We've surfed these boards over the last few weeks with an objective eye to give you the real lowdown.
PU vs Epoxy EPS tech, one of the world's most sought after shapers in Chris Christenson against key innovators Firewire.
Why these two boards, well there is a bit of an internal battle going on here about which is best, its pretty much even reading the team here so time to settle it once and for all, let’s get into the details!
The boards tested were The Seaside was the 5’ 6 x 21.25 x 2.5 at 32.7 litres The Pegaso 5’ 8 x 19.25 x 2.5 at 31.72 litres.
The waves – 4 separate surfs, waist to chest high messy light onshore, waist high clean no wind, waist to head high chunky and windy, chest high and clean.
You're going to look to jump on boards like these when conditions are too good for a groveler and there's some performance potential.
Realistically these boards go in waves waist high and up and give you the potential to get the absolute most out of weaker conditions but also excel on better days.
This kind of performance Fish style board is getting more and more popular, one key factor is this is the development of fins made specifically to make the boards surf to their absolute best, more about the fins later though.
Let's talk about paddling
The Seaside paddles like a dream, low entry rocker and a load of foam under your chest, forward wide point and extra volume in the nose.
The thing you really notice about paddling the Seaside is how well it deals with surface chop, you don't get bounced about and lose speed despite the width up front, the board just slices straight through.
The Pegaso paddles fine, again the low entry rocker is important here, the rocker is not as flat as the Seaside and with a narrower nose profile it was always going to lose a bit compared to the Seaside.
Like the Seaside it deals with chop pretty well but there is no doubt you need to work harder in poorer conditions to get into the wave. In better conditions the gap between the two boards closes.
Which board will help you catch more waves?
The Pegaso is fantastic once the waves get in the cleaner chest high range, it needs waves with a little push to make wave catching easy.
The Seaside has more glide, and so gets in easier than the Pegaso when its smaller and or weaker.
Once you're in better waves both the boards perk up, the Pegaso especially, in these conditions the Seaside needs hardly any paddling, the extra volume under the chest has it planeing straight away.
Given the conditions the boards were surfed in the Seaside got the edge but if we’d have had four chest high clean surfs they would have scored equally with the Pegaso winning by maybe half a point.
Once up and riding you can really feel the double concave running through the back end of the Seaside, like the spine in previous Firewire board its fast, that spine generates instant acceleration.
It can take you by surprise if you haven’t surfed this kind of set up before, it takes a few waves to get used to.
The Pegaso is good, it feels like a conventional shortboard in better waves but with the benefits of a fish, it's not as fast as the Seaside, this isn't necessarily a big issue though, it’s fast enough.
Quite often with unrestrained speed there are some down sides about controlling the board but with the Seaside its not an issue due to what Machado has done with the rail profile and general set up of the board through the back end.
General surfing and turning
The Pegaso is a delight to surf regarding turning, it’s responsive and responds to your movements instantly, you get real feedback.
The rails don’t look overly aggressive but it surfs like it has a much lower profile, but equally feels really smooth.
The Seaside is different it’s more volatile until you get used to it and it’s easy to over do it and get pinged off the board, it’s very responsive.
The front two thirds of the Seaside may mislead the uninitiated as to what the board is all about but the rear third is thinned out, pulled in and built to be surfed hard.
The rear rail on the Seaside feels kind of grippy and doesn’t need much work to get it engaged in any conditions, once you get used to it its brilliant fun.
Both boards turn tighter and harder than a standard fish style board, more akin to a short board profile really but you also get the glide through slacker sections.
Size wise you definitely get the feeling that the narrower Pegaso will handle punchier hollower waves better but given all the hype on the forums and Machados own commentary it seems that despite its width the seaside has the drive and hold to handle those conditions too... hard to know when you’re surfing the board on the south coast!
The Firewire Helium construction is the winner hands down, along with the new Pukas INNCA epoxy its the toughest out there.
The team here all own Helium Firewire’s in assorted styles and are unanimous that this construction for its durability is unbeatable.
The Pegaso is no slouch in this department, as PU boards goes it did well, a few light pressure marks but nothing you would raise an eye brow at.
There are of course pros and cons, the Helium is lightweight and not to everyone’s taste however where you might think it would be adversely effected by strong winds it didn’t seem to be.
The PU Pegaso feels stable for sure and as we said it stood up well for a PU board – an unfair fight really!
The winner is...
If you take out the durability factor the fight is closer, if you take out the extraordinary design of the Seaside and the paddle factor these boards are neck and neck.
It depends what you want out of your board, the PU purist will go for the Pegaso, its Christenson heritage, aesthetic appeal and lines make it a very attractive package and needless to say it surfs exquisitely.
The Seaside as part of the Firewire juggernaut covers so many bases, durability, wide wave range etc it’s just such a good product and with Machado’s name on it it will be the best selling board of the year for us.
We all love the Seaside for these attributes but secretly we would rather have a Pegaso for all its undeniable beauty.
If it’s a one board quiver you’re after the Seaside ticks all the boxes, the Pegaso fits better as part of a quiver.
Want to find out more on the boards? Watch Ian's YouTube reviews.