Advice for better surfboard durability? Firewire, vs PU 4x4x4 vs 4x6x4

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mcsc started the topic in Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015 at 8:36am

Gday all

My boards in recent times have been off the rack with 4x4x4 glass. Enjoy the added performance but not the reduced durability (I'm a bigger guy at 95kgs / 6'1).

Looking at what my next board might be, I'm considering getting a custom PU 4x6x4. I've heard that'll mean less small dings / compressions etc, but also that the board will be somewhat more prone to snapping and/or creasing. That sound about right?

Current board is 34.60L PU 4x4x4. If I custom ordered same board but with 4x6x4 how much extra volume would that be? F*ck all? 1 litre?

And also considering Firewire FST models. Bigger guys experiences on durability there?

Best option performance and durability?

Cheers

mcsc's picture
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mcsc commented Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 12:02pm

saltman wrote: Until recently had all my PU/PE boards (lite but not pro lite foam) in S cloth 4+4 and 4
and have been very happy with durability

Switched to epoxy glassing and standard 4+4 and 4. durability a simuilar to S cloth - but lighter and definitely retained a bit more flex

Recent board when EPS and epoxy - ridiculously lite so glassed 6+4 and 6 . Still very lite and am expecting it to be durable
Picking up a PU board in same glass schedule as the EPS today so it will be interesting to see how the decks compare after a few months

I am starting to think you can go too lite

Which shaper did you get the boards with s-cloth from Saltman?

Anyone else reading this thread know of shapers in SE Qld who have experience with s-cloth?

Barndog's picture
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Barndog commented Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 5:10pm

How 'bout Diverse Surfboards?
Dave uses a bunch of new tech cloths in his custom shapes.

udo's picture
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udo commented Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 5:21pm

Does he still use diff materials now he is Bali based ?

saltman's picture
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saltman commented Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 7:10pm

Scrubbed em myself and had them laminated in a local factory
Most glassers have access to s cloth
It's just the big name brands don't use it routinely cause it's a bit more expensive and the weave is more visible
If your selling 100 boards a week and you can save $25 a board.?? You get the picture

prothero's picture
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prothero commented Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 12:56am

caml wrote: Not all boards feel dead as they age . I have old classics that still go off becos the glassing is strong and not much has changed during its 30-40 yr life . I think a lot of that is the rider getting bored and finding the limits of each shape .

That sounds right.....i pull out out some old boards that still go sweet......but with different boards you end up in different places

Prothero

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caml commented Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 2:41am

mcsc wrote:
saltman wrote: Until recently had all my PU/PE boards (lite but not pro lite foam) in S cloth 4+4 and 4
and have been very happy with durability

Switched to epoxy glassing and standard 4+4 and 4. durability a simuilar to S cloth - but lighter and definitely retained a bit more flex

Recent board when EPS and epoxy - ridiculously lite so glassed 6+4 and 6 . Still very lite and am expecting it to be durable
Picking up a PU board in same glass schedule as the EPS today so it will be interesting to see how the decks compare after a few months

I am starting to think you can go too lite

Which shaper did you get the boards with s-cloth from Saltman?

Anyone else reading this thread know of shapers in SE Qld who have experience with s-cloth?


Just a wee bit more expensive nothing too tech
mcsc's picture
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mcsc commented Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 9:53am

saltman wrote: Scrubbed em myself and had them laminated in a local factory
Most glassers have access to s cloth
It's just the big name brands don't use it routinely cause it's a bit more expensive and the weave is more visible
If your selling 100 boards a week and you can save $25 a board.?? You get the picture

Yep, gotcha

Btw, durability aside - which one of the boards you mentioned was your favourite performance wise?

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surfingbymyself commented Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 12:19pm

udo wrote: Does he still use diff materials now he is Bali based ?

