I’ve been on a bit of a quest for a new, smaller quad wave board this summer to compliment my 92 liter Goya quad. I bought the Goya 92 quad early this year and have been stoked with that board as my light wind board. But my smaller boards were single fins boards and going back and forth between a quad and a single fin board always felt weird since the riding style is pretty different between quads and single fins. So, I’ve been looking for a new quad board for stronger wind – 5.0 and down to 4.0. Over the last couple of months I’ve tried out 5 different quads and finally found the one for me.
Quad Boards Tested
- Goya Quad 78
- Tabou DaCurve Quad 85
- Goya Quad 84
- Quatro KT 83
- Quatro LS 85
One thing is for certain, all quads are different. I’ve been amazed at how different all the quads I tried felt, even just sailing along. If you’ve made your decision on what quad boards are like just from sailing one board, you’re doing yourself and quads a disservice. There are some generalizations though that I think can be made to all quads – at least to all quads that I’ve tried.
All quads I’ve tried feel significantly smaller than their volume indicates – usually 5 – 10 liters smaller. By feeling smaller, I don’t mean in how floaty they are but how “turny” or loose they are and their ability to handle higher wind. All quads I’ve tried have a noticeable ability to turn much sharper radius turns than any single fin board I’ve sailed. This is the big appeal to me. Even when just sailing along, quads have a different feel, feeling “skippier” than a single fin board. They’ve also all demonstrated a better upwind ability than comparably sized single fin wave boards.
What I Was Looking for in My New Quad
My criteria in judging and selecting my new board was that I wanted something that would be similar to my Goya 92 in feel, but be able to handle stronger winds anywhere – from powered up 5.0 for me on down to 4.0. My Goya 92 is great for marginal 5.0, but when the wind kicks in to around 22 mph or so I want to be able to get on something smaller. And when the wind kicks in to powered 4.5 to overpowered 4.5 – for me that’s about 24 mph up to almost 30mph, I didn’t want to feel like I needed to go down to a smaller board. Basically, I wanted a two board quiver – one board for light 5.0 and up, and one board for powered up 5.0 and down. 4.5 is currently my smallest sail, and if flatten that out to the max I can handle it when it’s blowing 30 – just barely. If it’s blowing more than 30, I just lose interest since it’s usually so choppy, bumpy, gusty and brutal that it’s not much fun or worth the punishment.
I was lucky enough when demoing each of the boards that we were having some larger and more northerly wind swell than we often get on the north shore in the summer. Not winter time down the line conditions but big enough and a good enough direction to try some true down the line turns with these boards.
Goya Quad 78
The Goya 78 was the first smaller quad I tried. I know several people who have the 78 as their high wind board, and this was one that Francisco recommended would be best. My impression though was that this board was smaller than I wanted. As I mentioned earlier, quads feel smaller than they actually are and this one felt like it was in the low 70s in volume. Fine for many people, but at 180lbs I don’t feel like I need a board that small very often on Maui. The board rode great. Very nice and turny for sure, but just smaller than I felt like I needed. After demoing this board I decided I’d focus on quads in the 80 – 85 liter range.
Tabou DaCurve Quad 85
Wanting to branch out and try something other than Goyas and Quatros I asked Matt Pritchard if he had any Tabou Da Curve quads to try. I’ve been a Da Curve fan for years and owned several single fin Da Curves so I had high expectations of this board. Of all the 80+ liter quads I tried, this one was the shortest and despite playing around with mast track position and fin position, I never felt like I found a good balanced configuration with this board. This board demanded a lot of attention just to keep it trimmed and sailing in a straight line as the nose kept wanting to round up. No doubt it was able to shred some really tight turns and if felt nice and grippy in those tight turns, but the overall balance of the board turned me off. I don’t think it’s a bad board mind you, just not one for me.
