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  • Activator Review

    Hello all,

    I've had a 6'3 activator for about a month and wanted to share my experiences on this board. Overall I think it's a great board and although expensive, was worth every penny! I bought the Rapidfire model, and using a thruster setup (flexfire clay marzo's). I'm a 165 lb rider, intermediate skill, and maybe should have gone smaller since this board floats much more than my 6'3 shortboard, and I had a little trouble duckdiving it at first.

    The first thing that stuck out was how easy it was to paddle this thing, I felt like I was flying on the water compared to my other shortboards, and it made me wonder if I was going to small on my boards all along. I'd usually never be the fastest in the lineup, and so would never wait in position for the sets because the stronger paddlers would usually win position over me. Now? It seems like I can more than hang with those guys, only longboarders seem to catch waves further back than me. Honestly it feels like cheating haha.

    In smaller waves, this board is plenty fun. Because of how easy it is to paddle, I scratched the idea of buying a longboard for small surf. 1-3ft faces, still rideable. Had a few fun days at rockpiles when the waves were just waist high. Paddles fast and you can whip this board like a shortboard, it's quickly become my main surfboard in nearly all conditions. It handled surprisingly well on the North Shore. The board seems to be perfect for breaks like laniakea where the takeoff isn't super critical. Steep drops are still possible, I've surfed v-land, rocky point, and gas chambers with no problem, but Pupukea was a bit different, ate it on a couple takeoffs on the waves that were breaking close to the sandbar (near air-drops and double ups). For breaks like that, I would probably be better suited to riding my old shortboard, but for most conditions, the Activator became my weapon of choice. I'd give it a 9/10 :)

  • #2
    It won't let me edit my post, but majority of the days I've been taking the board out have been 5-8ft faces. Never tried bigger conditions (I'm not that good but will be soon :))

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    • #3
      pretty cool. have u tried it as a quad?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by fokaiHI View Post
        pretty cool. have u tried it as a quad?
        Haven't yet, but I plan to soon!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by _h2o_ View Post
          It won't let me edit my post, but majority of the days I've been taking the board out have been 5-8ft faces. Never tried bigger conditions (I'm not that good but will be soon :))
          Thanks for the review, I've been wondering how big people have pushed this board, it seems it can handle a pretty respectable size.

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          • #6
            btw, were u able to get the CM skegs as a 5 fin set. i saw that futures recently made it available?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by madprof View Post
              Thanks for the review, I've been wondering how big people have pushed this board, it seems it can handle a pretty respectable size.
              No problem! I figured since there wasn't much feedback on this board when it came to the Activator, that I should write about it. I originally wanted a dominator, until I stumbled on the Activator and saw that it was similar but better in the pocket and sharper turn radius (2 big pluses haha). It handled 7-8ft faces with no problem and I'm sure it can go bigger. I'll probably have to wait until next september to test it out in bigger surf since north shore season is over (sad face). The only break that gave me trouble was pupukea, but being a shallow sandbar that day, there was a lot of wipeouts. Board might have not mattered in that situation, was prolly more suited for bodyboard. I caught the outside sets with no problem, it was just the waves breaking on the sandbar that were throwing me over before i could get a bottom turn in.

              Originally posted by fokaiHI
              btw, were u able to get the CM skegs as a 5 fin set. i saw that futures recently made it available?
              No I haven't, I wish I did. I'm really liking these fins in a thruster setup too, Wanted a 5-fin set so I could change it up without spending another $120 lol.
              Last edited by _h2o_; 05-07-2013, 10:00 AM.

