At some point, you will need to upgrade your surfboard. It is true, that just by investing in a surfboard, you are not going to turn into Kelly Slater overnight. You have to be ready for the next stage, otherwise you can actually slip further back, and it can do you more harm than good. However, If you have been surfing for some time on your minimal, and you want to go to the next level, then you should definitley think about taking that step forward.
Firewire Taj Pro Model
Firewire Surfboards in Context
To discuss Firewire Surfboards’ Taj Pro Model and put it into perspective, it’s really helpful to first briefly revisit the history of surfboard making. Surfboard construction has really seen a couple of changes in technology since the old days of the Hawaiian ali’i surfing on massive koa wood planks.
Polyurethane (PU) foam core construction presented a major revolutionary development in the 1950’s with the rise of the synthetics industry. Along with the design, changes also came with the new materials. Suddenly surfboards were not only lighter in weight, but they were also a lot more maneuverable in the water.
This lead to changes in various surfing styles. Without the advent of foam core boards, the ripping and shredding styles of Taj Burrow and so many other legendary surfers would not be possible today.
Firewire Surfboards are leading the charge to this kind of surfboard construction. The company utilizes several different construction techniques, some of them incorporating the use of balsa wood on the rails, or bamboo on the decking for added strength and flexibility.
This is hybrid technology at its best. They utilize several different construction techniques which they call Future Shapes Technology (FTS), Rapidfire, Crossfire, and Direct Drive.
Materials and Construction
Firewire will tell you that their boards are lighter as well as stronger than your usual PU boards. This technology is built with 1lbs EPS foam. After which, an aerospace composite is placed by the method of a vacuum process. This gives the board a sense of stabiliaztion and also increases the strength.
This is the basic blank construction, but it sure is a unique one. EPS foam core technology is not only much more environmentally friendly (in terms of its manufacturing process) than PU manufacturing, but it’s also recyclable.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/whita/4226651479
The boards contain epoxy resins which make them stronger than the polyurethane variety. They also add something to the environment on a positive side. They emit 2% of the volatile organic compounds. PU resin does not measure up to this. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of Firewire's materials and construction practices, but it gives you a general idea of how they differ from conventional surfboards.
Now on to the Taj
Any surfer today can tell you who Taj Burrow is. He is royalty in the world of professional surfing, right up there with the likes of Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning, just to name a few.
In fact, he is always a serious contender to Kelly’s world title. Taj has been with Firewire almost since its inception just a few short years ago. Firewire even acknowledges that had it not been for Taj’s adoption of Firewire Surfboards, the company would not have experienced such stellar success during the four years of Taj’s own astounding success on the ASP world tour between 2006 and 2010.
|FTJ-511Q-03||5' 11"||18 3/16"||2 3/16"||squash||24.4|
|FTJ-600Q-03||6'||18 5/16"||2 1/4"||squash||25.5|
|FTJ-601Q-03||6' 1"||18 3/8"||2 1/4"||squash||26.7|
|FTJ-602Q-03||6' 2"||18 1/2"||2 3/8"||squash||28.3|
|FTJ-604Q-03||6' 4"||18 13/16"||2 1/2"||squash||31.0|
Firewire Surfboards were originally crafted in Australia and California, but as manufacturing industries have increasingly become outsourced to Asia, Firewire boards are now manufactured an their own plant in Thailand.
JS BlackBox Surfboard in a Nutshell
JS Industries is the product of Aussie surfboard shaper Jason Stevenson. Priding himself as one among underdogs, JS having started surfing at the age of 5, was once a competitive surfer who, like so many with die hard surf passion, evolved into board shaper and entrepreneur.
JS boasts one of the most enviable surf teams in the industry (he affectionately calls them his dream team testers) including Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo, Brett Simpson, Bruce Irons, Luke Egan, Jack Freestone and Ace Buchan.
The name “JS surfboards” is synonymous with high performance boards. He does what he knows best and doesn’t mess with anything else. The entire product line consists of the Signature Series, shortboards, summer boards, the X Series, guns and the Vault.
There is also a line of board art designs that bear the names of some of the team riders including Parkinson, Irons, Freestone and Egan.
The Blak Box
The Blak Box is one of JS’ most popular designs and falls in the summer series board category. The board is marketed for small wave surfing, in the 1-4 foot range (although others have described this board being more suitable for wait high plus, so presumably small is a relative term).
BLAK BOX will provide you with much more of a curvy outline and a higher and more defined hip which is pulled from the fins into a direct line which follows the tail and curves through to the tail, which is wider. JS has put a lot of thought and time into this model finding a way to come up with outlines with the finest bottom curves that have much detail.
Jason has risen to the occasion again for the team. You will find that the deck is fairly flat, which gives it a nice feel. Flat sections makes this an extrmely fast surfboard, owing to the excess foam that is left under the front foot. If you ride the board 3-4 inches less than you nomally do you will be able to have the best ride.
Other design features include single to double concave bottom through to the tail, flatter rocker nose through tail for better acceleration in small waves, fuller but not boxy rail, more weight and volume up through the chest area and front foot area and wider tail volume.
What Others Have Said
A lot of sweet talk is going around this board. The word on the street is that The JS Blak Box is a board which really makes it stand out. People in California, Oz Hawaii and even South Africa have come out with a lot of positive vibes after riding this board. So why? What makes it that much better?
Well if you choose something about 3 inches shorter than your normal board (that is a shortboard) and you find that comes out pretty sharp, you will see how the board can actually perform. I have to say it's really versatile, no matter whether it is a weak wave coming your way, or whether it is something that is chest high. When we come to the volume aspect, there is actually a lot one can talk about.
The fact that it has so much volume means that you can ride a shorter board then you are used to. It is especially beefy in the chest area and this definitely helps when paddling out in mushy surf. You could say the tail is similar to that of Tom Curren board tails from Huntington Beach.
It's kind of wide as well as thick and sharp, which makes it perfect for both the flat sections as well as finding a way to dig the rail in the lip. The rocker is moderately flat, but not perfect for smaller waves.
Think of the Nitro or the Lost RNF for waves that are smaller in size. The Black Box shines when it comes to performance and it's definitely fast. The Blak Box is more of a performance rocker than pure dribble rider, but it’s fast.