design forum

The Surfboard of the Future

If you believe Daniel Thomson, tomorrow's high-performance crafts are already here

| posted on February 10, 2014
Photo: Van Swae

Meet the Vanguard, Daniel Thomson’s opus, which he claims to be function over fashion. Photo: Van Swae

You may have seen them at your local breaks: bizarre nose-less crafts with straight rails, deep concaves, and angular tails. They look more wakeboard than surfboard. More tech than soul. At a glance, it looks like an alien craft from the distant future. But then again, looks can be deceiving.

The board is called the Vanguard, a new design by Australian shaper Daniel Thomson, and because of its peculiar outline, many surfers aren’t sure what to think of it. But Thomson stresses that his design has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with function.

“I didn’t shape the nose like that just to look weird and catch people’s attention,” he explains. “Having this nose allows you to straighten the rail line and have the leading edge of the board parallel to the water. Basically, the goal is to reduce drag and increase speed.”

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According to Thomson, chopping the nose may leave you with a much shorter board, but the wider nose and tail offer the same volume and keep as much rail in the water as a regular shortboard. In addition, the parallel rails allow water to flow in a more streamline path around the board. But if that is the case, why doesn’t every shaper take a handsaw to those last few inches? The pointy nose of a surfboard must have some purpose, right?

“You can definitely go without a nose,” explains Thomson. “The top 6 inches of the board do nothing in terms of performance. My aim is to break down a board into its most functional elements and get rid of its least functional elements. The diamond nose profile is really functional because it has so little swing weight. If you think of a pendulum, when it swings, there is a moment of delay before it changes direction because of the weight. The weight at the nose of your board acts similarly, and when you cut down that weight, the board transitions between turns more quickly and efficiently. The board also fits in a tighter pocket, which allows for some different lines.”

Stu Kennedy testing the limits of the Vanguard, a study in tighter pockets and cleaner lines. Photo: Ellis

Stu Kennedy testing the limits of the Vanguard, a study in tighter pockets and cleaner lines. Photo: Ellis

Though the Vanguard is Thomson’s most well-known shape, his ambitions as a surfboard designer go beyond small-wave, high-performance crafts. Most recently, he’s been fine-tuning boards for the bigger, more powerful waves of the North Shore. By taking traditional big-wave designs and chopping 6 inches off the tail, shaping it into a double diamond, and inserting narrow channels in the tail next to the rails, he believes he can maintain paddle power and control while allowing for more speed and maneuverability.

“It’s basically just an extension of my shortboard designs,” says Thomson. “I can get rid of the length without getting rid of the functionality of the board. I’ve taken 7-foot boards down to 6 feet while keeping it completely functional. Guys can tackle bigger waves with smaller boards, and they end up with a little bit more speed and the ability to attack the face in tighter angles.”

Thomson says that most of his inspiration comes from studying hydrodynamic theory rather than existing designs within the surf world, which is why his boards have such a distinct look—a look that many surfers just don’t trust.

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Thomson’s designs may not be for everyone, but he’s been known to convert the skeptics, including a few of the world’s best. Before Filipe Toledo hopped on a plane to France for the Quik Pro, he stopped by the Firewire factory and grabbed a V4—one of Thomson’s high-performance shortboards—off the rack. During his Round 3 heat (one of his first sessions on the board) Toledo emerged from a head-high barrel and hucked one of the biggest full-rotation alley-oops ever done in competition. Odd outline aside, the board clearly worked as intended.

“I’ve gotten used to the skeptics,” says Thomson. “That’s just the nature of innovation, whether it’s in surfboard design or anything else. When someone doesn’t understand what it is that you’re trying to do or how you’re trying to do it, it’s easy for them to just switch off and dismiss it all together. I tend not to listen to any of it, because I can see the potential in surfboard design, and I’m just trying to do my part and keep pushing forward.”

The mastermind behind the Vanguard, Daniel Thomson. Photo: Ellis

The mastermind behind the Vanguard, Daniel Thomson. Photo: Ellis

Watch Daniel Thomson and Stu Kennedy rip on the Vanguard:

  • GARRETT thought..out the. aquidynamics…id try it use to the visual of a nose.. just now. getting use to no stringer w expoxy…nice artical..

