When asked: “Is surfing dangerous”, it’s hard to give a clear answer. More
I know the perfect surfboard probably doesn’t exist. The best surfboard in the world is what you think is the best surfboard in the world. But there are millions of surfboards out there, in all shapes and sizes. What should you choose?
Nowadays all major surf brands sell boards, and many local shops have shaping rooms. But there are still real shapers out there, who take pride in perfecting the craft.
Many proud brands (like Channel Island or JS) produce top of the line surfboards, and they all must rightly be considered as the best in their field. They have small nuances, making some shapers preferred by some surfers, while other surfers have other preferences.
It’s the old Gibson vs Fender, different strokes for different blokes- kind of story. I have my personal favorite and its Firewire. I have no commercial interests in making this statement, nor do I claim to know all shapers out there. So be aware that this is only my humble opinion, not the universal truth (even though I think it is).
But why? I’m glad you asked. Here is why I think the best surfboard in the world, most probably has a Firewire Surfboard logo on it somewhere.
The man behind Firewire Surfboards, Nev Hyman, is a true legend. In 1975 Nev started Odyssey Surfboards in Perth, West Australia. After a couple of years, he changed the name to Nev Surfboards, which in 1998 became Nev Future Shapes.
In the beginning, Nev was perhaps most known as a Christ-centered company and a tagline including the word “neva”. But as his shaping skills evolved, so did his business. He Put together a team of highly talented surfers, including Sonny Garcia. He promoted his surfers as “Future Champions”, and as we all know, in 2000 Sonny became world champion.
Besides being recognized as one of the best shapers in the world, Nev is equally known as being a pioneer in the development of an automated shaping process. In the early ’90s, computer-shaped boards were not generally recognized in the surf community, and both surfers and shapers argued that hand shaped boards had more “magic” than machine-made boards. Nev argued that he always shaped the prototype, including the magic. Problem is, if you make a magic board, it is impossible to recreate that board by hand. This new technology enabled him to produce exact replicas of magic carpets. So he helped create the APS3000 / AKU Shaper which is now the industry standard.
In 2004 Nev folded Nev Future Shapes and went all in on creating a new approach to making surfboards. Nev and Bert Burger started a company devoted to making the best possible surfboards possible. They started by redesigning the surfboard from the ground up, bending the rules in order to achieve perfection. Voila, Firewire Surfboards was born.
In 1994 Nev built the largest surfboard ever, and today he is deeply involved with building sustainable houses. But when he is not saving the planet, he still shapes for Firewire. But as he claims, his shapers are so good, that he doesn’t wish to compete with them.
All Firewire Surfboards are constructed using Expanded Polystyrene Foam. The core of the boards is also essential to the design of Firewire Surfboards. A heavier core makes the board both more responsive and stable during rail changes.
Firewire relies on the Future Shapes Technology Parabolic Balsa Rails to control flexibility. These boards also use high-density aerospace composite foam that is vacuum-attached to both the bottom and the top decks of the board. This adds significant strength the final surfboard and is more durable than polyurethane surfboards.
The rails are created from 12mm balsa wood and shaped into 3 x 4mm strips that control flex, add strength and allow the board to be protected from rail dings. This allows the board to be durable and retain its ‘feel’ for an extended amount of time.
Perhaps most known for his innovative designs, and his thoughts on the physics of surfing are DANIEL THOMSON (TOMO). In recent years Daniel has challenged the traditional concepts by introducing radical new designs, pushing the entire evolution of the sport forward. But Firewire also houses shapers such as DAN MANN, JON PYZEL, MARK MARTINSON, and GREG WEBBER.
Firewire is also working closely together with the best surfers this planet has ever produced. Both Rob Machado and Kelly Slater are shaping Firewire surfboards, riding their own designs and testing out new possibilities.
Basically, Firewire has organized its Board selection in two categories, one based on customized designs from different shapers. The other category offers a wide variety of boards, meeting the general needs of a wide variety of surfers.
The more traditional range of boards includes the following categories: PERFORMANCE, GROVELER, GROM, EVERYDAY, CROSSOVER, and STEP UP. These boards are made for everybody. You can find the perfect board for small waves, big waves, the inexperienced, the pro, the young and the old.
