The road to Firewire and beyond

Nev Hyman
Swellnet Dispatch

Yesterday, in the first installment from Flexi Week, Swellnet ran a timeline of Mitchell Rae's flex experimentation coupled with his own commentary. Mitchell revealed a conversation with Nev Hyman in the late-90s. At the time, Nev was running one of the largest surfboard companies in the world but it was limited in what it could do. Necessity being the mother of invention Nev began to visualise blanks that could alter a board's flex. The process would lead him on a long and winding journey.

Following is a conversation Nev had with Swellnet about the genesis of Firewire.

Before we talk about what I saw in Mitchell’s boards, it’s important to understand what was happening at the time.

Back then - and this would’ve been late-90s - there were many attempts to make molded boards such as PCB [Pro Circuit Boards by Bob McTavish] and Cobra’s efforts with Surftech. All of that new technology was floating around and starting to happen.

Yet all those boards lacked flex. They all lacked the inherent rail to rail flexibility; the longitudinal twist that a good board needs. Riding them was like riding a plank, and that was why you never saw any surfer of note ripping on them - and I say that with the greatest respect to everyone involved. They sold a lot of boards, but they were B-grade boards.

Pro Circuit Boards, molded surfboads made in the mid- to late-90s

There was just no way I’d ever put my name on one of those boards, yet a lot of well-known shapers did. The temptation of finally earning a dollar through making surfboards was too strong. Every shaper wants to make a bit more because it’s a tough world out there.

You can’t say those shapers sold out; it’s a harsh term and it’s not what I mean. What I mean is there was a compromise. There was a compromise in performance, and so those guys had to compromise themselves to take on board that opportunity.

So with all that in mind, the only person that I knew that was experimenting with flex was Mitchell Rae. His boards worked, they showed what flex can do, yet I didn’t have the time to do what Mitchell did. I couldn't upset the monster I created!

The ‘monster’ was my company. Between 1990 and 2000 I was doing around 100-150 boards a week. I was one of the biggest board manufacturers in the world and I had a responsibility to all my team riders, I had a responsibility to all my retailers, and I was trying to figure out ways to do more of my boards without selling my designs to other shapers around the world under license.

So the operation had to continue. Yet at that volume, even doing channel bottoms was a bit of a no no, let alone all forms of flex. All Mitchell’s boards were made by hand. I wanted to understand what Mitchell was doing, I wanted to ride it, I wanted to try and see how we could put flex into boards that didn’t require completely upsetting our factory process.

After talking to Mitchell, my mind started drifting towards making a blank that could be machined but also have foam of different densities added to it to change the flex. As you know, I was instrumental in propagating the whole computer shaping scenario, copped all the early flak, so that’s the direction I was going.

Miki Langenbach [Nev’s partner in APS3000 and Aku Shaper] and I were selling those machines and one day I said to Miki, “We need to create a 100% machinable blank where we can control the flex.” And we’d do that by using different density foams. We could add foam in certain areas of the blank before it got laminated.

Around 2000, 2001, we ordered different density foams and we were getting ready to make those blanks. Everything was there ready to do, but Miki said to me, “Nev we’re too busy.” The problem was that stumbling block: Miki wouldn't support me going down that path, and second to that I’d just gone through a divorce. My focus was on other areas too.

So I kinda put it to bed for six months or so but then I was introduced to Bert Burger.

Bert had built a brilliant flexing blank. What it did was what I was trying to do. What he had was a blank that didn't have the central stringer, that had stringers on the rail. It did exactly what I was trying to do with the multi density foams. I know that if I followed through with that I would’ve created a blank that had the flex properties of a parabolic rail surfboard.

But lo and behold Bert Burger jumped into my life. I bought his company, he came to Queensland, and we developed the process using his technology. However, we could only make ten boards a week, maximum, because they had to be handmade. We couldn’t use the Aku Shaper or APS3000 shaping systems because it was a completely different system, so I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we could mass produce this Bert Burger technology, and that technology became Firewire.

The first five Firewire surfboards built by Josh Dowling using Bert Burger's technology (Josh Dowling)

I’ve had my time making surfboards, had my day in the sun, and I’m very proud of creating Firewire with Bert originally, and then obviously Kelly Slater bought it out. It’s still the only surfboard company that has the ability to put something within a surfboard or on the skin of a surfboard to improve its performance. And that’s why it will keep pushing the barriers of design.

That said, I’d still love to build a totally composite blank, all the machining systems are there in place, and there’s so many new materials that can be used that I’m finding out about via NevHouse: incredibly thin, incredibly strong, and incredibly flexible natural Australian fibres. I won’t even say what they are because I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag!

//NEV HYMAN

Read 'Mitchell Rae's Flexible Trajectory' - or just drool at the photos!

Comments

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:41am

Interesting read:

I don't like how firewire are viewed or perceived by most i guess mostly due to being made in SE Asia (which is not an issue for me, after all my wife was made in SE Asia)

And to be honest ideally id much rather ride some small local label hardly anyone has heard off (thats the cool indy spirit kid in me), but i just can't go past their boards, i just think they are way ahead of 99% of board makers out there in their builds/tech.

I think with their new Helium build they have totally nailed the feel V's performance V's durability balance (now just give me a spray like above :)

I don't think the FW flex thing is any better than a centre stringer PU/PE board, but i think it's just as good.

IMHO all those perceptions of how EPS/Epoxy responds, chattery etc i think has developed from those early builds like surf tech, 100% those boards were so stiff and felt every bump, but my local beachie even on a clean day has so may bumps and lumps and chop from rips and my FW boards go fine.

Hope Nev stays involved in some way, i like the shit he does, always liked Nev boards even if they dinged and snapped just looking at them (kind of ironic now)

Ada gula, ada semut!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:31pm

Hey Indo, Nev is staying involved in design, even if only to indulge himself. Stay tuned for another article on an upcoming project of his.

That sound you can hear is Mango Carafino bashing the keyboards.

shorebreak's picture
shorebreak's picture
shorebreak commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 11:47am

Great Boards, such clever and strong construction.Recently cleaned the wax off my 3 year old Firewire Addvance, ridden many many times very few if any dents. The increase of Volume and Litres while keeping the length down is a brilliant innovation for the older surfer.

Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:38pm

If this website is not force feeding us some bullshit about Kelly Slater and his manipulation of the tour due to his on and off injury. This site is force feeding us some bullshit about Kelly Slater owned Firewire surfboards.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 4:00pm

Um thank you you for showing how little you know, Firewire boards are not made in China, they are made in Thailand, if you need a place to have waves to validate something, both China and Thailand have waves better than many areas of Australia with small but growing surfing community, Bali (a part of SE Asia) also has a thriving board building industry.

The reality is these days most boards anywhere are machine shaped even if finished by hand, although I'm sure in time most boards will become fully machine shaped as the tech already exist.

There is always the argument of which is better machine shaped or hand shaped, to me they are two different things, i have no issue with machine shapes which is technically more accurate than a human but can also appreciate the skill and art of hand shaping.

Ive had over ten firewire boards and I'm sorry they don't break easily, I've snapped one in Indonesian and creased one in Aust, id say FST, Timbertek, Helium is about three more times more durable than a standard PU/PE board and they are slightly more resistant to snapping, but any board will snap under the right conditions.

IMHO LFT is not too much more durable than most PU/PE boards and probably snap just as easily.

As for rippers at local beaches, I've seen guys rip on firewires and seen plenty of kooks, just like any big brand name surfboard, if good surfers validate something then it should be noted more comps have been won on Firewire boards in both pro level mens & womens events and most likely long board and amateur events too than any other non PU/PE board brand..

IMHO Swellnet provide a good balance of articles on all kinds of aspects of surfing, and yes I too would love to see an article on hand made balsa made boards (probably already been done)

To sum things up, a good board is a good board, no matter where its built, by what nationality or race or even the surfing skill level of the person who contributed to the making of the board.

Ada gula, ada semut!

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:06pm

ah Indo, I can see this isn't the first Mango you have demolished!

Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:37pm

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indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:44pm

I said better waves than "many areas" not "most area's"

I do agree the closing of clark foam helped push things along, I'm not sure id agree FCS/Future type fin boxes came about because China board makers couldn't glass fins in though, for a start your timeline is all wrong seeing Clark foam closing happened in 2005 FSC developed around early to mid 90's???

I don't really like comparing FW's to handmade crafted quality surfboards to me those boards are arts of work, while firewires are mass produced boards. (two different things, although thats not to say one goes better than the other performance wise)

If you are going to compare them to other surfboards, compare them to other big name surfboard labels that churn out truck loads of boards a month, you know all the disposable type boards that often go great but last 6 months to a year or so or even most (not all) local labels that lets face it are generally pretty average same same almost genetic PU/PE boards.(again not all)

When i compare FW to other mass produced boards or even standard local boards, IMHO they perform just as good, but last about three times longer.

Im also not sure how you can call them cheap asian crap, when they are generally more expensive than most boards and are much more complex builds (parabolic rails, composite construction, vacuum bagged)

Cheap asian crap, are the boards you see on E bay etc for $399.00 or even the big board labels located in AUS or USA that often get boards made in Asia basic PU/PE boards often without a label showing made in Asia.