Yep, you can still get dynocores from Bali, not sure about the goldy. I've had 6 dynocores and creased all but one, they were definitely lighter and more impact resistant than other boards I've had but not convinced they were more durable over all
saltman's picture
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saltman commented Sunday, 6 Mar 2016 at 6:00pm

mcsc wrote:
saltman wrote: Scrubbed em myself and had them laminated in a local factory
Most glassers have access to s cloth
It's just the big name brands don't use it routinely cause it's a bit more expensive and the weave is more visible
If your selling 100 boards a week and you can save $25 a board.?? You get the picture

Yep, gotcha

Btw, durability aside - which one of the boards you mentioned was your favourite performance wise?

saltman's picture
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saltman commented Sunday, 6 Mar 2016 at 6:02pm

The next one is my fav

Actually testing it out in indo next few weeks so will confirm

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toosha commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 8:52pm

Hi everyone. I ride firewire boards. I'm 108kgs and surf heavy breaks on the south coast Nsw. I have had 6oz pu boards, lasted 12 months before breaking. Heaps of impressions on the deck. Firewire fst a few impressions on the deck and lasted 2yrs before snapping. Firewire LFT lasted 8 months before creasing. With LFT it shattered the rails every 4th surf..Firewire rapid it didn't shatter but creased within 3 surfs. Got fixed same again. Fst is the way to go. Spoke to firewire they will even put extra laminate on deck for a little extra price. They do break and cost 935 but i believe worth it for big boned surfers.

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mcsc commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 2:02pm

toosha wrote: Hi everyone. I ride firewire boards. I'm 108kgs and surf heavy breaks on the south coast Nsw. I have had 6oz pu boards, lasted 12 months before breaking. Heaps of impressions on the deck. Firewire fst a few impressions on the deck and lasted 2yrs before snapping. Firewire LFT lasted 8 months before creasing. With LFT it shattered the rails every 4th surf..Firewire rapid it didn't shatter but creased within 3 surfs. Got fixed same again. Fst is the way to go. Spoke to firewire they will even put extra laminate on deck for a little extra price. They do break and cost 935 but i believe worth it for big boned surfers.

Thanks toosha, what you've said about FST and their other tech matches up with everything I've heard about Firewire. It'll be interesting which direction the company goes with Slater as owner. Seems Firewire want to go more LFT, while diehard Firewire fans only want FST

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 5:07pm

mcsc wrote:
toosha wrote: Hi everyone. I ride firewire boards. I'm 108kgs and surf heavy breaks on the south coast Nsw. I have had 6oz pu boards, lasted 12 months before breaking. Heaps of impressions on the deck. Firewire fst a few impressions on the deck and lasted 2yrs before snapping. Firewire LFT lasted 8 months before creasing. With LFT it shattered the rails every 4th surf..Firewire rapid it didn't shatter but creased within 3 surfs. Got fixed same again. Fst is the way to go. Spoke to firewire they will even put extra laminate on deck for a little extra price. They do break and cost 935 but i believe worth it for big boned surfers.

Thanks toosha, what you've said about FST and their other tech matches up with everything I've heard about Firewire. It'll be interesting which direction the company goes with Slater as owner. Seems Firewire want to go more LFT, while diehard Firewire fans only want FST

I don't think Firewire want to go more LFT, i think it's more about markets.

LFT is the most similar in looks and perhaps feel to a standard surfboard with a centre stringer opposed to parabolic rails, if you look at the models only available in LFT they are more HP boards you would expect aimed at better surfers or younger surfers, LFT allows an easier transition from a standard PU/Poly board as even if only mental its not as radical than say a jump to FST with the parabolic rails and composite deck skins or Timber tek.

The downside of this, is they may get more surfers to give there boards a go, but the benefits of durability are not there, and many people don't understand FST is way more durable, so the danger is people buy one, it dings up then think FW boards aren't that durable.

FST is aimed at surfers looking for more durability while still having a high level of performance, this can include good surfers and young surfers, but also includes a big market of more mature surfers and yes plenty of kooks.

Timber tek is after a similar market but also more environmental type surfers, and even a hipster surfer crowd, id expect lots of Robs models will be available in this tech.

Initially i think FW started a bit too radical, they talked the product up too much, and the first boards with the plugs looked cheap and plastic like, same deal with the bamboo decks they looked cheap, the white rapidfire was in the right direction but lacked durability compared to FST, I think they have made some good decisions in the last few years, it will be interesting to see where they go next, but the way i see it, i don't think they will change the mix of techs too much, i think they have found a good balance now.

