Here is Nev's detailed breakdown of the differences between the Dominator/ Spitfire/ El Fuego and Futura from the old forum.
I know a couple of people wanted it brought across to this forum and I agree, it's a great insight that is still very useful.
I have been surfing my Dominator and El Fuego a lot recently in all sorts of waves. I have been unusually quiet and hesitant to give my opinion until now. There have been many posts requesting feedback and guidance and at last I feel I have a reasonably clear perspective on the pros and cons of these two models in relation to other boards in our range and in comparison to similar board by other manufacturers .
Firstly let me say that the Futura is not really in the same genre as the El Fuego, Dominator (or Pod etc). It is inherently more high performance in its rocker and volume. The El Fuego and Dominator/Spitfire, are more performance “fish” style boards.
Regarding the Futura, John Gannon who is Taj’s PT and coach surfs the FA602 exclusively. For him there is no need for two or more boards. I believe it is the most under appreciated board in our range.
The quest for ultra performance in a “fish/retro” board has thankfully led us to the Dominator/Spitfire/El Fuego range of boards that remove that compromised, out on the face, flatter style surfing of most wide tailed board, especially classic fishes. Clearly the Dominator has blown doors with regard to meeting the criteria of having the same paddle and glide as a fat thick short fish, pod biscuit, nitro etc, but also having remarkable square off the bottom, vertical in the pocket ability definitely lacking in these other designs. I have never surfed such a small board that had such solid directional control through turns. Amazing!
Anyway, enough about the Dominator/Spitfire.
Keep in mind that if you can only afford one board in this hybrid genre, ultimately either one will go unreal. You will develop that intimate connection that happens with much surfing and recognize the positive attributes of the design.
However when there is CHOICE, one has the privilege of being critical, putting various designs in particular boxes, which is what I am about to do.
I have 4 boards now in my truck. A 62 x 18 3/4 x 2 7/16”Flexfire, 5’11 El Fuego, 5’8 Spitfire and the 6’6 Addvance...(Soon there with the Sweet Potato designed by Dan Mann!!!! Mark Price says it will be my 1-2ft board...I am going crazy...How are you all holding up???)
Over the past couple of months I have had some magic sessions on my El Fuego, and I have determined that it surfs exactly as I expected, which IS clearly different to the Dominator / Spitfire.
Here are my experiences, keeping in mind I am average Joe in ability @ 51yrs, 70kg and 5’11” tall and I am referring to 1 to 5ft waves.
Yalingup, super fun 4 to 5ft lefts after the Taj Small Fries event. I needed to out paddle 6 to 10 competent longboarders and thankfully got a ridiculous amount of waves...I could not believe how fast and drivey it felt. As positive off the bottom as my 6’2 Flexfire. Big full loopy on rail cutbacks. The board had that rail to rail glide that a fish has, not so square off the bottom but sensational when you leaned into the turn. I felt that if I was on my 5’8 Dom, turns would have been a tad too quick and short..I think I could have gone a bit more vertical in certain sections, but most likely I would have nursed it through turns in that mid strength offshore wind. No worries though, with the El Fuego.
Snapper...Easter weekend before heading to Bells. 4ft and packed, but...O.M.G! I swear I have never gone that fast. I could pump it rail to rail and just keep winding up the dial...Then into speed shedding roundhouses or long floaters. I got one wave from this side of the “behind the rock” to the middle of Cooly.....Slaloming though the manic crowd.
I do not think that he Dominator would have gone that quick down the line. It would have surfed tighter to the pocket and I might have pulled some more vertical maneuvers, but not made as many waves. The El Fuego’s feeling of forward momentum/glide at warp speed, but with back foot control, is I believe unique to this board.
Rincon / Bells bowl 2 to 4ft 2 sessions. Morning was clean and fun... Rincon is one of those point waves that requires quick down the line speed from takeoff, BUT with a more vertical approach to that often crumbly foamy lip always coming at you. I felt I would have been much better on my Dominator but there was literally no-one out!! Everyone was heading to pre heat surf or get a spot to watch the event. There was no way I was going to run up to my car parked at Winki to swap as I was having too much fun. If this was my only “hybrid” I would have been satisfied that the board went so well... However I gotta admit that all I could think of was how well my Spitfire would be going! Ha!
Late arvo sesh and I grabbed the Spitfire and the thing went mental...Case closed.
Now I am really starting to understand these boards.
Fat open faces where you need rail in the water holding it’s line?...El Fuego
Racy walls where speed is king and you have the section ahead to shed all that speed via sweet roundhouse, extended re-entry floater or boost for a air?...El Fuego
Beachies where front foot drive/resistance is required to maintain speed to get to the next foam ball coming at you?... El Fuego
Reefs that are bumpy, strong offshore where you need glide with inherent speed to gracefully go from rail to rail, so as to figure what the heck the wave is gunna do?...El Fuego.
I foot peelers when all you want to do is do the “Reno Abellira”...Do a cheater five.... Forever? ( Surfabout circa 1977?) El Fuego
So where does the Dominator/Spitfire fit in now??? Everywhere else where you need to turn on a dime with speed.
Sucky racing walls that give you plenty of ops for a vertical snap here and there...Quick off the mark high line drives, drop into the bowl, square off the bottom and up into the lip....Up and down with rhythm and control ,and plenty of speed and forgiveness to boot. Dominator/Spitfire.
Punchy peaky beachies, where you take off late, square it off the bottom with speed into a snap. Surfing tight to the power in waves that require spontaneity and the need to keep moving rail to rail... Dominator/Spitfire
Reefs that beg you to go top to bottom, pull in and come out into a gouge...Immediate recovery underfoot, back on plane and into the next turn....Can you feel it? Dominator/Spitfire
One foot peelers when you wind up sooooo much speed, whilst still doing tight little hacks...no cheater fives, just full tilt windup Energizer rabbit amp-out.... Dominator/Spitfire
The verdict if you have to choose? (what a bummer!)
Generally, I’d go with the Dominator/Spitfire, if you have a normal board to back you up for those more open faced days when you need draw/length in your turns.
The El Fuego could almost be an all round board, one board option as it holds a longer line when needed but still rips when conditions are marginal. (but not quite as vertical/tight as the Dom/ spitfire)
It is a no brainer if you love that inherent “fish” feel, but still want to TURN!
The Dominator/Spitfire as a one board option would be leaving yourself short.
The El Fuego?..maybe not as much, but I reckon you’d still need your trusty normal board.
and the Futura?..Yes, you could definitely surf this as a one board option, albeit not as good in the particular areas of strength of the Dom/Spitfire/El Fuego.
The El Fuego will not make the Futura redundant...No way.
Clear as mud?