TABOU MANTA 71 116L 2014 TEST REVIEW REPORTS
The Manta line is massive with eight sizes from small speed-specialist, high-wind shapes to light-wind weapons. The Manta shares a stable with the freerace Speedster (See upcoming test in June issue on the 108L 69), the Thunder – a fast freeride board designed to be sailed under less, or average power compared to full-on race gear – and the sporty freeride Rocket.
‘We moved some of volume from the nose to the footstrap area (to have more power under the feet) and also increase the overall volume number to get better acceleration and be sure that the Manta 71 can carry a 8,6 sail easily. We also totally changed the V configuration by moving from a deep accelerating V to a low constant V open in the nose. With straightening the side rocker line in between the front strap and mast track this gives much better acceleration and better top speed. It also helps to carry a bigger sail. The new tail with double outline behind back foot straps (like 2014 Manta 85 and 81) allow to have the foot more parallel and more power for low end. We also reduced the stance here to get a more lively board.’ (Sic.)
Last time we tested the Manta it really felt like a forgiving and friendly freerace or fast freeride board (a really fast one!), so we were looking forward to jumping on the new one given the super tough conditions in Tenerife. But, water state aside, the latest incarnation feels like a totally different animal. With an insane level of acceleration (yes, fin dependent of course), the Manta has you instantly up to top speed and the adrenaline pumping, flying ‘nervously’ over all the chop and swell like no other. (We used 38 – 42-cm. fins on this model.) As usual we enjoyed the Tabou deck pads and generally the ride is quite even-footed and not too energy sapping at all. This board needs to be paired with drafty, powerful sails that keep the nose under control as, with all the volume behind the mast foot, it needs pinning down big time – but boy is it worth it! This is one incredibly exciting shape to sail on, fully wound, flying over savagely rough water while you enjoy the ‘red mist’! Around the corners we found it a little more challenging and technical to gybe, although generally this 71 seemed to favour a naturally tighter arc. Although we didn’t get much in the way of low-end conditions, we reckon this board’s best at the bottom end of it’s wind range because, as it stands, you need some serious balls to open up the insane top speed near the higher limits!
How fast dare you go? Can you handle the acceleration? A genuine ‘flyer’, the Manta 71 is some piece of work for those who enjoy scaring the bejaysus out of themselves in tough-going conditions. Naturally it’d be sensational in the flat, but if this board doesn’t get your heart beating and give you an afterglow similar to the buzz of riding big waves, then you’re probably not even alive.
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