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Board Design: Firewire's 2018 surfboard lineup



Board Design

New additions from Rob Machado, Kelly Slater and Dan Mann round out 2018 options

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 February, 2018 - Firewire's parabolic rail and epoxy sandwich construction was groundbreaking when it first hit global lineups more than a decade ago. Since then they've expanded beyond their Future Shapes Technology and construction introducing Linear Flex Technology, TimberTek and Helium builds. Beyond this, the company has been working with some of the world's best shapers: Dan Mann, John Pyzel and Tomo as well as putting the best surfer/designers to work, mainly Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. 

This year Firewire puts forth new models by Slater Designs, Tomo and Rob Machado, expanding their catalog to ensure that there is a board for everyone.



Rob Machado designed this LFT shape while thinking of small, and weak waves; “The kind of waves I ride a lot here in San Diego, or an average day in Japan.” he says. Anyone who is familiar with The Midas will notice the Moonbeam’s similar nose template.

Why is it similar? “I gave the Moonbeam a nice and wide nose, like The Midas for skatiness in small waves.” says Rob. But his ever present place in surfing illustrates the importance of surfing up and down in the pocket. To allow that on the Moonbeam, Rob raised the nose rocker above what you’d expect in a small wave design, creating an opportunity to cut sharp angles on the Moonbeam without hanging up the nose.

Fans of performance surfing will appreciate the high tail rocker as well, creating a feeling under foot almost as responsive in regards to quick direction changes as The Midas is.

When deciding between this shape and The Midas, most surfers should consider that the Moonbeam will generate forward speed more easily and feel most at home in smaller waves where it creates its own speed easily. The Midas, however, will feel most natural in rounder waves where it easily controls the speed that powerful waves provide. “The Moonbeam is meant to go fast and have fun” says Rob.

Like every shape Rob is surfing in 2018, The Moonbeam has Rob’s Board Eat Board concave built into its hull - this is Rob’s uncommon approach to enhancing speed without losing responsiveness, and it draws much intrigue on surf shop racks.

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology



Rob States: "This board just makes me want to surf… no matter what the waves are like. It flies in small to weak waves, and if its overhead and pumping it draws unique lines, allowing me to approach waves differently and explore new lines".

At first glance the outline pays homage to the old school fish but on closer inspection you’ll notice some subtle changes. I’ve narrowed up the swallow tip to tip to give the board more maneuverability and the narrower nose gives it a more speedier outline. The rocker is fairly relaxed with a low entry rocker upfront combined with a subtle tail rocker, giving this board quick ‘up and go’ and maximizes its top-end speed.

The bottom contours are best described as “BOARD EAT BOARD” and were inspired by a George Greenough design I rode a few years ago. I’ve refined it over the years and it now features a really flat bottom concave that runs down the center all the way through the tail. The two side panels run down each rail on either side of the center panel, and transition from concave to flat to Vee while maintaining the deep single concave down the middle.

The overall effect of these design parameters, when combined with a keel fin set up, is a highly maneuverable and speedy board with tons of drive and takes the retro fish to a whole new performance level.  

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology



The outline of the MIDAS evolved from a few different influences. The tail was inspired by some 80’s twin fins and the wing is positioned right behind the trailing edge of the side fin to create a break point, and to pull the tips of the swallow closer together for maneuverability. The wing also creates more width in front of the fins which generates increased speed. The nose is a touch wider than your everyday short board but without an ‘eggy’ feel. The wider nose and tail dimensions reduce the curve in the middle of the board which also helps generate speed.

Perhaps the most interesting design feature are the new bottom contours I’ve been working on which I’ve called “BOARD EAT BOARD”. The original concept began years ago when I rode one of George Greenough’s edge boards which led me to a whole new approach to bottom contours and edges.

I made quite a few boards until I finally adopted this new bottom. The general idea is that you have 2 boards working in your favor. The ‘inside’ outline creates a flat bottom concave that runs all the way off the tail, while the two side panels that run down each rail change from concave to flat to Vee, while still maintaining a deep single concave down the middle. The overall effect is increased performance and speed.

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology


The Gamma is Kelly’s 2017 utility short board! Though Kelly has worked with several great shapers this past year on an array of different shapes, it was his excitement with the speed and quick direction changes provided by this personal design that held his intrigue. His interest in CAD board design, modifying variables, and testing and retesting has lead to the development of an incredible all around short board.

With a single concave bottom and slight vee behind the back fin, this board is extremely fast and drivey. The vee out the back makes for quick rail to rail transitions. Within the hi performance short board range this would be considered a medium rocker with a med to even a slightly pinched rail. The distinct hip on the Gamma gives it a tighter turning radius allowing it to be ridden in a shorter wider set of dims as well as the common performance short board dims. This board excels in a broad range of waves and conditions.

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology


The Sci-Fi is a mash up of classic curves and modern rocker served with a Futuristic twist of fluid dynamic principles likely found in the design archives of Bruce Wayne. Expect seemingly unnatural acceleration, instantaneous response and an all around level performance that can only be described as Electric. The Sci-Fi is a high performance all-rounder with impressive range (1-8ft ) with usability for intermediate to advanced surfers. 5-fin Option.  

