Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review
The Sweet Potato from Firewire Surfboards has arrived (like last year) and folks are having a hard time determining what is funnier, the shape or the name.
Personally, I vote for the name, because after you ride this thing, the shape just makes sense!
Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review-
So what is exactly?
It’s a short, squatty, thick, flat board with a double concave, fat tail, a ridge down the center and a quad fin setup very close to the rail. What all this produces ia a board that floats like a board 10-12 inches longer, paddles like a champ, turns on a dime and is extremely “drivey”, fast and responsive. It’s a great board for that 1-3 foot surf, possibly 4-5 but just hope the takeoffs aren’t too steep because there is not much rocker.
My first impression on this board were:
- I was impressed with how well it paddled and how easy it was to catch waves. I am 6’3″ and 185 so I am used to surfing board that are 6’4″-6’10″ out here in San Diego. I got my Sweet Potato in a 5′ 10″ and honestly I think I should have went shorter. The 5’8″ would probably be perfect for me, not to say this is not and I appreciate the extra float when I sit outside by the longboarders on a board half a long!
- I was also impressed with how fast and drivey it was. It almost felt like i had been shot out of a rocket the first few pumps down the line, the flatness, double concave and quad fin setup make this board very quick down the line and it can easily make sections that you might have in the past thought you would get cleaned up on.
- The fins make a big difference on this board. Personally until this board I never really thought too much about fins and this was the board that really got me into doing research and learning more about them. I will talk a bit more about the fins later, but definitely demo a few pairs if you can and I would recommend going larger on the fronts for extra drive and control.
My favorite feature about this board is the ridge that runs down the middle and separates the board into two halves. This allows you to rock the board from side to side and get it on the rail very quickly. Almost surprisingly quick sometimes. Maybe it was all my years riding big waterlogged 7′ 2″ boards, but I realized I have a tendency to really lean way over to try and dig my rail in. Since my recent purchase of two Firewire boards, the Sweet Potato and The Alternator, I realize that when when the board is designed to go rail to rail easily, all it takes is a slight adjustment of your weight and your turning. I admit I have thrown myself of this board a few times at speed when going to make a large cutback as i just lean way too far and did not just let the board turn.
As I mentioned above, the fins on this board can make a lot of difference. It’s tiny and has a quad setup so you are going to be able to feel them, plus they are very close to the rail making them even more noticeable. From my experience with this board, I prefer it with a larger front fin and a pretty standard back set. I started out with a set of all glass Futures, just a standard, middle of the road, solid all around fin (show below) and after a few surfs decided that the board was actually a bit too loose for he, especially at the high speeds, there is not a ton of rail to work with, so the fins mean a lot here. What I finally settled on was a set of Scimitar’s in the front which add some extra hold and tons of speed and the two standard glass back fins, I use the Future FEA Quads.
Another fun fin for this would be the Elevon from Future due to that hydrofoil on the front fins that would actually work great on this board to help keep that big tail out of the water a bit more on your turns. That could be a really fun setup but experiment with it and see what you surfing style likes the most.
I honestly don’t know why more board companies don’t do this? Firewire makes it so easy to select your board (or at least get into the ballpark) based on the volume charts that they give you. So when I was transitioning from a 6′ 10″ down to a board under 6 feet i was a little nervous. That is until I looked at the actual volumes and saw that both the 5’8″ and the 5’10″ sweet potato had just as much volume as my 6’10″ so i knew that either would float me just fine. Check out the Sweet Potato Chart below and determine your sizing, it typically works out to about 8-12 inches shorter than your normal shortboard.
Rapidfire or FST?
And so the debate rages on. To buy your next Firewire in the traditional FST or the newer Rapidfire technology. I’ll give you my personal preference and keep in mind its my personal preference.
I prefer the FST. Both are awesome. Both are super high performance and both are sturdy, much sturdier than a traditional epoxy board. That said, I am rough on my boards. I surf them hard and put em away wet. I travel a lot, loan them out and they just tend to take a little more abuse, so for that fact alone, I prefer the FST because it is more durable. Now don’t get me wrong the rapid fire is great as well, better than most epoxy boards for sure and is probably perfect for a lot of people but for me I just want something that can take a bit more abuse and that’s the FST.
That said, the Sweet Potato is the perfect board for the Rapidfire technology as you get that extra spring on your turns as the bamboo deck flexes under your feet. You will be happy with either, trust me and go with your gut.
The Bottom Line-
I really like The Sweet Potato.
Whether you buy this board in Rapidfire or FST your gonna love it, I mean Firewire Surfboards are a piece of art anyways, just beautiful in my opinion. It’s a great board to take with you on a surf check or when you know the surf is a bit smaller. You will find yourself ripping on days that you might not otherwise paddle out. It rips in small, crumbly surf and is extremely fast, and responsive.
These boards tend to sell out pretty quick, so if you are looking to pick one up, check out our friends over at “Surfride” as they usually keep a pretty wide selection.
Enjoy and be sure to leave your comments if you found this review helpful.