One of the great thing about working at a surf mag is surf gear testing. We get all kinds of stuff to demo (sometimes demolish) and report back on. That said, it's not always cool shit, and I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell some nice girl from a PR firm that their product, well, it sucked.
Not so with Firewire Surfboards.
Firewire's are some of the most high tech and advanced surfboards you can get your hands on. Constructed with top secret technology that utilizes bamboo, carbon fiber, EPS foam, "sandwich style" construction, epoxy resin, and a few other materials that seem more suited for NASA's space shuttle than a surfboard, Firewire has taken great pride in it's construction process. Fancy materials are great and make for a durable and long lasting product, but the most important component of a surfboard is pretty simple: Does it work?
Being your resident experts (meaning we'd rather surf than work any day of the week), we braved the overhead closeouts of Buccaneer Beach in Oceanside to bring you some insight into the most futuristic surfboards on the market…
Editor In Chief Chris Cote
5'8" x 18 1/2 x 2 1/4 Alternator ES
Chuy from Firewire told me that this board wasn't supposed to come in this size, but when they made it, heads were freaking on it so they added it to their roster. The board felt great under my arm, so the first impression was wonderful. The waves were big closeouts, so I did a lot of paddling and duck diving—and it was a good duck diving board. I got a few corners and the board felt really well under my feet. Sometimes when you ride a board for the first time it takes a few sessions to get it going, but the Alternator went well right away. I have never found a Firewire that was my ideal size until now—and the board is sick. I'd say it's along the lines of a Dumpster Diver, but it seemed easier to ride (the Dumpster Diver took a few sessions to get wired). Overall, I give this board a big thumbs up, it was fast, loose, and easy to ride—three things a good shortboard should be.
Photo Editor Aaron Checkwood
I rode the 6'2" Taj Burrow model. For the last 100 years I've been a stubbier, shorter, non-Epoxy (or in this case, non-sandwich construction) lover. So instead of a narrow 6'2" I would ride a wide 6'0". Basically, thin dimensions scare me 'cause they're made for up and down surfing and nothing else. That's why this board surprised me. The floaty Firewire construction made up for the missing beef more than I thought it would and despite being narrower than I'm sued to, it didn't feel like I was riding a two by four. Mind you, it was steep and fast this morning, so I'd be curious to see how much rail I'd be digging on flatter faces, but overall it made me want to keep experimenting with narrower dimensions.
Online Editor Justin Cote
5' 8" x 20" x 2 3/8" Spitfire
I normally don't ride a board shorter than 5'10" but was feeling a little frisky this morning so I broke ranks and went for the short, stubby Spitfire with a quad setup. I probably should have looked at the surf before paddling out; it was overhead, super closed out, and really not ideal for that board. I did get one wave that let me race down the line and feel the speed of the quad setup, but I think this board would work a lot better in mushier waves with more room to move around on the face. What I did like was that you can choose between a quad or thruster setup, it's like having two boards in one. As well, the durability of a Firewire makes it a good board to bring on a trip—it really blows when you break a board and can't find a backup. Overall I'd have to try this board gain in more favorable conditions to really break down the performance of it…which makes for another session on the clock!
Editorial Assistant Ryan "Jerz" Brower
5'11" x 18 3/16″ x 2 3/16″
I went with the Taj Burrow Pro Model. I was a little nervous about how thin the tail was, but it ended up being all right. It made some critical drops with ease and raced a few fast little sections that I got, but I just didn't get a wave that opened up to see how it felt through turns. However, it did feel lively coming off the bottom on my backhand and while kicking out on a few. The board definitely likes going fast and I'd like to try it out in some stuff that's not just closeout city. Seems like it could be a good wave shortboard for the everyday surfer.
TW Biz Publisher Billy Corvalan
Today I rode the Rapid Fire with the bamboo deck. The dimensions were 6' 2" x 18.75" x 2.5". Truthfully, holding the board before paddling out I didn't think the board would work for me as the nose was a little too pulled in for my liking. I prefer my normal short board to have a fuller nose and lots of volume especially in mushy California surf. The board had plenty of thickness in the rails—which is important for an average surfer like me. The waves were tough though—big and walled out. I could only muster up a few speed pumps before getting lipped. However, I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the board felt underneath my feet and how quickly I was able to generate speed.
For more go to Firewire Surfboards