Even my local shop was getting this done (no made in Asia labels) and selling them cheap, and they were honestly crap, i bought one and surfed it twice and the deck sunk more than my boards old PU/PE boards do in a year, i didn't even try getting a refund, just put it on the secondhand board rack for $150 cheaper.
(in all fairness the local sales staff did warn me or try to steer me away)

BTW. "glassed with love" ? :D

BTW. Each to their own but i like sitting in dirty Indo warungs maybe not eating Nasi Goreng though, maybe something like martabak or some Padang food..

Ada gula, ada semut!

Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino's picture
Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:39pm

Just spare me the bullshit of Kelly Slater and Firewire surfboards.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:10pm

mango,
it's flex week on swellnet, So i guess stu interviewed ol Nev .
This comment is not an advertorial.

halleys-comet's picture
halleys-comet's picture
halleys-comet commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:09pm

Mango,
That's a whole lot of opinion, I'll reply with mine; I've got 6 Firewires, I love them, 2 are more than 5 years old, one the go to for that 5 years, a timber tech, I love the look and feel of the board and its handled all sorts of waves, some of consequence. Haven't bought a PU for years as I got sick of them not lasting a year, shite personal investments in my experience. ps I have no affiliation of financial stake in anything surfing wise.

daComet

Mango Carafino's picture
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Mango Carafino commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:36pm

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blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 1:09pm

I always enjoy these insights into the development of design and materials but I think Mango has a point about Firewire. I just haven't seen good surfers tearing the place up on them and most of their designs don't particularly appeal. To be honest, some of their models look like seriously bad boards, but each to their own. But Beach Bunnies on Swellnet? I wouldn't hold my breath Mango ........ the history of surfers as male models? Maybe.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 5:54pm

I don't think they are bad boards/shapes, but they do seem to have a lot of fun boards/grovel/hybrid/full volumed kind of boards that don't always look so pretty.

I think it's because a big part of their market is the over 40 market who need more foam and those type of boards opposed to say some labels that are focussed more on high performance shapes. (your DHD's and Merricks etc)

I guess with the bit higher price tag it also makes sense to market a bit to that market with a higher disposal income.

Although that said Kelly and Tomo boards are also aimed at a younger or broader market.

Ada gula, ada semut!

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:11pm

I appreciate your balanced and unemotive reply @indo-dreaming.
I accept there will always be lovers and haters, no matter what genre of anything in life you are into. Only when the facts get misconstrued is it necessary to respond, Mango I’d be more than happy for you to call me to discuss your views. Pointless debating online. Send me a message on Facebook and I’ll call you back.

Ensea's picture
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Ensea commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 1:55am

Story time.
Around 2003 I was a young aspiring minimum wage surfer looking to take my surfing to new levels so I purchased 4 nevs for $500 each. I was paying $400 from other local shapers but after chatting with nev & him assuring me their quality was better I went with it. They all snapped or creased within 6wks & were soft reject blanks with holes filled with resin or yellow qsell & badly oversanded with fcs plugs & not the glass ons I clearly ordered on the order form. That was my first lesson in business. I forgave nev years later as firewires well marketed strength characteristics appealed to me. I got 2 firewires & snapped one at the alley & creased one at the spit. I’ve seen a lot of snapped firewires at Straddie but the spit & Currumbin alley? The rail edges were sharp about 7 inches further up on one rail than the other & one rail was poorly & noticeably shaped lower than the other. The lesson here is get boards off aspiring shapers/surfers not aspiring businessmen. Dh falls into the same crooked category & will also lie to make a extra dollar and burfords blanks won’t even deal with him because of his shady past. Never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn aye nev. Why do you want to answer questions in private? It’s 2018 brah. Ain’t nothing be kept secret these days. I’m not mad at ya mate. Ya just broke my heart that’s all.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 9:04am

The problem with the internet is people can say just about anything without one shred of evidence to back it up.

Like you said "Never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn aye"

Either that or you are the most unlucky person on this earth.

Ada gula, ada semut!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 9:20am

How many surfers - let alone someone on minumum wage - can afford to buy four brand new surfboards at the same time?

And why would ya anyway? Buy one, give it a good workout for a few weeks or months, if it works then get another. If not, move on elsewhere.

Ensea's picture
Ensea's picture
Ensea commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 11:17am

You’re right thermalben.
I was young, dumb with money and the banks were lending as the economy was booming. I got 2 for good waves & 2 grovlers. Ya gotta have a backup in case ya snap one & expected those boards to last me at least a year or until I paid my loan off. I learnt a lot about money & surfboards in that period of my life. As I said it was my mistake & I’m not mad at nev. I’m just putting out there how some of these rock star shapers do business.
Dh was no angel either in that time. I ain’t gonna try prove nothing to you either indo. Just telling a story. Believe or not I don’t care. Nev knows what’s up aye nev.

savanova's picture
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savanova commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 5:44pm

Ive broken dreams, hearts and boards with no-one to blame but me.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:39pm

Yep.

NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 12:28pm

It is sad Ensea that you had that experience and forgive me for the fact that you will now wear the brunt of my view. I know you mean well mate, but like I have said there are always two sides to a story.
I can assure you anybody who's ever worked for me, I have absolutely never used as you say "soft reject blanks". The holes you refer to were typical of all surfboards made in that era. Any blank that was clearly rejectable, was rejected! Minor pits (2-4mm max) were filled with Qcell and as effectively as possible covered up with a light touch of spray under the proteck on the filler coat. What actually happened with as the board age like all the surfboards, the white spray remained white.
The aim was to make a surfboard as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and as these tiny pits had absolutely no effect on the performance of the board, there was no issue (we thought) Please do not suggest for a second that this would be unethical as you infer. The pits were the fault of the blank manufacturer, a product we paid top dollar for. Period. Nev Future Shapes NEVER bought reject blanks. That is a fact.
BUT these reject were sold, often to smaller manufacturers to save money! FACT!
Sadly we made a mistake on the order sheet regarding your fins, sorry... and further to the point you made about the boards snapping, please tell me any other surfboard manufacturer on the planet who has or is making high-performance ultralight surfboards that have not experienced this same problem. To say otherwise is a lie.
If I have made you surfboards way back when that weighed more than 3-3.2kg for a standard 6'0 - 6'2" board for a guy who weighs 65 to80kg you would've said Nev makes crap heavy surfboards that go like shit.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've had this conversation over 45 years in the industry.
It has absolutely nothing to do with quality. It is because the surfer wants what a pro surfer rides which means lightweight or light as possible (maybe not as light as what a pro rode but still made for performance, not resilience) The pros rarely pay for their boards so if they break boards it's not an issue. (I have seen 3 go in a 20 min heat! Andy Irons I think)
The customer pays for their board and when it breaks it is devastating sadly.
To this day surfboard manufacturers are still stuck between a rock and a hard place with this dilemma.
So mate whilst I can't help but take offence to your assumptions, but I completely understand. I really do.
However, there is a misconception that if a manufacturer is small and more personal the surfboard will be better and stronger. This is simply not the case. If a surfboard is glassed to be high-performance, no matter where done or by whom (assuming the level of skill is equal) then the performance and resilience of that board are equal. The crew I had working for me were the best. They really were. Amazing craftsmen. The assumption that a bigger manufacturer inherently produces an inferior product is ridiculous. Often in most industries the opposite is the case. The skill set of the workers in the biggest surfboard factories it usually second to none.
With regard to your Firewire experience, the biggest mistake that I made whilst developing that company in the early stages, even though we were pretty excited about what we were doing regarding how strong the tech was, was to suggest (which I never actually did) that they were unbreakable. Photos of me jumping off cars onto boards with fins up did more damage than good moving forward for the company. In the early stages of Firewires development, we did have some issues with boards breaking. But let me be very clear. Firewires do not break more often than PU even back then in 2006 when comparing apples with apples. I challenge anybody to suggest otherwise. Yes, they do break but because they are Firewires people take notice more than if it was just PU. They are incredibly resilient to deck collapse damage and dings etc and there is no doubt they hold up longer than any other high-performance surfboard construction that I'm aware of, but again we have to compare apples with apples. And if you buy a well-known brand, liked Lost, JS, AM, DHD etc there is little difference in price so the argument of paying more is a moot point.
Mate, never criticise someone who you do not know, nor if you do not really know the circumstances around someone else's life. DH went through a tough time probably tougher than you'll ever know, but who am I to judge, right?
People get hurt when things go wrong on both sides of the coin. That's life, but to attack people publicly like you just have done to DH is just not kosher...I've got plenty of haters out there because of the impact Firewire has had on the Industry. I had shit thrown at me because of my role in the development of CAD / CAM APS3000/AKU Shaper for shaping which nearly all shapers use now. Sometimes it is not fun being a disrupter...People don't understand that sometimes life gets in the way of keeping everybody happy. The more popular one becomes the harder it is to do so. As we all know shit is easily thrown nowadays on social media which shits me and everyone on the receiving end when you then have to be defensive, which takes precious time and energy that you and I don't have.
I'll say it again, hear me well... There are always two sides to any story.
My final point is about answer questions in private. This has got nothing to do with hiding anything as you infer which really pisses me off. I simply do not have time for this silly childish
banter, especially when my conscience is clear and even more so when my friends and colleagues are criticised. This breaks my heart too Ensea.
So...If anybody reading this post wants to respond with more negative comment, I will simply not respond. However, I challenge you to contact me personally. Connect on FB privately and I'll give you my number.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 8:52am

DH went through tuff times was his of his own making , and as far as the Firewire haters go , I am one but not because of the product its because of the immoral business ethics having your product on consignment all over the world.
The Slater designs coming out of Firewire are the worst quality board on the market , also now on consignment...do you think consignment is moral , and do you think this has had a huge negative impact on the Industry ?

x

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:37pm

Fuck, is this a thesis?

