The low down
The Manta is Tabou’s hardcore slalom line and the FR is a slightly detuned (FreeRace) version of the full-on race model. The range consists of five different sizes and it comes in carbon Biax Sandwich construction.
At a glance
The Tabou is the shortest in the test as well as being the narrowest in the tail, with a rounded nose and tail shape. The hull features deep double concaves up front, into a shallow vee in the tail. On the deck it is flat with soft, raised pads for better leverage. It has a Tuttle fin box and is supplied with a 40cm Tabou slalom fin.
The Manta FR is an easy board to get along with, the deck is nice and flat and it is stable under foot, it does feel slightly on the small side however, so heavier riders might notice this while off the plane and also around tacks, as the nose is also quite short. Off the beach it accelerates very quickly with minimum effort required from the rider, allowing you to get quickly back in to the straps. The ride from the straps is incredibly comfortable, the footpads are very cushioned and the front foot is slightly ramped for even more comfort at speed. The double concaves in the nose are very effective at soaking up the chop, which makes this board very quick on the straights regardless of the conditions. It is also easy to gybe in all conditions, particulally when it’s rough, it carves a fast and predictable arc, favouring a wider turn at high speeds, it can also turn tighter if required, thanks to the narrower tail.
The Manta FR is a fast, fun and competitive board. It was the only ‘Free Race’ board in the test but it did very well keeping up with the more hardcore boards, particularly in rougher conditions and you also don’t need to try and sail this board fast, it just does it naturally, making it highly suitable to a very wide audience. It does however lack a little bit at the ultimate top end, where full-on race boards have that extra bit of juice to squeeze out.