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With their extensive and well-respected windsurfing lineage, Tabou have a wealth of experience in the world of board building – and boards built for windsurfing take a heavier pounding than any other water sport craft. As they have dived into the world of foiling, they have kept their foil board line up pretty straightforward. The fact is that – whatever your discipline – you are essentially looking for similar characteristics in terms of how your craft enables you to move from an ‘on the water’ to an ‘out of the water’ state. The first board in their line-up, the Pocket Air, is designed to meet the needs for pretty much all winging disciplines. We tested it in the larger and medium sizes and overall were very impressed with the build quality, design attributes and the overall performance of the board, with the many years of experience building windsurf boards in a similar construction shining through.
The Pocket Air has a very solid range of sizes, with eight sizes taking you from 57 through to 137 liters. But what about for your smaller rider, or for other disciplines? Time for another board, time for the appropriately named Tabou Tiny. With three sizes, 26, 36 and 46 liters, the Tiny completes Tabou’s line up ensuring there is a foil board for all riders and for all disciplines. We were a bit torn when it came to choosing a size to test, but decided to take things to an extreme and get the 26 liter and – on arrival – we can confirm: it is tiny! Aside from the low volume, it comes in at just 132cm in length, so it looks more like a skateboard than a foilboard.
Design wise, the features that we liked in the Pocket Air are present, with the stepped up tail and the sharp chine through the rear half of the board fading into a smooth rail at the front. For straps there are a lot of options so you can tweak and tune to get things exactly as you want them.
On the water and with the low volume we tested the Tiny from a tow board perspective, so behind the ski and behind a winch in both flatwater to check its pumping abilities and in waves in the 2-4ft range. The first thing to note is that the Tiny sits comfortably in the water with the perfect amount of buoyancy for a water start. The supplied straps are super comfortable (and adjustable enough to accommodate large feet, which isn’t always the case) and you feel nicely primed with a tow rope in your hands. Once you are up and riding, the Tiny pops up smoothly, the sharp rails through the back of the board provide a very clean release and you’re up and riding. Overall the Tiny provides a very connected feeling to the foil. The solid, stiff, board construction translates into a great pumping experience, and if you are jumping from a bigger board onto this then you will immediately appreciate the difference in feedback and general responsiveness.
Moving into the surf, and the Tiny popped up nicely behind the ski, the pulled in nose (compared to the more ‘compact shape’ Pocket Air) is more forgiving in chop and even in some pretty gnarly windy conditions we could get the Tiny up and riding without any problems – it just wants to foil! On the wave and the Tiny maintains that super-connected feel and has a nice surfy vibe. For touchdowns on the wave the soft rails and the pulled in nose give you that extra bit of forgiveness you need for micro touchdowns and will ensure that you don’t bog the board down and end your ride. At 26L it’s not a super easy board to paddle back out through the waves (especially with an impact verst on) so our best advice would be: don’t get caught inside! Overall though, the Tiny lives up to its name and the low volume and excellent construction and design provide a balanced and impressive riding experience.