Firewire Surfboards Review: Epic Boards or Rip Off? [2020]

The brand that continues to create bold new waves in surfboard engineering is one of the names that you will most likely find in lists of best surfboard brands. Considered as one of the major players in the global surfboard marketplace, their story involved an uphill struggle for acceptance. 

Firewire is the embodiment of a humanitarian brand. They take pride in their products that have a low impact on the environment. Their goal in keeping things sustainable is visible in the innovative design materials and construction techniques that deliver high-performance surfboards. 

Firewire Surfboards Review

Firewire putting emphasis on the background technology that goes into the surfboard design makes them enjoy a good position in the surfboard market. The latest technology they are promoting include: 

  • Helium – cut from the lightest foam blank weighing just .8 pounds combined with a brand new rail that has been specially crafted for Helium. It uses both Paulownia wood from their TimberTEK boards and balsa wood from their FST boards. 
  • LFT (Linear Flex Technology) – incorporates Firewire’s Springer HD. A .75” broad aerospace composite that flows down to the centerline of the board, demonstrating the next generation in the Springer technology. 
  • TimberTEK – is the blend of lightweight EPS core (expanded polystyrene), sustainably-grown Paulownia wood deck skins, Firewire’s parabolic rail construction, and Entropy bio-resin hot coat. 

Two of the boards they have that featured the technologies mentioned above have earned Firewire more than a couple Editor’s Choice Award from Surfd. Three of their designs also made it to the Top 12 Selling Surfboard Models in 2013.

Let us take a peek at some of the surfboards that have made it to the award-winning category. 


#1. Firewire Greedy Beaver

firewire greedy beaver

Greedy Beaver lives up to its name by excelling across a range of conditions. Ideal for learners and those transitioning between long and shortboards, it also has so much to offer that will suit even intermediate riders. 

A TimberTEK specimen, Greedy Beaver is not slow and does not surf like a longboard. Contrary to what most perceive it to be, it is not a mini-mal. Rather, it is a superior wave-catching beast that by some means works like a shortboard. If you are familiar with the discontinued Firewire Unibrow, Greedy Beaver rides better than that. 

Firewire includes this surfboard in their Crossover Series. Crossover is their line that combines tremendous paddle power in a considerably short surfboard. It features contemporary outlines that boost rail to rail surfing. 

Crossover surfboards like Greedy Beaver are perfect for riders who do not essentially want to surf with a longboard but also enjoy catching waves with no difficulty while throwing turns on an open face. 

Just by looking at the board’s outline, you will know that it is a good paddler. Although Firewire surfboards generally are, the added width to its nose gives you extra momentum with lesser paddle strokes. 

Greedy Beaver has a single to double concave that tapers down to a curved pin making it imitate the feeling of riding a shortboard. No clunky latency when you shift your weight from front foot to back with its high-performance, beveled rails. 

Depending on your size and level of expertise, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Greedy Beaver dimensions range from 5’06” 29 liters to 6’10” 52.1 liters. 

Testing its 6’2” surfboard resulted in catching more waves than a conventional shortboard. They are good at crumbling waves where extra paddle power is necessary to drop down the wall. But, it does not nose-dive on critical waves. 

How? It is a significantly accentuated rocker that is way more indicative of a shortboard than a mal and the finely rounded tail. Push it back on the tail and you are riding a shortboard. Step up the front and slide as if you are on a mal. Perfect for everyday surfing, right?

Greedy Beaver Specifications

  • Ability: Beginner to expert
  • Bottom Contours: Single
  • Rails: Medium
  • Ideal Wave Size: 2’ to 6’
  • Technology: TimberTEK
  • Sizes: 5′ 06″, 5′ 08”, 5′ 10″, 6′ 00″, 6′ 02″, 6′ 04″, 6′ 06″, 6′ 08″, and 6′ 10″

#2. Slater Designs Sci-Fi

firewire slater surfboards

Of the 7 boards in the Slater Designs range, Sci-fi has garnered the most attention, both in the eyes of viewing public and in surf shops globally. Not your ordinary surfboard, it boasts flyers, channels, and double bat tail that makes even Batman himself, proud. 

