ is large yet dependable at all times, cranking upwind and being easy to manoeuvre around a break or through transitions. The part that really surprised us with the 96 was its performance in the waves however. Unwaveringly well-mannered to the point of being quite understated, when you drop it down a face and ask it to turn, you can’t help but be taken aback by the fantastic amount of grip available through its rails and drive through its fins. Push hard on the next ride and it rewards your input with interest. Keeping its speed through the turn, we did find the tail’s width noticeable on the cut-back, requiring more time to set the rail and more energy to really execute expressively … but such is the ease and energy of the bottom turn, that asking to do it again is no hardship. Changing the straps to outboard positions and fixing an efficient 30 cm fin in place, the 3S+ becomes a blasting advocate, capable of flying on its fin whilst furthering its top speed.
Volume (Quoted): 96L
Length: 229 cm
Width: 61 cm
1ft off: 40.9 cm
Bottom shape: Rounded vee in the nose, to double with slight vee to the front straps, where the vee increases, becoming flat vee in the tail.
Weight (‘Naked’): 6.95 kg
Fins: MFC TF/FW_200 G10 (Power) + 2 x MFC TF 11 RTM (Slot)
Sail Size: 4.2-6.6m
Sizes Available: 86,96, 106,116.
Price: LTD £1799 CIF £1999
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP