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2013 Thruster Wave Boards vs Quads & Singles
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Wind-NC-Hatteras



Joined: 28 Jun 2008
Posts: 777
Location: Cape Hatteras, NC

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys and gals-

I just thought that I would add my 2 cents from personal experience with the Tabou DaCurve. The DaCurve is a convertible board. there are 5 fin boxes, so you can set it up as a quad or thruster. I think this helps to distinguish between the feel of the fin setups, rather than the different boards, since it's the same board... Obviously, not all quads are the same, neither are all thrusters or single fins... But this may help people figure out why they like a certain board in certain conditions.

In the past I've always ridden it as a quad, because it worked really really really well, so... Why mess with it? The other day, in windy side on and small-medium wind swell, I decided to run it as a thruster to see how it felt. After all, the thruster configuration is marketed as optimal in those conditions, so...why not at least try...

Here's what I noticed, some of it you'd expect, some maybe not so much:


Planing up:

Took more juice to get flow over the fins in thruster mode. Basically, you had to be going faster and have more sustained sail power before you could push on the fins. The board felt squirrely getting up to speed. Pumping to plane was NOT as effective as in quad setup.


Just sailing along:

The board felt lighter and livelier under foot in thruster mode. It was tougher on my ankles at first, but I got used to that pretty quickly. It was not as good upwind, especially underpowered, but it still made it there... Just had to lengthen the reaches a bit. Well powered, it was about the same upwind as quad is underpowered. I think the nose was riding higher, but that might just be my imagination. Quad is easier to just plug along, totally in control at any speed. Thruster was a bit more all over the place.


Jumping:

Clearly better in thruster. Mostly due to the amount of wind and speed required to just plane. In quad, a lot times I'll feel like I have a ton of sail power, but once I get in the air it all just falls out of the sky since I wasn't actually that juiced or going that fast.


Feel from the sail:

Due to less fin drag, the sails felt like they had less pumpable low end power. As in, if there was a little gust, in quad mode you could feel more grunt from the sail and use that to eek the board onto a slower but very trustworthy plane with plenty of push coming from the fins. In thruster, you would almost pull yourself out of the gust with quick acceleration, sail power would then diminish, and with less fin area, there wasn't quite enough grunt from under the board to continue onto a real plane... I'd recommend sailing with a bigger sail in thruster than in quad mode.

My sails also felt like they had better overpowered stability, most likely due to lower board drag, higher top speeds and quicker acceleration, and therefore less sail distortion in gusts and lulls.


On the wave:

There was less "board pump able wave face acceleration" in thruster. Basically, you really had to rely on sail power to generate speed down the line, whereas in quad, you can use the wave itself much much more. Bottom turns felt less like surfing and more like windsurfing... If that makes sense...

There was a noticeable diffence in the top turns. In thruster mode, the rail would hook a lot more and the board really liked to do a full carving very aggressive direction change. On rails. Very cool feeling. In quad, on the other hand, I think there's a lot more load on your back foot and the top turn is much more powerful and more of a water displacing spray throwing grunt filled tail push with a higher nose and less rail hook. I think you tend to kill your speed and stay higher on the face in a quad top turn, while in thruster mode, you use much more real estate with more speed and more constant motion, and less grunt filled tail push.



I think that just about covers it. Sorry for writing a book! I'll add a few pictures in a day or two to highlight the setup differences. I do think that it's super awesome to be able get such a different feel out of the same board, and I plan on switching things up much more in the future, depending on the conditions. For example:

Windy and small? Thruster for top turn mobility and high jumps. Not so windy? Probably quad, since you rely on the wave face much more. Side off? Dunno yet, need to experiment...

Hope that helps!

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Windnc



Joined: 22 Apr 2005
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:30 am    Post subject: 2013 Thruster Wave Boards vs Quads & Singles Reply with quote

Andy,

Great write up on the Tabou Da Curve in thruster configuration and interesting observations on how much the performance differs between the two options.

Were you using the same fins for thrusters that you use for quad sailing and what size? How about the center fin? I am wondering if perhaps a slightly larger center fin than what you rode would help improve upwind capability in thruster mode?
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 3056
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy being fully capable of answering


so my POV

the size of the center on the tri fin, is going to be the defining fin, so larger will make it act more like a single, but not so much so.

it is less of a pivot point when all 3 are the same or nearly the same size

Andys review does not say the DC size, a guess is 85 ish Liters, point : changes in size will vary dependent on volume.

the center fin size would have some effect on upwind , and if that were a more desirableness trait, over ie loose snappy skateboard feel that you get with fins the same or near same size, then a larger fin might be better,
probably a fine line on how large, so it doesn't detract from the other wanted multi fin character, also the option of not so much longer, but more area...... so fin selection

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swmckay



Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hodad.andy wrote:
I think that just about covers it. Sorry for writing a book! [...] For example:

Windy and small? Thruster for top turn mobility and high jumps. Not so windy? Probably quad, since you rely on the wave face much more. Side off? Dunno yet, need to experiment...


