Step-ups are a funny thing. When the waves get bigger, you want a board that’ll do a few things: get in as early as possible, but still act like a surfboard that isn’t a log. It’s a difficult line to walk. Sure, a longboard will get you in before everyone else when things get a little bigger, but you’re not making a steep drop on one. And sure, a standard shortboard will make those steeper drops just fine, but when it’s too short you’re forced to make some kind of impossible under-the-lip drop that you probably aren’t going to make. Firewire’s newest shape is aimed at the everyman surfer who wants to test their mettle when the waves get a little bigger than they might be used to.
The LFT Hydronaut is Tomo’s first step-up design. With a strange looking torpedo nose, it carries a little more volume up front with a few of the qualities a shorter board offers—namely quicker turns. Despite that, though, it is designed to paddle like a board with more length, and thanks to Tomo’s quad inside single concave and rocker line, it feels much floatier than one might expect.