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I've recently purchased a used Tabou 3S Plus 2019. Even though it is a freewave windsurfing board from a few years ago (but I don't think the subsequent shapes are very different), I appreciated its qualities so much that I consider useful to publish this review.


Tabou 3s Plus 2019: a fantastic freewave windsurf board


After having tested the board in the most varied conditions in recent months, I believe I can share an exhaustive opinion. Vollenweider, Tabou's shaper, has done another miracle, designing a very fun board, and with incredible versatility. I used the board, with great satisfaction, from the absolutely flat water conditions of Lake Silvaplana, in Engadine, Switzerland, up to the waveriding conditions, with waves even close to two meters and steep (and side/side on wind) of spots like Carro, France, or La Punta/La Tonnara, in Corsica.

But let's proceed in order, and first examine the design of the board, and then move on to its behavior in the water. The test refers to the 96 liter volume.


Design and technical specifications

The Tabou 3S plus 96 2019 is 229 cm long and 61 cm wide. But these two data alone are not enough to understand the design of the board and to figure out its performance.

The rear part of the 3S Plus maintains a good width towards the stern (to get easy planing), and then tapers sharply.

The 3S Plus has a more central distribution of volumes (thickness also counts), a circumstance that can also be seen well during navigation (the board floats well, maintaining a central body stance, and also recovers well from initial position errors, if the rider moves back to the center). The space (shortest distance between the bow and the mast foot) and the volume of the 3S at the bow are relatively small, and this is also noticeable during navigation. The 3S tends to sink a bit when riding without planing, even just with some chop, if the rider's weight is too advanced. Probably, it is also better to keep the position of the front straps not too forward, to better let the bow come out of the water. The scoop of the 3S Plus (see later) partially compensates for this feature.

The weight of the board indicated by the manufacturer is 7.0 kg.

For the 3s Plus 96, the sail range recommended by Tabou is from 4.2 to 6.6. It comes with a trifin set up, with an excellent central MFC TF-FW 20 fins (power box - therefore not adjustable), and two side MFC TF 11 - slot boxes. The central fin has a very backward position. The fact that the central fin is not adjustable is the only flaw I find with this board. I would have preferred a US Box or a Slot Box.



Windsurf Tabou Pocket 3S 006

Windsurf Tabou Pocket 3S 004


Behaviour in the water

The 3S is a board with good entry into planing and a lot of speed when turning. The standard fins for the trifin trim are slightly undersized, or at least they are suitable for use in strong winds and small sails, or in medium-small waves (in this case, there are no problems getting into planing). With these fins, to make the board glide you have to bear a little, and then you can ride close-hauled again. As a thruster, I tried to use it in waveriding spots with waves up to 2 meters (Carro, France), with two K4 Stubby 11 as laterals, which made the board very agile and soft underfoot when surfing.

The performance, as regards the entry into planing, improves a lot if the board is set as single fin. I tried it with considerable satisfaction with an MFC K-One 27 and a 23.

As mentioned, the bow of the 3S sinks quite easily, although by returning the weights to the center of the board, the bow comes out of the water easily. You need to be careful in gusty winds because the board tends to catapult if you maintain a position that is too advanced. This peculiarity, however, could help in landing a nice speed loop or forward.

To get the board into planing, you need to bear a little and quickly move your body back, pushing with your front leg. It should be highlighted, however, that, with good quality wind, with an efficient fin, and if the coupled sail is of adequate size, the board comes into planing very quickly. With 15-16 knots of wind, I tested the board in single fin setup, with an MFC K-One 27 fin (fantastic fin), and with an Ezzy Wave 5.8 2021 sail (another excellent product). It was an almost mystical experience.

Once planing, the Tabou 3s Plus LTD gives wonderful sensations: it is very fast, and flies with the bow high on the water, managing the chop perfectly. It easily overcomes wind lulls, maintaining the glide in a rather stable manner.


Windsurf Palombaggia Corsica 001

LaPunta Corsica 1


When manoeuvring, when planing, the board guarantees truly remarkable momentum in fast tacks, and supports the body weight well, on the stern, in power jibes, even if you forget to maintain a good forward position. Even in Power Jibe, the board retains speed and planing for a long time. In short, the mix of freestyle shape in the back and waveboard shape in the front determines a perfect balance, giving this board a true freewave soul.

But the occasion in which the Tabou 3S Plus surprised me the most was when I tested it in waveriding conditions with medium-small waves (1-2 meters), and wind around 20 knots (Carro, France, with wind from E/SE, for those who know the spot). In addition to having confirmation of the board's ability to fly with the bow high on the water even in rough sea conditions (and not just chop), during the session, the board surprised and impressed me with its ability to handle waves, even steep ones, up to 2 metres. The bottoms and changes of direction were effective and sufficiently sharp (it is still a freewave), and the board, thanks also to the relatively wide rear part, was always fast, descending from the wave. As mentioned, a pair of K4 Stubby side fins made it slightly more "radical". It goes without saying that the board, even in side-on wind conditions, accelerates and quickly enters planing, overcoming the first breakers with extreme ease.

I fell in love with another Tabou.....

Aloha. Fabio


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