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The S Boss by Firewire

A Collaboration Between Dan Mann and Kelly Slater

I recently had the chance to chat with legendary shaper Dan Mann about the S Boss surfboard design from Firewire. Dan was posted up in Costa Rica, doing R&D on board designs, but hopped on a Zoom call to give me the low-down on this rad board.

Firewire S Boss Surfboard


The Origin of S Boss

What was most interesting was the fact that he didn’t just explain the design elements, but also told me the history of the board. It dates back to 2020, when he and Kelly Slater were hanging out in the Firewire factory, which was empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They started talking about board designs, and Kelly told Dan that he had an idea for a board. He wanted a shorter, “bullet-nosed” board with less swing weight and more parallel outline, because he wanted to be able to feel the board turn from the rails and not just the rocker. At the same time, he also wanted a unique bottom contour, with vee under the chest, giving way to a double barrel and then concave out the tail.

Design Elements and Innovations

Dan was pretty dubious when Slater first told him his ideas for the board. He was especially wary of the vee in the bottom contours, as he had always felt that vee created drag while going down the line, and essentially put a governor on how much speed the board could have. But when he put all of the elements together, he and Kelly both found that the board worked amazing. The double barrel near the fin cluster sort of broke the board into two and allowed them to surf what was essentially half of a shortened, lighter board, resulting in tons of speed, plus the ability to either draw turns out or make them quick and sharp in the pocket.

The S Boss surfboard comes in various sizes, each with different dimensions. The Dimension for each size is as follows:

Check out our shipping page to know more about this boards shipping information. 

Kelly Slater riding with the S Boss

Integration of Dominator Rocker and Tail Design

At the same time, Dan integrated the rocker of the Dominator, which is sort of a hybrid groveler/high-performance shortboard. The rocker is pretty low to moderate, allowing the board to generate a lot of speed down the line, although he did add an extra 1/8th of an inch of rocker in the nose, as Slater likes that.

Macy Mullen in the Firewire S Boss Surfboard

Check out Macy Mullen's review about the S Boss 

The tail on the board is similar to the round tail on the FRK. This design actually dates back to 2015, when Kelly was looking at one of Dan’s personal boards and told him that he didn’t like the tail. Kelly said he likes there to be a bit more of a straight section in his round tails, near the fins, rather than a continuous curve. Dan kept that in mind and ended up integrating it into Kelly’s next batch of boards, and the tail design ended up becoming their go-to option for boards such as the FRK and now the S Boss surfboard. The tail tapers in pretty far near the tail, reflecting the fact that Kelly likes to have his foot cover the entire tail of a board, with his toes near one rail and heel near the other.

Kelly Slater with S Boss surfboard

Riding Characteristics and Construction

The S Boss surfboard is ridden a few inches shorter than your normal high-performance shortboard, and comes in Volcanic Ibolic construction, which makes it feel a little bit lighter and less dense in the water. It can be ridden as a quad or a thruster, although Dan, Kelly, and Kevin Schultz all tend to enjoy it a bit more as a quad. Dan also suggested that riders use a slightly smaller rear fin, whether with the thruster or the quad, as this compensates for the pulled in tail. Kelly, Dan, and other team riders have also messed around with 2+1 setups, such as large twin fins up front and a small stabilizer in the back.


Ultimately, this is meant to be a high-performance alternative that thrives in any type of condition, from juicy beach breaks to point breaks and even reefs. Between Dan’s shaping pedigree and Kelly’s infinite wave and board knowledge, anything the two do together is bound to be good, and the S Boss surfboard might just be the best.


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