You might think Firewire is overcomplicating surfboards by making it look like a performance shortboard template when it is really not. And, it is also not a fish. Firewire describes it as a glimpse into the future. 

With Sci-Fi, you have to re-learn the fundamentals of flow and weight transfer. This may be because of how Sci-fi took its design complexity to a new dimension – the traditional rails, the forceful jagged tail, wider outline, and quad concave within a single concave. 

This SIMA Awards winner surfboard is based on Daniel Thompson’s “Tomo.” A modern planning hull concept, Sci-fi is, in essence, a fish that has been augmented to match or even surpass the surfing potential of a performance shortboard. 

Enhancing the fish design and increasing its high-performance characteristics, Tomo brought modern hybrid surfboard design into an interesting new zone – futuristic, scientific, and progressive. 

Sci-fi’s design makes it tough around the corners, giving you less drag and more grip on the wave surface. It generates speed both in big waves and small. The fish design and the increased volume conveniently carry momentum. Overall, it feels that it is capable of some seriously drastic maneuvers. 

Slater Designs Sci-Fi Specifications

  • Ability: Beginner to expert
  • Bottom Contours: Quad inside single concave
  • Rails: Medium
  • Ideal Wave Size: 3’ to 8’
  • Technology: LFT (Linear Flex Technology)
  • Sizes: 5′ 01″, 5′ 03″, 5′ 05″, 5′ 06″, 5′ 07″, 5′ 08″, 5′ 09″, 5′ 10″, 5′ 11″, 6′ 00″, 6′ 01″, 6′ 02″, 6′ 03″, 6′ 005″, and 6′ 06″

#3. Firewire Potatonator

firewire potatonator

A special surfboard, Potatonator is what you get if the Sweet Potato and the Dominator bore a child. Potatonator is short, wide, and fat around the tail. You will see from its side view how flat the board is. Meaning, it is easy to paddle. 

But, with just enough rocker, it will save you from sticking the nose in slightly in more critical conditions. 

Your relationship with Potatonator may be sour at the start. But, by learning the magic trick of putting your foot back, in no time it will be your new favorite board. This board actually turns and the sophisticated rails enable fast and smooth transitions. 

The double concave means speed while the width allows you to slide through fat sections with ease. Shorter than most hybrids, the extra width it has allows you to surf it short. It also makes it for a relatively stable ride. 

Firewire Potatonator specifications

  • Ability: Beginner to expert
  • Bottom Contours: Single/Double
  • Rails: Medium
  • Ideal Wave Size: 1’ to 4’
  • Technology: Helium Technology and TimberTEK Technology
  • Sizes: 5′ 01″, 5′ 03″, 5′ 05″, 5′ 07″, 5′ 09″, 5′ 11″, 6’ 01”, and 6’ 03”

#4. The Dominator by Firewire

the dominator

Designed by Dan Mann, Firewire’s the Dominator is a versatile, all-condition stick that features a full outline and dense foil from nose to tail. It comes in the thruster, quad, and tri-fin configuration so that you can nip it according to your surfing desires. 

The inherent flex in the Dominator offers superior performance through turns. It also gives you plenty of power off the trail. You will, as you ride understand and discover just how Firewire technology works. 

The most versatile board in Firewire’s quiver to date, Dominator will let you experience the lighter swing weight that makes turning a breeze. The extra squirt through turns caused by the flex as well as the controlled rebound will also be noticeable. 

With the wide point moved back, the nose profile is reduced. This maintains all of the speed but without the top turn drawbacks of retro nose outlines. 

The Dominator by Firewire Specifications

  • Ability: Beginner to expert
  • Bottom Contours: Single
  • Rails: Full
  • Ideal Wave Size: 1’ to 5’
  • Technology: Helium Technology
  • Sizes: 5′ 02″, 5′ 04″, 5′ 06″, 5′ 07″, 5′ 08″, 5′ 09″, 5′ 10″, 5′ 11″, 6′ 00″, 6′ 01″, 6′ 02″, 6′ 04″, 6′ 06″, 6′ 08″, and 6′ 10″

#5. Firewire Quadfish

firewire quadfish

Part of Firewire’s Qudraflex series is the refined, high-performance fish that can take your riding to the farthest limits of surfing season fun. Quadfish blends together the retro-inspired outline of the fishtail with a quad fin setup. 