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              • #8
                Just got a 5.9 Activator, put a Rastovich future quad set of fins and went right to the beach. Here are my first impressions of the board:
                1)The board looks meatier than on paper, specially at the thickness.Looks more a 2 1/2 thick board than a 2 5/16 correspondent to a 5.9 size. The volume of 29.1 looks a little underrated, feels like a board of more volume. So if you are doubious between the 5.7 or 5.9, take note of this.
                2) Outline is beautifull,like a twin fin of the 80's, the rocker is low at the nose, compensated with a small rocker at the tail, that i think makes the board more loose. The tail is amazing, great way to reduce foam at the ending of the board.
                3) Conditions: Choppy 2 footers, as usual here... i chose the board for this type of seas. First wave, front side, very easy paddling and speeding fast after bottom turn.I passed through sections without even positioning my feet well in the board...
                4) The board feels loose ,very fast, and natural in transition, comming from a 5.9 El fuego.
                5) It is snappier than El fuego and a lot faster. You don't have that fat nose in front of you...
                6) Backside is natural as well, very predictable even with quad set of fins.
                7) Overall first impression?: Another amazing board from Firewire. Fast, loose, and specially made for small conditions, great paddling and beautifull retro outline. Go for it!!

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                • guigoon
                  guigoon commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What's your height, weight and age, if it is not too intrusive ? I'm 5'6" for 156 pds and 41, expérienced surfer, and I hesitate between the 5.7 or 5.9 activator (27.4 or 29,1 l) . Thanks !

              • #9
                Just got over an elbow tendinitis injury, and back to surfing regularly :) I would have to say my recovery makes me love this board even more! While injured, I still kept myself in shape for the most part, but still wasn't in 'surf shape' to really enjoy my 5'10 michel bourez. After a couple of frustrating sessions of losing the paddle battles left and right, I whipped out the activator and had some epic sessions in about shoulder-head high surf. Love how this thing flies like the wind when paddling it, not being as powerful as I was pre-injury. Awesome board to have for this scenario (or whenever you're out of surf shape for any reason)

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                • #10
                  _h2o_ really appreciate the review you have written, I've just recently bought an 6.1 Activator (I weigh about 82kg, roughly intermediate standard/good fitness), so far I'm loving the rideability of the board for someone looking to progress and take my surfing to the next level BUT I am finding the duck-diving hard work.

                  I surf in Cornwall, UK so it's basically all beach breaks here averaging 3 - 5ft in late-Spring / Summer with 5 - 8ft during Autumn/Winter - so having a good duck is really handy. I've been surfing 3 solid days on this and I find myself caught in two minds to part-ex and go for a HellFire.

                  Was quite pleased to read you had a bit of trouble duck-diving at first, so I'm thinking to persevere and get use to it.


                  I do really like this board but ducking it is a pain, it's very boyant. I had a lot of fun when I stayed a bit shallow to pick off the smaller 4ft sets whilst the crowds stayed out deep for the occasional larger ones. It's clear the board really excels here but I did find on the bigger sets 6 - 7ft (our take-offs are quite steep) keeping control was tricky with the occasional wave throwing me over.


                  Question I guess is, should I keep pluggin with Activator and get use to it for adapting in the bigger surf, get another board for the bigger days or switch to Hellfire (or equivalent) for a more overall paddle and ride?

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                  • #11
                    Guigoon: I'm 172 pds, aged 55, experienced. The 5.9 paddles very well for my weight , so go for the 5.7 . Still the best board for small waves i have ever had... riding it now as twinfin, fast as a board could go....

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                    • #12
                      Was using my activator as step up board for up to 2.5 overhead and found it handled flawlessly. Really stable on takeoff and handled steep drops that the VG couldn't. An underrated board IMO. Overtaken in my stable by the v4 so going to try it in what I was using the potatonator for, smaller fatter waves. Probably ditch the PNator. Activator 6'9" so plenty of foam, 90 kegs, 55yo

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                      • #13
                        Thank you for this information which reinforce me in my choice for an easy fun board, but also competitive in quite a lot of conditions, 5'7" for me. Unless the pile driver is also a good option in this category ?
                        Last edited by guigoon; 10-09-2013, 12:26 PM.

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                        • #14
                          Finally, I took a 5'9 Activator, my first firewire ! I followed the advice of 'Sam Lamiroy' for that 5'8 Dom, riding a 5'11 AC. Perfect for me (I would ride a 5'6 Dom) Therefore, a very easy and effective board (and very light in FST) Everything I love. It must now I try in more consistent conditions.Very versatile and fun board, I think, and "under rated" (I like that ! )

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