Is the Tomo Surfboards EVO the best Modern Planing Hull Yet? This user friendly all rounder by Daniel ‘Tomo’ Thomson is incredibly fast and nimble – great for a variety of waves but excels as an average, everyday all rounder surfboard.
If you’re on the Modern Planing Hull fence, I hope this surfboard review pushes you over the edge. This is the Tomo Surfboards EVO Review (leveraging Firewire Surfboards LFT Construction) – every bit as exciting as other boards of this design, the Tomo Surfboards EVO excels as and everyday, average wave all rounder.
The intermediate to experienced surfer will find yourself performing manoeuvres that often allude you while the novices will see the EVO as an ideal platform to progress their ability.
This is a great all rounder – some say the best yet – to come out of the Tomo Surfboards / Firewire Surfboards camp.
I hope you enjoy this surfboard review of the Tomo Surfboards EVO Review (Firewire LFT Construction)!
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Have a question? Wondering if the Tomo Surfboards EVO is the right board for you? Let’s talk about it in the comments…
+ This board picks up pace easily and holds speed through flat sections of the wave
+ The ride is more smooth and feels a little bit more settled versus other modern planing hulls that I’ve ridden
+ A very fast, dynamic ride. You still feel like you can do big turns on this board.
– It took me a while to get used to riding a 5’11 MPH on my back hand. I found myself digging the nose a few times on takeoff before I remembered to center by feet again on the board. Could be the length – I sometimes have a mental block when riding boards below 6’0!
The Tomo Surfboards Evo at 5’11” x 21″ x 2 7/8″ at 41.3 liters. For fin setup, I started by surfing the Medium Futures Fins EA Blackstix 3.0 thruster fins, which are my go to surfboard fin for small to medium size, average everyday conditions. I surfed primarily as a thruster in the beginning, then I switch from thruster to quad and I added the Futures Fins Haydenshapes rear trailer quad fins. That setup was great. The quad fins felt fantastic in the Evo, unlike the last Tomo Surfboards modern planing hull, the Vader. The quad setup really clicked for me in this board.
Standard Tomo Surfboards EVO dimensions and volumes may be found at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
I feel the best wave type for this board is waist to head high. It can be surfed a little bit over that but I felt that was the sweet spot for the board. It likes the flatter face. It likes, again, more average everyday conditions. It doesn’t mind a bit of chop and bump in the face, so the conditions don’t need to be perfect, but it does like to have a wave with a bit of run. Obviously, closeouts are closeouts, they’re not very much fun, but this board was great in average conditions. It also was fantastic in a couple of smaller wave days where the waves were really really clean and running but didn’t have much push.
- The Tomo Surfboards EVO features an outline curve that’s a little bit smoother than other modern planing hulls by Tomo
- It encourages a more in the pocket type of surfing
- A wider center point versus the Tomo Surfboards Vader
- The crazy looking “double inside single concave into split quad concave” bottom contour is completely new and unique to the EVO
- Tomo Surfboards Vader Surfboard Review: the MPH ‘tipping’ board for me, the Vader is amazing when it’s a bit bigger and better but still handles smaller conditions
- Misfit Surfboards Mermaid Killer Surfboard Review: Otis Carey’s signature model and my first foray into the Modern Planing Hull realm…this board is rad [Shop Misfit Shapes Mermaid Killer…]
- Simon Anderson Surfboards Nomad Surfboard Review:
- Firewire Surfboards Nano LFT Surfboard Review: this is an amazing all rounder that handles just about everything you can throw at it from waist high to well overhead
Hi, I’m Ben and today we are going to talk about the Tomo Surfboards EVO model. I was super excited to ride this board off the back of the Tomo Surfboards Vader model, which was the last modern planing hull that came out of the Tomo Surfboards and Firewire Surfboards camp and that board really tipped me over the edge.
“That (Firewire Surfboards Vader) was the tipping point board for me in my desire and my love for the modern planing hull style of board.”
I’d ridden the Firewire Surfboards Nano. I’d ridden the Mermaid Killer by Misfit Shapes [Shop now…]. I’d ridden a few styles of this board, but the Vader is really the one that tipped me over and really made me fall in love with the design. I absolutely loved riding that board, so when I heard about this board from Raz, the lovely gentleman who works at Firewire Surfboards in Australia, describe this as:
“The EVO takes the best components of the Vader and the Nano, squashed into one board,”
…the Tomo Surfboards EVO had great expectations set for it. It really had a lot to prove.
I was looking at it and waiting for the right time to go and surf it and I actually surfed it, probably the first time, at the worst possible time I ever could have surfed it. I had just come back from Indonesia and I always say, “As a rule of thumb, you should never, ever ride a board for the first time after you come back from surfing amazing waves,” and for 10 days in Indonesia we surfed amazing waves. I came back and the first session I had with this was a shoulder high, junky, onshore, terrible, cold day, and that was my first experience with the EVO. I didn’t have a great experience with it. I’ll be honest.
It wasn’t the board. It was just an Indo-Hangover and a really bad day, frankly. I backed it up, then, the following weekend with more success.
I surfed this shoulder high, stomach to shoulder high day, a little bit onshore, a little bit messy, not great, but some nice, little, running walls every now and then. This little beach break was getting the occasional little lips throwing and things like that, so it was fun, average, every day conditions.
That’s the purpose of the EVO, is to surf those conditions. When I surfed it that day, I started to feel the feeling again, like that magical feeling I felt when I clicked with the Tomo Surfboards Vader.
