Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

It’s here.

The Sweet Potato from Firewire Surfboards has arrived (like last year) and folks are having a hard time determining what is funnier, the shape or the name.

Personally, I vote for the name, because after you ride this thing, the shape just makes sense!

Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review-

sweet potato boards1 Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

So what is exactly?

It’s a short, squatty, thick, flat board with a double concave, fat tail, a ridge down the center and a quad fin setup very close to the rail.  What all this produces ia a board that floats like a board 10-12 inches longer, paddles like a champ, turns on a dime and is extremely “drivey”, fast and responsive.  It’s a great board for that 1-3 foot surf, possibly 4-5 but just hope the takeoffs aren’t too steep because there is not much rocker.

My first impression on this board were:

  1. I was impressed with how well it paddled and how easy it was to catch waves.  I am 6’3″ and 185 so I am used to surfing board that are 6’4″-6’10” out here in San Diego.  I got my Sweet Potato in a 5′ 10″ and honestly I think I should have went shorter.  The 5’8″ would probably be perfect for me, not to say this is not and I appreciate the extra float when I sit outside by the longboarders on a board half a long!
  2. I was also impressed with how fast and drivey it was.  It almost felt like i had been shot out of a rocket the first few pumps down the line, the flatness, double concave and quad fin setup make this board very quick down the line and it can easily make sections that you might have in the past thought you would get cleaned up on.
  3. The fins make a big difference on this board.  Personally until this board I never really thought too much about fins and this was the board that really got me into doing research and learning more about them.  I will talk a bit more about the fins later, but definitely demo a few pairs if you can and I would recommend going larger on the fronts for extra drive and control.

photo 1024x768 Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

The Ridge-

My favorite feature about this board is the ridge that runs down the middle and separates the board into two halves.  This allows you to rock the board from side to side and get it on the rail very quickly.  Almost surprisingly quick sometimes.  Maybe it was all my years riding big waterlogged 7′ 2″ boards, but I realized I have a tendency to really lean way over to try and dig my rail in.  Since my recent purchase of two Firewire boards, the Sweet Potato and The Alternator, I realize that when when the board is designed to go rail to rail easily, all it takes is a slight adjustment of your weight and your turning.  I admit I have thrown myself of this board a few times at speed when going to make a large cutback as i just lean way too far and did not just let the board turn.

 

The Fins-

As I mentioned above, the fins on this board can make a lot of difference.  It’s tiny and has a quad setup so you are going to be able to feel them, plus they are very close to the rail making them even more noticeable.  From my experience with this board, I prefer it with a larger front fin and a pretty standard back set.  I started out with a set of all glass Futures, just a standard, middle of the road, solid all around fin (show below) and after a few surfs decided that the board was actually a bit too loose for he, especially at the high speeds, there is not a ton of rail to work with, so the fins mean a lot here.  What I finally settled on was a set of Scimitar’s in the front which add some extra hold and tons of speed and the two standard glass back fins, I use the Future FEA Quads.

photo 1 1024x768 Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

Another fun fin for this would be the Elevon from Future due to that hydrofoil on the front fins that would actually work great on this board to help keep that big tail out of the water a bit more on your turns.  That could be a really fun setup but experiment with it and see what you surfing style likes the most.

Sizing-

I honestly don’t know why more board companies don’t do this?  Firewire makes it so easy to select your board (or at least get into the ballpark) based on the volume charts that they give you.  So when I was transitioning from a 6′ 10″ down to a board under 6 feet i was a little nervous.  That is until I looked at the actual volumes and saw that both the 5’8″ and the 5’10” sweet potato had just as much volume as my 6’10” so i knew that either would float me just fine.  Check out the Sweet Potato Chart below and determine your sizing, it typically works out to about 8-12 inches shorter than your normal shortboard.

Screen shot 2011 05 30 at 12.23.29 PM Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

Rapidfire or FST?

And so the debate rages on.  To buy your next Firewire in the traditional FST or the newer Rapidfire technology.  I’ll give you my personal preference and keep in mind its my personal preference.

I prefer the FST.  Both are awesome.  Both are super high performance and both are sturdy, much sturdier than a traditional epoxy board.  That said, I am rough on my boards.  I surf them hard and put em away wet.  I travel a lot, loan them out and they just tend to take a little more abuse, so for that fact alone, I prefer the FST because it is more durable.  Now don’t get me wrong the rapid fire is great as well, better than most epoxy boards for sure and is probably perfect for a lot of people but for me I just want something that can take a bit more abuse and that’s the FST.

That said, the Sweet Potato is the perfect board for the Rapidfire technology as you get that extra spring on your turns as the bamboo deck flexes under your feet.  You will be happy with either, trust me and go with your gut.

The Bottom Line-

sweet potato logo2 Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review

I really like The Sweet Potato.

Whether you buy this board in Rapidfire or FST your gonna love it, I mean Firewire Surfboards are a piece of art anyways, just beautiful in my opinion.   It’s a great board to take with you on a surf check or when you know the surf is a bit smaller.  You will find yourself ripping on days that you might not otherwise paddle out.  It rips in small, crumbly surf and is extremely fast, and responsive.

These boards tend to sell out pretty quick, so if you are looking to pick one up, check out our friends over at “Surfride” as they usually keep a pretty wide selection.
Enjoy and be sure to leave your comments if you found this review helpful.

-Mat

Filed under Gear Reviews, Surf, Technology · Tagged with , ,

Written By :

A former Inc. 100 corporate finance manager turned Adventure Capitalist, Mat now travels the world in search of warm water, big waves and powder snow. A firm believer in one's ability to change their reality, only several years ago, Mat found himself burnt out in the business world at a young age. Although successful, he remained unsatisfied. He left his... Read More

has written 70 articles

32 Responses to “Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard Review”

  1. seotools says:

    Amazing content!
    Thank you for this share!

  2. threefeetandmushy says:

    Good article – thanks.

    I got a 5-10 SP after many years on long boards.
    I’m 5-9, 155, 58 years old, surfing for 44 years. I definitely could have gone smaller (as was suggested to me when I purchased it), but I only surf Swami’s, so the extra foam helps when competing for waves.

    I love the SP. But the author is correct that the fins are a major factor with this
    board.

    In fact, my purpose in adding a comment here is to make
    another suggestion about fins.

    My board has the FCS system. I ended up putting MR-TX twin
    fins (they’re big – 5.5 inches deep) up front, and some little 3.625-inchers in the back. This was
    after trying a number of different configurations. I just want to report
    that this configuration works really well. It provides good hold, stabilizes the takeoff on
    steeper waves, and gives insane drive on turns (well, as much drive as a board
    with a 58-year old on it can give). Haven’t had this much fun in years.

  3. Marty says:

    Hi Matt, thanks for that review. I saw one of these in Troggs surf shop, Northern Ireland. I’m on a 6’8 quad fish, am just under 6ft tall and weigh about 185, 41 years old. My surfing standard would be intermediate. The surf round here is very mixed, sometimes great, head high and clean. Most of the time, inconsistent and on shore. I just wonder whether the 5’10 SP would be too small? The consensus seems to be that taller / heavier guys can ride the 5’10 no problem. Everyone appears to talk about the performance of this board in poor surf.

    • The Surf Bum Mat says:

      I think you will be good to go on the 5’10 and probably even 5’8. I am 6’3 ish and about 185 as well and this thing floats me way out of the water and i can get into waves out with the longboarders. My buddy a bit more “barrel” in shape is about 5’10 and 240 can even surf it, so I think your in the clear!

      • Marty says:

        Thanks Mat. I’m just back from Algarve, Portugal and even there the guys in the surf shops were talking with favour about the board.

      • kenny says:

        you have a friend who is 5’10” 240 lbs and is riding a 5’8″SP… im feeling a little hopeful …i live in florida so slow and mushy is my life. lol but i wanted to get an sp im 5’9″ 230 lbs. and still kinda confused on a size to get in the sp

  4. cherryreynolds says:

    HI Mat – I have three boards for varying types of surf a 7’6 funboard, 6’8 NSP Surf Betty and a 6’6 Shortboard by Greg Griffin. Im 5’3, 121lbs and intermediate surfer interested in the Sweet Potato Firewire board. My husband believes that I should get a 5’10 which I believe is too big for me even in a Sweet Potato. Advice on Sweet Potatoe Size would be great. Thanks in advance.

    • The Surf Bum Mat says:

      Yea i think that would be way to big for you. The board is designed to be ridden almost a foot shorter than your normal “Shortboard” because it keeps a large volume. So for example my 5’10 sweet potato has more volume than my 6’8 shortboard. More volume = More water displacement = More float. I am almost a foot taller than you and about 60 lbs and i ride a 5’10 and i should be riding a 5’8 so i would honestly tell you to go closer to 5’0 on it an i think your really gonna appreciate how much easier it is to maneuver. I mean that the whole purpse of the board is getting a very short board that you can have fun with on small days :) A good thought would be to go to the firewire website and find a shortboard comparable to you 6’6 and get the volume on that and then find the comparable volume int eh sweet potato!

