All above very good points.
Agree that boards should be tested as supplied but the choice of fin given with the board probably has a bigger influence over boards character than the board itself; especially when there is such massive difference in fins; on boards essentially sold towards same customers.
I sail the FXR mentioned.Findings of mag are much as I find board untill I stick a massive fin in it (like the one supplied with the Tabou) The board`s entire character changes.Its more directional; goes upwind better and planes earlier (as you would expect) problem is how would it compare with the Tabou.
If we were only talking about diffferent fin styles problem wouldn`t be as pronounced but when we are talking of comparing two very similar sized boards carrying fins with a difference in area approaching 40% (my estimate; I happen to have both fins) it totally overides any possible differences in the boards characters.The test was testingt fins.
We would ridicule a test that said one board was an early planer but forgot to mention it was carrying at least 30% more sail; yet we accept it with fins??!!!
The Tabou has got a reputation for being an early planer ; probably on the back of that massive fin supplied ??? But the problem is it is probably ; we dont know even after reading the tests.
Would the FXR carry an 8.5 if it had a 46cm fin ??? Yet again ; no idea.
Its certainly not very good testing.
Perhaps fins should be supplied with rigs and not boards !!!
If boards are being tested with 7 metre rigs the appropriate fin size for that sail should be used in all the boards.(Perhaps a 38cm for a 7 ???)