  • Tim Chivo Call

    Hey, only two or three years late on Tomo, surfermag, maybe next week’s reveal will be a stubby singlefin.

    • Johnny Bee

      True, Stu Kennedy was riding one at the Lower Pro 3 years ago. He lost his first heat, and Occy was very skeptical about the design. But I wouldn’t mind to try one. Anyone been testing it?


    Might be fun…

    • Tim

      Maybe (?) these boards are fun to ride, but the surfing looks terrible. I’ve watched guys who I know rip (like Stu Kennedy) on them and I’m not visually pleased. Ugly.

      • matt dayton

        All I can say is don’t knock it until you try it! You really have no room to comment about these shapes unless you have ridden a Tomo Vanguard yourself……period! I started out by getting the Tomo V4 which has the regular nose but the same tail as the Vanguard. It was a great introduction to Tomo’s shapes and his outlook on board design. Once I felt how amazing those parallel rails combined with the unique swallow tail felt I was instantly hooked. I must admit the first time I saw the Vanguard I immediately wrote it off and said it looked ridiculous and that I would never ride one. But once I began to understand Tomo’s thought process with these innovative board designs i became more curious and finally went to demo a Vanguard from my local surf shop. Man, was I blown away by the speed and performance of this modern craft. I now have my own Vanguard and can honestly say I feel like I’m cheating when i ride this board, its almost like it has special powers once you figure it out and tap into its amazing flow. You are almost are never working for speed, the design does most of the work for you, and it gets into waves with ease.You have the freedom to take the board where you want to go, almost feels like you are snowboarding when you are carving on open face waves. I rode my regular shaped hybrid the other day just to compare and I literally felt like I was pulling an anchor around, it was so much slower and less lively than my Tomo shapes. Im all in with Tomo and Im not lookin back, already have a Nano on the way, cant wait to continue progressing and having a lot more fun with my surfing!

        • Ty

          Same here. I ride a 5’6″ and agree with everything above. People can say all they want, but when it comes down to it I’m simply having more fun and catching more waves on this board. More speed = more fun.

        • Shane Egan

          Just want to reiterate one point and that is not to be confused with the “tail wedgie”. That IS just another fish. All the new riding features that you’ve described have nothing to do with that little missing bit- in fact it goes against the very design theory of these boards- ie maximise planning area by cutting off the pointy bits. His first diamond ended “Crops” went the same and the virtually straight cropped ends, I use now, work the same- in an even shorter board length (we’re only using the rails).
          Would just like the other shapers to try their own versions based on this concept & not be fooled by cosmetics.

      • Peter Djordjevich

        I like the surf style, especially Dan Tomo’s and Tom Curren’s in the vids posted above. It seems like an alaia for bigger/normal size waves. Smooth razor sharp carves. No unnecessary butt wiggling to build up speed. I’m tempted to get a longer 6’2″ to see how it handles in typical norcal blown out chop.

        • Imaginary Surf

          I made a bunch of strait railed boards, many with blunt or chopped noses over the last 4-5 years. Strait rails are nice toeside but a little more funky heel side. If I’m going backside I always go for something with a more rounded rail. The nose tends to catch on the square nosed boards backside and they just don’t turn as well off the heel. In my experience, the wide point feels off unless you change it to match the heel position on the front foot. Because of that, I’d be looking more to ryan lovelace’s asyms for the future of surfing, but hey, that’s just me.

          Tomo’s boards are actually pretty original, and the vanguard is no wakeboard. They have flip in the nose, and a lot of bottom contours that wakeboards do not. It’s a riff off a wakeboard, but not the same thing. If you watch someone kitesurfing a wakeboard that square nose can go completely underwater because of the uniform rocker and thin profile. You can’t do that on a Tomo, but if you took out the flip in the nose on a Tomo, they’d really catch badly. I can say this from my own experiments.

          I rode a Tomo handshape last Fall in Montauk on head high fun waves. Really skatey, and a nice feel as a tri. He compensates for the wide tail with concave or channels out the back. Good stuff and a really nice board to have in the quiver. If his shapes weren’t touted as the future of shaping he probably wouldn’t be getting so much backlash.

