TABOU POCKET 97L 2017 TEST REVIEW
The 97 is the largest sibling in the new compact Pocket range, designed for fast turning in onshore and side shore conditions. We tried the 87L version in last month’s compact wave board test and were really taken by its ease, speed and turning potential, so we started this test with high hopes for this 97. Taking a closer look at its design, it is very chunky, trying to cram volume into its short 218cm length. Possessing the same deep-channelled, double-diamond and wingered tail design as the 87, it has a particularly wide 1ft off tail width measurement, due to the wingers starting early. The stance is moved back on the board, the double-plugged back strap right over the fin, whilst the contoured dual density pads provide excellent traction. It’s an eye-catching design with its domed deck and a familiar pointed nose shape giving way to such a complex design in the tail. And as the only ‘compact’ design in the group, some 11cm shorter than the longest here, it would be interesting to see how it faired…
“We tested every kind of nose and tail shape, and the new Pocket features our favourite combination: a double-diamond tail and a normal nose, for a mix of manoeuvrability and comfort. The short length and winger outline make turning radically easy, which allowed us to use a very straight rocker so that the Pocket accelerates even when the wind is light or the current is strong.”
Stepping on the Pocket, it instantly feels the shortest and most compact – something a little bit different to the others in the group. The balance is easy to adjust to and it tracks well off the plane, yet requires a positive push off the wind to release quickly. Once going, the Pocket feels alert and alive, the ride more clattery than we can remember of its smaller sibling. It feels fast and on the limits, yet comparing your speed to others, you realise it is more to do with the character of the board than your actual speed. And as with the 87, the rear deckpad has a raised heel cushion, enabling you to reposition the backfoot out of the strap and push effectively against the fins to go upwind. Its stance on the water is quite corky, sitting high in the water, its nose and shoulders well clear of any danger. There is certainly a lively, responsive nature to its sailing style, encouraging the rider to hit oncoming ramps and throw the Pocket into the aerial trickery of their choice. It also really inspires you to push hard in the turn during a wave ride … yet this is where we came a little unstuck. If you drive through the front foot, the Pocket 97 tends to scrub its speed off and stall! It took us several waves and quite a bit of playing to find the board’s sweet spot, requiring a much more upright style, pivoting through the back foot. It is better for wave slashes than hard drawn-out turns, and in our opinion worked better in cross, even cross-offshore conditions than cross-onshore. In overpowered winds, its alert nature and high riding stance began to count against it, leading us to believe it’s best suited as the largest board in someone’s quiver for making the most of float-and-ride to comfortably powered conditions, in cross to cross-offshore waves.
Whilst not possessing the same spark as its smaller sibling, the 97 provides an alert and exciting ride in comfortably powered conditions, responding best to a positive back-foot biased riding style.
Other sails in this test: