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LINEAR FLEX

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Firewire’s product development is focused on three things: The exclusive use of epoxy resins and EPS foam cores, achieving lighter and stronger surfboards through sandwich construction, and optimizing flex to enhance performance. Though LINEAR FLEX TECHNOLOGY (LFT) may appear to be a simple construction employing familiar design philosophies found in traditionally built surfboards, nothing could be further from the truth.

LFT incorporates Firewire’s new SPRINGER HD, a 0.75” (18 mm) wide aerospace composite that runs down the centerline of the board, representing the next generation in our SPRINGER technology. Unlike the original balsa SPRINGER build which only added stiffness under the front foot, the SPRINGER HD runs the entire length of the board and plays a pivotal role in optimizing flex from nose to tail.

Inserting a high-density material down the center of the board does create engineering hurdles. For example, deck compression over the SPRINGER HD would be less than the surrounding EPS core. Over time, the deck would develop a raised area adjacent to the SPRINGER HD, akin to the ‘ridging' effect on a PU surfboard as the surrounding foam collapses on either side of the stringer.

We addressed this issue in two ways. Firstly, the SPRINGER HD stops approximately 10mm below the top deck, ensuring that the surrounding EPS compression will not lead to ‘ridging’. Utilizing our proven sandwich construction methodology, we also added an extremely durable material to the top deck of the board. This ‘deck-skin’ now serves as an additional buffer against the ridging effect while simultaneously working in tandem with the SPRINGER HD to optimize the overall flex pattern of the LFT build. The end result is a durable surfboard with lively flex patterns that will maintain its hi-performance characteristics over time.

Firewire Linear Flex Technology

 

TIMBERTEK

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TIMBERTEK represents a significant step forward towards the holy grail of any product designed and manufactured in today's environmentally conscious world. While by no means sustainably built, Firewire's TIMBERTEK has by far one of the least toxic and smallest carbon footprints of any commercially available surfboard today.

Grant Newby, a talented Australian craftsman first turned us on to the potential of this construction, and following his lead, our internal R&D and production crew worked tirelessly to make this tech possible in a production setting. Building one-offs or small quantities is one thing (and not to be discounted), but it took a tremendous effort to overcome all the issues that arose as we tweaked the original recipe to increase performance and build reasonable quantities. Of course having our own vertical factory was a huge help.

The combination of a lightweight EPS core, sustainably-grown wood deck skins, Firewire's proprietary parabolic rail construction, and anEntropy bio-resin hot coat yield an extremely lightweight, durable surfboard with ALL of the high performance flex characteristics of Firewire's existing technologies. Even more impressive, the physical properties of the raw materials involved have allowed us to reduce exterior lamination significantly, furthering the reduction of the board’s carbon footprint. Or as we like to describe TIMBERTEK, it's simply High Performance Art.

Firewire Timbertek TechnologyHow to Care for your Board >

 

FUTURE SHAPES TECHNOLOGY

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FST relies primarily on the PARABOLIC Balsa Rail to control flex while the high density aerospace composite vacuumed to both top and bottom decks provides significant impact strength, and is stronger than the traditional PU surfboard. Please note our boards are definitely not indestructible and if slammed by a thick lip, or if you land incorrectly in the flats after doing an aerial, it is possible to break them.

The Parabolic Balsa Rail features 12mm balsa built from 3 x 4mm strips, which as mentioned not only control flex and add strength, but also act as a buffer against rail dings. Furthermore, the long-term flex memory supplied by the balsa rails ensures boards maintain their lively feel for longer.

With a retail price point slightly above premium polyurethane surfboards, FST offers an extremely high performance, durable surfboard.

Firewire Future Shapes Technology

 

Firewire's Proprietary Sandwich Blank Construction

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Firewire boards are lighter and stronger than traditional PU surfboards and much of that weight saving and strength comes from our proprietary blank construction. Unlike regular polyurethane cores, which weigh 2.5 - 3lb per cubic foot, the FUTURE SHAPES TECHNOLOGY (FST) and DIRECT DRIVE (DD) cores are built from 1lb EPS foam. A 3mm layer of high density aerospace composite is added through a vacuum process to stabilize the core and increase strength. The end result is an incredibly light weight and durable blank unique to Firewire.

 

Sandwich Blank Construction - VENTS

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All surfboard materials are affected by extreme temperature changes. To allow the air inside the 1lb EPS foam core to expand and contract during extreme temperature or air pressure changes, the Firewire vent allows air to pass back and forth between the core and the exterior of the board while preventing water from entering. The Gore-Tex membrane does not require any adjustment. Rapidfire does not require a vent as the interior foam is 2lb density and does not have as much air trapped inside the blank as the 1lb FST boards.

 

MATERIALS & CONSTRUCTION

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Firewire boards are lighter and stronger than traditional PU surfboards and much of that weight saving and strength comes from our proprietary blank construction. Unlike regular polyurethane cores, which weigh 2.5 - 3lb per cubic foot, the FUTURE SHAPES TECHNOLOGY (FST) and DIRECT DRIVE (DD) cores are built from 1lb EPS foam. A 3mm layer of high density aerospace composite is added through a vacuum process to stabilize the core and increase strength. The end result is an incredibly light weight and durable blank unique to Firewire.

EPS Foam Core: Firewire is 100% committed to EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) for our shaped cores. Not only is this material infinitely more environmentally friendly than PU (polyurethane) foam, but the excess EPS material is recycled. In addition, the 1lb core is an essential part of Firewire’s high performance. The way in which materials travel through different mediums is a direct result of their density AND shape. For example, a baseball and tennis ball are roughly the same shape and size, but behave completely differently when thrown. Similarly, a 1lb foam core allows for rapid direction changes and overall responsiveness during rail–to–rail turns.

Hi Density Deck skins: Future Shapers Technology uses hi-density deck skins on the top and bottom of each board. These material have a high strength to weight ratio as well as helping to control the flex characteristics. In addition to their very high impact strength, these skins demonstrate almost zero materials fatigue over time. As a result, unlike traditional PU foam boards, Firewire blanks are not only lighter weight and stronger, but the flex characteristics remain intact for a considerable amount of time, long after traditional blank materials have fatigued and lost their spring.

Epoxy Resins: Firewire boards are built with epoxy resins, which are not only far stronger than polyurethane based resins, but emit only 2% of the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) versus regular PU resin. Unlike a PU based laminating facility, you can walk anywhere in the Firewire factory without a mask and without a headache. Furthermore clean up requires simple citrus cleaners.

Balsa Wood Rails: The specific construction and choice of balsa for the rails is vital to Firewire’s flex characteristics and performance. While the balsa looks like a thin veneer on a completed surfboard, in fact it is over half an inch thick, built from 3 x 4mm strips laminated together and running the length of the surfboard perimeter, creating an incredibly lightweight, durable structure and incidentally a great buffer for those inevitable rail bashes when surfing. The balsa ensures that the degree AND rate of flex is controlled to maximize performance.

Lamination: With the inherent strength of our custom blanks and the epoxy resin systems, all our shortboards are laminated with a single 4oz deck both top and bottom, except for the FE606P and FE608P Step Up Guns. All other models over 6’10” have a double 4oz top deck and a single 4oz bottom. Given the fact that some Longboarders actually prefer additional weight, we’ve added a layer of 6oz to select longboards and these are delivered to retail with a special sticker clearly showing the lamination schedule.

High Density Fin Inserts: All Firewire Surfboards have high density inserts surrounding the fin boxes for both FCS and Futures. This is a far stronger method of attachment than anchoring the boxes to the top deck as is the case with the regular FCS installation, or letting them float directly in the EPS. This also allows the tail to flex more than a system anchored to the top deck.

The Vent: The 1lb Firewire EPS core contains a lot of air. It is NOT a hollow core, but as you can imagine a blank that weighs 1lb has far more air inside than a blank weighing 3lbs. As an added precaution to allow the core to expand and contract during extreme changes in temperature or air pressure, the vent allows air to pass back and forth between the core and the exterior of the board, while preventing water from entering. The GORE–TEX membrane does not require any maintenance, other than kept free of wax in order to breathe. You can imagine the stresses and strains on any surfboard materials when you take a board on a hot day and jump into 50° water. While some may argue that the vent is not essential, we believe that it does prolong the life of the board.

 

FIREWIRE FACTORIES

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Initially all Firewires were built in Australia and San Diego. However, due to the labor intensive and complex nature of our construction, it soon become apparent that we would not be able to build our boards in these locations and still offer them at reasonable retail prices. Like most high tech sports equipment, we had to move our production to Asia. But that's where our company has not followed the traditional path of out-sourcing production to third party Asian manufacturers.

We took the difficult and expensive step of setting up our own factory in Thailand from scratch, owned and operated by Firewire and focused on building our boards. Not only has this allowed us to control our quality and protect our technology, but we've also implemented a western style of management (our full time Operations Manager and QC manager are both Australian surfers), and in doing so we've created a positive working environment for our staff.

All of our product design, research and development and testing is still done in Australia and San Diego.



Firewire Surfboards