I know this says absolutely nothing about Firewire surfboards, but still, if the best surfers in the world ride Firewire, then it must be a little more than just all right. And the rooster is quite impressive.
First and foremost the king of the sport, Kelly Slater both designs and rides Firewire. But other pro surfers such as Michel Bourez and Stu Kennedy are on the team. As mentioned surf- style icon Rob Machado also both rides and shapes Firewire surfboards. Timmy Reyes shreds Firewire, and one of the biggest superstars of the sport, Wingnut, also rides Firewire longboards.
Firewire Surfboards are respected for the effort they put into producing eco-friendly boards. All Firewire Surfboards are constructed using Expanded Polystyrene Foam. This material is more environmentally friendly than polyurethane and can also be recycled. In addition, Firewire boards use only epoxy resins because they emit an estimated 2 percent of the volatile organic compounds that polyurethane resins do.
All boards produced by Firewire meets the standard of ECOBOARD Certification.
From 2018 Firewire will use REREZ which is a recyclable epoxy resin. Any fiberglass, carbon, or EPS product manufactured with REREZ (for example a surfboard) can be submerged into a concentrated vinegar solution that dissolves the REREZ epoxy into liquid and separates it from the product it was laminated to.
Granted, Firewire surfboards are a little pricey, but in reality, they cost about the same as any other high-end brand. So the question is, do you get more bang for your buck?
Back in the days, I imported 10 Nev Future shapes. Back then we only had 1 other Surfboard brand in our area (from a renowned brand), and The Nev Future Shapes smoked them. The Future Shapes held 2-3 times longer than other brands, they were shaped to perfection, and the graphics were unbelievable.
I believe that Firewire still honors the original values from back then. And they have kept pushing the standard, often being frontrunners in the industry. It seems as if Firewire didn’t accept status-quo, always trying to optimize every aspect of the surfboard. Better shapes, better materials, better durability, better flexibility, more sustainability, etc.
As stated in the beginning, I am not saying my opinion is the universal truth, but the way I see it Firewire Surfboards houses the best shapers in the world, the best surfers, and is by far the most progressive in the shaping business. At the same time, Firewire Surfboards always puts quality above everything else.
Granted many of our readers know how to surf. But I for one wish that somebody gave me a rundown of all the small tips and tricks.
Looking back on my own mistakes, I realise a lot of them could have been avoided, if only I took the time to digest some of the basic knowledge in surfing.
This sounds like a dream day, just you or you and a couple of friends if you’re feeling social and of course, your surfboards. No work, no worries, nothing except you and the sea, however, we all are aware of the old adage, ‘fail to plan and you will plan to fail’. Unfortunately not even something as picturesque as a trip to the beach can be exempt from such tried and tested wisdom. Hence we decided to put our heads together and come up with some things that you definitely need to think about before heading out onto the road.
Firstly, and this one can come across as kind of obvious, but checking the weather forecast is key, and no we don’t mean a quick glance at your phone to see what the temperature is. What you actually want to find out is how is the day going to look approximately for the entire time you will be out on the water. How likely are you to experience rain? Will there be heavy winds? Will the skies be clear or overcast and is there any cause for concern?
Now that you have all of that down, you may want to start assembling all of the supplies you will need to take with you. If you are going to a remote area or as a “just in case” precaution be sure to pack a first-aid kit in your car for any little scratches or minor injuries that you may incur while in the water. Next, do not forget your sunscreen, after sun, lip balm and any other sun protection products that you may need in order to protect your skin while you are out hitting the surf.
Moving on, make sure you have all the gear you will need for the day, from a wetsuit straight through to your surfboard and wax for the board as well, however, you may be lucky enough to stay in a warmer climate with lovely warm water, where a rash vest and shorts could be your ideal outfit. Oh, and be sure to pack your surfboard’s leash as well. And for those who are entirely new to the world of surfing, No, this is not the same leash you use to walk Spot around the block with.
Then of course there are plenty of other things to think about before you head out on your mission, firstly, do not forget the coffee, especially if you have decided to rouse yourself at some unheard of hour early in the morning in order to get to the beach before the break of dawn. While you are getting your first cup of coffee in your system, be sure to fill a thermos with some extra coffee for when you step out of the water for your midmorning snack break, this brings us to our next port of call, snacks.
Food for the road is a time honored tradition, each family has their own way of doing it and there really is no right or wrong way of preparing for a road trip but you do have to have snacks. Whether you pack sandwiches and crisp packets, or more wholesome foods such as pasta or muffins, or if you recognize your inner consumer and head to your nearest takeaway joint to fuel up for the road, a road trip simply isn’t a trip if munching doesn’t take place in the car.
Be sure to pack yourself plenty of water in order to keep yourself hydrated after being out in the surf for so long, after all you don’t want to become the famous family Christmas story of how you got dehydrated at the beach, because we all know one of the not so funny uncles will chime in and say “well, why didn’t they just have some seawater?” This is why you need to stay on top of your hydration situation and keep drinking water.
Finally, be sure to have a safe place to store all of your valuables while surfing, such as car keys, wallet, cell phone or even just your towel, this will help give you peace of mind to relax, kick back and surf your worries away. We hope this helps you plan your next surf mission.
Now that you know what you need, where and when are you going?
The iconic image of surfers tend to involve something of an endless tan, hair that is blonder than ever from constantly being kissed by the sun and just a general air of excitement that comes from living life on the edge. What is most certainly left out of the picture is sunburns, peeling skin, a blood red nose and hair that is as dry as a rock because of continually being thrashed by the saltwater and whipped by the wind. However, there are ways to combat these after effects of surfing and to keep you looking in perfect shape, today we decided to explore them and help you look like you’ve spent hours worshipping the sun not being mauled by it.
It all begins with something that everybody should be doing anyway; regardless of whether you are spending the day riding away your problems out in the water or if you are sitting at your desk in an air-conditioned office, sunscreen is an essential part of our beauty regimen. However, if you are spending your time out on the ocean this becomes an even more critical part of your routine, regardless of how the weather outside may look the water is not only absolutely fantastic at reflecting the sun’s rays back onto your skin but can also easily wash off sunscreens that are not up to par.
Covering up with a wetsuit, or a t-shirt and leggings are absolutely essential to minimize exposure to the sun and then using waterproof sunscreens and multispectral sunscreens that cover all forms of the suns radiation will really help keep you covered while out on the waves. Other ways you can protect yourself include, surfing at non-peak hours for sunlight, hint hint the early hours of the morning just around sunrise and late into the evening heading towards or just after sunset, to help reduce the amount of sun exposure you receive.
Maybe a 5am wakeup call it is then, catch the surf with little worry of too many others out at sea and protect your skin while you’re at it. However, if you find yourself in an awkward situation where instead of looking like a tanned mythological god, you look more akin to a tomato; fear not there is hope for you yet. Tomatoes and green tea will be on your dinner menu. Tomatoes have been proven to be effective at reducing the harms of sunburn, so pull out the pizza, pasta, toasted sandwiches or even a salad for your next meal. Just make sure you have a generous helping of tomatoes.
Green tea is known to help alleviate the swelling, redness and tension of your sunburn, so make sure to wash down your generous supply of tomatoes at dinner with a cup of green tea to make certain your sunburn will be more of an annoyance than a full-blown pest. When wandering down the aisles of any beauty department, you will see a section within the hair care category that is allocated to beachy hair and sun-kissed blonde, this probably has to do with people like surfers who so often are blessed with natural highlights and hair in effortless tousled waves.
While there is a different side to this story, for starters, the salty seawater, combined with the wind and the sun relentlessly beating down on your head can leave your hair feeling dry and bedraggled, rather than shiny and soft. You might be wondering at this point how on earth surfers deal with these kinds of problems, there is a secret of course, but don’t worry we will reveal what it is.
I’m sure you’ve guessed it already, the well-kept secret that is loved by many a surfer to keep their locks long, soft, and shiny is none other than leave in conditioner and we aren’t talking about putting in a little every now and then. Oh no, if you plan on hitting the waves on a regular basis, you will be applying leave in conditioner on a routine basis. This wraps up a couple ways you can best protect yourself from the sun while out in the water, so next time you head out don’t forget to stash some sunscreen in your car.