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:42pm

Mind you, I dont' know what a thesis is, so, this well could be one.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 9:15am

Was my question about Firewires lack of Moral integrity too negative to be discussed in Public?
I don't know of anyone who hates Firewire because of the product , its the business ethics that has destroyed a whole industry that is the question?
So what's the deal with consignment?

x

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 8:08pm

That certainly agrees with my experience of them Indo. What I don't get in these discussions is that people sometimes seem to think that there is some standard 6'0 or whatever thruster design that everyone surfs. I see huge variation in the boards being ridden and it is not necessarily about age or body weight. If I saw a Firewire that was the right dimensions and looked good I would consider it. We have never been better informed about design and for my money shaping machines have really helped the average consumer. You know you are getting a proven design and most designers are happy to tweak a model to suit. I remember writing a piece for Tracks I think, somewhere back in the dark ages when all boards were the same construction saying that there had to be better ways that would allow greater durability, reduce weight and improve performance. I think that is still true. We are still a long way from an ideal method of construction.

savanova's picture
savanova's picture
savanova commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:45pm

FYI Sally Fitz & Michelle Bourez both ride firewire and both rip IMOA

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 6:28pm

Sally Fitz hasn't ridden for firewire for a couple of years. She bailed on them when her contract was up. She is on JS

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:20pm

So did Kelly buy Nev out?

Is that. how the deal worked?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 2:32pm

By the sounds of it, yeah.

NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:13pm

No
Kelly did not buy me out. He secured majority shareholding from other key stakeholders

I focus's picture
I focus's picture
I focus commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 5:53pm

Is it true that the gig with Burt was robbery of the century?

NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:27pm

Hey I focus
Mate, you gotta agree that there is always too sides to any story, right?
I have nothing but respect for what Bert contributed to the foundation of Nev (new tech) in Jan 2005 which evolved into Firewire in April 2006. The incredible technical and managment team of Firewire, who are nearly all still on board, have in so many ways taken that seed provided by me and Bert and grown it into arguably the most innovative and sustainable surfboard company going.

I have in every platform and every discussion given Bert the credit for sowing that first seed, but equally praise the Firewire team for developing unique tech unmatched by others, making FW what it is today.
It is simply Chalk and Cheeze to compare Nev/Bert of 2005 to Firewire of. 2018
Absolutely in no way was Bert “robbed” That is just a ridiculous statement. What happened, happened and unless you know the details it is simply naive and actually offensive to make statements like that without knowing the facts.
I am avaliable anytime to discuss. FB me if you are up for it.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 11:48pm

Yep, and It could have bee a bigger haul.

Mitchell Rae - Outer Island's picture
Mitchell Rae - Outer Island's picture
Mitchell Rae - ... commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 6:56pm

I fully agree with Nev's comments about longitudinal flex as being key to performance, and the inherent stiffness in most production boards making them lifeless.

I'm very interested to see where Nev goes with new material and construction as I believe there's some quantum breakthroughs to come, particularly with flex.

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:07pm

Love ya work Mitchell Too much respect to you from this ranga mate

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NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:00pm

Mango
Respectfully, your comments as so out of line and incorrect I request that you call me at your convenience. Message me on FB and I’ll provide details. I look forward to the debate.

bill-poster's picture
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bill-poster commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:22pm

I was on the barbie at the last poinstscore and talking about boards with a set of tongs in my fist, bunch of identikit 6'0 thrusters spread on the grass. "Where we can it go?" I said. Woz reckoned it could be positive negative charged tips like those bullet trains in Nippon. Holmes said drag reduction on surfaces ... "six foot of board can slip quicker than grease with less friction." And Spod said it was all fin but then he sells them so and who can trust a salesmen?

Three cheers for showing that Aussie innovation is alive and well Nev.

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:05pm

Thanks Bill
Your cryptic reply is gold :)

simba's picture
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simba commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:35pm

Love these articles and responses........keep em coming

simba

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 7:37pm

BTW. Nev and Mitchell great to see you both posting here, two of my fav shapers, love the way both of you think out of the box.

Ada gula, ada semut!

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018 at 10:01pm

Thanks mate
It’s a bit daunting responding as any comment opens cans of worms too, and honestly, I can’t be bothered if it is not constructive. More than happy to contribute though where I can

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 1:21pm

when you released Firewire there was a claim of Vertical Integrated Flex , what did this actually mean?
What are your thoughts on Torsion in a surfboard as opposed to Flex?

x

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NevFutureShaper commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 9:00pm

I’m sure you know sharkman. Torsional flex is what we’d call in surfboard design what happens when you load up trough turns off the bottom and off the top. The rail (outline) loads up and twists off as the load (pressure) releases. That rate varies according to what composite construction the board is made from.
In PU the best result is in the more lightweight a lamination is the slower it will tortuously flex through turns. This has stood the test of time r.e performance, but the heavier the lamination the less it can load and therefore the less it will release, resulting in a dead stiff feeling, hence why Surftech etc were stiff as boards.
Longitudes flex is nose to tail. In PU there is little or no longitudal flex so the board maintains drive via the stiff longitidal flex over the center, but performs through the rail loading and unloading.
Firewire combines both elements so when you load up the rail you are also loading up the centre resulting in that unique twang/responsiveness through turns they are renowned for. However this assertaion is arguable due to the highly subjective non scientific appraisal that torments surfboard designers. We can talk but we can’t prove anything! It ia all in the FEEL always had been and it always will be. That is the beauty of the debate

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 8:42am

you should really talk to an expert Hydrodynamic Scientist that surfs , as a lot of what has been said on flex is just romantic ideas dreamed up to explain differences in performance through materials.
Examples......In PU there is a lot of Longitudal flex depending on Stringers and how much Glass. Using Inegra with thicker stringers , you can still stand on the board , deck down and flatten the board , so plenty of flex , so it ranges from soggy flex to very stiff flex , which is best?
…..I ve read about Torque/Torsion, and been part of an experiment that dates back to the late 70's, and working on a stiff front 2/3rds of the board , but the back 1/3 of the board has been tweaked so there is no Flex and only Torsion when Torque is applied ...google Scott Graham who build America's Cup yachts , and was part of the design team for the Oracle Trimaran , that beat Allinghi catamaran.....
Do you change technology to enhance your designs or use technology to change your designs?

x

Ensea's picture
Ensea's picture
Ensea commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 12:37am

Crooked industry

Optimist's picture
Optimist's picture
Optimist commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 5:17am

I don't care if the company is based on Mars, but I want my board made in Australia by an Australian workforce and I will pay a little more if I have to, even though that doesn't seem to be the case.

KR Beast's picture
KR Beast's picture
KR Beast commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 12:09pm

I’m a big fan of Outer Island boards, Thanks Mitchell Rae, have a had a few I’ve picked up over the years, love the V2 flex, can’t explain why, they just feel great to surf for me, have a couple of Lost Carbon Wraps ( Goldy made) that I think feel very similar. Boards are such a personal thing,to each their own,but hopefully Aussie made.

leckiep's picture
leckiep's picture
leckiep commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 2:08pm

Nev & Mitchell,

Thanks so much for adding some of your experiences & views to the comments (you too Sharkman).

Nev - In your lengthy response above you suggested that if it weren't for the market following the Pros, you might build boards a bit differently?

The comment above was:
further to the point you made about the boards snapping, please tell me any other surfboard manufacturer on the planet who has or is making high-performance ultralight surfboards that have not experienced this same problem. To say otherwise is a lie.
If I have made you surfboards way back when that weighed more than 3-3.2kg for a standard 6'0 - 6'2" board for a guy who weighs 65 to80kg you would've said Nev makes crap heavy surfboards that go like shit.

Assuming you're building a board for a competent surfer who surfs regularly, and you didn't have to follow the market trens re as light as possible - what sort of weight/construction/glass/whatever would you build to give a balance of performance and longevity?

CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 3:33pm

'The problem with the internet is people can say just about anything without one shred of evidence to back it up.

Like you said "Never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn aye"'

Hilarious!!! In a nutshell!!! Bitcoin boogie!!! Evidence? Just sayin' intermediately becoming expert, in a few months covers that, in a nutshell. Or just a few bored googles does the trick... in a nutshell.

'How many surfers - let alone someone on minumum wage - can afford to buy four brand new surfboards at the same time?

And why would ya anyway? Buy one, give it a good workout for a few weeks or months, if it works then get another. If not, move on elsewhere.'

