TABOU ROCKET WIDE 110L LTD 2018 TEST REVIEW
The Rocket Wide has been in the Tabou lineup for four seasons now, sat alongside the longstanding freeride Rocket as their modern ‘wide and thin’ offering. The 110 is one of four models in the range, whose designs remain unaltered for 2018, but come dressed in a cleaner graphic and sporting the new Tabou logo. Available in either standard CED construction, or their more high-end LTD technology, the 110 has easily the most complex bottom shape amongst this test group, with a massive double concave in the nose before whittling down to a mono-concave under the rider’s feet and cut-outs in the tail. Thin in profile and flat on the deck, the cubed deckpad becomes diamond grooved under the heels, and houses plenty of footstrap options, the inner row of the front strap oriented forwards and inboard to provide simplicity for those progressing. One of the lighter boards here, its design is quite clean and uncomplicated on first inspection, but does its expressive hull design give a hint to a more dramatic character? One other point worthy of note is that the 110’s two larger siblings (120 and 135) are now available in foil-ready option, fitted with deep Tuttle boxes.
“We wanted to make a faster Rocket, so we made it shorter, wider, thinner. The end result is a marriage of freeride and speed: fast in the straights, soft to ride and easy to gybe. The extra width of the Rocket Wide increases planing surface for better acceleration and to carry speed through lulls, which is good in gusty winds or on freshwater lakes.”
With a width of 73cm, the Rocket Wide is stable and balanced underfoot at rest. It does like a bit of rider input to really get going early, turning off the wind and punching it clear of the water with a few well-timed pumps. Find the straps and you can really drive hard off the back foot, the extra width in the tail giving plenty to push against. The ride is loose and engaging, the board sitting high on the water’s surface and skimming over the crests of the chop. It was instantly a lot of fun and reminded us yet again why the Rocket Wide has been so popular amongst the team over the years. If anything, this 110 feels more alive and nervous than the original – not overly demanding like a slalom board, yet the difference in nature between these Rocket Wides and the passive Rocket is more apparent than before. As the wind increases, the 110 really begins to fly on its tail, as the headwind is channelled under the board’s nose by the prominent concaves. As a result you really feel connected to the fin, sensing its level of bite and grip. It’s the one part of the package that we have reservations about – off the wind it is incredibly fast and dependable, yet driving upwind we do think the fin is, on occasion, a little sensitive to an over zealous pilot. In the gybe the Rocket Wide enters with all its speed, and as such responds best to a direct commanding style. But be brave and the rewards are instantly given, the board cutting a beautiful arc, which can be varied at will and finished off with plenty of exiting speed.
With nigh on freerace capabilities, the Rocket Wide is a compelling board to sail, with a loose and exciting nature that will have the most experienced and ardent rider coming back for more.
Other sails in this test: