The Firewire Hydronaut is one of the most eagerly awaited surfboards of recent years. The hype has been building via social media and word of mouth that Daniel Thomson aka Tomo had a new take on the step-up surfboard, you won’t be disappointed… he’s done it again!
Hot on the heels of his other super successful boards; the Sci-Fi, Evo, Omni and Cymatic the Hydronaut ticks all the boxes and incorporates all Tomo’s signature design features, its different to anything else out there.
Tomo developed his revolutionary design for a Mini step up after he had been on a surf trip in Tahiti and the Step-Up surfboards he had been using had flaws, and that is when he started planning the Hydronaut.
Parts of the classic step up, like the length and outline were causing issues with the performance of the board and the Hydronaut has erased these issues.
Construction and design
The team at Firewire Surfboards and Tomo Surfboards (Daniel Thomson) have concocted yet another beautiful looking and scientifically smart surfboard that is incredibly appealing to a surfer looking for a board that can be surfed in a wide range of wave conditions.
The revolutionary design has been coupled with the ever popular LFT (Linear Flex Technology) construction. When comparing the construction of the LFT Hydronaut to a PU surfboard, you are guaranteed to have a board that is more durable, less likely to mark up and will stay springy and lively under foot for as long as you have the board.
This is down to the a number of components, such as the HD aerospace composite stringer, the EPS deck skin and the heavier glassing on the Hydronaut compared to other LFT models.
Tomo likes to construct his boards in the LFT technology as this is the one that feels most like a normal PU board but has many added benefits without the downsides PU surfboards are associated with.
The HD stringer that runs the full length of the board gives a neutral flex and a quicker rebound or spring when you are surfing in and out of turns. This feature is vital in the Hydronaut as this is how you can get the most feel and flex from the board.
The increased glassing, High Density stringer and the EPS deck skin all combine the give you an incredibly durable surfboard that will stand up to any conditions it may face. The Hydronaut surfboard is a tonne more durable than a standard PU board but has all the feel you would expect for your normal PU surfboard.
The Hydronaut looks like the perfect board to accompany the quiver of boards that Tomo and Firewire have already been highly successful with.
The Firewire Hydronaut mini gun surfboard has been treated to features that are becoming a signature of Tomo shaped boards. The Double ender outline and the quad inside single concave on the Hydronaut board takes elements from previous designs that have been loved worldwide.
Unlike other Tomo surfboards, the Mini Step up Hydronaut has a bullet/torpedo shaped nose, pulled in tail and a very noticeable rocker, these are clear indications the board has been designed with the larger pumping swells in mind.
You can handle the later take offs thanks to the bullet shaped nose. If you take off on a hollower wave and you are late, the softness in the shape of the nose will get you out of trouble, whereas older designs would pearl and that would be game over.
This outline and design have been heralded as a game changer in Step up surfboard design and Kelly Slater himself has been quoted assaying, “It’s impossible to pearl on.”
The deep quad inside single concave on the Hydronaut gives the board extra grip and hold on the face of the wave. Again, this comes into its own when you are faced with big walls and you’re looking to drive with speed, but you don’t want your board to lose control.
Another unique element to this surfboard is the position and release point created by the channels in the tail of the board. These are set roughly 3 inches in from the pin tail. This has two functions, firstly, this creates a pivot point, so you are able to turn the board on a tighter more critical radius, which again adds a more high-performance element to a big wave board.
Secondly, the release point ensures the lift in the tail is reduced, meaning you have the tail of the board really engaged and adding drive and grip on the wave face.
Firewire have advised the board would work from 3ft to 6ft and up, but we are certain due to the fantastic design and shape, that this board would work from 3-4ft and then up to as big as you dare.
This is clearly evident in the clips that have made their way online, where riders are in waves from chest high to double overhead, and the board takes all these waves in its stride and performs in an effortless nature.
The Hydronaut looks like the perfect board to accompany the quiver of boards that Tomo and Firewire have already been highly successful with. The new firewire board is available in the highly successful LFT construction.
Who’s been riding it and what size
The Hydronaut has been developed and tested by Tomo and he has had the help of Timmy Reyes, Stuey Kennedy and Ezra Sitt.