      Enjoy and let us know what you go with :)

  5. Korey says:

    Hey Mat, I’m looking for a new board these days and was told about the SP by my older friends. I’m about 6’0” 190 lbs and need a board that I can ride in New Smyrna Beach Florida. The waves here are normally 1-3 feet and kind of choppy. Not lately because we have had tropical storm swells! But i need something for the normal days out here. Would getting the SP be a good investment and if so, what size? Thanks man!

    • The Surf Bum Mat says:

      totally, its a great board for that kind of surf and really makes it fun again. I am about your weight and i am on a 5’10 but kinda wish i went a bit smaller. 5-8 or 5-10 should float you plenty well, its a thick little spud for sure. Enjoy bro!

  6. Chris says:

    Looking to pick up a sweet potato! Been surfing a 6’10 mini mal on the east coast…trying to figure out what size SP to pick up. I’m 5’6 and around 150 pounds. What board lenght do you think I should get?

  7. drew says:

    hey mat. would a SP be a board for someone who has surfed a year or so and has ridden everything from a 9’0 longboard to a 7’6 funboard..40years old and about 200pounds.dont need to be ripping but looks like a fun board for 2-3ft days in los angeles. what are the some of the drawbacks though with such a flat board. it looks like it has a little nose rocker. and would the 6’4 or 6’2 models be more than enough for a begginer

    • The Surf Bum Mat says:

      Good questions. So a flat board like this is great for speed and getting into waves. That said, if the waves are steep you might have a tendency to perl. I think either this board or the Dominator would be good for what your looking for. This is just a little flatter, a little shorter and a little fatter and its a quad setup. I like it, great fun for that small 1-3 foot surf and the ridge in the middle makes for really fast and fun transitions. I think a 6’0-5’10 would be perfect for you, i know you think it sounds small but this is a fat board, trust me…..i’m a professional.

  8. John T says:

    hey mat

    i am currently riding a 9’4″ long board and have been riding for a few yrs but not that often as i don’t live close 2 the sea(gonna change that as soon as i can). I would b at the lower end intermediate, just starting to explore some turns. I am 5’9″ and 90kgs. Am looking to buy a shorter board but clearly (90kgs) need to keep a lot of volume – i was looking at the the firewire dominator what do u think of this as an all round board?? Do u think it would suit someone at my level?? I was looking at a 6’8″x23x3, or is there any other boards u would reccommend??

    • The Surf Bum Mat says:

      Hey John,

      Good question. Well, if you are just starting to explore turns, I would stay away from the sweet potato. It has a little learning curve on it and is kinda different from a traditional board. If your looking to stay within the firewire line, I would say yes, absolutely, the Dominator is a great board with a lot of volume for you. 6’8 will be a good size for you as well with almost 50 volume. Might want to try and find a demo day by you and get out on a few sizes and model to see what works best for you. good luck!

  9. Dan says:

    I actually took the 5’6 sweet potato, rapidfire out to El Porto here in California the other day. It was actually an accident. My girl and I demoed two boards, as I was interested in the Firewire Spitfire. Long story short, my girl was tired and we had a leash situation rendering the Spitfire useless for the outing. I grabbed the sweet potato and hoped for the best.

    I have never ridden a board this short. I have ridden 6’0 shortboards, but they tend not float me well. I am built a bit like a pitbull…5’9″ 195 or so, so floatation is an issue with me. I was paddling out in head high waves so this was going to be a good test.

    I was surprised immediately when I paddled out. The thing paddled well and kept me above water. It was weird being on such a short board and being out of the water as much as I was. This obviously helped me paddle faster, and getting out was a breeze. I gotta tell you…after an amazing Bali surftrip, and a pretty good surf year, this session in mediocre surf in the middle of the day on the sweet potato was one of the most fun days in memory. I caught waves outside of everyone (basically with a few longboarders) and caught more waves than anyone out there. I had no problems with steep takeoffs, but like I said…surf wasn’t much bigger than head high. The thing maneuvers great and is stable as my 8’0 fun board.

    After a few hours some guys I was surfing with were making fun of me, because they said I was smiling too much while riding. I walked away from the day ready to buy this board. The small size makes throwing it in your car a breeze, and this can basically replace my fun board with how stable it is. I was so surprised at this thing, and loved every minute on it. I am an intermediate surfer, and can’t comment on the fins. I was running a quad setup with same size fins all around and had a blast. Easy paddle, quick maneuvering and stable ride make this perfect for 90% of the days out here. I will buy this board. No brainer.

  10. Donald says:

    This is probably going to sound so dumb, but is the sweet potato suitable for a beginner? I’ve learned the basics on a 7ft 6 soft board and am looking for my first proper board. Would this do the job or do you have to put in the hard yards with a standard board before getting a sweet potato? Something you can stash in the car that is good when the waves are small ticks a lot of boxes for me.
    Any help appreciated – great site by the way.