Anyway that's my take on things.

mcsc's picture
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mcsc commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 10:42pm

indo-dreaming wrote:
mcsc wrote:
toosha wrote: Hi everyone. I ride firewire boards. I'm 108kgs and surf heavy breaks on the south coast Nsw. I have had 6oz pu boards, lasted 12 months before breaking. Heaps of impressions on the deck. Firewire fst a few impressions on the deck and lasted 2yrs before snapping. Firewire LFT lasted 8 months before creasing. With LFT it shattered the rails every 4th surf..Firewire rapid it didn't shatter but creased within 3 surfs. Got fixed same again. Fst is the way to go. Spoke to firewire they will even put extra laminate on deck for a little extra price. They do break and cost 935 but i believe worth it for big boned surfers.

Thanks toosha, what you've said about FST and their other tech matches up with everything I've heard about Firewire. It'll be interesting which direction the company goes with Slater as owner. Seems Firewire want to go more LFT, while diehard Firewire fans only want FST

I don't think Firewire want to go more LFT, i think it's more about markets.

LFT is the most similar in looks and perhaps feel to a standard surfboard with a centre stringer opposed to parabolic rails, if you look at the models only available in LFT they are more HP boards you would expect aimed at better surfers or younger surfers, LFT allows an easier transition from a standard PU/Poly board as even if only mental its not as radical than say a jump to FST with the parabolic rails and composite deck skins or Timber tek.

The downside of this, is they may get more surfers to give there boards a go, but the benefits of durability are not there, and many people don't understand FST is way more durable, so the danger is people buy one, it dings up then think FW boards aren't that durable.

FST is aimed at surfers looking for more durability while still having a high level of performance, this can include good surfers and young surfers, but also includes a big market of more mature surfers and yes plenty of kooks.

Timber tek is after a similar market but also more environmental type surfers, and even a hipster surfer crowd, id expect lots of Robs models will be available in this tech.

Initially i think FW started a bit too radical, they talked the product up too much, and the first boards with the plugs looked cheap and plastic like, same deal with the bamboo decks they looked cheap, the white rapidfire was in the right direction but lacked durability compared to FST, I think they have made some good decisions in the last few years, it will be interesting to see where they go next, but the way i see it, i don't think they will change the mix of techs too much, i think they have found a good balance now.

Seems like lots of folks holding out on new hp models only available in LFT, waiting for them to become available in FST

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016 at 11:09pm

Yeah that is true and well im one of them, id really like a FW Tomo EVO but will only get one when/if they come out in FST.

I think its more a thing though among guys who have had a few FW boards though.

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saltman commented Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 at 6:51pm

mcsc wrote:
saltman wrote: Scrubbed em myself and had them laminated in a local factory
Most glassers have access to s cloth
It's just the big name brands don't use it routinely cause it's a bit more expensive and the weave is more visible
If your selling 100 boards a week and you can save $25 a board.?? You get the picture

Yep, gotcha

Btw, durability aside - which one of the boards you mentioned was your favourite performance wise?

They are varied shapes but the I get the feeling that the PU and epoxy combo is the liveliest . EPS dents real easy even with 4&6 on the deck so probably benefits needs some of the more high tech materials like innegra. and also the extra bouyancy needs to accounted for in the shape.

I am getting a PU in standard glassing schedule and will be interested to see if it feels much different

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mcsc commented Tuesday, 31 May 2016 at 6:39pm

So to follow on, few months back I took a chance on a Firewire FST board. Too good a bargain to pass up.

Sled is a everyday hp stubbie, sort of design that's worked well for me in the past in 2-5ft. Very strange to surf the first session (waves were really fun head high clean beachbreaks). 30% lighter or whatnot to PU, the board had a very different feel, was distracting. Second session the board just clicked for me, I adjusted to the weight and had a blast. The best week of autumn surf followed, 4ft peaky beachbreaks at home.

