The 2013 Manta line is on Tabou’s site and I believe that this is probably the best range of racing boards available today for the advanced windsurfer interested in general blasting or winning at local races. The shapes are so accessible and easy to sail for the proficient windsurfer. Whether they are good enough for the very best pro sailors, I’m not sure. We will see when the PWA circuit resumes in 2013. I think that Starboard and RRD are two really difficult acts to beat where top slalom racing is concerned and Fanatic is always capable (on a good day) of producing something special.
One slight concern that I have regarding the 2013 Mantas lies with the 71/116l board. Early this year (2012), the Tabou team were testing boards here and one of the boards was the 71/113 Manta which several of us rode and which I reviewed on this blog. Hennie, one of our top racers purchased this board and has been devastating at races. This is the board that local sailors have fallen in love with and is the one slalom machine on everyone’s list. What I notice now however, is that the volume on the specs sheet for this board is shown as 116l on the 2013 site. The team inform us (in the description) that changes have been made to make it racier. This worries me. Is the new volume simply the result of measuring the volume accurately or is the final board a different design from the one we tested? Was the board I tested merely a proto which has not made the final cut? If the board is a new design, will we be as impressed by it as we were with Hennie’s 113? - big questions creating a lot of uncertainty here. Tabou – please send a new 71/116 Manta for testing!
Looking at the entire Manta range you could quite easily buy the new 85/135 as your light wind board. Andy rode the 2012 85 the other day with his 7.5 Overdrive and absolutely smoked. He was getting speeds which were simply unheard of for big boards a few years ago. If the new 85 is an improvement on this 2012 model then I want one. End of story. If the new 71/116 is the same, as good or better than the one we tested, then this is virtually a compulsory purchase. I no longer believe in small slalom boards for myself but if you are set on slalom boards throughout your range then the 59/88 is the board that interests me. What I like about this machine apart from the narrow width, is that they have increased its length. Small boards stall so easily in the gybe through bad chop if they are too short. The extra length of this model is bound to make difficult gybes a breeze – Nice!
The 2012 Severne Overdrive 7.5 has been causing a stir here with Andy smoking all comers on the water. My concern regarding the 2013 models is that they have wider sleeves than the 2012 models. Also, the 7.5m has become a 7.8m. Take it from me the 7.5m had more than enough grunt. I hope that Severne is not making this sail too racy and difficult to sail. I do notice however that the alternative masts specified for the new Overdrives are RDM masts. Interesting and this would undoubtedly soften the sails for smaller guys. I am unsure about how the camber inducers are going to work on the narrower mast if you were to go the RDM route but knowing Severne they will have an elegant solution.
That’s all for now. I’ve had a chance to examine more carefully the new Select fin range and I have issues. I will discuss these in the next post.