          As for Firewire, they would be the most environmentally built boards out there if it weren’t for having to ship them to the other side of the planet to sell. Similar technology could be made domestically and much better by small shapers with the current state of shaping machines, and a $50-100 price increase over standard board prices. It’s just not worth it to most manufacturers when most surfers can’t even tell the difference between a poly and epoxy board when it’s two inches from their face/nose. Some serious customer education would need to happen for the surf industry to go domestic with high-tech in the US.

  • Brad Tremble

    There is a video of Tom and Leann Curren going to Curren’s Point in Japan and Tom is riding the Vanguard I think. That should be proof enough to non believers that the design concept is rock solid.

    • Bill Davis

      Not to take away from this shape, but Curren has ridden everything over the years.

    • jimmy

      from memory tom’s been riding a 5’1 tomo!

  • Reece

    they look like they’re having fun!

  • Tim

    No backhand, and all in semi decent surf

    • Seabass120

      ^ This.

      • Ax

        Its really hard to screw up a high volume flat surfboard. Even so the folks I’ve seen ride these go pretty fast down the line and thats about it. I mean Paul fisher surfs better on that Dick than Stu does on the Vangaurd. Also Tomo didn’t invent this shape. He simply popularized it, and would never have done so without the help of Firewire. I’m pretty sure it was invented by the folks at Liquid Force wake boards. Unlike lakes, waves are curved, surfboards need curve to fit curvy waves. This is probably the first fish I’ve seen thats been royally screwed up. The only reason it gets hype is because it looks so bizarre that everyone’s expectations are significantly lowered (say 1 or 2 out of 10). Then when they go out and Demo one and its a 4 out of 10 they think its unbelievable because its twice as good as they expected. After a few weeks the novelty wears off and buyers remorse sets in. Its a great marketing ploy but my guess is there will be a ton of them on craigslist for $200 or less over the next year and even more taking up space in stores and Firewire’s warehouse.

        • linder

          And then Kelly Slater loves them and you where wrong?

          • Ax

            And then Kelly actually is riding rocketed out pointy nose and tail webbers and calling them Slater Designs. Not a chop nose in the SD line up. Weird for a guy who loves em. Then again SD is just Kgrip and Kommunity all over again, just with surfboards. It’ll tank and be sold off to the highest bidder or given to the highest debt holder. Joke.

        • Shane

          So I’m guessing you haven’t owned one?
          I avoided them for years but got a 2nd hand vangard recently out of interest. I am 30 and have been surfing since I was 5, and am a competent surfer. I have had many boards over the years from 5ft nuggets to 10ft guns and I can comfortably say the vangard is the best board for me, that I have owned. You mentioned it’s speed. Sure it’s fast, almost as fast as an Alaia, but you neglected to mention anything else, I guess because you don’t have one. I’m 100kg and 6′ tall. I’m riding a 5’9″ vangard with a stretch quad set up. It turns sharper than any board I have surfed but does not wip off speed, it just launches you out of the turn. It paddles onto 3-6ft waves like a dream even though it’s 5L less volume than my normal boards. It’s stable until you want it to be loose and then it will do pretty much whatever you want it to. Maybe it’s not the board for everyone, but it has certainly been an absalute win for me.

          • disqus_9O9kQ0fKdF

            Have you try Vader? and which one you think its better for kitesurfing to medium wave conditions?

  • Bjarni Wark

    They look fast in turns.

  • Ol’greySurfDude

    Through the 80’s, most of my personal boards were no nose/chopped nose. But you couldn’t sell one. It had to have a pointed nose or it sat in the rack forever. The narrow nose has an edge, paddling into larger waves with stiff offshores. Otherwise, it’s just for looks.

    • Shawn

      late drops in hollow waves the nose will save you, but maybe if they just put a flip like on a snowboard?

      • Ol’greySurfDude

        Reno Aballero did flip noses on itty bitty boards in the 70s. They have limits

  • Robert

    Boards built in Thailand by people who don’t surf. Cheap labor and materials and watch profits double and triple. Mass production. Don’t be surprised if you drop $700 and you buckle your “Future surfboard” in less than a month.

