TABOU FIFTY 125L TEAM 2021 TEST REVIEW
Fast and engaging the Fifty is a true rider’s board; a real masterpiece that will have you hunting for gusts and give you a hunger for speed that you may have never realised you had. A modern freerace platform, equally happy with foil or fin, it is one of the more involving rides here, yet retains a level of control that makes it applicable for most.
The Fifty range of two board sizes emerged from the Tabou ranks late last summer to sit next to their flagship Rocket and Rocket+ freeride boards. It was quite an unexpected addition, considering the larger Rocket+ boards are already foil compatible; designer Fabien Vollenweider obviously thought there was room for further development along the ‘hybrid’ board journey! The Fifty is available in two constructions (although there’s only subtle graphical differences to decipher them), this being the top-end TEAM version aflush with carbon Innegra technology, or there’s the standard LTD version, using a 3 mm PVC sandwich with wood/glass fibre reinforcement inserts. And as you’d expect, both come supplied with a foil ready box, incorporating the ‘soon to become standard’ 8 mm holes, for increased compatibility with all foil brands. Short, yet wide in outline, the Fifty’s one-foot-off measurement tells the real story though, possessing one of the widest measurements here and making rails decidedly parallel from its shoulders to tail. Study the rear more closely and you’ll discover a complex configuration more akin to the latest slalom board, complete with deep angular cutouts. And the drama continues in the underside, with one of the more detailed and interesting bottom shapes, displaying a mix of everything from pronounced doubles, to vee and even a mono-concave thrown in! Supplied with Tabou’s excellent Velcro straps atop of some thin diamond-grooved deckpads, and a quality MFC carbon fin, it would be time to see if the Fifty’s performance is as standout as its colour scheme!
“The Fifty is the consequent evolution of the Rocket+ for riders, who want nothing else but performance in light and stronger winds.”
Used with its supplied fin initially, the Fifty feels compact and relatively small underfoot, but apply the pressure, drive it off the wind through the fin and it needs little more encouragement to release. The footstraps feel more outboard than most and take some good orientation to find; if less well versed there are inset placements to use. Once on the surface of the water and planing though, this thing is like dynamite! It accelerates feverishly and yearns for more power. It provides a high-octane ride and naturally lets the rider slip into a committed stance, their feet comfortably resting against the ergonomic rail shape and driving hard against the fin. Partnered with an efficient sail, it is fast on all points of sail, but particularly off the wind, skipping over the back of chop, whilst retaining its compact, comfortable and dependable nature – impressive for a board of its tail width. That said, unlike a slalom board, if the conditions become too challenging, the Fifty does allow the rider to stand up and ease out, settling it down and sailing at half speed. It provides the time and manners for you to gather your breath, before engaging again and going for another glory run. In the gybe, the Fifty goes require some guidance and rider input, particularly when fully lit and in corrugated seas. Pick your spot and enter with speed and commitment though and it will provide the just rewards – it grips like there is no tomorrow and will throw you out of the turn with interest. Perhaps a little unnerving for the progressing intermediate, it will command the more experienced rider’s attention and keep them coming back for more. And as for its foiling credentials, the Fifty is a born flier! High aspect, low aspect – it can partner them all. We did find it flew nose down with a few, so if the foil has a tail-shim trimming option, all the better. If not, play with the base plate position before the footstrap options until comfortable.
Volume (Quoted): 125 litres
Length: 232 cm
Width: 76 cm
1ft off: 54.5 cm
Bottom shape: Pronounced double concaves with vee from nose to front straps, transitioning to straight double by front straps and into mono concave between the straps, finishing with flat vee in the tail.
Weight (‘Naked’): 7.32 kg
Fins: MFC 40 HF Carbon (Foil Ready Box)
Sail Range: 5.5-8.5m
Sizes Available: 115, 125.
PRICE LTD: £1849.00 TEAM: £2099.00
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