3S PLUS 106L
2019 TEST REVIEW.
The 3S Plus is a completely new range for 2019, sitting alongside the brand’s popular (and design unaltered) 3S Classic series as the more “freewave oriented” option. The 106 is the second largest in a four board lineup and comes in either CED construction, or LTD as tested here. It retains the short compact tail outline of its predecessor (the 3S), yet compliments it with a longer rail line and overall length, finishing in a more conventional rounded nose. The rails have been thinned and refined in the tail for grip and manoeuvrability, whilst the wingered step in the rear helps to retain width and improve acceleration, before reducing quickly for benefits in both speed and looseness on the wave face. Supplied with a stiff G10 central fin from MFC along with two moulded side fins, it is an interesting looking contender – a hybrid of both conventional and new-school design paths. For example, the footstrap plugs (and therefore rider’s stance) are placed quite far back on the board and the rocker-line has a “medium to high entry” (i.e. there’s plenty of rocker flat), much akin to a contemporary compact concept. And yet the rounded nose with its elongated shape and considerable late kick has its footing firmly in time-honoured design. There’s plenty of adaptability in the 3S Plus setup, with a Powerbox central box to house larger fins, and plenty of distance between the inboard and outboard strap positions. The dome of the deck
provides comfort whatever the setup, and as with the Da Curve there are no less than six front footstrap holes, bestowing the option for an extra wide stance, if desired.
“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.
Setup with outboard straps and a 30 cm single fin, the 3S Plus was first tested on flat water and we have to say, it has lost none of its predecessor’s straight-line sparkle. If anything, it has become even easier to sail. It is quite passive in nature, requiring little intervention from the rider to release early onto the plane, the width maintained in the tail before the wingers helping to support the weight of larger riders and rigs. Comfortable underfoot, the dome of the board’s deck combines with the grippy dual density pads for a secure connection, encouraging the rider into quite a locked in, committed stance. From here, the speed and performance of the 3S Plus can be explored – it is certainly no slouch and drives well off its fin to reach an impressive speed. If anything, it could be partnered with an even larger fin to gain extra flight and release. Changing to an inboard three strap setup and its supplied fins, the 106 transforms into a much more manoeuvre focussed machine. It still planes early and willingly, providing plenty of float and drive to get out beyond cross-onshore breakers. Its shoulders sit high and clear of danger, never sticking or stalling whilst the ride over confused chop is smoothed out by the board’s hull, making it congenial to use for long sessions in challenging conditions. On a wave face it does feel quite big and there is certainly plenty of rail to use. Balanced on both feet, you can plough it in forcefully through the front foot to encourage the chunky shoulders to bite, shifting your weight to the back foot and using the thin tail to tighten the arc mid-transition. Feeling fluid and willing to turn, its response is measured and relaxed, yet push more forcefully and it has enough grip and drive to satisfy the more demanding rider as well. The fins are right under the rider’s feet, providing real connection and return. Fun and playful, it maintains its speed effortlessly, making the most of small waves or less than ideal conditions.
The board that has been missing from the Tabou range for some time, the 3S Plus has a true all-round nature, with real freewave capabilities using its supplied fins, whilst retaining the speed and release of its predecessor to excite on flat water.
Other sails in this test: