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  • 5'4" Vanguard Review

    Hi fellow firewire frothers, yesterday I had the chance to take out my 5'4" FST Vanguard in 4-5ft south groundswell waves with light offshore winds on a mid to low tide.

    I love this board when the wave face is steep & there's a bit of power in the waves. It flies...I mean it really flies!

    I can take off super deep on a wave & be confident that if I surf the board rail to rail, it will accelerate around any section.

    On one wave I was pretty deep & drove hard off the bottom, I felt the rail really engage into the face & accelerate around the crumbling lip that had already made it's way half way down the face of the wave. I saw the pocket I wanted to throw the board up into & with a lean of my body up to the corner of the wave, the board just flew into the pocket & allowed me to project just over the lip at 10 o'clock & the board just redirected down the face towards the bottom of the wave where I completed the reo but leant too far backwards & just couldn't ride out into the next manoeuvre.

    What I've taken from the VG is that it will allow you to get to places on the wave that no other board I've ridden does. I'm talking about high performance waves with power & steepness.

    The boys were amazed at just how fast the board went on the waves.

    It's only draw back is the extra effort you have to put in when you're paddling around.

    The low volume doesn't make it the most 'paddle-friendly' board in the firewire quiver but once you're paddling into a wave & the wave picks you up...you're as good as gold!!

  • #2
    yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew

    Comment


    • #3
      Megsy,

      Great review! How would you say the 2 boards are different as I was wondering which board to get either the Nano or the VG. Also, what fins are you riding in the VG? Thanks,

      Brent

      Comment


      • megsy
        megsy commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey @hwork50 (Brent), in my humble opinion I think the VG is in it's element in waves that are more high performance.

        My interpretation of a high performance wave is a wave that has a steeper, more vertical face, is 4ft+ is 10+ seconds, & comes from a groundswell instead of wind swell, breaking over a reef or a good shaped sand bank.

        The Nano at this point of the waves I've ridden on it, is probably what I would consider a bit of a 'step-down' board in waves that are under 5ft, less than 10 seconds, has a flatter less vertical wave face on a mid to incoming tide.

        The Nano is a more user-friendly board with its extra volume, so someone who is more in the intermediate "skill" level would be perfect for this board as long as they get their volume right.

        The VG would be more suited to someone who considers themselves in the intermediate to advanced "skill" level as its design/shape is a little more along the complex side to understand & truly harness its full potential. I'd equate the VG to a Porsche so if you only drive it in roads around residential areas at 60kmph, you're not going to really experience it's full potential. I hope that makes sense?

        The fins I rode on that session were the FCSII Performer thrusters.

    • #4
      Yes, that makes complete sense. Thanks you so much as I am glad I am going to be getting a VG. :)

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      • #5
        good stuff megsy!

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        • megsy
          megsy commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey @Chris, thanks! Now just got to get the wife behind the camera so I can post up a video for everyone...

      • #6
        So many boards to get, so little time. I hope my local shop has a demo or mebbe I'll ask if they could rent as I don't like the break in front of there shop. Hey Chris, you wanna be my bro and bro me a VG :)

        I'm pretty famous on Pluto.

        Comment


        • #7
          I'm 5'9 / 150 lbs and just picked up a 5'6 VG. I'm absolutely blown away by how amazing the board is! Rode it 3 days straight in 3-5' San Diego surf. Paddles extremely well, gets to top speed quickly, and turns on a dime. Loved doing nice sweeping cutbacks, coming around, pick up instant speed off the rebound, then swing it of the top…and repeat. Been such a great experience, get one asap...

          Comment


          • megsy
            megsy commented
            Editing a comment
            Sounds like you're found it's groove @Ozzie

        • #8
          Going away up the mid north coast of Sydney for four days this weekend & I've been able to make a deal of back & neck massages for my wife in exchange for her getting behind the camera & filming some VG & Nano footage...things I do for @Firewire

          Comment


          • aurfalien
            aurfalien commented
            Editing a comment
            A true soldier, the sacrifices you endure are huge and will be noticed by bobble head Jesus. Many thanks Megs!

          • Peterleo
            Peterleo commented
            Editing a comment
            I love the VG full stop. I modified my beloved Hellfire with even sharper rails and other ideas from the v2 . I surf it with futures Dave Rastovich quads and ea glass quads. The hellfire was mesmeric in its unaltered form now it is truly a nuclear missile in its current form . Yeeha

        • #9
          look forward to seeing these vids megsy!!!

