Firewire KFE kite surfboard - snapped after 12 hours use

Shoot the breeze and stay in the loop with the unhinged and unhooked word on the street.
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Sam aka azkido
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:24 pm
Location: South Manchester

Short story is Firewire originally they said no to replacement as they do not warranty boards now I'm told it will be replaced but not till December when the new boards are released - that's 5 months+ for them to replace it... full story below

I bought a Firewire KFE fish board in June to take away with me to Guincho, after 12 hours of light use the board snapped when I was approximately 1/2 km out whilst riding up wind in normal stance with the front foot in the strap, at the time I was out the back so there were no waves but some chop, until the moment it snapped the board was perfect, I know this as I had cleaned off & rewaxed it the previous night & no cracks or blemishes were visable, I will say when it snapped it was a rather concerning as I had no option but to body drag back in through the waves. The board has been ridden for a total of 12 hours & as stated earlier there was no damage to the board up until the moment it snapped, I also ride a 5'10 Liquid Force Rawson Quad which has been ridden in alot bigger conditions and jumped for the last year+ & is still fine. I can't say how frustrating it was that it snapped as it was the best day of wind on my holiday but I only got to kitesurf for an hour & a half before it broke so missed the the best 3 hours of wind in the week.

Pic of snapped board below:

Advised King of water sports when I got back on the 11th and after lots of shananigans with Firewire not responding to calls or emails they eventually asked for it to be returned to them on the 12th of August, then after a month or so they say it won't be replaced now after 3 months I finally find out today that it wiil be replaced but not until the middle of December... Maybe I was unlucky with the board but 5 months wait for a warranty is pathetic... thank god I hadn't sold my liquid force surfboard as without that I would have been scuppered...

Big thanks to King of watersports as they have kept chasing Firewire & are sorting me out with another option, without them I'd be tearing my hair out...
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:19 pm

A good tip for u is that firewire boards are total bollox. They are marketed as super strong and indistructable in the surfing world, yet there is more broken every week than a standard glassed shortboard. It dont suprise me that snapped after 12 hours. Watching the ASP last week the comentator was on about the unbreakable firewire in the 8 foot supatubos 1 wave later snap in half.. so funny.

I also ride LF rawsons 2008/9 and they are solid as are most standard epoxy surfboards. There is something seriously wrong with firewire cake crumble design and its been known about for well atleast 2 years by all. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE unless your sponsered by them, coz they do ride good while they last.
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:05 pm
Location: Devon

Sam, Firewire are currently pimping about their new 2010 stuff on Kiteforum. You should post these pictures up :lol:

Having to wait 5 months for a replacement is very poor - were you offered a full refund as an alternative? With that long a wait you should have been.

In terms of surfboards used for kiting my Resin8 has stood up well, but i only use it strapless. The problem with strapped boards is your heal and therefore the pressure point is always in exactly the same place. I think the real killer for surfboards used for kiting is the riding upwind through chop and out through waves in onshore or cross on conditions (ie predominant euro conditions), rather than actually on a wave.

A poor product follwed by poor customer service is a sure fire way to loose business.
Sam aka azkido
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:24 pm
Location: South Manchester

No refund has ever been offered but I have tried... because of this poor expierience I will never own another firewire board & would advise anyone else to approach with caution as the warranty backup is pathetic, on that note I have a question outstanding to get the exact details of the official warranty on the firewire forum as so far it has all been word of mouth so will see what they come back with...

Also to clarify the reason it was light use was due to me coming back from a big shoulder injury & surgery so I was not jumping just wave riding & gybing till I had built up my confidence...
Team/Shop Rider
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:37 pm
Location: North Wales, Flexifoil Kites and Boards

One thing that can cause this is riding in chop... if a lump of chop hits the front of the board while you are riding fast (say 15knots) then that is a lot of force... imagine a bucket of water hitting the front of a surfboard at 15-20knots... there's a lot of energy in that and there is no surprise that they break sometimes. I think its a bit of a lottery though... sometimes everything lines up right (or wrong!) and you get a massive force through the board.

I had this on my skimboard in Morocco once... the board was ok but my fibula snapped!

i would have thought that a manufacturer would just warranty this if it was a freak occurrence unless they did not have stock left to replace the board or they had had a lot of warranties and were trying to bat off as many claims as possible.

Its really hard to say whether the boards are weak or not from forum tales... people jump to the wrong conclusions... if you see 2 boards break, it is easy to assume that there is a problem. To really understand if there is, you need to know how many have been sold and are in use and how many broke in total.

As far as I know, there has been no comparative load testing done on surfboards (sounds like a project for a German kitesurf magazine!)... it would be easy (but expensive!) to test different boards... fixed along the base where the waterline would be and then apply a load somewhere on the front of the board. A slowly increasing load and then a shock load (as different materials respond differently to different loads!)
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:05 am
Location: Team F-One UK - Fraserburgh



This one was punished though! (and non-kite model)
Sam aka azkido
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:24 pm
Location: South Manchester

All sorted by firewirekite on kiteforum, just wish i had spoken to him 3 months ago... would have saved alot of hassle...

It's amazing the power in forums :twisted:
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