The Firewire Potatonator is a special surfboard. I tested a 5’6″ x 20 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ in a range of conditions over a nine month period.
For the first couple of weeks I struggled with the Potatonator. I was using a standard quad FCS setup consisting of two bigger G-AMs and two small G-Xs. Some days I’d switch it to thruster and use a set of performance core PC-5s. Both configurations work, so it’s a personal choice.
The Potatonator is what you’d get if a randy Sweet Potato and a sexy Dominator made babies. She is short, wide and a little fat around the tail. A side view reveals a flat board, which means easy paddling, yet just enough rocker to save you from sticking the nose in slightly more critical conditions.
After a few weeks surfing in Bangladesh and Bali I was feeling frustrated. The Firewire felt a little too wide and frumpy. I started wondering whether our relationship would be ending sometime soon. But with a new board, especially one that is a significant transition from your old, it’s always worth persevering. Then one day whilst surfing a reeling Balinese left I discovered the magic ticket to getting this board to surf the way I wanted. Just put your back foot back. Way back. This took conscientious effort but soon became habit. And the results were: my new favourite board.
The Potatonator can surf like a shortboard
While this Firewire creation is listed under their standard hybrid shapes (not performance hybrid) along with mummy Dominator it certainly can be classed as a performance board. Take one look at the way Timmy Reyes rides it. Okay, Timmy could probably get air on a door, but still. Unlike daddy Sweet Potato this board actually turns and the refined rails enable fast, smooth transitions. The double concave means speed. The width means you slide through fat sections with ease.
The perfect travel surfboard
The beauty in the Firewire Potatonator is that all of the extra width means you surf it short. My 5’6″ is five inches shorter than my previous performance hybrid. And when you are on the road a short board means much happier travel, especially if you are getting intrepid.
But the extra width also means that even if you’re a beginner surfer you can enjoy a relatively stable ride. My girlfriend (who is certainly no beginner) transitioned from a 6’4″ to the 5’6″ effortlessly. In fact she said it was the perfect board for her. So we took turns.
Who is the Firewire Potatonator for?
This board can be a fun platform for a new-ish surfer who is over dealing with mini-mals. It’s a great transition board. But Firewire have given it a whole other dimension by refining the rails and inserting a double concave for speed. The Dominator was groundbreaking and this retains many of the same features. I found the board a breath of fresh air. It teaches you to ride smoothly as it is not a performance shortboard. But you get the option to slam a few lips if you so desire. And on small days you’ll be paddling into things much more easily than everyone else.
So whether you’re a newb looking for a really short, light and manageable board or an intermediate looking for something fun and versatile the Potatonator is a great choice. For an experienced surfer the Potatonator can provide hours of performance fun (remember to put your foot way back on the tail) as well as just being the perfect size for travel to places where surfers and boards don’t usually go. Although the epoxy finish seems light, this is a durable piece of equipment.
We love the Firewire Potatonator. It’s our hybrid of choice for 2013.