Depends where you live, and what you regularly surf. I used to get a matched quiver from McCoy, 6'2", 6"8", 7'4", 8'2". Same thing with Mackie. And Marty Littlewood. Only the best custom shapers can do that though, create a perfectly matched quiver, so that it feels natural, seamless, the transition from jumping from one board to the other, depending on the waves, the size/shape/power. Heaps of surfers I know do it. Not on the mid but....

All this detail about flex. Scientifically needing to perfect surfboards. Wanting to perfect and understand, well, that is, finally stupe, and bent realizing, well, opening pandora's box to the world about the importance of... of... of... liftin' surfin' outa'... anyway...

Its funny... in a nutshell. The funniest thing is, well, watching tiny little surfers wanting way more power, bigger boards, waves, extreme. More flex!!! Like watching a baton twirler trying to twirl a 300kg barbell, and maybe... just maybe... just perhaps... realizing... that, well, maybe... maybe if they were even justa wee bit bit stronger perhaps... well... nah... surely not!!! Rosie wouldn't like it!!! Like Olympic flyweight lifters trying to move the heavyweights weights, but being terrified of the extra size and strength, even though the heavyweight has to have even more flexibility and explosive speed to get under the much heavier weight, and get it overhead.

You gotta love ya glutes... swillnuts in a nutshell, if ya want more flex!!! Ya can't hate 'em with a stinkin', lousy, foul vengeance!!! In a nutshell!!! Don't ban ya glutes!!!

I reckon sure, perfect the crafts, scientifical and stuff, but, fuck the thing on top of 'em aye!!! In a nutshell!!! I think they should make the big wave, extreme crew even skinnier, and tinier, in case one of 'em flex's, and turns his scientifical craft!!! And stuff like that!!! In a nutshell!!!??

Anyway they just signed Lebron (not slatts but)... for 150 odd mill. Just sayin'!!!??

hairmick's picture
hairmick's picture
hairmick commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 7:29pm

Can you please translate the above? In a nutshell!!! Just sayin I mean askin?

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:06pm

My firwire board is yellowing. It is massive, the board.

CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:34pm

Translate ya reckon hairless??! In a nutshell, I could've just said the two, stock standard, yet profound swillnut replies, which both boil down to the same thing anyway. I could've just said:

'This is the very reason why I return to this site again and again, rather than them other stinkin', dumb arse, lousy, inferior, foul, cretin riddled, shitholes of *#** ###****ing loser sites!!!'

or, put profoundly another way,

'It matters not'.

In a nutshell.

However, this topic is much more serious hairlesss. As is your extremely thinly (so to speak) veiled request.

But I don't really want to thread yet another thread, hairless, so put simply, you just keep wearing scientifically designed, cutting edge, highly developed boardies. Order a technologically advanced pair with your scientific, cutting edge, technologically advanced, highly developed craft, hairless. Forget flexing ya glutes. Forget glutes all together. Its beyond you. In a nutshell. Thank God for boardies!!

However, very clever. Hairmick... really?? Hair!!! Lets not make hair a focal point aye... in a nutshell.

Give the lads their threads back!!! God knows they need them!!?

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Wednesday, 11 Jul 2018 at 10:34pm

I was just saying I have this firewire board. It's dimensions are Long, wide and FAT. I really need to use it. It has the screw thing at the front of the board.

MGX's picture
MGX's picture
MGX commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 4:55am

Hey Nev, I had one of your boards ages ago - about 1981 - a real nice twin fin. I loved that board. I’m old now but last year I got a Submoon and I love that too. I was totally shocked at how well it goes and feels. Especially when the waves are steep and fast. . Even got me back on shorter boards I thought I wouldn’t use again. Cheers mate

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:40pm

Thanks MGS
That Submoon was a Funshspe circa 1980 but tweeked to the latest tech and outline for fun. So happy crew are digging on it
The best surfer is the one having the most fun!!

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:40pm

Thanks MGS
That Submoon was a Funshspe circa 1980 but tweeked to the latest tech and outline for fun. So happy crew are digging on it
The best surfer is the one having the most fun!!

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:40pm

Thanks MGS
That Submoon was a Funshspe circa 1980 but tweeked to the latest tech and outline for fun. So happy crew are digging on it
The best surfer is the one having the most fun!!

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:40pm

Thanks MGS
That Submoon was a Funshspe circa 1980 but tweeked to the latest tech and outline for fun. So happy crew are digging on it
The best surfer is the one having the most fun!!

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 9:14am

@Nev

Im pretty sure i heard in a recent pod cast with Mark FW are doing customs in 2019?

I really hope this is true, I've had about ten FW boards but my fav model is the "Hellfire" i snapped one in Indonesian after a few years of heavy use (the only FW board I've snapped)

And i really wanted to get another new, but apparently now not possible as not in production and the beds are not in use.

So now my only option is to keep my eyes open on the secondhand board market, i was lucky to pick one up second hand again although quite yellow.

So I'm really crossing my fingers this custom thing will happen, id love one in Helium, i think this build is your best yet.

BTW. intersting to note i left the snapped board in a village in Indonesia and the kids play on it (and other snapped boards) almost every day in the lagoon often for hours, i checked it out and paddled it in the lagoon and was very surprised that the EPS didn't seem to have sucked up water? and it was no more heavy or less buoyant than the day i snapped it, although the timber FST rails had sucked water back about 100 mm and gone mouldy and rotten.

PS. Only complaint i can make about FW boards is, they do yellow as mentioned by someone above, weird to have a board that is near mint condition, but after a few years is quite yellow. (obviously not an issue in timber tech) but prefer FST and Helium.

Ada gula, ada semut!

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 4:36pm

BTW. How do we get our hands on one of these hand shaped, limited edition (only 300), NEV 80,s re-makes?

Ada gula, ada semut!

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 4:44pm

Info to come. I'll try and get that story up tomorrow.

NevFutureShaper's picture
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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:41pm

Haha indodreaming
Coming soon to a website near you bru

Mad_DB's picture
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Mad_DB commented Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 at 6:33pm

Best board I ever had was a nev future shape PU, that was pipped by an carbon-fibre skeleton FW with rods that linked up to the fin boxes. So amazing. That tech was replaced, but was way better than PU central stringers will ever be. Those boards broke, but made way for a new favourite, a Pyzel balsa rail FW. Still going strong at 4 y.o. Sadly, Kelly fired Josh and Pyzel FWs are no longer available.

Nev, thank you so much for making boards and technology that have brought me and my friends so much joy. Anyone else putting shit on Nev, maybe have a look at the Nev house project and the good that is doing for our pacific neighbors. Helps to focus on the good things people do.

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NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 7:43pm

Mad
So stoked with your reply mate. Made my day
Nev

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kdropin commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 12:21am

i've been on firewires since around '02 maybe.. i was looking for something that would hold up better then the CI's i was riding. i bought an alternator fst (when they came with a bag and good fins!) from there i have had around 7 other firewire shapes leading up to the helium spitfire that i now ride as my go to. one board i won't part with is my hellrazor.. thing rips just don't ride it enough because i've gotten so used to riding short short boards. anything over 5'10 feels so long now. i feel like i get along well with Dann Mann's shapes. they work well where i live as well. would love to see his unibrow model in the helium tech. have one in fst but want one smaller.. cheers nev and can't wait to see whats next

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drchris commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 8:09am

My greatest beef with FireWire was that my great mate and shaping guru josh Dowling left us down here to go up and work with nev. that said, when he came back he made most of us down this way some of the best JD boards we’d ever ridden and talk about strength - the poor bugger part out himself out of business as none of our boards ever snapped dinged or creased.

This has been a great read again , thanks Swellnet for the chatter. Whatever everyone’s take is, it’s surf history and creationism in design and for better or for worse , it’s ins0iring stuff.

Just a shame JD had to give it away (hopefully for just a little while)

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Montygoesbananas commented Friday, 13 Jul 2018 at 9:15pm

Got myself a hashtag in FST, last board Nev shaped for FW and a Fillipe Toledo board before he moved on to sharpeye I think . Great board still in perfect condition, can’t say the same for my pu boards. Love the board thanks nev, maybe it will be a collectors item one day!

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 11:48am

@ Sharkman

Posting this down here where it's easier read, in reply to your comments from above.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sharkman said : "As far as the Firewire haters go , I am one but not because of the product its because of the immoral business ethics having your product on consignment all over the world.

The Slater designs coming out of Firewire are the worst quality board on the market , also now on consignment...do you think consignment is moral , and do you think this has had a huge negative impact on the Industry ?"

Sharkman said 2nd comment: "Was my question about Firewires lack of Moral integrity too negative to be discussed in Public?

I don't know of anyone who hates Firewire because of the product , its the business ethics that has destroyed a whole industry that is the question?

So what's the deal with consignment?"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My reply:

Ok, common myth, that Mark Price of FW has cleared up may times online.

USA is the ONLY market in the world FW does the consignment model with, which started after the USA financial crisis, to allow stores more flexibility.

AUSTRALIA and all other areas outside of USA firewire boards do not use the consignment payment system.

So basically your statement is false.

As for FW negative impact on the market?

Please explain how selling a board at a higher price than 90% of the market has a negative impact on the market?

