Hellfire Review 2 weeks in...
"Quiver killer" - a phrase I was given for the Hellfire. I'd have to agree.
Have surfed 6'2" HP shortboards since God knows when. Last board was a magic which I've had for a few years, finally wanted to try something new. After much deliberation and research, reading reviews etc, I was seduced by the Firewire hype and ordered a 5'8" Hellfire. Demo'd the 5'10" while waiting for the order to arrive. Went ok, was small crap surf, was hard to tell if I'd made the right decision. Was definitely too much volume for my 72kg's.
Got the 5'8" and lucky enough to have some good surf over the last 2 weeks. Volume felt perfect straight away. First 2 waves felt really good, surf was pumping. Then my middle fin dropped out and was lost. Discovered the pin on the rear Future fin box screwed in too low on a wrong angle and wasn't locking in to the slot so fin slid out with a bit of pressure. Had to go buy some more fins. Nevermind, more of a Futures manufacturing issue than Firewire's, had to file down the new rear fin's slot so the pin would lock in to the fin somewhat. Luckily the surf was still pumping when I got back.
The board did so many things so well. Was struggling to get the same speed and drive as my magic HP shortboard though until I gave up trying to surf the Hellfire the same way. Mind you have only used it as a thruster with one set of fins so far. But once I started to surf and push off my back foot the board came alive. Thanks to Chito and others for the advice there. You've really got to surf it off the back foot. Was so used to putting the front foot down for the gas but once adjusting I gotta say OMG...
My summary having surfed exclusively as a thruster for 2 weeks using one set of Shapers fins (Stealth S5's which is probably equivalent to PC5's, an all round medium fin) in waist to nearly double overhead:
- The Hellfire paddles better than my HP shortboard
- it gets in to waves earlier, can't believe how much easier
- handles late drops better even when solid bumpy overhead and a half to double with a mean rip running in to it. A little skatey on the bottom turn but easily manageable, perhaps bigger fins might help.
- turns better, so responsive, getting more turns in on a wave, surfs like a HP shortboard but better
- equivalent speed once I got dialed in to it
- all round easier and more forgiving to surf
- No problems in waist high surf, as long as there's a little push to it.
Can't wait to experiment with quad fins and other thruster setup. Don't think I'll be riding anything else for a while.
Nev, you're a genius, to get all this into such a short board, it really does replace the traditional shortboard and make you feel like you can do anything. Magic engineering.
Go get one...you won't be disappointed. Except I don't want my mates to 'cause it feels like I'm getting an edge over them at the 'mo.