Great writeup! Thanks for taking the time to do it.

My experience with single fin, thrusters and quads in Baja in side-off conditions with "doable" waves is this: if you like that drawn-out top turn, single or thruster; if you like the skateboard feel and massive grip on the top and front of the wave, quad. On flat water (or going out), the quads felt slower, but coming in on a wave face, they felt much faster to me.

My preference is single fin for side-on (jumping) conditions and quad for side- or side-off (DTL conditions), but that is purely a personal preference.
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Wind-NC-Hatteras



Joined: 28 Jun 2008
Posts: 777
Location: Cape Hatteras, NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 2013 Thruster Wave Boards vs Quads & Singles Reply with quote

Windnc wrote:
Were you using the same fins for thrusters that you use for quad sailing and what size? How about the center fin? I am wondering if perhaps a slightly larger center fin than what you rode would help improve upwind capability in thruster mode?


Don't get me wrong, it was still fine upwind. On par with any single fin wave board. Just not quite up to the quad's performance.

For setup, I kept the same little thrusters (9 cm) pretty much as far back as they go. And then I removed the 2x 16cm fins and put in the single 18cm fin. These are all the stock fins that come with the board. See photo.

Obviously, there is a ton of fin area in the water while in quad setup, which adds a bit of drag, but provides a ton of lift even at slower speeds. And since they're all out on the rails, there's very little torque on your ankles and the board remains settled and controlled.

Turning it into a thruster setup adds that more torquey, lively single fin feel. But, the fin setup isn't creating quite as much lift, so you have to sail more powered up and go faster to get the fins to lock in.

Yes, using a different center fin may add to the upwind and early planing capability while in thruster mode, but at the expense of overpowered control and rail to rail performance while on the wave. Moving the center fin further back may accomplish the same benefits without as much of the negatives... maybe.


Oh, U2- yes, this is the Tabou DaCurve 85.


swmckay- Yes, the quads feel faster on the wave face. Especially if you can give the board a little wiggle pump. Crazy acceleration. It is exactly the same if you surf a traditional thruster surf board and then jump onto a quad fin setup- the quad will rocket right out from underneath you if you aren't careful!! That tighter fin configuration squeezes a lot of water... and creates quite a bit of drive!

Fun! Let's all go sailing!!! Laughing Very Happy



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2013 Tabou DaCurve 85 fin setup
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 1696
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a bit of definition, a thruster setup is with all 3 fins being the same size.
When the center fin is bigger that the side bites, then it is a 2+1 setup, as shown in that pic, that's a 2+1, not a thruster.
Carry on.
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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
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Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. A lot of the terms /definitions in surfing are transposed to windsurfing , somewhere in the translation.........

I would probably call a board that has a center length 15cm and the sides 13cm , a thruster, as well noone is going to measure them to be the same or different.

I said I agree

I have a HYBRID Thruster as well

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Wind-NC-Hatteras



Joined: 28 Jun 2008
Posts: 777
Location: Cape Hatteras, NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nw30 wrote:
Just a bit of definition, a thruster setup is with all 3 fins being the same size.
When the center fin is bigger that the side bites, then it is a 2+1 setup, as shown in that pic, that's a 2+1, not a thruster.
Carry on.


True. And as long as we're defining:

Quad = 4 fins with the larger set in front and the smaller set closer to the tail.

Twinzer = 4 fins with the smaller set in front and the larger set closer to the tail.

Twin fin = 2 fins side by side

Trailing tri fin = 2 larger fins forward with a smaller fin on the center line closer to the tail

Thruster...

2 + 1...

Single fin...



So... my earlier posts are totally misleading if you are into using the correct nomenclature. Laughing Laughing

Question- Has anyone actually seen or sailed a true thruster configuration? U2U2?

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U2U2U2



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
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Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried 13cm sidebites and 16.5cm center on my Angulo 80L, so about 1 1/8" from being the same, to be brief , it felt good, loose, much like a twin but more firmly planted, up wind was good, with a longer center 20cm AND shorter sidebites 11cm for my preference it was ideal.

My trailer tri fin I have used the closest to the same size, 15cm rear and 16.5cm front pair, Naish 96L, have yet to find the ideal fin combo on this,
the above was among the best, think with the position of the front set (more inboard than a 3 fined, more outboard than a twin) that large fronts and smaller rear, should work best.


Lots call the side fins on a 2+1 or small forwards on a 4 fin board, thrusters, also side bites, canards.

which is different to the reference of a 3 fined board being a THRUSTER

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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5814

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than 2 + 1, why not just tri-fin. My second Open Ocean that I bought in early 1996 was a called a "tri-fin" by the designer/builder, Brian Hinde, and it included canted glassed-on side fins. I'm still riding that board. It's a bit old school in its overall design, but it was a precursor of sorts to today's multi-fin boards.
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