Built using Firewire’s FST (Future Shapes Technology) that features Balsa rails, Quadfish has controlled flex and has a high-density aerospace composite that is suctioned to both top and bottom decks. This provides the board with a significant impact on strength. 

The Balsa rails do not only control the flex of Firewire’s Quadfish, but it also adds strength and acts as a buffer against rail dents. Its long term flex memory ensures the board maintains its active feel for a long time. 

You will love the speed and the drive that accompanies the Quadfish. Such experiences are brought by the full nose that allows for ideal buoyancy. It lets you wander up the stick for summer as you style through the flats. Not only that, but it can also hold a tight arc in the pocket. 

Like most quad surfboards, you can get overwhelming speed on the face with just a few pumps. This will surely provide hours of fun on the waters where you can hit those oncoming sections. If you are really keen, you can even cruise the whitewash and ride through the reform all the way back to the beach. 

Firewire Quadfish Specifications:

  • Ability: Beginner to expert
  • Bottom Contours: Board Eat Board
  • Rails: Full
  • Ideal Wave Size: 1’ to 5’ 
  • Technology: LFT (Linear Flex Technology)
  • Sizes: 5′ 01″, 5′ 03″, 5′ 05″, 5′ 07″, 5′ 09″, 5′ 11″, 6’ 01”, and 6’ 03”

Firewire’s Idea of Improving Flex

Surftech came out with its Tuflite boards that are made from EPS (expanded polystyrene) foams. They were shelled with epoxy fiberglass and surfers adored the increase in buoyancy and strength. But, surfers also had the perception that it lacked flex and that it performed not very well in choppy waves. 

While Surftech was addressing the issue, Firewire thought of rejuvenating the parabolic stringer with their FST (Future Shapes Technology) models. These reproductions featured parabolic stringer design that was combined with low-density EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam. 

The main goal of adding this was to strengthen the perimeter so that the rider can apply a more controlled weight to the surfboard’s rail. In turn, it will gain even more controlled buoyancy. 

Leaning into the stringer in turns instead of a foam rail is what you can do as you balance stiffness and flex on the perimeter of a Firewire flex board. As you put pressure on the wooden rail stringer, it bends and shoots you to the direction you are turning to while it also flexes back. 

Firewire is so far receiving generally positive feedback in terms of overall performance. However, criticisms about its durability are still out there. Nevertheless, a lot of riders admit that they feel the benefit of a more enhanced drive, better wave face entrance, and stronger acceleration in every turn. 


Firewire Leading a New Approach at Performance

It wasn’t until the closure of Clark’s Foam in 2005 that the surfboard world opened its doors to the influx of new surfboard construction with various foam and materials. The slow adaptation of the surf industry to new technology and materials is due to the traditional surfers who felt the need to preserve the surf soul trump. 

Clark’s foam made big business with surfboards as most shapers primarily used PU (Polyurethane) foam to make surfboards. 55 years of PU surfboards. 

One of the new surfboard technologies that came about after Clark’s Foam was that of Firewire’s and their well-defined wooden rails and jazzy air valve. 


FireWire: The Disruptive Innovation in The World of Surfing

Firewire’s story is that of the man behind it all – Australian Nev Hyman. What started as Odyssey Surfboards in Perth in 1975, became Nev Surfboards in 1981. It was after some traveling he did that he decided to pursue designing blanks for some of the best surfers in the world. 

With the experience he was gaining, he began to hone his craft for the perfect surfboard. 17 years after it changed its name, it transitioned to a new title again – Nev Future Shapes. This was when the business already penetrated the global market. Nev Future Shapes was manufacturing over 5,000 surfboards a year with his growing numbers of crew. 

In between Nev Surfboards and Nev Future Shapes was Nev getting involved with computer shaping. In 1989, he became involved in the practice of machine-shaped surfboards. It was around 2004 when he was introduced to Bert Berger who presented him with high-tech, a handmade surfboard that featured balsa rails and high-density composite top and bottom. 

By 2006, Firewire started making their appearance in surfboard lineups. The boards were entirely generated on CAD/CAM software. It allowed for a perfect board to be steadily produced without variations in shape. 