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology


The Greedy Beaver has a real shortboard feel with a compressed longboard outline, a true crossover board with midlength retro glide and shortboard maneuverability. Put it on rail while engaging the single to double concave, step on the rounded pin and it surfs like a shortboard in the pocket. Or take advantage of the single to double concave and large planing surface to help trim  effortlessly over dead sections. The beveled rail reduces the overall thickness, adding performance including rapid direction changes. Raise your wave count every session with the paddle power of the Greedy Beaver while turning on a dime as you thread your way through the pack.    

Available Techs: TimberTek and Linear Flex Technology with Bamboo Deckskin



Dan Mann States: I’ve been riding the CHUMLEE for a while now. In 2009, when I first stepped beyond The Fish design for a groveler, I started with the Sweet Potato and then the Baked Potato as I explored shorter and shorter grovelers. As fun as super short boards are with the right fins and volume, I found the CHUMLEE filled a key slot in my quiver. The CHUMLEE should be ridden a bit longer so I ride a CHUMLEE that’s 2”-3” longer than my Baked Potato. The added rocker and round tail combined with less width make it super versatile and allow for a seamless transition back to a performance shortboard when the waves are going off.

Available Tech: Helium



Our Marketing Director, Chuy Reyna, was looking for all the benefits of the Dominator but even more performance. The SPITFIRE combines a Diamond tail and STEP-DOWN tail rail, giving the SPITFIRE the tail bite of a thinner board, without losing the Dominator's speed and flotation. The SPITFIRE offers the same 5/4/3 fin options and a low entry rocker for easy paddling.

Available Techs: Helium, Future Shape Technology, Timber Tek, Linear Flex Technology



A fantastic entry level mini-mal with seamless ‘learn to surf’ capability and great crossover potential for the competent surfer seeking retro glide and maneuverability. The Vacay gives leisurely cruise across flat sections with stability, but it also works in the pocket, especially for surfers with a wide stance and even pressure between front and back foot. This model is an extension of the Greedy Beaver but it most noticeably differs through the back half of The Vacay’s outline.

The Vacay draws back to a squash tail where the Greedy Beaver would instead come to a rounded pin, and that gives the Vacay more lift and more of a ‘shortboard’ feel while surfing. Additionally, this shape has a single concave that splits to a double concave towards the tail, which adds a looser feeling beneath your back foot and an ability to pump the board a bit more than the Greedy Beaver. This also allows the Vacay to slide onto a rail more easily, allowing carves not usually possible on a ‘fun board’ type shape with a squash tail.

The Vacay is our favorite mid-length in 2018, and like any good vacation, it gives you the freedom to do what you want whether a quick trip to Santa Cruz or an hour on the Gold Coast.

Available Techs: Timber Tek & Linear Flex Technology



The SKX features a compact outline with an even volume distribution and rocker, that lean towards the lower end of the general wave spectrum. Combined with the Trademark Tomo (QISC) ‘Quad-Inside-Single-Concave’ bottom contours, the SKX has instant ‘get up and go’ and incredible responsiveness that compliments a dynamic wave attack. Volume suggestion: if you find yourself caught between two lengths (for example should I get a 5'8" or 5'9"?) we recommend choosing the one with more volume rather then less volume because of the loose and highly responsive ride characteristics.

Available Technology: Linear Flex Technology


EVO (Evolution) is a new take on the MPH design,utilizing softer features and more outline curve to encourage a smoother transitions and a more  ‘in the pocket’ line of attack. A wider central wide point comparative to the Vader, the EVO should be considered favorable to smaller weaker waves, however like most Tomo MPH Designs , the EVO will still be quite functional in overhead waves conditions.

Maintaining  an almost symmetrical outline and a completely unique and highly innovative “Double inside single concave into split quad concave” planing hull, The EVO feels as if it’s almost ‘levitating’ on the water! Yet once on rail,  it has a precise rail sensitivity and hold. The EVO should be ridden as short as possible with user friendly volumes packed into the shortest MPH sizings yet offered by Tomo.  

Available Tech: Linear Flex Technology, TimberTek, Helium



FIREWIRE welcomes Taylor Jensen to our Pro team, one of the top high performance long boarders in the world and current ASP World Champion. Taylor and Dan Mann developed the TJP with slightly more aggressive bottom contours and a touch more kick in the tail than the stock 900R. The TJP will go vertical while still maximizing the fun of cruising on a longer board.

Available Tech: TimberTek


The same expanded lifespan beyond traditional materials that many expect from FST, in addition to the gentle compression beneath your feet that others love about LFT. We used the lightest foam we have to make Helium, combined with a brand new rail crafted from both balsa wood and paulownia wood. It’s all wrapped in a brand new deckskin material we’re introducing for the first time.
(Future Shape Technology) - FST relies primarily on the PARABOLIC Balsa Rail to control flex while the high density aerospace composite vacuumed to both the top and bottom decks provides significant impact strength, and is stronger than a traditional PU surfboard.
(TimberTek) - The combination of a lightweight EPS core, sustainably-grown Paulownia wood deck skins, Firewire’s proprietary parabolic rail construction, and an Entropy bio-resin hot coat yield an extremely lightweight, durable surfboard with ALL of the high performance flex characteristics of Firewire’s existing technologies.
(Linear Flex Technology) Bamboo Deckskin - This option incorporates a bamboo deckskin as well as the Firewire’s SPRINGER HD, a 0.75” (18 mm) wide aerospace composite that runs down the centerline of the board, representing the next generation in our SPRINGER technology. The SPRINGER HD runs the entire length of the board and plays a pivotal role in optimizing flex from nose to tail.





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