    • Mik

      Not. Firewire technology is rock solid, and far more durable than either PU or standard EPS. I have 2, have surfed all over NorCal, SoCal, and Bali and they don’t even have pressure dings. Yeah, you can buckle one, but it is significantly less likely than any other approach. When I read comments like yours I suspect an agenda. I can see traditional shapers worrying, because FW’s are flat out superior technology, but more expensive to make — hence Thailand mfg. I hope all approaches continue, but for me, FW is rad because I can travel with shorter thinner boards that surf and paddle awesome, and don’t break.

      • Lickam Yballs

        Quite a lot of FW vanguard users complaining about buckles in small surf on many forums including the FW one,just sayin.

      • ian

        I have heard the rapid-fire vanguards are breaking more than other FW shapes. I have had 8 FW boards and only broke one and it was rapid-fire. I wonder if the shape has something to do with the issues or the tech. I only get FST or Timbertek now and love them. I just throw them in the back of my truck with my tools and they survive the logging roads I drive on. They are in day bags but I wouldn’t dream of doing that with a PU board.

      • Webster

        The pressure dings are underneath the foam laminate in the core if the board,and yes they do break,but they have a great return policy.

    • JA

      Please, that argument Ship sailed 10 years ago. As much as i HATE imported SHIT.
      Where was your phone, car, TV, toothbrush, clothes, laptop, tablet, cookware, bed all manufactured, at your local shop ? Thankfully, the tide is turning, china’s all going to hell, ALSO technology is about to get very exciting, soon we’ll be printing our own boards, among other material advances in nano technology, PU IS DEAD.

      • Robert

        You are comparing surfboards to phones, TVs, beds etc..??? You Idiot, when was the last time you were able to get a CUSTOM any one of these things THE WAY YOU WANTED IT, BUILT IN AMERICA??? CUSTOM? NEVER!!!! And YES my CAR was BUILT IN AMERICA.

        You are just regurgitating something you heard from some other kook.

        • sunshine

          no kidding, theres not soul in a toothbrush my friend. a surf board on the other hand… 🙂

        • ronnie

          I love there’s still people out there that believe that boards need to be made by people that surf. What a crock. With the accuracy of cnc machines (that can replicate a given design time after time far more accurate than some bonged up shaper) this argument has surely got to be a joke. There’s a reason surfboard technology has barely changed over the past 50+ years and I’m thankful that companies like FW are taking things forward.

          • BethD

            Ronnie, your first sentence tells me you ride an 8ft Surftech. Go back to China, clown. I’d rather have someone who pours their love in to and dedicates their life to building surfboards. CNC machines are fine, people who love surfing run those machines for the most part. You are right, there is a reason why surfboards haven’t changed in over 50 yrs, because they WORK and if you think a FW is gonna last a whole lot longer than a traditional board from your local shaper, you need to snap out of it. That piece of sshit will be lifeless in less then a year. You my friend are a kook

          • Stephen

            I’ve been riding FW FST tech for years and they absolutely last way longer than PU/PE. No deck depressions after three years and just as much pop as the day I got it. Lighter – stronger with a nice feel underfoot. A PU/PE as light as a FW “WORKS” for about three months and then it ain’t the same board anymore. Spme surfers want new tech and new shapes – just accept it.

          • zbah

            Despite all the computers etc Pros get up to fifty of the almost exact same board each year to find a few magic ones. The pros on firewires have firewires that are handmade in australia. It still matters who makes them.

          • Jez Browning

            Love all this. So many haters. I used to be a team rider for Bradley boards. They were awesome, however with current financial climates plus my skill level. I was dropped. That was about 5 years ago. Been on FW by choice and now a regional rider. FST are by far the strongest. The Rapidflex and LFT is the equivalent of 4oz comp glass. So yes they do snap. But someone who really gets the advantage out of these techs realise that. As for Tomo’s shapes. He’s the only one who’s applied true physics and fluid dynamic principles to our beloved sport. You could argue fin companies do too. However standard SurfBoards almost develop by accident through evolution. The board gets shaped and ridden. If it works then the science gets applied after.
            It’s a refreshing change that someone had actually gone the other way and applied the science first. I’ve ridden pretty much every model FW have come out with. STAND OUTS are the lost range or the Tomo’s. V excited to see the Pyzel range develop too. The vanguard is the absolute best board I’ve put my feet on. You just have to size it right. Stu Kennedy and Filipe Toledo certainly ride then to their full potential.
            As for stating all the pros boards are custom made. Well duh? Really? Of course they are custom. Just like any other pro´s. Do you really think the DFR or fred rubble public dimensions are the same as Dane or Slaters boards? quite like the amount of sceptics of the vanguard. Means they won’t be sitting as deep as me and sill making the wave!