Have surfed it a lot by now, seems very durable. No compressions at all. Loving the lighter feel of the epoxy, and have been surfing better in general I'd humbly say. Struggles a bit more in lumpy and choppy conditions due to being lighter, but almost everyone out those days were struggling too. Ride my PU board on those days.

Not much to add really. Love the board, and the FST tech has held up so far. Would definitely consider another. Will compliment it with a HP PU (or similar)

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 31 May 2016 at 7:07pm

what model mcsc?

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mcsc commented Tuesday, 31 May 2016 at 7:13pm

Pyzel amigo

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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 23 Jun 2016 at 3:38pm

CD wrote (some time back, sorry mate, only just saw it):

Hey Wingnut,
I've had a bit of a play around on the software, but haven't stepped up to get a blank cut. Have been a bit unsure I guess with what I'm putting out.
Do you play around much with the rails and with putting in concaves. Or just keep it basic and fine tune these details after its cut.
What AKU package do you think you need to sign up too.
Are the features in the backyarder OK for putting out a few boards.

cheers mate."

I tweak the rails in the software. I do 98% of the "shaping" in the software, so it is then only the nose, tail and removing the ridge lines (i.e. scrubbing the blank). The first one I did was flat bottom, next one had slight concave out of the software, but now, knowing how accurate the software and machine cut process is I'm 100% confident to design in the software.

The "backyarder" is the version I used until I found the next version up had some extra's to help me.

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

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wingnut2443 commented Thursday, 23 Jun 2016 at 3:50pm

Hey mcsc, what size Firewire amigo did you get? Reading your first post, you're about the same height and weight as me when I'm not surf fit. I can shed a few kgs when surfing a lot, so have found most of my boards work for me at around the 32 litre mark. If I'm up at 95kg, I'd want a bit more float under me, so looking at the Firewire dimensions chart, a 6'2" would be about right for me. Just curious how that fits with you?

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

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mcsc commented Saturday, 25 Jun 2016 at 6:18pm

Hi wingnut, I got the 6'4 Amigo. Just talking size / litres the 604 is 36.2L. Ideal volume for my everyday board is approx 36 litres so it was an easy decision. Best to go closest to your ideal volume 32 litres, unless you're not going to be able to get surf fit in which case I'd go next size up.

Yes it's an epoxy, but this board didn't feel chunky and over-volumed as I thought 604 36.2L might be. Just the opposite. When I picked it up it felt similar to the 6'0 PU I'd just replaced. Low rails helps

Surprisingly good performance from this board. And range. From my own experience and talking to others, go with speed generating type fins ie Blackstix rather then Techflex etc but that's person to person

Cheers

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thedrip commented Sunday, 26 Jun 2016 at 1:04am

S-cloth is definitely the go if it's avaiLable but harder to come by. It's a denser weave. If you see it without resin you will instantly see why it is better. One of my shapers used it exclusively for many years, but stopped as it was difficult to source.

It is is, apparently harder to wet down properly too so a good glasser is necessary. I think most factory glassers are production line guys who don't necessarily put in that effort.

For many years I have been getting 6x6 decks and 6 bottoms. I hate snapping boards, but I am in SW WA so it is more of an issue than in lots of other parts of Australia.

Performance wise, it makes bugger all difference unless you are a real ripper. I swap boards with mates and we surf the same. The board may feel different and surfing is a lot about feel, but I still snap in the pocket and carve exactly the same. The blokes I surf better than I still surf better than on my boards, and the blokes who surf better than me still surf better than me on my boards. An extra kilo of glass - if that - for a bloke who weighs 90kgs is bugger all. Maybe if you are popping airs it matters. But even allowing for the weighting and unweighting of surfing, any claim to a significant performance difference is dreamland to me.

I haven't snapped a board in 16 years since I started with the triple 6 and I have had 17 boards in that time. Most of the decks are in pretty good knick, if not pristine.

Why so many boards? Well you need a small, medium, big and scare yourself quiver here. Plus different bottoms to be played with, different rockers, shapes etc. Yes I am a bit of a board whore. Having said all that, the epoxy Webber gutter lover I have has stood up remarkably well. It's an absolutely shit board though.