Do FW flood their boards or hold more floor space in shops than other major board brands?

NO, to do so would be a negative to the brand, FW like most brands select there stores they sell in choosing reputable shops, for instance go down to Torquay and they are in the Ripcurl shop but although there is half a dozen or more shops in that area, i can only recall one other shop selling new FW boards. (of which take up no more floor space than any other major surfboard brand)

Down where i live Phillip Island of the five different owned stores (7 shops) only two shops stock FW boards. (Island cowes store and Full circle Cape woolamai store) even the Rip curl store (formally Islantis) does or can not stock FW boards because Fullcircle and Island got in first.

I know you didn't mention this, but as for reducing price/sales FW do it much less than most brands, i know because I'm after those bargains, they rarely ever give big sales on boards to move on old stock.

Unlike say my local shop Island that often put a number of boards on sale at hundred of dollars less, which is a pain in the butt when you have a second hand board in the rack trying to sell.

As for Slater designs quality being the worst on the market....that is absolutely a joke and just blatant brand trolling

I doubt you have even picked up a slater board, I've never bought one but checked out many in the racks, the quality of the finish has been fine much much better than some of the other board brands boards I've seen in the racks that you can see have been over sanded.

That said most of his boards are in LFT which I'm not a fan of as no where as durable as FST, Helium or Timber Tek.

PS. Send me the cheque latter NEV (obviously a joke)

Ada gula, ada semut!

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sharkman commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 1:09pm

My reply.
OK , I work with a store in Melb that has 50 firewires on consignment , spoken to quite a few big retailers that also get their FW's and Slaters on Consignment.
Last year in France I lost rack space to FW/Slater in all RC stores , because they are on consignment , so MP is a liar!
So you believe marketing bullshit and FW 's press releases!
the Negative affect on the market , is that all shops cannot resist 50 boards on consignment , so the other big players do the same , which knocks out all the other brands that can't offer the same deals!
Who would buy FW when you can get them on consignment , and you can get cash deals in lots of 10 @ $350 ?
As for Slater Design boards , fuck you I see them every where in Repair shops all over the world , broken , creased , rails splitting, even false carbon laminates on the deck . when you see the core of the board , it's the cheapest shittiest EPS money can buy!
As for MP's story about why FW did do consignment in the USA , more bullshit!
I met with MP in Restaurant in Japan after the GFC, where I had a go at him , why the fuck consignment? His response was simple , CI (Just sold to Burton) was giving 6 mths credit to stores for 40-50% of their rack space , plus would offer free team boards for the shop team riders ,and FW had to react , so then Lost got in on the deal , and then big shops like ET Hermosa beach would only have boards on consignment.....which ended up ruining the USA market and that's why the last few years the USA market for s/bds has been a full blow recession , just like what's going in on France now and Australia.
So morally even if you believe MP , what they are doing is still morally and ethically wrong!
here's a bit of gossip for you, Glass shops in the USA are petitioning Trump to put a 30% tax on all imported surfboards to save the industry there , 1# target FW, now amazing to see the Don having to save the USA jobs etc , and combat the evil empire FW/Slater.

x

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 2:20pm

Sounds pretty suss to me, Mark has been pretty clear in a recent podcast about USA being the only market FW do consignments.

Podcast here https://boardroomshow.com/podcast/

And in a fairly recent printed interview online (will try to find, but god knows where it was, think it was a beach grit thing)

Pretty hard to imagine he is lying so publicly about something if not true as could easily be found out and bite him on the butt, its not like its a secret a huge number of stores deal with FW.

If it was true, it's would be just as easy to explain why they use the system, after all at the end of the day they are a business out to make money and to most guys out there it doesn't matter either way.

Ok, so you are not talking about the finish of Slater designs you are talking about the durability.

I personally don't buy LFT which most Slater boards are for the very reasons you mention they are really not all that durable compared to other FW builds. (i think i even mentioned something about this in my very first comment at the top of the page)

Although IMHO for how light they are they are still a bit more durable than a PU/PE board of the same weight, but yeah not a whole heap more, not even in the same type of league as FST or Helium and just like a light or standard PU/PE board they will get dings, cracks etc

I can see why they produce LFT though, its basically for guys wanting a board as close in feel and looks to a light PU/PE board, its aimed at guys that normally ride PU/PE boards, and not aimed at guys that after maximum durability they have FST, Helium, Timber Tek to cover that area/market.

About the false carbon laminates? Mark even mentioned this in i think the Podcast, its a painted design to cover up the grey colour of the centre stringer (Composite springer) in many models just a inch or so black strip.

It's no different how the rails of Helium boards are painted white instead of having timber look like FST.

Amazing what you people can come up with though, even a basic painted design is somehow attacked.

As for any recession in surfboards if true trying to blame this on one brand is just crazy, i mean seriously how many FW or slater boards do you see in the water?

BTW. What store in Melb stock 50 FW boards?...Zaks?...

Wouldn't mind checking them out next time I'm down that way.

Ada gula, ada semut!

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 3:12pm

Indo , you can tell that this subject hits a raw nerve as the BS , coming out of FW/Slater designs , is just plain marketing and PR.
It's a fact about consignment in France and Australia , when you go to see Zak , mention my name and you'll get a good deal ….so MP is not telling the truth.
The last batch of Slater LFT's were terrible finishes and cheap cores with no stringer...but when you see Kelly's boards he uses a lot on PU/PE, wooden stringer painted to look like the models. The team boards are made the same as K's , usually made at XTR.
The black high density stringers are as weak as Shit , I made a couple in the USA and nearly broke them on the racks , they were that weak .
The recession was partly caused by the brands overstocking the shops with their cheap Asian models as margins were much better , but the public stopped buying them and there was way too much/ over saturation, shit product in the market...the custom guys business grew , shops went down , cheap deals everywhere...and now it's starting to come back in the USA, but Europe and Aust are having a tuff time now.
I have a quote from a bloke called Yvon Chouinard , "consignment is an immoral business practice!"

x

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 4:26pm

For me i just find it annoying that there is so much misinformation online especially in forums on FW, one person can say anything and if it suits others mindset others will share it again and again as gospel when reality is in most cases its just BS and one persons opinion.

What is a more reliable source?...the CEO of a company in podcast or interviews done by others who have nothing to do with FW, or random people on the internet?...many of whom have agendas and feel threatened by the success of Firewire.

Again in the podcast Mark address why Kellys PU/PE boards were painted the same as his FW boards in the early days at FW.

Kelly had all his boards painted the same EPS/Epoxy and PU/PE in an attempt to take a way any psychological bias he had about certain materials or builds and focus on the shapes etc....and yes the funny thing is much of this time when he was ridding PU/PE boards, guys are going he looked so much better on PU/PE boards, now his boards look like they are floating like a cork etc.(insert any EPS cliche) when he was at times still on PU/PE..classic.

Reality is Kelly could work with pretty much any surfboard company in the world and buy into most, he is not short of money so obviously not all about money, he obviously choose FW because he believes in the product and vision, i think it's a pretty safe bet that pretty much every board he rides now is his own product in EPS/Epoxy unless he is testing out another shape from a different shaper. (which is quite reasonable)

In regard to the EPS, i don't know if it's fair to assume that the EPS in slater models would be the same as other FW boards, but it's hard to imagine once they had a good product they would go source an inferior EPS?

The only difference i can imagine in EPS foam between models is density, LFT being 1.5Lb and other techs ranging froM 0.8 to 1 lbs.

So LFT should have a higher density foam (as doesn't have the extra added strength of composite construction in FST, Helium, timbertek)

As mentioned in a post above, I've personally been surprised with the EPS, i snapped a FW board in Indonesia a few years ago left it in the village, where the kids play on it in the lagoon almost every day, sometimes for hours, i was expecting it to be wet and heavy but it wasn't, the remaining board felt no more heavy than the day i snapped it and was still just as buoyant, the foam had not broken down or gone mushy or anything (although the timber rails had gone mouldy and mushy/rotten and sucked back water about 100mm)

Now I'm not saying the EPS hasn't sucked water at all and yes id assume it drys out every day and yes it's also different to a board that has a ding that might suck in water.

But i was still very surprised at the condition the EPS was still in, i even picked at it and it didn't seem noticeably different to the day id snapped it, and this is a board that is getting no love.

FW haters always say FW success is just about marketing and hype etc the reality is with any product, you can market and hype it up as much as you like, but there also comes a point where if your product doesn't stand up, people don't buy it again.

Many of the comments in this thread are proof the FW product stands up, repeat customers happy with the product who have bought more than one board, that includes me.

Ada gula, ada semut!

