Portraits: Domenic Mosqueira
Height: 5'8" (177 cm)
Weight: 176 lbs (80 kg)
Shaper: Nev Hyman
Model: Firewire Michel Bourez Signature Model
Dimensions: 5'11" x 18.5" x 2.5"
Remember when you were a grom and rode the same board every day, no matter what the waves looked like? Michel Bourez is still doing that. Dude waxes up the same 5'11" squash tail at practically every stop on the WCT, from Brazil to Tahiti. And while surfing incessantly on your original grom sled resulted ina yellow board riddled with sticker-patched dings, Michel thwarts damage that would normally result from his punishing brand of power surfing by opting for Firewire construction. Michel explains his "one size fits all" solution.
MICHEL: This is the model I use in all conditions, from 3-foot to 6-foot. I travel with six boards, all 5'11". I just change the width and the thickness a little bit. This board is 18.5" wide and I'll also bring some that are 18.75" and 19". I bring two of each so I have an identical backup board in case one breaks. I pretty much use this same board at every wave on tour — except in Hawaii. Even here in Tahiti I can still ride my 5'11" when it's 6-foot. The board holds really well, I just change the fin setup and I'm good to go.
This board is a normal Firewire with the FST (parabolic balsa rails) technology. I like the flex of the regular Firewires over the carbons (interior carbon rod construction). At Firewire they have so many new technologies and materials they use to make surfboards. I still need to try all of them.
I've been riding Firewires since I've been on the tour. My first year on tour I went to the Mentawais and Firewire gave me two boards to try on the trip. Instantly, I fell in love with them. I got a 5'11" from Taj and it was so good. At every wave we surfed the board was insane. I was like, "Wow, this can make the difference!" Now I'm the only guy on the WCT riding Firewires [full time]. A lot of people love to surf traditional surfboards and it's hard for them to open their mind to something different. It's scary because you don't want to make mistakes with the wrong equipment in a contest. But the Firewires work for me.
What I like about Firewire is they are really light, respond very well and are strong at the same time. It's the perfect combination for me. I put a lot of my body into my turns, so I need a board that can hold my power. Before, I used to get so many boards that would break or crease right in front of the fins, or get tail cancer after just a few surfs. Every time I would get a new board I knew it was going to happen. With the Firewire, that never happens to me anymore.
That doesn't mean I don't still break boards. For me, it's pretty easy to break a Firewire. Especially in big surf. If you surf in smaller beachbreaks it's pretty hard to break them. But it's like a normal board in big surf. Big waves break everything.