I sailed Andy's 3S 96 yesterday and it once again performed faultlessly. I was on my 6.4 Cross and his 29cm Eagle fin. A nice combination for trouble-free sailing but not enough grunt from the fin for serious blasting with mates. Tabou have really nailed it as far as support through the gybes goes. This goes for their slalom boards too of course.
Andy himself came by in the afternoon, screwed in a 31cm Eagle fin and proceeded to present a master class in high wind speed sailing. Unbelievable speed over rough water using both his 6.0m Remedy and then his 5.2m Remedy (I think). The great thing about these boards is that you can sail them briskly over rough water, put in a swept back fin and play in the waves and then get really serious and launch into strong wind with the appropriate fin/sail combo and blow almost everything else off the water. I'm not sure that the Tabou guys are fully aware of this side of the board. Granted you need to be a really good power sailor but take it from me the potential is there.
Andy was also testing the new Rocket 105 a while ago and this board is looking impressive. He had a Select S11 (or S12?) fin under it and his 6.0 Remedy. This combo easily hung with the race stuff on the runs when he had sufficient wind. The feeling amongst the guys who rode this board was that either it is slower than the old Rocket 105 or it is so comfortable that it just feels slow. Well my assessment is that it is a rocket ship. I have the same feeling about this board that I had about the Manta 71. A really special piece of equipment.
Several of the new slalom sails are breaking cover. North's new Warp looks stunning.
What I like about these sails is the fact that they have 7 battens. Lighter and simpler. I also like the fact that they have cut down on the length of the batten overhang above the back of the boom. Way to go North!
The new Vapors and Phantoms are on the Gaastra site now. Awesome looking sails as I said before.
I may get the chance to test some freeride boards over the next few weeks (Exocet Cross, RRD Freeride etc) and I will report back if I do.
Talk to you soon