Oh yeah, I pretty much keep every board I buy as they all go well just different. I have a cheap immaculate Gutter Lover for sale though.

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thedrip commented Sunday, 26 Jun 2016 at 1:05am

S-cloth is definitely the go if it's avaiLable but harder to come by. It's a denser weave. If you see it without resin you will instantly see why it is better. One of my shapers used it exclusively for many years, but stopped as it was difficult to source.

It is is, apparently harder to wet down properly too so a good glasser is necessary. I think most factory glassers are production line guys who don't necessarily put in that effort.

For many years I have been getting 6x6 decks and 6 bottoms. I hate snapping boards, but I am in SW WA so it is more of an issue than in lots of other parts of Australia.

Performance wise, it makes bugger all difference unless you are a real ripper. I swap boards with mates and we surf the same. The board may feel different and surfing is a lot about feel, but I still snap in the pocket and carve exactly the same. The blokes I surf better than I still surf better than on my boards, and the blokes who surf better than me still surf better than me on my boards. An extra kilo of glass - if that - for a bloke who weighs 90kgs is bugger all. Maybe if you are popping airs it matters. But even allowing for the weighting and unweighting of surfing, any claim to a significant performance difference is dreamland to me.

I haven't snapped a board in 16 years since I started with the triple 6 and I have had 17 boards in that time. Most of the decks are in pretty good knick, if not pristine.

Why so many boards? Well you need a small, medium, big and scare yourself quiver here. Plus different bottoms to be played with, different rockers, shapes etc. Yes I am a bit of a board whore. Having said all that, the epoxy Webber gutter lover I have has stood up remarkably well. It's an absolutely shit board though.

Oh yeah, I pretty much keep every board I buy as they all go well just different. I have a cheap immaculate Gutter Lover for sale though.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Sunday, 26 Jun 2016 at 8:15am

totally agree.

mcsc's picture
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mcsc commented Sunday, 26 Jun 2016 at 9:48am

666 is great option if you're surfing consistent good waves.

My s-cloth 644 is holding up a LOT better then the 444 off the racks

wallman's picture
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wallman commented Sunday, 26 Jun 2016 at 7:31pm

My experience with getting a PU board that lasts is as follows:
Get a custom made board so the you can have input into the build.
Get a good blank: Surfblanks have lasted well in my experience.
Make sure the deck is lightly skinned. (The deeper they go the softer it gets.)
Get a 4+6 +4 glass job as minimum.
Use Colan surfboard cloth. Aus made not bleached or washed and therefor is 30% stronger. Board won't be brilliant white and will have a very slight greenish tinge. If you supply the cloth yourself as I did it added $40 to the price of a 6'6''. You can purchase the cloth from a number of distributors. Contact Colan direct for info on nearest distributor.
Nothing worse than having a magic board disintegrate after 12months.

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sanded commented Friday, 1 Jul 2016 at 5:42pm

Wallman is right

Our E-Glass Direct size cloth is made by Colan, and it makes a difference but its not about being "washed" its actually about being "baked" which cheaper overseas cloths are.

Other E- glass is baked which melts the glass (to take off the silicon which is used to make it easier to weave - need to heat up the glass to melt off the silicon or resin wouldn't soak through) and makes it weaker.

"Direct size" E-glass is 20-30% stronger so not much weaker than "baked" S-glass but cheaper.

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mugofsunshine commented Thursday, 4 Aug 2016 at 12:49pm

"Make sure the deck is lightly skinned. (The deeper they go the softer it gets.)"

Here is why 90% of people think modern light glassing is to blame for deck compressions. As Caml talked about earlier foam density is paramount and PU blanks are denser closer to the surface. Hand shaping means you can take all the foam off the bottom of the board leaving just a once over with the planer on the deck. Unfortunately machines cant do this. They source the shape from the middle of the blank taking equal amounts off top and bottom.

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mcsc commented Monday, 29 Aug 2016 at 5:24pm

.

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udo commented Saturday, 17 Dec 2016 at 5:44pm

.