TABOU DA CURVE 86L 2016 TEST REVIEW
The 2016 Da Curve comes in four sizes, the largest being the 96, which remains unchanged from 2015, whilst the three smaller sizes are completely new shapes, evolved from the prototype used by Thomas Traversa to win the PWA wave title in 2014. With a fuller rail, flatter deck and wide point moved further back towards the front straps, the idea was to make the board more versatile in both the conditions it can be used in and the riding style that it compliments. New for 2016 are the heavily swept back Carver side fins that the board is delivered with, said to be loved by the team riders for making the board faster in transition. The board retains five slot boxes so that it can be set up as a quad, yet only comes with the thruster set up for the new season.
“These boards are so fast! I catch more waves because I can plane even when the wind is light. And on Hookipa waves, the boards accelerate through the turns. This means I can do higher aerials, and more tweaked aerials because I have more time in the air. I can throw more spray too. And the best part is that I can do more turns on a wave because the board is so fast and responsive.” Graham Ezzy
Unlike its predecessors, that used to feel smaller than their quoted volume, the 86 Da Curve feels its size, thanks to its fuller rails and flatter deck, making it capable of carrying larger rigs and more weight easily. Provide power and it rises from the water rapidly, accelerating to an impressive speed. It is certainly lively and crisp underfoot, its speed bestowing the capacity for serious airtime and antics. But be aware that Tabou have put their footstrap plugs wider apart than most, whilst their straps are quite soft, so spend time adjusting them correctly according to your personal taste. The Da Curve’s speed is also a definite feature during wave riding, requiring time for some to adapt their style for being so quick on the face. With the board’s wide point in line with the front straps, yet its tail being one of the narrowest in the group, it is easy to understand why any weight transfer between front and back foot has such a crisp and sharp response. It simply loves to be pushed into a full-rail bottom turn, driving hard and gripping through a powerful carve, whilst losing none of its speed for the top turn. In small cross-onshore waves it initially felt a bit out of place, like a Ferrari on a rally car course, but by having the confidence to rock back aggressively on the back foot, the Da Curve responded well, whipping through a tighter turn to make the section.
One of the fastest boards in the group, the Da Curve takes time to master, but embrace its speed and it rewards with sharp crisp response, and masses of grip.
Other sails in this test: