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Hellfire or Alternator?

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  • Hellfire or Alternator?

    First time posting on this forum. I've been watching from afar for a while and have been really impressed with the level of stoke & support here.

    I got my first Firewire in May this year after surfing a Tuflite Al Merrick Flyer 6'8 for a few years. (Before that was a second-hand NEV 7'4 that was my first board ever). I'm a 41 y.o. intermediate surfer, 182cm/84kg (5'11"/185lb) and have been surfing on weekends for 7 years now. I was at a point where the Flyer was getting to be too big and unwieldly. I was looking at a smaller Merrick while back home in Oz for a holiday but the guy in the surf shop put me on to the Dominator. He suggested a 6'0 but I was hesitant to come so far down in size so suddenly and ended up with a 6'2. From the very first wave it was a revelation and I feel that my surfing has really improved thanks to this board. I almost wish I had gone with the 6'0 now that I know what the Dominator can do.

    I surf beach breaks in Chiba, Japan, so most of the time it I'm dealing with small to shoulder high surf. The Dominator has been perfect in these conditions, taking off even quicker than my old 6'8 and allowing me to do much more on the wave. The 5 fin setup is like having 2 boards in one. I surf it quad in smaller stuff, and as a thruster when the waves are good. This year we also had some great typhoon swell and for the first time ever I was able to enjoy myself on overhead waves.

    I did, however, find that the Dominator felt a bit skittish going down the face after the drop and bottom turning on the bigger overhead waves when I had a lot of speed. One of my mates said this was because the Dominator doesn't have much rocker. I also felt that I had to nurse it a little on steeper drops to keep the nose from sticking at times. (probably more my problem than the board)

    I plan to get many more years of fun out of my Dominator, but I'm looking for something that will be able to handle the bigger/steeper waves a bit better and also have a bit more bite to allow me to lay my turns in a little harder. I was thinking about a 6'2 or 6'4 Alternator, but after seeing everyone raving about it so much, I'm starting to think that a 6'0 or 6'2 Hellfire might be a better choice.

    I'd like to know:
    1) Which is better for me, the Hellfire or the Alternator?
    2) Would a Hellfire be too much like my Dominator?
    3) What size should I go for? I don't want to have too much volume, but I also don't want to be undergunned when the size goes up to head high and above.

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  • #2
    I havent rode a Alternator, so i guess Im not the best person to comment, but I can certainly vouch for the Hellfire. The Hellfire is NOTHING like the Dominator. (I have a Dom) Its more like a shortboard that paddles well. It can handle powerful waves, as I live in Hawaii and surf juicy surf all the time. Just get the right one for your weight and you will not be disappointed!!!


    • #3
      Yeah, if you like the hybrid feel of boards like the Dom then the Hellfire is a great choice. It'll also keep you with the 5 fin plug options. If you want a more traditional shortboard then the Alternator is your board, both will work great in those conditions.
      Typically you'd ride the HF 2" longer than your Dom, but as you went a little bigger than you needed in your Dom you could easily ride it in the same size, and if you're feeling more confident with your surfing now you could even drop down to the 6'0" HF. I've held the 6'0" and it's got plenty of float for someone your size, and the volume reduction from your Dom will allow your to really push it harder when the waves have some juice.
      That said, it's probably quite a big drop in volume from your Dom, so it depends how you feel about the Dom's volume. If you feel you could easily drop to the 6'0" Dom and even maybe the 5'10" I'd pick the 6'0" HF. If you feel you like where you're at with the Dom size I'd stick with the 6'2" HF.
      Alternator you'd be in the 6'2" / 6'4" range, but again I'd edge you towards the smaller size at your weight.


      • #4
        yeah definitely the smaller alt...i have the 6'4 from when i was pushing weights of 90 and under it is too much board for full speed in the juice it wont bite enough for drive...the alt is a great all round "norm" board though..just get it at the lower end of your weight has width and works well with full rail work so gets lots of foam in the turns anyway........BUT....i will have to say hellfire all the way...unless you want the full taj shred stick, go the hell....also the alt is along the lines of a like sized flyer....not the same but there's overlap...
        Last edited by core personal training; 01-01-2012, 10:21 PM.


        • #5
          good words prj and core!!


          • #6
            Wow, I came onto this forum with a very similar situation as daybit and the responses may have already given me my answer.

            I'm 6'2" tall 165lbs and have been surfing a 6'1" tuflite flyer for many years now. It has been my everyday board for small so. cal. summer beach break all the way up to head high peelers at the reefs near my house. But I felt like I may be missing something from not having a flexy enough board and also thought that I maybe needed something a little more high performance for the bigger/better days, so I bought a 6'2" Flexfire roundtail. And after trying it out on some of the bigger days, I found myself falling back to the comfort of the flyer because it just felt a little bit more foregiving than the flexfire and I also felt it paddled a little easier. So the flexfire sat in the garage un-ridden for many months. Then summer rolled around again and I got the urge to get a better board to handle the smaller summer surf and got a 5'8" Dominator that quickly turned into my favorite goto board for everything. I ride it as a quad on most days and as a thruster on the bigger days of the summer. But as better winter surf started coming in again, as daybit mentioned, I did feel like the Dominator wasn't the best suited for the deep bottom turns at high speed on big overhead waves. I pulled out the Flexfire again and had that same feeling as before that I wasn't totally dialed into it, maybe I need to just give it more time and allow myself to get comfortable on it. But to bring this rant to a conclusion, I've been thinking that I want a firewire that will replace my tuflite flyer as my goto board for everything bigger than the Dominator is comfortable in.

            So should it be a 6'0" Alternator or a 5'10" Hellfire??

            Maybe another way to ask the question is what would be a better 3 board quiver. A Flexfire, Alternator, Dominator? Or a Flexfire, Hellfire, Dominator? I think I'm leaning towards the Hellfire at the moment just cause it feels like it might be a newer, cooler, fresher design that's evolved as a perfect better wave refinement to the wonderfully popular Dominator.

            P.S. somebody down at my local surf shop said they used to work at Firewire and thought that the Alternator was almost an exact copy of the Flyer. Is that true?


            • #7
              I had the same type of situation. Live in Socal, bought a futura and then a Dominator and then just added the Hellfire to the quiver. I am looking at a 3 board quiver: Hellfire, Dominator, and Sweet Potato. I think if you can demo one you will get to see how great of a board it is. I think you will be stoked on the Hellfire. I am 6'3" 185 and bought a 6'2". I think it is perfect for my size and my age.

              Good luck.


              • #8
                I'd nudge you towards the HF too.


                • #9


                  • #10
                    Sounds like the Hellfire is the recommendation. Is there any specific area where the Alternator would excel over the Hellfire? Or is there anything about the "hybrid feel" of the Hellfire that would limit performance or skill improvement?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ob surf stick View Post
                      Sounds like the Hellfire is the recommendation. Is there any specific area where the Alternator would excel over the Hellfire? Or is there anything about the "hybrid feel" of the Hellfire that would limit performance or skill improvement?
                      ^^^Good Question


                      • #12
                        I think if you're quite a powerful guy you could benefit from the added rail length on the Alternator.
                        The Alt will surf more like a traditional shortboard whereas the Hellfire is going to be a touch tighter in the pocket and looser because of the short rail length and lively bottom contours. I think the Hellfire would suit a more progessive "new school" approach, for instance releasing the fins, popping airs and fitting tight wraps in the pocket of punchy medium sized waves.
                        If you were surfing big open walled points and your approach was longer rail carves, big round houses etc. and you like the feel of a traditional board under your feet rather than the shorter, wider boards that are super popular at the moment then the Alternator would probably be a good call.

                        I'm sure both boards can do it all, but for the sake of highlighting the differences that's how I would personally expect them to differ.


                        • #13
                          Wow, thanks for all the feedback everyone. I think I'm well and truly sold on the Hellfire. It definitely sounds like it can handle powerful surf. If it works in Hawaii I don't think I'm going to have a problem in Japan.

                          I'm still a little confused about what length to go for. The board description says "Suggested lengths are 2 to 4 SHORTER than your regular short board, or 2 to 4 LONGER than your hybrid." which would mean it should be a couple of inches longer than my Dominator. But then the Buyers Guide suggests the same length for Dominator and Hellfire for Intermediate surfers.

                          Going to a 6'0 Hellfire (31.9 L) would be quite a drop in volume from my 6'2 Dominator (38.0 L). If I went to a 6'2 Hellfire (33.7L) would the additional volume be a problem in bigger waves? Given that I probably should have gone for the 6'0 Dominator instead of 6'2, maybe I should just bite the bullet, go for the 6'0 Hellfire and just paddle a bit harder.

                          Once I get the length sorted I then just have to choose between FST and Rapidfire. Ahh, so many choices.
                          Last edited by daybit; 01-04-2012, 09:28 AM.


                          • #14
                            Yeah, really awesome feedback. I definitely see the Hellfire as the right board for me now since I do see myself wanting more of the "new school" approach instead of the traditional shortboard open faced rail carving style. And I'm really not a powerful type surfer to be able to take advantage of that longer rail in the Alternator.

                            I'm assuming the Hellfire might favor being ridden as a thruster in most conditions? And in situations where you'd think about converting it to a quad, I'd probably rather be pulling out my Dominator quad anyway?


                            • #15
                              No disrespect intended, truly, but after a few waves an average surfer would quickly adjust to and barely notice 2 extra inches of rail length in a board, at least imho.