michel-bourez-firewire

Photo: Alex Laurel

I ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH 3 VERSIONS OF MY FIREWIRE SPARTAN MODEL. ALL OF THEM ARE SINGLE CONCAVE, THE SAME RELATIVELY MODERATE ROCKER BUT DIFFERENT VOLUMES. EVEN THOUGH THERE ISN’T MUCH SPREAD IN LENGTH, THE BOARDS ARE DIFFERENT OVERALL AND PERFORM DIFFERENTLY, SO I KNOW AT LEAST 1 OF THE 3 WILL WORK IN ALL CONDITIONS I FIND DURING AN EVENT.

(More like this in SE103)

5’11" X 18 3/16" X 2 3/16"

My small wave board, easy to turn and really reactive. It’s easy to find speed on mushy waves on this one, ideal for European beachbreaks on high tide, I use it in up to 3-4ft surf.

5’11" X 19" X 2 1⁄2"

I use it when the conditions are a bit more powerful, I like to have that bit more width, that way I’m able to push harder on my turns and the board will still respond well. Maybe this is unusual, since some guys go narrower in more powerful surf for more control.

6’0" X 19" X 2 1/2"

My step up board, I surf this one from around 6ft whether it’s barrelling or not. This board is really good for all kinds of conditions, it’s just a touch longer than my shortboard with the same rocker and concave, that way the ride doesn’t change, it just handles a bit more size a bit better.

"The first year that I made the WCT, I went to the Mentawais and Firewire gave me 2 Taj models to try, and they were just insane. I kinda fell in love there and then with the shape and feel of these boards. Mainly, I love the speed and precision they give your surfing... they’re really strong too - perfect for my power surfing as they last longer. I get through quite a lot of boards, this year I ordered around 80, and I’ll break way less than if they were regular PU boards. To me, Firewires are the future of surfboards..."

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If waves could talk, would they say ‘ouch‘...? Photo: Alex Laurel

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SHAPER NEV HYMAN ON MICHEL’S BOARDS:

“Michel’s standard shorty is really a 6’0" morphed down to 5’11 with the same volume at 27.7L. Rocker is reasonably flat with a semi kicked tail curve and a standard single concave.

His boards are actually based on Taj’s glory-day shooters, but for Michel I have reduced overall rocker and increased foil thickness, especially in the tail. Michel can use more resistance (thickness) in the tail for obvious reasons. He also has slightly more rail volume that resists penetration more when burying his rail, allowing him to hold that gouge longer.

No one on tour pushes as hard and for as long when on rail. When you load the rail of a Firewire you get sooooo much back at you...

For a guy who could ride longer, he chooses not to. Smart... If he can do man-carves on a 5’11" with his level of grunt, being shorter allows him to play around too, keeping it critical and tight. However, he can’t ride a wide tail around and behind the fins. They release too early which causes drift which to a guy like Michel means loss of speed. He is such a joy to watch surf."

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