      • zbah

        Pu still offers the best performance but firewires are a decent and durable alternative

      • Bollucksaresquashed

        I’ve spent 1000’s of $ over the years on boards made of alternative materials, including EPS, epoxy, composites, vacuum bags etc – looking for the magic board that will last a lifetime. To be honest, my best boards have all been PU’s and I have dented, creased and even snapped boards that were supposedly made to be bullet proof. Not worth it in the end, not yet anyway. It’s coming, but maybe the tech is being withheld.

        I long for the day that buying a surfboard is like buying a snowboard or skateboard, and ready made sizes are available to try first.

        But for the moment……i’m going back to PU

    • Olaf

      guess you’ve never surfed in thailand.

    • Ol’greySurfDude

      The Thai boards have been pretty solid. The Chinese crap built for a Santa Cruz company is garbage. Custom is a joke, most surfers don’t have any idea how a board works, even a lot of the hot shots. Individually made is not custom. Superior construction is a complete threat to garage shapers. That’s too bad, but these disposable polyester/polyeurathane things have kept surfing regressive for decades. Guys were doing aerials on ultralights in the 70s but the 3 to the beach pro crowd kept it slow and low performance for years. Sorry if you are a backyard guy going under. Try designing some modern boards, get a patent and put them into a mass production shop. You’ll get your cut, and THAT would be custom design.

      • Steve

        I have a Santa Cruz Ozzie Wright model and it works great! I’ve had it for over 5 years and is still in great shape and I’ve brought it around the world a few times with me. Great board, not garbage!

        • Ol’greySurfDude

          The co. is NHS, see above, “A” Santa Cruz company. I was able to go over the broken pieces with a shop mngr who showed me the differences in construction between the Chinese copy and French’s originals. Lot’s of shortcuts in quality. Consumers deserve to know

    • Outland Disch

      These boards are not shaped, glassed or designed for Thailand production.. Pure nature of Daniel, will never allow it.. It is progressive and think your post has no merit.. I know him personally…

      • Duh

        You must not know him as well as you think…every tomo FireWire I’ve seen says MADE IN THAILAND on the rail at the tail end. Try again.

    • rspkt

      I can attest to this.

      I was sponsored by Firewire for a while and had been given several boards to ride from them. The first one, I completely ripped out the 2 of the 3 FCS fin boxes doing a hard top turn. That was after barely a month of surfing it over probably 2 dozen sessions.

      The second board I snapped completely in two down the center within 2 weeks of owning it in barely 2-3 foot surf. I was literally shocked when I saw the nose floating towards the shoreline. I couldn’t help but laugh it was so ridiculous. NEVER have I broken a board so easily in my entire life.

      The third board has lasted ok but feels like it’s starting to take on water and is starting to feel “sluggish” under my feet. I’ve only rode it for probably a total of 3 months at this point. Rather unimpressed.

      My synopsis: Firewire surfboards, though light and featuring some great technology, are not the God-send that the hype around them is attempting to portray. They are decent boards at best but lacking in overall structural integrity and quality. I have owned countless polyurethane and epoxy boards that have considerably outlasted and outperformed these boards for what would be a fraction of the retail price. Simply put, they are not worth their price tag. Period.

      Needless to say, my current shaper is Matt Kinoshita of Kazuma Surfboards back on Maui. The only boards I’ve ridden that compare were shaped by Eric Arakawa, which coincidentally is one of Matt’s major influences.

