Putting The Firewire “Rapidfire” To The Test At Uluwatu
Truth be told, I was never really interested into boards that weren’t made from polyurethane (PU) blanks. They always felt too stiff, like riding a boat and not a surfboard. But after breaking three boards (all PU blanks) in the Mentawais earlier this year and being forced to borrow equipment under the “you break it you buy it” rule, by the time my next trip rolled around, I knew I had to bring something that could stand up to more beatings than a normal board.
A well-placed call to Chuy Reyna from Firewire Surfboards was made just before my honeymoon and after some negotiating; I got my paws on a 6’3” Rapidfire pintail with Futures fin boxes. After stripping off the previous owner’s tail pad and removing the wax, I had a “step-up” board, something a surfer of my size (5’9”) and weight (175lbs.) would use in solid, overhead surf. It felt good under the arm (and unscientific but nevertheless important test) and I felt good to go, just needing a swell at one of Bali’s premier left reef breaks to see what it could do.
After a few days of unremarkable, yet fun surf at Uluwatu, my early morning surf check on October 6th revealed solid six-foot lines and barrels galore at the infamous “Racetrack” section of the wave. It was now time to wax up the Rapidfire and find something besides a comp leash to attach to it.
After negotiating the cave-like entrance at Uluwatu (at high tide and six-foot that’s a feat in itself) I made it out the back to find just a few takers. Wave number one was caught just to break the ice and get my feet set, yet when I tried to turn off the top, the board took off from under me and I nearly fell backwards, completely unprepared for the burst of speed.
Wave two was a different story. Taking off deep (I knew the thing hauled ass by this point) I back-doored a section only to come out and right back into another nice little tube. Game on! The board was magic and felt like it was connected to my feet. As the tide dropped it just got better and better and despite a few vicious wipeouts the board held up.
Later in the day the tide had bottomed out and big ol’ mushburgers were breaking a mile out to sea. My “step up” was now feeling quite small but I gave it a go anyway. While it was tough to catch the bigger sets (the guys on eight-foot boards ruled me) once you’d lock into the waves it was like snowboarding—big sweeping cutbacks, long drawn out bottom turns, and loads of fun.
All was going well until I started to cheat in a bit in hopes of catching one in when the biggest set of the day squared up and had me dead to rights. Just before bailing my board in front of a mountain of whitewash I could hear Chuy’s voice saying, “You break it you buy it, Justin.”
My leash didn’t stand a chance and my new favorite board was gone in an instant leaving me alone and far from shore. I was sure the board would end up smashed to pieces and scattered like ashes from Ulus to Padang Padang, but after making it to the beach I found her bobbing in a foot of water without a scratch.
I won’t bother you with the intricate construction details, but trust me when I tell you that you can rely on the 6’3” Rapidfire pintail—it’s tough as nails, a must-have quality in a board you plan to travel with.—Justin Coté
P.S. Good luck getting that board back, Chuy…
Firewire “Rapidfire” dimensions: 6′ 3″ 18 1/2″ 2 3/8″
For more go to www.firewiresurfboards.com