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If you’re a modern freerider interested in a high performance board and a Foiler looking for a high-performance convertible option, a quick skim of any Tabou Rocket Wide review will quickly illuminate why the Rocket Wide is one of the industry’s most popular freestyle convertible foil boards.
We like to know a little about a manufacturer because the origin story and culture of a water sport company can really speak to the level of quality you can expect in their gear and the ability of their designers to sincerely understand a rider’s wants and needs with firsthand experience.
In this article, we’ll also explore the benefits of a convertible board and why a high-performance convertible is such a rare gem.
The Tabout Origin Story
The Tabou brand was founded in 1991 in France by Fabien Vollenweider, a renowned producer of windsurfing boards.
Together with family group[ brands such as Gaastra, the brands’ previous importer decided to follow his dreams in a different direction and the business was taken over by its current owner, a longtime Motor Sport racer and shop owner who’d been delving into a passion for windsurfing for more than 35 years.
Turning this longtime passion into a full time pursuit allowed a renewed focus on the brand and product development that really demonstrates the passion this team has for windsurfing and water sports.
The company is home to five of the industry’s leading brands: Gaastra Sails, Tabou Boards, Vandal Sails,
Gaastra Kites, ERD fins.
Dedicated windsurfing and foil boards versus convertible boards
When you look at reviews and product highlights for the Tabou Rocket Wide, it might be helpful to consider the benefits of a convertible board versus those boards designed solely for windsurfing or foiling.
Foil boards are great for turning light wind days into an energetic ride with little rider input.
This concept of windsurfing now stretches across nearly every waterboard sport to increase the days riders have to enjoy the water.
Foil setups put a different stress, and more stress, on a board’s hardware than standard fins so a foil board needs to be well constructed, reinforced, and come with heavier duty hardware to create a secure connection to the foil that withstands stress for a high quality degree of durability.
Dedicated windsurfing boards are usually better for higher and gustier winds, making these days sailable with design elements that afford a level of control that harnesses wilder winds for a more exhilarating, speedier ride.
Convertible boards can offer riders the opportunity to enjoy light wind days and gustier, high wind days.
They can be a real game changer for riders in areas where wind and weather patterns vary and change quickly.
The problem with some convertible board options comes down to durability and connection: the problem is often in the connection.
A high quality convertible board should incorporate a foil connection box that will accommodate fins for higher winds days but features construction and design technology with ample durability to create a secure connection that withstands the added force of a foil setup.
The Tabou Rocket Wide is just such a board.
The vision behind the Tabou Rocket Wide
Tabou’s claim of their Rocket Wide design explain their approach to this unique board shape:
“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 the Rocket Wide, Tabou designers had a specific goal in mind: they set out to create a board that was shorter, wider, thinner, and faster.
Shape and surface area resulting from the shorter, wider, thinner outline married the characteristics of a freeride board with those board characteristics best known for generating speed.
The extra width of the Rocket Wide is key for generating better acceleration because it increases planing surface.
Slalom features in the tail, too, make the Rocket Wide a competitive board that stands up against race boards while the planing surface makes the Rocket Wide a great choice for gusty wind days or fun on freshwater lakes.
Construction options in the Rocket Wide lineup
The Rocket Wide is available in two constructions: the CED and the LTD constructions.
The CED construction features a PVC full sandwich design. Utilizing super high density PVC foam and fiberglass reinforcements, this lightweight board option is streamlined and durable.
The LTD model features advanced materials layering technology to incorporate fiberglass, PVC high density foam, and wood reinforcements around and E.P.S. core.
This construction is floatier and feistier on the water, more lightweight and responsive than even the CED model.
Optimized for Easy Foil Performance
In 2018, Tabou developed two sizes in the Rocket WWide lineup that are uniquely optimised to enhance foil performance.
The Rocket Wide’s shaping in itself makes this board a natural for easy foiling.
The board’s design for natural acceleration paired with a foil creates a quick lift to carry you out of the water and, even when winds are light, create a forward flying freedom.
With its wider, flat deck design, the Rocket Ride provides comfort while riding on the foil and plenty of control.
Rocket Wide boards come equipped with a reinforced deep tuttle foil box.
This hardware is engineered to withstand the increased pressure caused by a foil, enhancing durability and security.
The Rocket Wide on the water
Understanding the Rocket Wide’s design features helps explain the performance you can expect from this board on the water.
The added width of the Rocket Wide makes this board stable and allows riders to feel more balanced when the board is at rest in the water.
Riders will want to put in just a little effort to really get the Rocket Wide moving.
Turning off the wind and punching the board clear of the water with a few strategic pumps will help riders get the board going earlier and faster.
Driving hard off the back of the board is a good idea, too, and one riders can pull off easier when they find the straps.
The straps and extra width of the board provide a rider plenty to push off against!
In high wind days, the convertible Rocket Wide delivers a magical freeride experience.
Gusty winds and the waves they generate are quickly mastered by switching out the foil for the Rocket Wide’s standard G10 fin.
Though it takes a little rider input, the Rocket Wide generates enough speed for a loose and engaging ride.
The board sits higher on the water, high rough to skim over the crest of chop.
The ability to master chop is met with the board’s ability to really harness the power of gusty winds.
With a more lively, nervous feel that Tabou’s traditional Rocket lineup.
The unique shaping at the board’s nose and tail take the energy of headwinds and channel the water to generate great acceleration.
The one consideration that might be worth keeping in mind is the standard G10 fin that comes with the Tabou Rocket Wide.
If you’re running on gusty wind days with the fin setup rather than the foil, the fin can make the board more sensitive.
It has a high degree of bite and grip and responds best to a rider with a direct and commanding riding style.
Tabou Rocket Wide Review: Precursor to the 2020 Tabou Rocket+
In 2019, Tabou took the Rocket Wide and the Freerace Speedster board, melding the best design elements of each to create the new Rocket+.
Available in three larger foil-ready sizes and featuring two construction options, the new Tabou Rocket + is the natural evolution of the Rocket Wide’s design and technology.
This true hybrid board features deep tuttle foil connections and intricate shaping with all of the hallmarks of designer Fabian Vollenweider’s most popular and competitive Tabou board designs such as a pronounced double concave.
The Tabou Rocket Wide remains available in its 2018 edition, but the brand has focused on the new Rocket+ as a natural next step, building on the 2018 Rocket Wide design to create a board more aptly described as a hybrid board than a convertible board.
Riders can still find the 2018 Rocket Wide in stores, through online retailers, and through windsurfing community gear exchanges but the model is no longer available on Tabou’s website.
Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com Image ID: 192403841 (NOTE: Image does not depict product discussed in article)