      • Webster

        I glassed boards for both of those guys in the 90’s. You can’t beat world class talent. They’ve spent decades perfecting their shapes. Fire weener needs you to promote their lackluster product so the public will except it. Besides, Matt surfs better than Tomo ever will! Lolol

  • Da Moose

    I’ve been making Square nose Surfboards for over 25 years ,,,Wake Up ,,,oh ya i Invented the modern day WakeBoard,,,PLEASE

  • John Copeland

    This design has been around for years

  • Ron Burgundy

    So, he designed a variation on the Old School fish?

  • Shane Egan

    This “Cropped” concept does work in all conditions. Check the link below.
    There are lots of manufacturers doing these now and I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again, Tomo’s design isn’t the original. Been riding mine since 2007!

    Otis Carey ‘Mermaid Killer’

    Annesley Surfboards Ku Model 1

    Annesley Surfboards Ku Model 2

    • jimmy

      yeah but tomo/firewire were the first to market and deliver the shape to the masses world wide

      • Shane Egan

        Well we can get back to Nev on how that happened.

  • Shane Egan

    PS: It’s good to have a great spokesman & ambassador in Tomo- as long as he admits it.

  • Stephen

    Neither of the boards in the video above are Vanguards. Stu is riding a Psyko and Dan is riding a Nano. Both based on the same design principles as the Vanguard but the caption will confuse people. Here’s Tom Curren riding another Tomo model the EVO:

  • Mik

    It’s a free world, eh? So I’m free to say if it looks ugly, it is ugly. Ride what you want genius, but I won’t be riding that thing. No matter how cool someone else says it is. That includes Curran — no dis intended.

    • Shane Egan

      When you haven’t been looking down at a pointy nose for 7 years, then the pointed nosed look weird (& rather pointless). Just what you get used to. Anything but a longboard looked ugly once.

  • surfsnowguy

    Slater tried em at Rincon few years back-didn’t like em…

    • Shane Egan

      Try one, you haven’t tried them all. It’s a whole new concept with many variations to explore- exciting!

      • Max

        Getting Slater on the Vanguard would be a good design test. Slater helped bring the quads back in and he won the Volcom at Pipe on a board 16 inches shorter than Mason Ho’s stick. Only thing is Slats is so rad, he could probably win Pipe surfing on a frisbee..

  • duh

    there is no delay when a pendulum switches direction.

  • ferkan

    Interesting but I think his physics is flawed. As I understand it, there is no measurable pause (an infinitesimal one there is) when a pendulum changes direction so the weight is irrelevant from this perspective. Perhaps momentum and inertia are more important considerations?

  • it’s laird’s falt

    based on the music that was chosen for the video these boards can’t be an advancement in surfing. that song was so bad that it actually made me think that surfing is not cool or fun. i’m now on my way to a walmart to buy some rollerblades, a bodyboard, and a total gym workout station. the future is mine!!!!!!!!!!

  • RH

    In terms of performance, it doesn’t matter if the wide flat nose is rounded or has angles, you’re still going to have to do cutbacks the way they are in the video… which is no doubt why Slater wised up after trying his version for a while. Believe me, the shape would look a lot more appealing if the surfing did.

  • nob

    great stuff tomo but shorter boards and straighter out lines have been around for a while

  • Just Me

    I have one of these and love it. Waist high to overhead, it generates speed faster than any other board I’ve ridden. I grew up in Hawaii and probably wouldn’t use this board over there, since the waves give you enough speed on their own. Moved to Southern California a couple years ago and had to figure out how to surf smaller/weaker waves. The board turns tighter than you think, and holds in 6-8 ft faces, although 8ft is pushing it. I usually don’t go for wide tails like this but it works good for me somehow. I can’t discuss the science behind it, all I know is that the 5’7″ version of this board is something I enjoy a lot. I could ride it a lot smaller most of the time, maybe should have gone with a smaller one but this way it works good in tiny waves. It’s the most $$ I have ever spent on a board, $700 is a tough one to stomach but in my case it worked out.

  • CJ

    I’ve seen them in the lineup but I’ve never seen anyone surf to their full potential on one. You can tell when someone is being held back by the board they are riding. That’s the impression I get when I see guys on these boards. I’m sure they are fun to ride but everyone I see on one seems to be struggling or not surfing as good as they would on a regular board.

  • Scott

    I read about this last year or so in Surefers Journal. Interesting ideas. Not sure why everyone is hating on this guy. It is inspiring to see someone actually trying to push the design and come up with new ideas, variations on past designs.