Timmy Reyes took a three-board quiver consisting of 6ft 6, 6ft 4 and a 5ft 8 Hydronauts to various locations, ranging from Mexico, where Timmy mostly rode his 6ft 6, to south of California, Bali and other lesser known North American waves that range from 4ft to way overhead.
Tomo and Stuey Kennedy have been riding their Hydronaut’s in the dreamy waves of the East coast of Australia and in the Indonesian archipelago.
On a separate trip to, Ezra Sitt has been riding his “Mini Step Up” at 6ft 8 in the waves of size in Indo. Ezra makes the board look insanely easy to ride and throw around. You see waves where he is spat out of the pit and still goes to work wrapping carves and destroying the lip.
With a testing playing field being so vast and the surfboard being tested by four very different surfers, this has instilled a stronger confidence in Firewire and Tomo that this ground-breaking surfboard will work for a wide range of surfers in a huge array of conditions.
Video clips of Timmy Reyes, Tomo and Stuey Kennedy riding the Hydronaut show just how versatile and capable this innovative board is.
How do you size it?
Thanks to the merging of all the new design features and the expected elements of the Firewire Tomo Design surfboards, the Hydronaut can be ridden shorter than your standard choice step up, by around 5-6 inches.
This gives you a board that is much easier to manoeuvre compared to your normal step up board.
Below shows the available dimensions that you are able to purchase the Hydronaut in.
|Length (Inches)||Width (Inches)||Thickness (Inches)||Volume (Litres)|
|5'8||18 5/6||2 1/4||24.8|
|5'9||18 1/2||2 5/16||26.1|
|5'10||18 11/16||2 3/8||27.5|
|5'11||18 7/8||2 7/16||28.9|
|6'0||19 1/16||2 1/2||30.3|
|6'1||19 1/4||2 9/16||31.9|
|6'2||19 5/16||2 5/8||33.2|
|6'4||19 15/16||2 3/4||36.8|
|6'6||20 5/16||2 7/8||40.2|
The board can be ridden as a quad, Timmy Reyes is surfing most of the waves in his clips as a quad. The board looks extremely fast but completely under control and ignites a huge ball of stoke inside us.
Alternatively, Tomo and Stuey predominantly show the Hydronaut working just as well as a thruster and the board has the same look to it, surfing very fast, performing in a range of waves and looking insanely sharp.
Some surfers find the quad set up gives you extra hold in the face of a hollower wave, to ensure you have full control of the board, this can also give the board extra drive and speed through manoeuvres.
Other’s will ride the board as a thruster, this gives a more controlled feel to the board and will help with consistency on the wave face and on punchier waves it can be favourable to have the extra drag from the centre fin to allow more control and comfort when the waves are pumping.
The Boardshop Verdict
Now these are two very good step up boards, but the CI has been the same since 1985 when Tom Curren first rode this board and this and the Lost Round Up have all the stereotypical features and design elements you have come to expect from a step up.
Both these boards are designed to be surfed at a longer length to help with surfing the big punchy waves, but because of this you a get a board with a big swing weight, making turning the board hard and slow.
You also get a board with a very thinned out and performance styled nose, which is easy to pearl when taking off on these large waves, and these boards do not make riding the waves easier in any way, unlike the Hydronaut which has the innovation in its design to help the rider, preventing the chance of nose diving and you can reduce the length to make your board more manoeuvrable.
These features within the Hydronaut makes the board work from 3ft and up, where as the other Step ups on the market will only work in the bigger, cleaner waves, hence why the Hydronaut is much more versatile than any other step up out there.
Taking all of this into account, we are certain Firewire and Tomo have come up with a surfboard that will be highly successful for a lot of surfers in a huge range of waves. If you are going on a wave hunting trip any time in the future and you are in the market for a board to handle clean solid waves from chest high and over, the Firewire Hydronaut is the board you should be taking, and you may regret the choice not to ride this surfboard.
We have the board we want to ride, now we are all just hoping for a swell to come through, so we can test this surfboard out and discover just how good this board is.