What makes Firewire the humanitarian brand is its dedication and commitment to manufacturing watersports toys that will improve your experience with less impact on the environment. 

In their pursuit to promote and commit to sustainability, they partnered with BLOOM Foam to develop a traction pad that is the most eco-friendly. 


BLOOM Foam Process

BLOOM is an efficient foam that is made from algae biomass reaped from freshwater habitats that are at danger of toxic algal bloom. 

Nature benefits from the BLOOM foam process by:

  • It aids in improving the condition of waterways by eliminating excess algae that destruct plants, animals, and humans who rely on the ecosystem for survival. 
  • It redistributes and circulates fresh water back into the habitat.
  • It helps with Carbon Dioxide capture and sequestration.

To put it simply, BLOOM foam process plainly pond scum, withers it, pulverizes it and then forms it into a foam blend that aids in rebalancing the natural ecology. BLOOM foam also lessens our dependence on non-renewable oil. 

 


Is it Just All Hype for Firewire?

The attention that Firewire Surfboards has been getting lately leaves people wondering whether it is just hype or if the performance indeed improved. A lot are catching on and seeing more and more surfers riding Firewire surfboards. 

Their good looks and their unique decal on the upper left side of the board points to that interesting little air valve surfers have been raving about. 

Firewire surfboards are becoming more and more popular for their models with balsa wood rails, which is a parabolic stringer. Parabolic stringers give the board an increased flex characteristic. Meaning, it allows the board to be springy, like slingshot effect out of turns. 

Conventional foam and center stringer surfboards have their perimeters flex and twist that causes the stick to slow and fatigue. This is a torsional flex. Therefore, a surfboard with flex alone is not a guarantee to give you the desired functionality. 

Sans the element of strength, flex is nothing, making balancing act tricky for Firewire surfboards.


The Best Firewire Surfboard

Possibly the most adaptable and all-around surfboard in the Firewire quiver, the Dominator is the top Firewire surfboard pick. Not only does it boast the characteristics and lightweight of Helium Technology, but it also allows you to paddle like it is a turbocharged surfboard that does not drag like most PU (polyurethane) boards with similar dimensions. 

With Firewire’s The Dominator, you definitely can take charge!


Conclusion

Nev Hyman and his team from Firewire originally targeted the everyday surfer and they lacked the intent to create custom boards. However, the general preference of made-to-order surfboards made them shift their sails and eventually steadfastly earned converts. 

Now, they cater to surf crowd of all ages and all levels of expertise. Despite the uphill struggle for acceptance, they now enjoy a good position in the world of surfing. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How are Firewire Boards Created?

A: Firewire works with a proprietary sandwich blank construction to produce a lighter and more durable surfboard than that of a traditional PU (polyurethane). Its density is as low as 1 pound of EPS (expanded Polystyrene) foam, way lighter compared to others that are 2.5 to 3 pounds per cubic foot. 

Firewire surfboards’ shells are made up of fiberglass and epoxy resin. They have added different variations and improved their technology with their DD (Direct Drive) model. This model substituted the balsa rails of the FST foam model. It also features interior carbon rods that are poised inside the high-density rail foam. 

These rods run through the interior of the rails and connect to the base of the fin box. Its main purpose is to regulate the rate of flex and flex memory. 

Q: Is Firewire’s innovation worth trying out? 

A: Firewire took a huge leap of faith when they tried to present innovations and technology to a culture that is clingy to its tradition, particularly surfing. While surfing is dependent on what has been accustomed, we also cannot deny the fact that it also caters to a culture that thrives on individuality. Surfers tend to sneer at anything factory-made. They’d rather have boards that are custom made by shaping masters. This is the reason that Firewire succeeded and became one of the major players in surfboards global market. 

Q: With all of the innovations Firewire is introducing, could it be that they are giving us a glimpse of what’s ahead in the world of surfing?

A: Perhaps so. Firewire believes that surfboards’ measurements are no longer limited by dimensions. In the near future, surfers can choose not just by the board’s size but by variation of flex as well. Flex, as they have engineered, tried, and tested is proved to create enough momentum that in turn creates a lot of spring too. This turn out is what made flex successful.

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