TABOU ROCKET WIDE LTD 100L 2017 TEST REVIEW
Tabou were one of the last brands to adopt the wide-thin concept, but when the Rocket Wide came to market in 2015, they were immediately held in high regard, and for good reason. 2017 marks a complete refresh of the Rocket Wide series, this 100L version being a new addition to compliment three larger sizes. It has a distinctly business-like outline – wide and rounded, it keeps a lot of width in its shoulders and tail to make the rails particularly parallel when compared to others in the group. On the underside the rails are hard and defined throughout the board’s length, using a degree of tuck to aid cornering, whilst Fabien’s signature use of concaves and deep cutouts in the tail are still very much present. On the topside, the deck shape is flat and plays host to a multitude of strap options, this LTD version coming supplied with relatively thin deckpads, the usual excellent Tabou Velcro straps and a resin-transfer moulded 34cm fin.
“The Rocket wide is our modern take on the Freeride board. We took the award-winning Rocket and made it shorter, wider, thinner, and faster. The end result is a board that is soft to ride, easy to gybe, and fast in the straights.”
Having had a lot of experience with the Rocket Wides over the past few seasons and gained a lot of positive feedback from clients at the centre, we had high hopes for these new contenders. And we have to say we haven’t been disappointed. The 100 has a degree of ease that belies its staggering ability. Stable and dependable at rest, it can carry a 7.5m sail effortlessly and responds positively and instantly as power is applied. Unlike its predecessors, it seemed to require little to no input from the rider to make the most of these light airs, happy to take the lead over a passive riding style. One thing we would say is that with these larger sails, we did find it benefited from use with a larger fin area – a 38cm seemed to be ample. Comfortably powered 6.5m and down and the supplied fin worked excellently, retaining traction even when pushed hard, encouraging the rider to plough more power into it. And this is where the Rocket Wide really excels. It is extraordinarily fast for a freeride board, and yet never seems to trip or stutter, even in the harshest chop. It remains planted and settled underfoot, almost trimming itself on autopilot, flattering even the experienced rider. With the thinner deckpads we did think the feedback would become quite hard in challenging seas, compared to its rivals. And yet, the Rocket Wide’s nature means that the feedback provided is just right, the strap’s positions and thinner deckpads providing a secure connection. In the gybe, the board’s speed and planted nature can be used to great advantage, entering the turn inspired, the board biting and responding to foot pressure, meaning you’re exiting at speed before you know it.
The Rocket Wide series has a new pretender in its ranks, with the ease and manners of a modern freeride hull that masks its raw potential. As the conditions turn on, this board could undoubtedly embarrass its slalom thoroughbred cousins.
Other sails in this test: