Behind the Brand: There's a lot of hyperbole about revolution these days. Yet, truth is, there's really only been a handful of surfboard breakthroughs over the past 100 years: redwood planks to balsa foils in the '40s, balsa to foam in the '50s, longboards to shortboard in the '60s, and the multi-fin, high-performance movement of the '70s, followed by 30 years of refinement. Nev Hyman has spent his career trying to lead surfers toward the next quantum leap. Though he's been shaping boards for more than 35 years, his quest to advance design and construction technologies has been driving him for the past 15. He was a central player in the introduction of the APS300 computer-shaping machine, and today is the man spearheading Firewire, a label launched in April of 2006 that essentially ushered in the new mindset of a post-Clark Foam era. Hyman's mission was to incorporate all of his modern construction and design methods with a blend of new materials in order to reengineer the surfboard from the inside out. For the past two years, Taj Burrow has been acting as Firewire's Chuck Yeager, supplying valuable R&D feedback to design teams in both San Diego and Thailand. In that time the Firewire crew has introduced the surfing world to a whole new paradigm of design possibilities, like Balsa wood parabolic rails, internal drive frames (made of carbon tubes), and state-of-the-art epoxy construction. If Taj's results are any indication of the progress being made, consider the fact that he's had the best two years of his career riding the new equipment.
About their Most Popular Models: Firewire is unapologetically focused on high-performance equipment, like the Flexfire. The Flexfire comes in a range of sizes that include the Direct Drive suspension system, which internally connects the fins and rails to each other with carbon rods to harness maximum torque. The Futura and Quadfish are also very popular designs for fans of alternative outlines.
Taking the Pulse: "The era of the holy guru shapers should be put on ice for a while and we should focus entirely on construction innovation. Clearly for us it is more about the evolution of composite engineered component construction than refining shape to the nth degree."Shop Talk
What's been the most exciting part of this process for you? "The relationship between Taj and Firewire. Up until two years ago, Taj, like most world tour surfers, would go through over 80 boards a year searching for that magic board, breaking most in the process and having their magic board on mothballs, only seeing the light of day in a heat, when it counts. Fast-forward to now and the results are profound. Taj has had the best season of his career and lifted his performance repertoire, all whilst freesurfing, training, and sharing his favorite boards with his mates.