          Comment


          • #10
            Hey Megsy on my vg I use futures k2 twin fins, amt twin fins and Rusty blackstix and solis trifins . The reason it's hard to paddle is the middle trifin fin slows it down too much . Try it as a twin fin with proper twin fins. Fibreglass ones like the k2. I use a knubster fin as well on the Amt

            Comment


            • aurfalien
              aurfalien commented
              Editing a comment
              Hmmm, intriguing about the center fin.

            • Peterleo
              Peterleo commented
              Editing a comment
              I found my Vg very hard to get onto a wave as a trifin . Just too much of a cork effect at take off and I missed too many waves where the HF would get down the wave face. I watched body boarders and they use flippers to get down the face and for hold. I took out the trifin and put in Futures AMT which are twin fins kinda. The center fin was taken out it became easier too catch waves but then too out of control on the face going down at takeoff. I then put fin box fillers for the two empty futures boxes and put a Shapers Darc drive in the rear box. Magic happened.

            • megsy
              megsy commented
              Editing a comment
              Hey @Peterleo, thanks for the input. My VG has the FCSII set up but I like the sound of using the knubster & just a set of outside twin fins.

          • #11
            loving all the insight folks! keep it coming.

            Comment


            • #12
              Hey Megsy.
              My 5'6 Vanguard is somewhere in a container I expect, as the guys at my shop said when I ordered, it would be maybe June or even July for the LFT with FCS11's.
              As you can imagine I'm as anxious as anything to get hold of it.
              In the mean time I'm thinking about fins & deck pads.
              I see you surfed yours with the Performers.
              How did you find that.
              The reason being that the Performers are the only one of the 4 FCS11 fins that have inside foil on the front fins.
              I did use my H3's (with inside foil) on one of my Vanguard demo sessions and found them OK but with most of my boards & fins I seem to like the ones with Flat inside face.
              Just seems to give a more precise feel.
              I'm a bit partial to the K2.1's on a few of my boards.
              I then tried the Orange AM Quad set on my new Baked Potato 6 months back at the recommendation of my guys, for the BP, and find it quite good.
              I always enjoy trying to find that special set for each board so looking forward to that.
              Have you tried any others and are you happy to share that info.
              Happy for anyone else to chip in.
              Thanks again

              Comment


              • walkingdisaster
                walkingdisaster commented
                Editing a comment
                On my old 5'6 rapid fire vanguard my standard fins were large h3 in the front with a medium h3 centre, that set up went pretty well in all conditions. I also used k2.1s a couple of times in small punchy stuff and found it to be super loose and fun,but it just didn't have enough drive for my regular beach break.
                Since I snapped that and have now picked up an fst 5'6, I've been exclusively using large performers and found them awesome in all conditions.

              • megsy
                megsy commented
                Editing a comment
                Hey @Twiggy, so far the Performers (Medium) both as a thruster & quad set up have felt great. I've used them in conditions that were waist to overhead & they performed extremely well.
                When I first rode my VG I used the AM (Medium) thrusters & those first few sessions were not great. I don't know if it was because the board was still new & I had to adjust my surfing style a bit to surf from the back foot but I didn't really like the fins & that couldn't have been the reason. I've been hesitant to use those fins again especially since the Performers have gone so well.
                I will say that when I had my 5'8" Hellfire, I only had the K2.1's as the set up. I tried the K-3's as well but that board just performed so much better as a quad.
                If Kelly has some fins that use the FCSII template maybe I'll give them a run in the VG?

            • #13
              Thank you megsy & others.
              Getting more & more excited about getting my new Vanguard.

              It's such a big step in board design and despite all the apprehension you hear about these boards,
              the 3 demo sessions I had have proven to me that there really is something going on here.
              I'm a Mini Simmons fan from way back and I remember then the looks and comments like now with the Vanguard,
              but likewise remember too that these boards had something different & almost magic going on.

              I'm on the fence with Thrusters on the Vanguard, but will certainly give it a go.
              The Quads just seem to feel & look natural on this shape but maybe like all my boards, if it gets a bit bigger the Thruster feels a little more stable.
              I've seen all the clips and each time the fins pop out I freeze & check who's doing what.
              Even DT is spotted using both, and in saying that, as a Quad when it's play time and Thruster when its heavy.

              Anyway great news on 2 counts for the Performers, even with the IFT.
              I'll try my H3's again, maybe even the FCS11 Am's I have.
              I would like to settle on something FCS11 so will give the Performer a go, maybe the Reactor or another, yet to be released FCS11 model.
              All good fun.

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