    • The Surf Bum !philip!## says:

      so here is the thing. Great board for small days….HOWEVER it takes a bit to learn how to ride, i would not say its the easiest board to learn how to ride. That said it is super stable, just a bit.. uber-responsive and that ridge int he middle makes it interesting. I say test ride one and make your decision from there.

  11. Shane roberts says:

    They came put with a potatonator I think that’s how you spell it lol it’s a sweet potato and a dominator fused together very nice board but I’m 6,4 210lbs and I know a guy who is selling a 6’2 for 400$ which is a great price but I don’t wanne get the wrong SP! What should I do mat?

  12. Kingly says:

    Hey Mat,
    Great post.
    I am 5’5″ 87kg power lifter. Intermediate skill level (working to get those crucial bottom turns dialed in). My home break is La Jolla Shores/Scrips Pier, but I hit up Sunset Cliffs & Ocean Beach Pier on the weekends. Depending on conditions, I have been riding 9’0 long board & 6’10 short board. I find conditions have to be ideal (shoulder high to above, & clean faces) for me to have fun with the short board. Unfortunately those days aren’t the norm in South San Diego, even in the winter, certainly not in the summer. I will be demoing a 6’0″ SP this weekend in 1-3ft surf. Basically, I want a board that will give me mad reps on the smallish south San Diego summer surf, but allow me to practice basic short board maneuvers (bottom turns, cut backs, sliders ect). A couple of questions:
    1) From previous post, am I correct in assuming that you recommend a 5’8″ for me?
    2) I am concerned about previous statements about the “tricky” maneuverability of the SP. Can you expand a bit on this? And also, is this going to make it difficult to transition back to a regular short board?
    3) I am interested in progressing in my surfing. Do you recommend getting a board I can handle now and maximize its utility, or getting a board that is a little bit challenging and working up to it?
    4) Finally, any thoughts on the Potato-nator, and Dominator as alternatives? I will likely demo all three. These boards aren’t cheap, so I want to make an informed purchase.

    Thanks in advance Mat,
    Keep shredding
    K

  13. Randy says:

    Hey mat,

    Im 6′ 170lbs. What size sweet potato do u recommend?

    Thanks man!

  14. Chris says:

    Hi

    I am 170 lbs and ride it in 5’4” – perfect!! I wouldn’t want it any bigger! I’ve just come back from a trip to Southern American point breaks. The waves were shoulder to slightly overhead most of the time. And guess what: 80 % of the time I prefered to ride the sweet potato over my short board. Only with offshore winds and really steep, barrely, quick and sketchier take-offs I would’ve been better off with the normal shortboard. Aloha!

  15. Jason says:

    I was curious what your thoughts were on sizing. I usually ride a 5’8″ rocket and a 6’3 standard short. I’m 5’9″ 150lbs. I’m torn between a 5’4″, 5’2″, or 5’0″, is it basically a cross between more waves on the 5’4″ and more snap on the others? Thanks for your thoughts.

  16. Tom says:

    I know it’s been a while since your post Jason and you’ve probably made your decision by now. I am just about exactly your dimensions at 5’10” and 150 lbs. I started riding a 5’6″ SP more than a year ago and really could have gone smaller. A year and a half on the potato and I just picked up a SP in 5’4″. I’d ay odds I coulda gone 5’2″. I also sort of disagree with the comments (no harm intented) that it is not a good beginner board. I was stepping down from a a strict diet of longboards to the Sweet Potato and the transitioon was easy. No one would mistake me for an advanced surfer. It’s all n your head. ;)

  17. Attila says:

    hey Mat , just came back from Costa Rica , took a surfing lesson, loved it and i wonder if i actually can learn on a SP… 190 pounds 5’9″ , 44 yo athletic if yes , what size should I go for? (east coast, NY, issues w storing longboard/mini mal…) Thnx!!!!

    • The Surf Bum Mat Robar says:

      HI, yes you can totally learn on a SP, but as i stated on my previous posts, i woudl not recommend it. It’s agreat board, and you can, but personally, best board to “learn” on is a super cheap foam top. Once you get the hang of the movements and get your wave count up, then you can start demoing a few boards at your local shop and see what fits you best. Just my ! Thanks for the note!

  18. cbailey says:

    Hi,
    I’m 6’4 210lbs, live on the east coast of FL and a experienced surfer. What size SP do you recommend?

    -Thanks

  19. Dennis says:

    Hey Dennis has your board snapped or heavily delaminated yet? These things have problems. Their original shaper left the company when it started to move operations to Taiwan and out of the US. If you look on their contact site they used to have a factory in San Diego, outsourced jobs, and all they operate out of is a single suite.


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