Goya Quad 84
I was lucky enough to have both the Tabou and the Goya Quad 84 at the same time so I was able to do a side by side comparison. The Goya had a much more settled and comfortable ride than the Da Curve. I had both boards for two days and one of those days got pretty windy – overpowered 4.5 conditions. The Goya 84 started feeling a bit big in those gusts compared to the Da Curve, so I think the Da Curve has a bit better high end than the Goya 84. But I did prefer the more settled, predictable ride of the Goya. It also felt pretty similar to the 92 liter, which you would expect, much more so than the Goya 78 did. The 84 was still able to crank some nice sharp turns in the sloppy NNE waves that were running, not as sharp as the Da Curve, but still good enough that by the time I was done with it, I was pretty confident that it could be a good choice. Definitely my preferred board of the three I had tried so far. But, I still wanted to try the Quatros – the KT and the LS.
Quatro KT 83
The next board up was Keith Teboul’s signature wave board, the 83 liter Quatro KT. By far the board with the most extreme rocker in my test, I was a little skeptical that it would get up and going early, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the board much quicker to plane and much faster than I had expected it to be. It performed very well in both marginally powered conditions and overpowered 4.5. The noticeable characteristic of the KT though is how it turns. The best way I can describe it is very “slidy.” Of all the boards I tried, this one felt like it would crank the most radically sharp turns. Want to do a super sharp bottom turn in a tight section then crank the top turn just as tight? The KT takes that idea to a new level. But I found that the tail felt like it was sliding out when I tried to crank a tight radius bottom turn. I was using a lot of back foot pressure to crank those turns – I probably don’t get my weight as far forward as I should in my bottom turns – and it was a bit of a strange feeling. I know a lot of pros want that surf style feel to their riding so if that’s you, then you need to give this board a try. Even though it had a different riding feel to it I wasn’t going to discount it just yet though. I liked it a lot and if I didn’t find anything I liked better it was going to be a tough decision between this board and the Goya Quad 84. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if I could find a board that split the difference between the 83 KT and the Goya 84. Enter the Quatro LS 85.
Quatro LS 85
I had tried the LS 85′s bigger sibling, the LS 95 earlier in the year and it had lost out to the Goya 92 in a close match. The Goya had a little better low end planing ability which was crucial in my decision for a light wind wave board. The Quatro LS 85 has received high praise from some of the magazine reviews and I can see why. I got to try this board on two days, each in very different conditions. The first day was pretty ballistic overpowered 4.5 conditions. The LS handled the strong winds really well, never felt too big, turned sweet tight radius turns without the sliding that the KT does. The next day was supposed to be just as windy, so I had the 4.5 rigged and ready to go, just knowing that the wind would kick in any minute. But the wind had other ideas. Normally I would have taken my 5.0 and 92 out in those conditions. But I decided to test the low end range of the board and launched anyway. I was amazed at how quick it got up and going considering how light it was. It planed up nicely and got up to Uppers easily despite being marginally powered. Still had some waves to play in and after a couple of rides, testing how sharp I could crank the turns, I was pretty confident that I had found my new quad. The wind did pick up after about 20 minutes and I got to enjoy more waves at Uppers and Camp One. By the time I was done the board and I had bonded and I was resolved that when I returned the demo board the next day, I’d be buying a new Quatro LS 85 for myself. And I did.
I’m pretty fortunate to have been able to try out all these different boards. I’m sure there are a lot of other very good quad boards out there that I didn’t test. As I said earlier, if you’re in the market for a new quad or any board for that matter, do yourself a favor and try out some different boards. Talk with the shapers and the shop guys about what you’re looking for, where you sail, your ability level. Try as many as you can. There are so many good boards out there. The key is finding the one that is best suited for who you are, your ability level and where you sail. If you’re on Maui or coming to Maui for a vacation take advantage of all the great variety of gear here and all the amazing knowledge that the pros and shapers have. Special thanks to Pascal, Keith, Francisco and Matt for their input, insight and being patient with the demo experience.