  • John McMaffey

    Any hot surfer can make any POS look good, it’s called talent over design.

  • Chazzersize

    I found the outside points of the nose wanted to catch everywhere, on the 5’5 I bought new, early last spring. I had borrowed a friend’s custom Tomo, at Lowers the summer prior and I thought I could dial one in with some more time, since I caught a few fun waves. In retrospect, I should have demoed a Vanguard at my local spot, since I realized, Lowers, does most of the work for you. When I had to generate my own speed at my local South Bay (LA) beach-break, if there was any texture on the water, I just kept feeling the inside point (more, on my forehand) wanting to grab.

    I gave it a good couple of weeks, but couldn’t get comfortable and was happy to get back on a board with a nose. I do drive more from my front foot, than the average CT’r/QS’r. FWIW; I’ve been surfing 35 years and did a couple of years of NSSA open men’s and for the most part; feel like I can keep up with the local kids (under the lip, that is). With that said, the week I put the board on consignment at the local shop (ET Surf) where I bought it, a guy who works there, Parker (and who rides for Lost Enterprises), was out on ET’s demo Vanguard, killing it, at a mediocre day at a local beach-break. It was his first time on the board, so who knows? I think my issues, would be negligible for most surfers who drive off their back feet for speed down the line.

    I’m 6’/170lbs and didn’t feel like my issues were volume related with the 5’5 I chose. I ride my four custom Hayden Shapes (5’5 Hypto, 5’8 Germ, 5’10 Unit Shifter, 6′ Ando) in the 27-28L range and the Vanguard I bought, was in the high 28’s.

  • Trent Chapman

    I think you are all looking at this the wrong way. It’s more about variety in my opinion. A good surfer should be able to ride all shapes and sizes of boards well. Whether it’s a log without a leash on it or this alien board from the future. Honestly it excites me that there is this type of progression. Where would we be without new invention in the surf world? Bored of the same board. I look forward to adding this shape to my quiver of shortboards, longboards, guns, hand planes and even Costco softfops. Its all about having a variety of boards on a variety of waves to keep things fresh and interesting. If you’re worried about this killing the sport then you need to stop worrying and go clean the beach because thats what’s gonna kill surfing.

  • richardyoung

    Surfers really are a conservative bunch. This board really does aim towards the future. If you have ridden one you would understand that DT is very progressive. All the haters out there who think it has been done before e.g. no nose, deep concaves etc want to have a close look at the board. Everything about this board has a purpose. you do need to surf them off the back foot would be the only disclaimer otherwise this board will have you doing things you never imagined you could do. These boards are not simply a surfboard with it’s nose cut off. They are high performance planing HULLS that are surprisingly easy to surf. Take it from a 45year old with stuffed shoulders and back. In my books the guy(DT) deserves high praise!!

  • Larry Longarms

    It’s basically a wakeboard without bindings…ground breaking stuff,

  • Nick

    I think it is a great looking board. keep up the good work!

  • zbah

    Jeff alexander was pushing this exact design over 12 years ago. Tomos gift is in marketing not board design. I have ridden three of tomos boards and they were ok. But not any better than the alexanders of years ago. Noses do serve a purpose on extended rail turns and vertical through the lip surfing. They continue the functional curve in template and rocker. What his boards offer is easy speed and good roundhouse cutbacks but they are vertically challenged. In short they offer much more to the novice than they do the expert.

  • ivecoian7

    Just snapped the nose off mine so it might look like that shortly!

  • Mikey JustMikey

    all my boards are either lost or fire wire and i got to say they are not only the most responsive and fastest but also have held up more than any poly board i have ever had

  • Chris Glenn

    I think Firewires have a unique feel like no other. But I also snapped four boards in less than 6 months, and at a ‘deal’ through a shop I got them for around 400 each. Two Taj’s and 2 Alternaters. I like the idea of the design, but have you ever taken a 5’11 and snapped 6 inches off the tip…Huge difference super loose and fishy

  • MauiHouse

    Hey…Just a minute! Clay Marzo consistently uses the upper 6″ of his board while doing throw around air reverse maneuvers yeah?

