Firewire – Vader vs Vanguard


I received many questions about the Vader, the new Tomo shape by Firewire. I asked Cynthia “Cynbad” Brown to give us her first impressions about this new surf model after some sick sesssions with a kite. The kite version will be soon worldwide available.


After staring at my Vader for 6 months, I finally scored some wind and waves worthy of riding it. One day in some very large (12-15ft) mushy swell with side on winds, and two days in some large (8-10ft), freight train, fast swell with off shore winds.

My first impression of the board was “WOW, holy Magic Planing Hull”!!! It is allot like the Vanguard but if it’s possible, it is even faster across the water. I think it’s massive booty has something to do with its Ferrarri speed, as well as making the Vader feel larger then the same size Vanguard. I found that the carves were smooth and skatey like the Vanguard, but if I wasn’t paying attention and pushed too hard, the board would ‘hook’ and want cut way harder then the Vanguard, which was a bit advanced for me in the larger surf, but will probably make me feel like a hero in the smaller stuff.

The extra nose rocker gave me supreme confidence, and let me feel like I could be less ‘back foot heavy’ when flying down some choppy bombs.



Here is a more technical explanation from Brian Friedmann (FireWire crew) about Vader vs Vanguard.


At first glance these boards look very similar with the tail the only noticeable difference from afar. Our endless hours of testing these two models revealed that the Vanguard is really stable and works well for the beginner/intermediate kiter. While the Vader is pure adrenaline and caters well to the intermediate/advanced riders. The reason behind this is the Vader has a bit more tail and entry rocker which translates to tighter, quicker turns. In comparison, the Vanguard will tend to draw out these same turns making it feel stable and slightly more predictable.
The Vader’s bottom has deep channels allowing it to hold and grip on big turns so again, it can be ridden even smaller than the Vanguard. Both boards will want to drive forward and race quickly down the line but the Vader will offer a bit more vertical attack and tighter carves. Either board will allow you to experience the fluid feel of the latest planning hull designs and get you back upwind instantly!

Cynbad shows the deck and the hull.

This is the surf models with a reinforced hull by a carbon sheet.

Vader specs

Felix Pivec on the Vader

The Flying Felix Pivec about the Vader :

“The Vanguard is awesome and thought it could not get better. The Vader just simply blew my mind.”

In short, what we think about the boards :

Depends on the feel you like. You like more drawn out feel the Vanguard is the go, if you like a more loose feel, the Vader.

Cynbad plays with the FireWire boards…she’s rips !!!