Firewire Surfboards and The Dominator

The Dominator - One Of The Funnest Boards Around

Slater, rides CI (pictured) and rides Firewire when the conditions suit. ©WSL/Cestari

Once upon a time the surfing world consisted of single-finned surfboards, for everyone. If you were a free surfer you rode a single fin, and if you were a professional surfer you rode a single fin. There was no other choice.

While there will always be contention as to who started developing other styles of boards, Australian surfer Mark Richards will always be credited with introducing the twin-fin to the surfing masses. He came out of the blue, literally, and rode his self-shaped, newfangled twin-fin to four consecutive world titles. As it was happening, surfers from all over the world started embracing and experimenting with their own twin-fins, and soon everyone rode a twinnie. During the revolution, however, professional surfer Shaun Tomson from South Africa refused to try out a twin-fin, as did Australian professional surfer Cheyne Horan.

Eventually Tomson changed over, and was amazed by the performance possibilities of the twin-fin. He went on to some great professional surfing success with his twin-fin surfing, and often lamented that he wished he had crossed over sooner and had been more open to change. Cheyne Horan refused to change over, and while he was a world title contender surfer for his skills and talent, he never went on to win that world title he deserved, and placed runner-up four times.

It’s important to embrace change.

Most people like a standard foam surfboard, with a stringer, encased in fiberglass. Yet there are many other technologies out there at the moment, including the Firewire line. Made up of EPS (expanded polystyrene foam) and aircraft composites or wooden veneers, the surfboards are only machine-made with no shaping taking place in the production process, and only using epoxy resins.

The most popular surfboard in the Firewire line is the Dominator, a fun board with loads of buoyancy and speed to burn.

Along with the new technology, and having no stringer, the Firewire tech has an amazing spring to it, with unique flex and memory pattern while surfing. It is also a dream to paddle, and catching waves is an absolute cinch compared to paddling normal boards.

The Dominator is a very simple outline, and a very forgiving design, yet retains all the high performance characteristics needed by modern day surfers to have fun, to be able to do turns, and to be able to catch waves without compromising their top-end surfing levels, as well as have confidence in waves of consequence.

Mark Price, a former pro surfer from South Africa, is the man behind Firewire, and he has a team of talented and respected surfers and shapers on the team with him like Nev Hyman and Chuy Reyna.

While the Dominator is an excellent board in perfect conditions and when the waves have some juice and are barreling, this isn’t such a good acid test, as most boards will perform optimally in these sorts of conditions. It’s when the waves get small and gutless that the real wonder comes out.

The Firewire line, and in particular the Dominator, comes to life when there is no speed or power to be found in the conditions. Due to the spring in the board, as well as the buoyancy, the boards find speed where there is none, and all good surfing comes from speed. Small and onshore, gutless offshore conditions and those days when it is just too pitiful to paddle out, all become so much fun when on a Dominator, and due to the float, the boards can be ridden a good 4 inches shorter than your normal go-to small wave board as well.

Taj Burrow was one of the top professional surfers who excelled on a Firewire quiver, and these days it is Michel Bourez who is the chief professional ambassador for the brand, along with current flavor Stuey Kennedy.

So impressive are these boards that eleven times world champion Kelly Slater bought into the company, and is now riding the boards as well.   

In the future, there is one very big direction that surfing is going to go, and that is towards wave pools. In wave pools, the water is chlorinated as opposed to salt-infused seawater. The one chief difference between chlorine water and salt water is that the chlorine water is less dense. It has less float, thus normal surfboards will sink more.

Firewires however, remain buoyant and responsive in the chlorine water, and the long-term repercussions of this marriage are massive.