Monday, May 21, 2012

First Look at the Tabou DaCurve Quadster

This is some basic information on the 85L '12 Dacurve quadster via WindNC.  I do not have enough short board wave experience to say where the board ranks against others but since there is so little information out there on it I wanted to make this stuff available for anyone thinking of trying the board.  If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity certainly try a demo.

Though this is a DTL pure wave board I'm planning to use it as a do it all wave and high wind board.  I really like that it isn't so easy to get overpowered on the quads so high end range is nice.  I tried the 85L '11 Dacurve last Fall in gusty NE and felt comfy in the sound.  There are 5 fin boxes on the '12 so there are lots of experimental fin setups to try.

The '11 on the right is quad only.

The 85L comes stock with quad 9cm/16cm or thruster combo 9cm/18cm.  I'm not sure what the fin area works out to- I'm working on finding this out.  So far I have run standard quad in some side on chest to head high waves.  In flat water I tried standard 9cm/18cm thruster and even 16cm/18cm thruster.  You can imagine the lift you get from 2x16 + 1x18 fins.  I thought the drag was certainly noticeable but the upwind ability substantial.  With lighter wind and a 5.8 the board was still really maneuverable and it even helped with the pop for bump and jump.  This needs more testing but I liked the additional lift in light wind and the rear center fin seems more tolerant to imperfect board trim.  I was blown away with overall stability when slogging and had no trouble with helitacks.  Helitacks on a 85L board are not trivial so this must be a very forgiving platform.  I'm 70kg and though it never occurred to me to try I think I could even up haul on this puppy. 

One experiment that I'm also interested in trying is running quad with the 16s up front and 9s in back.  I know this also gives up tuned maneuverability but it would be interesting to see if this helps with upwind ability in side on conditions.  Here are some measurements I made on the bottom shape.

The first 3ft is mono concave like an upside down spoon.  Approaching the 4ft point a double concave begins that flows into a double concave with vee.  The vee becomes proud approaching the fins.

Near the fins

Spoon shape

High riding nose.

My initial experience on the board is really positive.  As a pure wave board it requires that you drive it almost exclusively with the front foot.  When the board is trimmed and gets planing the nose rides pretty high so this helps confidence in chop.  One thing I've heard from a number of folks is with quads you have to keep the board flat or the outside fin pair really lose their bite.  Waterturtle got to try one of these 91L with Matt P and had this to say about the board in HI.  The Aussies on the seabreeze forum put up some good information as well.

I have a prowave 122L SUP that I paddle surf and wave sail a lot.  This SUP has 5 fin boxes as well and this was one of the major reasons I thought I could get a ton of range out of the Tabou quadster.  I love a challenge and like to experiment so I'm excited to get dialed in and learn to handle any condition.  A pure wave board is way less tolerant to back foot sailing than the more FSW oriented shapes but it will be interesting how the thruster vs quad mode works out as I develop my style.  If you have any specific questions just post and I'll try to answer.  Any experienced wave sailing gurus that can comment on how this board compares to other similar boards please do.  It is getting more difficult to try before buying these days so sharing the information online is the next best thing.

The Starboard Quad IQ is a very interesting board to compare to the Tabou since the bottom shape seems to be the exact opposite flow.  One of my favorite things about Starboard is the information they make available.  ->

"Shape: Forward Vee that spirals into reduced vee between the feet and ending in a monoconcave in the tail. The forward vee increases the engaging rail's angle of attack when the board is carving, which creates extra drive into the turn. The monoconcave channels the water through the tail and allows for a flatter rocker for more speed and quicker planing. The tail rocker has extra tail kick to keep the board free and loose. Rails are soft and rounded like surfboards - keeps the ride flowing and smooth."

Starboard also has 3 fin suggestions for different conditions.  Keep in mind the mono concave tail of the Quad IQ tail is channeling water very differently than the Tabou Quadster vee with double concave tail.  I look forward to testing the DaCurve with the larger fins forward as Starboard suggests for on shore.

If anyone has ridden the Quad IQ and can comment on performance in a range of conditions please do.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sideshore Lessons

Question for the wave experts.  What is your secret for staying upwind in side on?  Keith uses a big single fin but could probably still do it with a 2cm freestyle fin.  Advice?

Keith's spot.  Lighthouse action.

Check out this pic of a bigger set from yesterday.

I got to old lighthouse at 2pm.  Keith and Chad were already on the water with ~5.3/90L.  I snapped a few shots before rigging 5.2/85L.  Lots of locals came out later.

The tide was low but rising at 2 and the waves were mushing rather than the terrible top to bottom closeouts.  This was extremely forgiving for the lighthouse and FUN!  I made it out the first time with no trouble and even nailed my 1st jibe on the outside.  I get so few opportunities to use a short stick it took while to get with the flow but finally got where I was making the rounds and staying upwind.  The trick for me was to catch a bigger set way out and ride backside into the wind, when I got my timing right I could then make an attempt at the bottom turn and cut back into the wave.  The turns felt great and the quad fins feel really good in the white water after the break.  The best part of this sesh was finally getting some confidence actually riding the wave on the short stick.  This was my best wave sesh ever on a short stick for sure.  The highlight was 1 medium size wave were it all came together- tight magical bottom turn and up to top turn snapping back toward the beach.  That is why the good guys would rather bob around on a short stick than be comfy on a bigger board.  Short stick shreditude.

As always the current increased with the tide.  As the afternoon went on I had more trouble staying upwind so it became more frustrating since I was taking more hikes rather than riding waves.  I also had more trouble staying on the plane on the outside.  I had the same thing happening with my other 85L so I can say it is my technique on short boards.  So I still struggle with sideshore and have a lot to work on.  Just makes me that much more eager to get back out!         

Another highlight of the day was leaning about marine life at Hatteras.   Ken saw the biggest sea turtle ever on Earth.  Ken- "if sea turtles have a million eggs this one would have like a kazillion".  'No seriously this thing's head was the size of a car tire!'.  Awesome day for all involved.