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 9:08am

Indo , yes the amount of BS out there on surf products is seeing unparalleled False news or Alternative facts as they are now known!
I see it everywhere on the planet , the fact that even Nev can't answer or jump in , is because I have the facts , as I still travel a couple of times a year to Japan/France/California ( where I have my own business) Hawaii and sometimes Brazil. Everything I have mentioned here is first hand , not stories or myths , but me on the ground in the trenches.
It is really easy to see why Rip Curl/Volcom/Quiksilver and Billabong are or were for sale …..as the Global market for surf wear has hit the wall and is spiralling downwards still .
In the USA all the big brands do sale or return , which in affect is consignment.
As a retailer you "buy " your summer collection , when summers finished you pay for what you sold and give the rest back. Then the surf Co onsells the returns to a Costco or cheap super market, which we now see has drastically reduced turnover by most of the big Co's , they are not making profit , their business model has failed so where to now?
I think that FW's older boards were stronger , the new ones, especially Slater Designs are weaker because of cost cutting.
I remember in France a couple of years ago Kelly tried to ride EPS /epoxy in solid waves and he actually said you can't ride them in some conditions and he went back to PU/PE with a stringer , seen the same here at Bells...Kelly's promotion of the Cymatic at J-Bay was a disaster as he looked terrible because of the wrong equipment ….
Just so you know I made EPS epoxy boards in France in the 80's , about 3K , Tom Curren won a number of events on them in 90-91 , where he won the world title from the trials , so nothing new , EPS is and was very very cheap , and I think mostly for small glassy waves .
As I said previously I have no problem with the product , especially as prices have been pushed up to the $1K mark , its the blatant policy of immoral business practices !

x

CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight's picture
CryptoKnight commented Saturday, 14 Jul 2018 at 2:20pm

Mmmmm... perhaps I can help... in a nutshell... again...

In reply to the above reply, which was in reply to the reply above that reply, which was in reply to the non-replied reply way above those replies, I think that there can only really be one reply from the reply-er, in reply to the above reply. And a swillnut stocky at that.

Although, probably best to first back the reply up with a swillnut, stock standard, quick google of the term 'Company Rep'.

Next, answer no questions, address no points, and simply offer the following stock, swillnut statement:

'As a total geek, although at this stage, an intermediate expert, who's been to indo... I might add... ('terimah kasi ombak bagus'), I expertly feel, that... well, at this stage... 'it matters not!!!' Again.'

Then resign immediately as a geek/intermediate/expert Company Rep, and start looking for a new job.

In a nutshell.

v-b's picture
v-b's picture
v-b commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 10:52am

Hey Nev- Just a note to let you know my Helium AddVances' are the best ever-stoked! Light weight high volume sleds are the go for this old boy-ha! Haven't heard from you for quite sometime ( we don't do Facebook ) so when you get a chance fire off an email and let us know what you have been up to. Have Fun!- Vance

SurferSam's picture
SurferSam's picture
SurferSam commented Sunday, 15 Jul 2018 at 11:39am

Hey Vance you prob wouldn't remember me but have surfed quite a few times with you up in Exmouth and to the south ;-). Remember you ripping on a prototype model of the advance and telling me we had parked tinny to close to the wave ha ha. Hope you still scoring good waves mate

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NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper commented Monday, 16 Jul 2018 at 8:47pm

Maurice Cole...Mr. Sharkman
I have been nothing but respectful to you over the many years we have been in the same industry, at times more close than some would know. I would have expected the same from you.
Do you even recall the time that I sent you a beautiful MC Rip Curl Singlefin (that you had made in Hossegor in ‘82) as a gesture of respect and somewhat distant friendship?
Life is too short mate. Enjoy positively every moment that you can.
I’m not being facetious. I’m being honest and transparent, as I and my buddies at Firewire are, and who have absolutely nothing to hide but their pride of the contribution Firewire has made on many, many levels to our industry. But we are painfully aware that success brings criticism no matter what you do in life and sadly in this day and age of social media it’s even more compounded
You, like all, are entitled to your viewpoint. But blatant untruths will not be tolerated.
You have had a lifetime of experience in the industry, as I have.
I have said there are always two sides to a story. Many of your comments are totally incorrect.
I simply do not have the time or energy to participate in a tit-for-tat discussion. I would rather do more positive things with my time.
I will not be responding further to this thread and am quite sad that I even had to respond this way.
However, that is my entitled opinion.
Indodreamer...Thank you so much for spending the time to rebut Sharkman so honestly and effectively, especially considering your objectivity.

I hope you (Swellnet readers) enjoy my new found love of this industry and my contributions that will come for whatever value (?) they may bring.

I sincerely respect you Maurice for your undeniable contribution to the surfing world in all areas over the last 45 years and I like everyone else (whether for or against whatever issues tis thread has raised) look forward to your continued contribution and comment.
Nev Hyman

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sharkman commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 8:30am

Nev , I have great respect for you as a person , always have and will.
I have travelled the Globe for the last 5 years to Japan /Europe and USA .I have worked with all the top locally made brands and Glass shops . I have seen the market change drastically , with the introduction of CI's 6mths credit , and Firewire then responding by consignment , first in the USA, then Australia and then France.
I will be attending a meeting end of August in the USA to see how they are progressing to get a 30% tax put on all imported surfboards......can Donald Trump save the USA market and Job?
As far as my mistruths go , you have a perfect opportunity to debate me in Public and clear up some of the technical and ethical questions that have arisen here as I think it's important that the public know the truth!
As I said Nev I think the FW product was great , and still parts of the range are good, but some of the latest models are very weak , as I am sure you know that!
My Beef is with that " Consignment is an immoral business practice," Yvon Chouinard....but what would he know!

x

DazD's picture
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DazD commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 1:31pm

Hey Ben, long time lurker first time communicator.
I have recently subscribed and we will see how we go on that front but either way $9 is not asking for much for the information the site provides.
I don't really ever want to get into dialogue on here as I dont like the way some people conduct them self sitting behind keyboards. Is there any chance you can put up some sort of like and dislike facebook style buttons please?
Nev - big like for the way you conduct yourself -on here and in regards to the affordable housing work I have seen.

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Gary G commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 8:46am

Gary KNEW he wasn't the only lurker, and is pretty sure you'd like how he conducts himself behind the keyboard, as long as you can handle the heat xoxo

For your next holiday, why not get all up in Gary?
Gary, Indiana.
Nestled at the tip of Lake Michigan, the best spot for scoring a facey anywhere on the great lakes, Gary's such a delight that once you've come once, you're certain to want to come again.

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DazD commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 8:29am

HAHAHAH see this stuff is gold and and needs a like button, Gary G you are one funny bugger keep it up!

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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 4:37pm

Okay Brutus is back :D

Don't agree with you on this issue, but do miss you posting on Swellnet.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 7:00am

I understand how issues like this arise as it's usually just one voice against the marketing might of one of the worlds biggest surfboard Co's (With GSI) and Kelly as the frontman .
I am just stating facts that I come across everywhere in my global lifestyle/trips as shaper/designer. I then form an opinion based on the facts.
The fact that Nev does not want to debate this in public , says a lot , as I think he has been out of the loop for the last couple of years doing the Eco-housing project , which is typical Nev ,puts his creative mind and balls on the line , and what he achieved is mind blowing.
I am sure Nev is relaying and asking questions to FW/MP about what I am saying , hence the no debate.
Do you think consignment is a moral business issue?

x

Bourneagin's picture
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Bourneagin commented Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018 at 11:29pm

ID , i can’t believe you didn’t realise Brutus was Sharkman .
I too enjoy him contributing in here .
However I suggest “ the truth “ maybe too much for some .

I don't call it growing old , more like rapid cell deter..ia ... tion......................

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 6:46am

I find myself more and more correcting some of the surf myths that are now the Surf Industry.
When I see Hype , and false news , I will comment especially as its usually debunking some old story , or surfboard design comments that don't make sense, which upsets the Status Quo/marketing bullshit , but ah ya get used to it!

x

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 2:04pm

Goes to the quality of the editorial that two of the best shapers to come out of Australia value the forum enough to be making comments. $9 a month right there...

Stu - you should do an expose on the rise and fall of BASE...sure that would get every shaper on here talking...

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 3:47pm

Seven years of hindsight might give better perspective, but here's one article writen not long after the collapse of BASE:

https://www.swellnet.com/news/surfpolitik/2011/10/17/base-failure-what-it-means-industry?page=1

 

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crg commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 7:07pm

Interesting to go back and flick through the article and comments. Appears all the shapers got to carry on as per normal eventually...and a perhaps pertinent summary for those subsequent efforts to mass produce boards. Gee I've heard some stories about where all the $$$ went. Pistols and lawyers at dawn if some were to speak...

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 3:22pm

Great reading from everybody despite the differing views.

Agreed crg. On both points.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

Eyeman's picture
Eyeman's picture
Eyeman commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 3:28pm

I would like to say thank you to all of the surfboard makers as you have made a lot of people happy just to be able to surf a wave and stand up and do cutbacks etc and just feel the feeling of catching a wave. I have never made a surfboard be gee i get excited when i am going to get a new one. I can't wait just to hop on it and see how it goes and i am 62 years of age.
Be happy that you can surf. Its just that simple.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Wednesday, 18 Jul 2018 at 3:35pm

Go and make yourself a board ASAP.

I wouldn’t say it’s an essential part of being a surfer but it’s definitely an extremely enjoyable and rewarding component of leading the surfing life.

And who knows - you might surprise yourself and create a worthy board. It’s not as hard as you’d think with a basic skill set to make a board that is more than just rideable.

