TABOU 3S 96L 2015 TEST REVIEW
We have the heavier duty CED model of the 3S on test here as opposed to the lighter LTD version. Sporting a new bottom shape with a double concave throughout (particularly pronounced in the mid-section), it has a wide one-foot-off measurement but quickly narrows in the tail to finish with a swallow-tail. The 3S also has stepped cutouts in the tail – the only board in this group to do so. The fin supplied is a 28cm powerbox foil and the fittings are the same as last year, with thick shock absorbing pads, multiple strap positions and Cobra footstraps.
“The 3S is the “Swiss army knife” of the windsurf world. You can freeride, bump and jump, bust out some freestyle and smack some lips on these boards and they just don’t care! Arguably one of the best all-round boards on the market, the 3S just gets better and better. If you are a first-time gybe master or jumper, or a heavier wave riding warrior, the 3S boards make everyone happy. Fun, easy, fast and friendly you will be impressed in all conditions!”
On the water, the 3S has a very easy and user-friendly nature that becomes increasingly apparent and welcome as the conditions become more severe. But let’s go back to the start… In marginal winds, the 3S 96 releases easily from the water, gathering speed smoothly as power is delivered to reach a fast top speed. It does have a limit and won’t accelerate beyond it, but this ceiling is plenty for most. However, the lasting impression we were left with, having used the 3S is just how planted it felt, gliding over the water and seeming to absorb any impact from jarring chop. It has a progressive rocker-line that starts early, leaving the shoulders high and clear of any trouble, whilst the mid-section of the board seems to just sit there and retain contact with the water without rocking from rail to rail or feeling sticky. As such, you are gifted the opportunity to adopt whichever stance you fancy as the rider. Lock in and drive against the fin, or stand upright and over the board, the 3S just sits there ready and willing. This would be particularly useful for the progressing intermediate as they can stand-up and sheet out in gusts, safe in the knowledge that the board will behave. In the carve, the 3S bites dependably, and holds its rail well, the dome of the deck helping to apply the pressure and keep it engaged. It is smooth, easy and assured rather than loose or sharp, making it an ideal platform to charge confidently into new territories and push your own boundaries.
With an easy, versatile and planted riding style, the 3S is ideal for progressing intermediates whilst retaining enough scope and life to be lots of fun for the experienced real-world coastal sailor as well.
OTHER BOARDS IN THIS TEST: