The Firewire Vader is extremely similar to the Vanguard at first glance, but it might be more different than you think.
Look at any Vader in surf shops today, and you’ll see this black stripe across the entire bottom of the board. Firewire paints this stripe on boards that are built with their Linear Flex Technology (LFT). It represents a strip of high-density foam laid down the center of the board, where you would normally find a wooden stringer.
This strip of foam does not extend all the way to the deck of the board like a normal stringer does. They do this because of how surfboard decks get compressed over time. You are eventually going to get imprints from the balls of your feet and your heels. Wooden stringers do not compress, which could leave a big “ridge” in the middle of your board. This could get so extreme that the fiberglass could crack along the stringer.
By building a board with LFT technology, it allows a more even compression of the deck over time. This will increase the life of your deck, and create a cozier home for your feet. LFT also allows the board to flex more than it would with a wooden stringer.
The Vader and Vanguard outlines look nearly identical except for the tail, but the Vader has a bit more rocker on each end. You may feel a bit more tendency for straight line glide and drive when surfing the Vanguard, while you may feel the Vader’s rocker curve allow you to pivot off the bottom and climb the face quicker.
The diamond tail on the Vader makes it a little looser than the double diamond tail of the Vanguard.
The Vader is also about 1/8″ thicker and 1/8″ wider than the Vanguard at the same length. This could make the Vader more friendly when waves are under chest high.
Long story short, the Firewire Vader is a more maneuverable version of the Vanguard.