Worst comes to worst and you’re left with an unseaworthy piece of shit then at least you’ll have a greater appreciation of your shaper.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 1:21am

I have always wondered if there is resemblance to working with bog and shaping. I watched a Yorshireman with a smoke in his mouth grinding bog with a six inch grinder. His work was wobblly as hell when finished. But, that wasn't always the way with him. I learnt the decent bog disciplines from other tradesmen. But, I hate measuring, that's where I would go wrong.

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Quint commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 7:15am

Firewires save lives during shark attacks also.

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 8:56am

@Sharkman (in reply to above comment)

I understand why Nev wouldn't bother getting in an endless debate online, I've seen Mark get in debates on SurferMag design forum and it doesn't matter how many times he explains something a few lines latter someone will state some total lie as fact that he has addressed.

Like i said, i find it weird that Mark would lie about something which can be easily caught out on, especially when there isn't much point lying about it as he is a smart guy and could easily justify using consignment. (id say like he explained in that podcast, that most companies operate on a system that is pretty close to consignment) and assume that is the area they are operating in.

Id say most surfers couldn't care less or have any idea on how most companies deal with shops, to be honest i fall in that camp, as long as I'm getting a good board that last thats all that matters.

On consignment being moral. (consignment being boards only paid for by the shop if sold and can be returned if need be, old stock etc)

I personally can't see an issue, just seems like business to me and how much business operates, and if i hadn't know it was any different that's how i would assume shops would operate.

End of the day shops stock the boards that sell, they don't want a shop full of Firewire boards they want a variety of boards, in Aust generally big names and maybe the odd smaller name board.

Like mentioned like many brands they don't want every shop selling their product, if you have half a dozen shops in one area, it will only be one or two shops that will stock FW boards.

IMHO the biggest problem some have with FW is FW success, really starting up they were going against the grain making boards overseas (after not being viable in Aust/USA) that are not PU/PE, obviously been done before but not really that successful.

But this time it's different, the product is well proven at all levels and you have some well respected people involved like NEV and the other shapers like Tomo, people like Mark Price and then the big one Kelly and guys like Rob

I think Kelly and his line of boards have added fuel to the fire as now his boards and LFT are aimed more at the main surfboard market (the young rippers and guys that would normally ride PU/PE)

This in effect is slowly taking away any stigma attached to FW boards.

IMHO guys like you don't fear FW so much but fear others may copies the business model of going totally offshore and building PU/PE boards and selling at a cheaper price.

Yeah 100% that fear is a real threat and a real fear.

Off course many have already done this, but only for a certain percentage of boards (and often not labeled as being made offshore)

Some of these companies include:(but not limited too)

Dick Brewer
Sharp Eye
Channel Islands
Surf tech
Roberts
Rusty
Dave Parmenter
Lost
Haydenshapes
JS
DHD
Super
Simon Anderson
Byrne
Bing
Chilli

But even my local board label/shop get(or did) get some boards made in Asia and sell cheaper.

Anyway like it or not, good or bad, i think likely industries the surfboard manufacturing business will change, to what extent i guess nobody knows.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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ljkarma commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 11:06am

well said ID.
Sharkman/maurice, you keep bleating on about consignment selling being immoral yet is is standard business practice globally.
So from your high moral ground, can you honestly put your hand on your heart and tell us at no stage in your many years in the industry that you always paid all your debts on time in line with terms to blank/resin/fin suppliers?
Also that you did not meet a debt at all and changed brand or business to start up again?
Just curious.

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sharkman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 1:12pm

its only bleating when people won't answer your question , and they hope it will go away , and so far no-ne has gone , "yeah consignment is pretty lame , and a desperate business model."
I have never been bankrupt , always pay my debts , but it's not about me , and when I have been late on payment I call the person and explain and put a payment plan together ….but this issue is a lot more serious than that as I have personally seen the demise of a lot of glass factory's , and loss of great workers , all over the world . The Custom made boards are coming back as the Asian EPS/Epoxy massed produced boards are now in decline!

x

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 3:52pm

"The Custom made boards are coming back as the Asian EPS/Epoxy massed produced boards are now in decline!"

Apart from Firewire all those other boards like surf tech i would have thought wouldn't be in the same market?

And unknown cheaper EPS/Epoxy boards even further away from your market (more a beginners market)

I would have thought you would be competing against the flood of bigger name PU/PE boards that seem to be sold everywhere these days, your Chillis, Lost, SuperBrand etc and i see these everywhere i surf

Then there is these other labels that seem to sell PU/PE boards online at crazy prices like $400-$500, i see them popping up in social media and have nice flash websites and the boards don't look too bad. (not that i have interest in buying one) but i see others buying them and intrest in them.

Strange how i never see any complaints etc about these in forums etc

Ada gula, ada semut!

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sharkman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:18pm

What happened is that there are a lot less, cheap EPS boards now in the USA and Australian market now, as a lot of consumers have rejected the EPS boards as too lite , hard to fix , don't surf as well as a PU/PE in good waves.

.So now Europe is the current dumping ground , as all the Asian production is still up and running and the prices you can get these boards for is $150 FOB , great margins but you must buy by the container.....300 per 20' container ...pay 6 mths in advance and then hope you can sell the boards at a good margin , which everyone has tried to do creating market saturation !
The above Asian formula is usually not with a shaper , just a brand , and are just generic surfboards , average performance , which brings up the point how well do you want to surf , and how good a board are you trying surf on.

I have always tried to make the best surfboard of your life , a magic board which means customising the design for your surfing. I like to upgrade the design at least once a year ,as I am constantly evolving designs and experimenting with design outside the comfort zone , so that's the difference between the Asian popout/ stock boards , and a very healthy small custom market.
just re your comment on it doesn't bother you about the ethics of the Co , just getting a good board , I don't believe the end justify's the means , I do care if slave labor/environmental damage/ etc has been used in the product , as it's morally wrong!

x

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:48pm

What i meant is, guys that are going to buy a cheap EPS/Epoxy board are they the same guys that would consider buying your boards?

I wouldn't have thought so.

I would have expected guys that are going to buy those type of boards are going to be more beginners or summer surfers.

Id imagine the guys that are considering buying your boards would be the same guys considering buying a big name PU/PE board like Chilli, Lost, Merick, Superbrand etc

Fair enough the range of Slater and Tomo boards would also be in that sort of cliental.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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ljkarma commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:04pm

Fair reply Maurice but consignment is just one of numerous business strategies wholesalers and retailers employ to address cash flow and is pretty risky if your products not saleable. Extended credit, sale or return, bulk discount and incentives schemes are just some.
You having to "call and put a payment plan together" is simply another twist to that same cash flow issue.
The industry has a shocking reputation for slow payment and non payment. You have done a considerable amount of advertising from recollection over the many years and that is a cost you had to wear to encourage both retail and end consumers to support your brand. Consignment is just another version looking for the same outcome....making money.

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sharkman commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:29pm

There is a big risk to what FW has done with consignment , as they own all their stock in store which is millions of $'s , and must have huge inventory to be able to replace boards as so on as they are sold , as from manufacture to the shop is about 6 mths……if the market changes ,as it did 3 years ago in the USA , you have to start discounting boards at near cost for your cash flow , to shops who will buy for a lot less than wholesale.
The morals of business have come under the spotlight the last decade , which include source of origin/fair trade practices(Child labour/expoiltation) dumping etc …...consignment is another one ….so its not just about making money anymore , it's how.
I like to think Mr Patagonia has a pretty good business model , and their biggest problem is too much growth....if only we had a surf Co with same moral integrity...anywhere!

x

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Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 3:36pm

I vote SUPPORT Sharkman and your local board building business. Keep it local. Keep It Vocal.
Thank you Sharkman!
There is really no need to ship pre made(without QC) boards from Asia to Australia.
New designs don't come from computers. They come from trial and error . Imagination.... designs come from SHAPERS

Let's take it back to the late eighties early nineties when shapers shipped boards from Australia to Japan!
LET'S MAKE BOARDS , CLOTHING, BOARD SHORTS AND WETSUITS in our own local communities and support the local economy. Sound pretty cool ?

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:03pm

Sounds nice and idealistic, but the reality is people don't want to pay the price of what a surfboard should be worth especially an EPS/Epoxy composite board.

Same goes for clothing, board shorts and wetsuits etc.

Then at the same time everyone in Australia wants higher rates of pay and complain because of low wage growth.

Sort of can't have it both ways, cheap quality products made in Australia with high rates of pay.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:48pm

Mr Indo,

You are not at all correct. How much do those hurley board shorts actually cost to make?
You are blinded by Marketing indo dreaming. The surf industry was created in backyards.
Board building , clothing production, wetsuits can all be done locally.(it previously was.)
Your dreaming about something indo, you really should research globalization, outsourcing,
FW build their boards in asia to increase profit margins.
FW is a "brand" the one thing BRANDS don't do is make their own product. They remove that liability.
Here some things to research or read before just trying to shut down others who have the facts .
Read : No Logo by Naomi Klien.

Read. Off The Record by Craig Gordon

Re FW Robert is beefing up the Brand to as they say "pump and dump"

Just like he did with his Quiksilver stock options ,Same as he did with the Go pro stock options, Same has he just did with WSL Media rights. Selling control of broadcasting rights over to Facebook.

