String me up, I tried a firewire sweet potato!

A guy at work has a 5’5" sweet potato. I showed him my JD fish and he was keen to swap for a week or two. I took it out this morning in waves I’d really only take my 9’1" out in. I was surprised at how easy it paddled and caught waves. I’ve had bugger all waves this year so my fitness and form is severely lacking, but I paddled around pretty easy, and caught heaps of waist high waves. I found it fast n loose, just like a board made for tiny waves should be, and very easy to surf. I think something like that could stop me surfing my longboard, which I do love, but it certainly doesn’t turn like the potato. Might have to get JD to come up with a fishy version!!

I think the key is the deep double concave with the spine down the middle to almost split the bottom in half.

When Jon LaLanne was describing the twin nose Gemini he said it was like riding two 8" wide thrusters

I think splitting the bottom with this spine double concave like Greg Webber did on one of his designs reduces the performance issues typically found with such a wide 19" wide tailed board. Which is why you can pump them through the flats so fast by banking off the rails. McCoy did this with his loaded dome hull bottoms and wide tailed nuggets. But this Dan Mann design really is allot of fun the EPS and perimeter rails helps it skip along as well as you are pumping down the line.Set up as a quad really makes these boards fly.

so the extremely low rocker plus super wide body gives you the float and paddling without out getting too corky and the deep double barrel keeps it loose.

Bert did something similar with his super thin 1.75" thick 23" wide magic carpets with a flat bottom and concaved deck which supposidly morphed into a concave bottom because of the perimeter stringers and flex of the wood encased super light .75lb EPS

I have a 6’4"x23"x3" thick poly Chronic Bully and it feels much more corky in comparson to the firewire because it has a performnace potato ship rocker instead of the flat rocker of the sweet potato or potatonator

wonder why Dan Mann decided to call his version “Chum Lee”



width, flat flat rocker, concave bottom, but not overly thick ( the 5’4" I rode is 2 1/2" thick. I’m 5’8" x 165 lbs btw so could go smaller but it didn’t feel like a boat ) and light weight. 

One of the things I think makes it paddle and catch waves so well is the whole “area back” concept. More width and foam in the back half. When you catch the wave, your chest is up front, and all the foam at the back means the board picks up the wave energy very easily. It helps that the tail Is 19" wide hehe. 

i wasn’t trying to call you out or anything. the boards have ridiculous amounts of float for their size…your potatonator sounds really fun too!

i have some mid lengths that have more float and to me, they don’t paddle like my longboard. they catch waves easily and float well, i just think the paddling characteristics are different. there are some waves only a LB can snag, ya know? my LB is definitely getting dusty compared to its pre-sweet potato days though!


I guess it’s the width that makes up for it???

sounds like fun on gutless days

Haha. I surfed it the next day which was smaller again, and bugger me if I didn’t have fun. Considering my poor fitness at the moment, I can’t believe how good it went. I could easily go 5’2", and If I got my fitness up more a 5’0" wouldn’t be unreasonable. Longboard will be going on evil bay shortly I think. Be good to have one for tiny crap, my fish for around head high and good, and my 7’6" resinhead style round tail for bigger stuff. 


Its a total mind fuck to even think such a tiny board can replace my 9’1" though!!

Josh, how busy are you?? Hehe. 


i’d argue that it does not paddle like a longboard, it can’t catch any rolling wave like a longboard can, but it’s such a fun board i get bummed if i don’t use it. it is capable of catching most waves in almost any condition that isn’t super mush, however.



Well for one thing you’re 5’9" and 195ls and riding a 5’8"

while I am 5’8" and 200 lbs and riding a 6’4"

so my board volume is 47.4L vs 43L for 5lbs difference in weight

so mine should paddle more like a longboard for me

and just to put it into perspective, I also had (sold)  a 9’x23"x3" Firewire Flexflight longboard at 76.8L

and I thought the Potatonator paddled as good if not better because of the less length than the Firewire longboard.


i have a 5’8 (43L volume i think?) and it’s my go-to board. i’m 5’9 and 195lbs and it feels like i could even go smaller.

i’d argue that it does not paddle like a longboard, it can’t catch any rolling wave like a longboard can, but it’s such a fun board i get bummed if i don’t use it. it is capable of catching most waves in almost any condition that isn’t super mush, however.

i’ve had it skip out in turns at speed on larger waves (larger for me…maybe head high?). i figure it’s b/c the tail is too fat and it can’t penetrate? correct me if i’m wrong on that, experts.

i have the FS construction which has been incredibly durable. very few pressure dings (which are mild) after a good year of surfing it regularly.

bottom line? fun machine.

Howdy Karl,  you guys haven’t had much since Xmas. It’s been constant swell and gentle offshore from otaki up. A pretty good year.  I am moving back down at new years for work though and I am pretty keen to see how you make your little gems. Our get together seemed a little short and with Jeff gone it feels a bit sad.

Beerfan - You’ll keep. :slight_smile:


Marsh - You’re SACKED!!!



Hey Toaster

Long time no see. Not much surf down our way this winter.

I’ve tried a Sweet Potato - went well too. But prefer my own boards



based on your enthusiasm I got a 6’6" potatonator. managed two surfs on it so far due to time restrictions. it is sick sick sick. my last wave I made a takeoff that I would never have had chance on my same size/vol fish. still shaking my head as I got out of the water, I couldnt believe how good it is. I am 6’5" and 110kg. 

tena raua atu koe


I have a 6’4" potatonater(sweet potato/dominator) that CMP/BB is fixing for me that paddles like a 9’0" and surfs like a 5’ something.

the paddle obscenely but surf like a giant skateboard

sub 6’ sweet potatoes are all the rage in town/diamondhead

but they are the perfect whiteplains/haubush board where the waves typically without a good swell have no guts

probably kind of like those continental shelf waves out east

must say something about Dan Mann’s shaping that Bert has a Dan Mann looking  “dominator” in his new Sunova lineup as well as his famous “magic carpet” design. 

there’s just something special about these chum lee/dominator/sweet potato designs as they battle all these new fangled tomo-inspired copies everyone is making these days.

so much better than the mini Simmons craze of a couple years ago

I think slater called it a couple years ago

go really big or go really small just don’t get stuck in the “fun board” zone

Forgive me, I have also commited swaylocks sins, I own two SUP’s, a 12’’ flat water and a 9’2’'…I ride them when its small or flat, preferably at night time when no one can see me…

Funny you mention.  I have a 5-6 Dan Mann chum lee in standard foam and EPS no bamboo, which is Dan's earlier(?) version of the potato.  I love it.  It really changed my mind about how small I could go.  Sort of a hybrid mini sim.  Not the same speed as a mini sim, but still very satisfying.  I can surf it in very small waves and still catch.  (I'm 62 and about 170 lb, the board is about 1.35 cu-ft in volume and about 22 wide, quad fins)


all the best

Be good to catch up, and maybe toast Jeff


Beerfan, I’m glad you’ve been honest, because it leads me to make a admission of my own. Being pressed for time (twins just arived etc etc), I didnt have enought time to get my small wave board build for a 2 weeks trip, so I bought a Potatonator.  How a 5’10" catches 1’ waves, is amazing. I feel guilty. Sorry all.


Sorry JD, I’ll understand if you unfriend me on Facebook :o(