  • Levi

    I have one of these boards and it’s so sick!!! Definitely my favorite board right now…I don’t wanna ride anything else…It’s a 5’4″ and I ride in waist to double over head surf and it handles…I’ll ride a thruster every now and then and they just don’t compare…this thing is so fast and handles great…I get some weird looks every now and then but I don’t care…I got turned on to it by Bird from Bird’s Surf Shed in San Diego, who said the same thing, which says alot coming from someone that’s surfed almost every board out there…

  • buttlick

    surfers suck. unless you’ve built your own brd shut it

  • Patrick Hasburgh

    My kid just turned 8, he has a Vanguard 4.8 — the smallest they make it. He kills this board… loves it; he also has a 5.0 Seb Williams (by Firewire) which he claims is “really slower” … I started him on a 5.0 Vanguard, then a 4.10 but now he rides the 4.8 exclusively… He can grow into the longer boards. I surfed a 7.2 Firewire Alternator (and a 9.0 TJ Pro) but now my “short” board is a 6.2 Vanguard. I have no doubt that Tomo knows what the future looks like — great boards, all around.

    • Slim

      I would never take surfboard advice from someone riding a 6’2″ Vangaurd. That is huuuge! These boards are to be ridden small like 5’6″. You bought your 8yr old three FW Tomos? Must be nice to through money around. Tomos and Von Sols are just marketing bullshit.

  • Surfingisfun

    I remember back in 1980-81 this guy Simon Anderson made this 3 fin board. He was not the first, but his configuration seemed to work the best across the board. People said it was a gimmick and they would not last. I am 47 years old and I ride a 5’7 Tomo Vangaurd. I have not had a board this small in 30+ years. I call it my time machine because when I surf on it I am able to do stuff that I could not even do 20 years ago. It makes me feel young and that my surfing is progressing still. My surfing ability is good but I am not a ripper. This board makes me feel like I am ripping! Keep up the good work Daniel! I would like you to hand shape my next one!

  • Mountit Headquarters

    Great design guys, You should defiantly wanting to b e mount that board to the wall.
    Have a look Makes a great Display! email us.

  • whysomanyhaters

    jeez, why so many haters? this is just a clip of guys riding a cool board. i ride whatever i have fun on. been riding firewires for a few years and have broken one. they all go great for me. some of my mates are shapers, dig their boards too. i rode derek hynd’s finless, good times, i injured myself and can’t surf anymore, you guys are throwing darts at each other. just go surf and watch cool clips online. being a hater is so…short sighted.

  • Dean

    I have one. Fastest board I’v ever ridden. Not that great on the rail. Really easy to land big airs on because of the blocky shape, feels like you are landing on a platform.

  • Will

    If they showed the board on some lefts and and different types of waves, I might consider buying it.

  • Ester Raffa

    Really nice surf board

  • Bill Boyum

    Any way you can cut down on size, go faster and lower air freight costs with smaller boards sounds good to me. Seen guys in the stand up world shaping the same design, of course big enough to stand on but same idea. FW is a favorite of mine.

  • alferd lavitov

    This long board surfboards specification is best for everyone.
    Glassed with 2 x 6oz fibreglass
    on the deck and 1 x 6oz on the bottom.
    Polished finish
    Single concave under nose
    Trim section
    “V” in tail
    60/40 rails
    Centre fin box
    Side fins (Stabilisers)
    Fins included

  • Ricardo Kroc

    Oh, Nice to see this stylist board. Thanks to share, keep it up!

  • Jessedog

    Look my Braddah’s,
    I love to see new shapes come out, especially when I’m sitting on the pot checking out the mags! I’ve been surfing over 20 yrs and all my boards have been custom, I used 4 different shapers and watched and learned. Until finally I decided to shape my own board and it wasn’t foam but made out of agave, sure it was a pain in the ass but it came out insane! Is it perfect? No, but I dig it! I guess what I’m trying to say is, it doesn’t matter if it’s made in China, TJ or by a well known shaper only you will know if you dig it or not and that’s all that really matters. So keep on designing and keep it fresh!

  • Joey
  • RaeRaeT

    love TOMO’s boards. I like the Vanguard best! Good job!