You're defending a brand as if it's a product...yet brands don't actually exist. they are Ideas and Logos just printed on wholesalers products.

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:08pm

Um you do know Firewire build their own boards in their own factory???
(one that is aiming to be fair trade certified)

They are a brand and a product assume possibly have patents etc on the tech or builds or they way they do things....

Suggesting they are just some brand printed on a no name product out of Asia is just crazy, yes that happens, but in this case is so so far from the truth.

Off course things like wetsuits, clothes, fins etc can all be done locally, but for that to happen companies either need to increase their prices or take a huge cut in profit, in some instances it's just not viable.

Hence why most don't produce things in Australia.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:27pm

Yet the factory produces $D Designs.......among others . it's a brand .... You defending nothing....

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stunet commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:15pm

To be fair, ID subscribes to far more than the FW 'brand' having been a fan of their various builds and construction methods. When a board works at that level, stick to it.

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indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:40pm

Ha ha yeah I thought i made it pretty clear in my first post right at the top of the page, that I'm into the product (tech) but not really the brand.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 10:56pm

It's pretty weird that you try to shut down anybody who has either a local alternative or a problem with their business practices
You have defended the CEO,
You have defended the brand.

You also have tried to stop anyone from posting any other points of view. You actually didn't need to reply to a comment that promoted local shapers or board production. Tall poppie much?
I spent a lot of time. Reading this thread, staying out of it.

On another note Nev has come across in the comments as a complete a -whole who as a some point become the "monster" he talks about. He has no transparency and uses a "its your fault mentality"for buying his company's products.
" If you have a problem with some one else it usually relates to you self"
Have a think about it indo.

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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 9:04am

@Lanky

This is a discussion thread, it's where people share opinions with each other, no body is trying to shut anyone down, i have no problem with you, no offence but your just a name on a screen to me, I'm sorry if you took any comments personally or negatively.

I was replying to your comment because, like i explained i just think it's idealistic and unrealistic, everything moves forward business do what they do to produce better products and make more money, the surfboard business is no different.

But off course in every area of business some resist change or feel threatened by change.

I beg to differ, IMHO NEV has conducted him self fine here and can completely understand why he doesn't want to get in a tit for tatt type discussion online with another well known shaper.

Only thing i can fault him on is outing Sharkman technically its a no no and against Swellnet policy to do this.

Ada gula, ada semut!

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sharkman commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 8:37am

I think that there is currently an upheaval going on in the surf industry , in that smaller Co's are springing up and sell direct to the public , at wholesale prices which is about 1/2 retail prices such as Need wetsuits /accessories. All online sales great quality wetsuits/shorts etc , no colors , no fashion just really good quality from the same factories that the big brands use. This is really starting to affect them as , Need sales are going through the roof and there are quite a few business models now following the direct to public , as less capital is needed to finance credit for the retailers , and direct to the public means you can buy 2 x wetsuits for the price of one , and they are bloody good suits and service is quick and they back their product.
Same with surfboards , the new business model is don't wholesale , go direct to the public. FW has had a really positive affect on pricing as the smaller custom board makers can now offer the latest designs now and not in 12mths , and finetune designs for the customer , and make more money.
The old system of mass producing , big volumes / low profit and wholesaling VS smaller Artisan shapers who now work on much smaller numbers but price their boards @ $990....one model seems to be booming and the other floundering ...hmmmmmm
So there is an answer / solution.....but no team riders, no conventional advertising...social media works , which means that there are new sales platforms , which don't cost much , a new global way of spreading by word of mouth.
The only problem is the marketing to the masses , what's real and not , unsubstantiated claims of Ecoboards / new technology ...and blah blah blah....and that is one of todays challenges for the customer!

x

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 9:37am

I agree with pretty much all of your comment except the last part.

I think like many things the internet and social media has created a more level playing field.

Before the only exposure a surfboard maker could get was through advertising in mags etc and sponsorship, while now everyone can have access to a bigger possible market and surf mags are almost a dying thing so that if.

I even see mates that are backyard shapers using social media and websites and videos etc to advertise and building up quite decent followings, and something that is not good for you guys offering cheaper prices. (and not good for the overall market)

IMHO the biggest problem for most guys making PU/PE boards is convincing people why they should buy the product what makes so and so boards better than the other guys when it's exactly the same product and more and more just comes from a CAD file that in some cases is the same or very close.

For guys like you, with a name, history and reputation this shouldn't be an issue as its the factor that can provide that point of difference .

For companies like FW they are at an advantage having a product that is different from 90-95% of boards out there EPS/Epoxy composite construction, so giving something very real to provide that sway for a customer, for me the real sway is durability.(not talking about LFT)

BTW. On the last part, FW boards are independently judged on if they are eco or not http://www.sustainablesurf.org/ecoboard/

And their factory goes to great measures to reduce waste and recycle remaining products they even produce a paving product from the waste https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUoaKPhTM00

As for tech, technically not new but in surfboard terms considering how long PU/PE has been the norm EPS/Epoxy composite boards that actually go good are a fairly new thing and even in Australia as far as i know only a few guys building them.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 4:03pm

I've supported Sharky for 3 boards and won't be going back to Firewires, simply because of wanting to support a master, Australian craftsman, and that could be any one of the very talented bunch we're lucky to have here. I haven't been disappointed.

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:20pm

hey Ash, where do yo buy your boards, retails/wholesale stores or direct from shaper/factory?

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:26pm

From MC direct, love the long drive over to pick one up

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:56pm

ok, so reading your response do you order a custom remotely and go and pick up or select and buy from stock off the rack?

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 8:54pm

Order a custom, wait and when it's done it's an excuse to go to Torquay for a long weekend

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 8:18am

well Ash it seems you are one of the more committed when buying a board and hence most likely enjoy the experience you have when buying your MC.
I don't know if you get to meet with Maurice first hand or know if he personally 'hand shaped' your board as opposed to cleaning up a computer cut before handing it on to an 'in-house' glassing, sanding and finishing process or does he outsource all that to a contracted glassing house as is the norm these days. This goes to the point of the "handcrafted " boards which you like to support as opposed to 'factory' model that FW et al use.
Back to your experience. Not many have the patience or time to go through all that so the majority buy boards off the rack and how or where it is made, whilst maybe a consideration, is not paramount in the decision. I doubt that a global brand like MC could sustain a 'handmade craftsman' model in reality. Happy to be corrected.
I think the days or master handcrafted boards from go to whoa are long gone and would maybe only survive with the likes of Mr Raye, the nemesis of these threads.

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sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 8:52am

I personally handshape all boards using a machine cut , where I spend a minimum of an hour per preshape , fine tuning for the customer.
I usually have a chat to the customer , get first hand info , and will change fin positions / tweak the rocker rail line , maybe thin the rail , so many variables that can change a boards performance …..always looking to provide a design that's ahead of the pak , and try to get you a faster better turning board that paddles easier.
I make a lot less boards than before , the only problem is limited production because now I am using and external Glass Co for the first time in my life , and it sucks , as I hate not having my own team as I love the guys/master craftsmen , and I get to experiment more as there is usually great creative synergy in good manufacturing team where life long friendships are made!
I travel the planet now only doing customs , a few stock boards also , but probably 80/20 .
I don't make much money , but its my lifestyle , and France/Japan /USA/Hawaii are like second homes to me as there are 45 year + friendships /family...….I love designing and surfing new ideas/formula's...I do not do it for the money!

x

ljkarma's picture
ljkarma's picture
ljkarma commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 10:50am

sounds like you are a lucky man not having to earn a 'regular' income stream equitable enough to keep a bank happy and sustain a family and mortgage.
Not even having your own in house team sounds like even employing people is a concern, but that comes at another cost. there is no way, no matter how long you may spend 'fine tuning the machine shapes' that you can be sure the glassing, fin fitting and, more importantly the sander, is taking the same amount of care and precision to emulate you shapes in the final product. Now multiply that by the four or five O/S operations that you sell through and we become far removed from that romantic notion of 'handmade craftmanship'
Is it any/much different to FW? Maybe, but any surfboard production line model anywhere in the world follows similar steps (albeit with varying materials) to produce a product that surfers can ride and enjoy with a reasonable amount of confidence it will last several years.
Sadly IMHO, your model is not commercially or realistically maintainable in 2018 to meet mainstream requirements or support those who have their family, home and security invested in making a decent living from surfboard production.

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 9:38am

Ijkarma, the use of a computer shaping machine doesn't lessen my view of shapers such as MC, Simon etc. They use the tools available today as the rest of us do, it's the vast experience and knowledge that makes the difference.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 at 5:02pm

Me too- and for the record, best boards i've ever owned.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 1:44am

Another article where I've really enjoyed the discussion, insights and opinions. Wherever your heart may lie, I think it's healthy to unearth these realities and get them into the minds of the board buying public. Remember for many there is no simple or right answer.

Well done to Nev for taking the time and energy to put across his perspective and experience as well as Maurice for sticking to his guns and respectfully communicating his position. Contributions from ID and others kept everyone to task and most were absent from "keyboard warrior" slander which is refreshing.

Cheers Swellnet and all.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 20 Jul 2018 at 9:38am

:D

Ada gula, ada semut!

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