This board has all of the speed and acceleration that you get from modern planing hull but it feels a little bit more smooth and connected in those junkier waves. The Tomo Vader was great, I felt, when it was a little bit bigger and a little bit better, but I think the Vader definitely liked a more critical wave, whereas this board, from my experience,
“I think’s going to be great if you’re looking for a modern planing hull that’s going to handle the average, every day conditions that most of us surf a lot of the time.”
A few things about this board, you can see that it still has the modern planing hull outline, and if you haven’t versed yourself in the modern planing hull, we actually have a really good article on the odd history of the modern planing hull up at CompareSurfboards.com right now, which talks about the history and where the design originated from.
The modern planing hull is essentially changing the aspect ratio of the traditional surfboard to this shorter, more compact frame and very typical of that is this parallel rail design. The parallel rail design reduces friction between the water and the board itself so that’s why you get board that catch waves really easily and accelerates very quickly.
All of the modern planing hulls I’ve had, I would say the one thing that characterises all of them is that they’re incredibly fast. They’re actually, in general, good, I think, at managing speed. They accelerate quickly but they’re also easier to slow down, which is interesting. This board has a little bit more width push forward, so you can see the wide point is just a little bit further forward and it carries a little bit more bulk through the center of the board as well. You can see the foam running throughout there. It has this gentle rocker, not too much, again, good for average waves, and then it has this crazy channel that runs down.
It has this crazy bottom contour, which I think Tomo called it, if I’m not mistaken, a double, inside, concave through the front that then comes to a quad concave at the back. It really just looks like it has some crazy channels running out of the back of the tail.
I like to think of the modern planing hull more like a jet airplane, where you have water pushing in and the water hits this channel and it just funnels straight through the back of the board and so again, when you’re talking about the speed that you can get with these boards, that combination of elements combines to make a board that’s really, really fast.
Again, this board felt better, more settled, and easier to surf in the average, every day conditions that a lot of us would be looking to surf these boards in. If you’re looking at these boards and you haven’t quite been sold on some of the modern planning hulls in the past. This could be a really good option for you.
The Nano, I would say, was also a very user friendly design that was great as an all rounder when you handle steeper, better stuff, but could be surfed down in more average conditions, but this, I think, even has a little bit better prowess in those average, waist to head high range, that most of us surf most of the time. That is the low down on the Tomo Surfboards EVO, but let’s talk about what it might do for you in the water.
Experience in the Surf
I said before that I surfed the Tomo Surfboards EVO in that ugly, chunky, onshore day, and it didn’t have very good surf on it and then the second time I came back, I surfed it in more average conditions, a little bit smaller, and I started to connect with it, but it was really the third surf that really made me click with this board and really fall for it.
It was quite a small day. It was waist high with the occasional chest high set, but really clean and nice little running walls that were speeding up and slowing down, getting a little steeper and pulling back, dependent on the wave you got, there’s even a hollow inside section, which was really impossible to make it out of but really fun to race into.
I got to see, again, the board run its paces and see how it would react to all of these different types of conditions. It’s great to have a wave like that where you can see everything that the board can do.
As with other modern planing hulls, one of the benefits is that you’re surfing the board smaller than you might normally surf a board, because it’s a more compact design. You get shorter in length, a little bit wider in that parallel rail, so it holds a lot of volume through the board, but it has less swing weight.
It’s shorter, so again, what I think about in my mind, I think about how I can do a turn, like a big forehand turn. That’s one of the things I love about this design, is I feel like I actually do those turns the way that I picture in my mind that I should be doing them.
“I feel like I can just go and where I want to point the board, it will just move and flow with me and I think this design, in my experience, is quite unique in delivering that experience. It’s pretty amazing.”
I think if you were an average surfer, an intermediate or even a novice surfer, and you really wanted to push your surfing and you’re looking for a board that you’re going to surf as a utility board, this is a great option.
This Tomo Surfboards EVO is the kind of board that you surf 60% to 80% of the time that you surf. Once you get past that concept of the different shape of it and the fact that when you’re paddling around, it feels like the nose is chopped down too far down and close to you, once you get past that psychological thing, you start to really feel the benefits of this board, the speed of it and the manoeuvrability, the liveliness of it. Again, I think it’s a really great type of design to be able to help somebody push and progress their surfing.
I did surf it when it was a little bit bigger, a little bit steeper. This design, I think, less so than others in the past, is not as well-suited as others when it’s steeper and bigger. It will still handle those days, but there are probably other boards I would reach for when the waves get good and hollow. ‘
Overall, I think based on my experience, this is the type of board that you can just surf as an all rounder in a lot of different conditions and really have a ball.
For fin setups, I messed with the fins a little bit, not too much, actually. I went back to my go to fin of choice for average, every day conditions. These Medium Futures Fins EA Blackstix 3.0 thruster fins. I love the old Futures Fins EA Blackstix.
The new Futures Fins EA Blackstix, I find, are even better. They improved upon all the drawbacks of the old ones and didn’t lose any of the benefits. They generate speed really quickly. They’re great as a compliment to this style of board and originally, I was surfing it as a thruster, but I switched out for the quad. About 2/3 of the way through riding, testing this board, and I put in these Haydenshapes rear quad trailers.
These are the new Haydenshapes trailer quads and I don’t know why I put these ones in. I just had them sitting and waiting in my car and I wanted to try them so I just chucked them in and that went great.
The combination of speed that I was getting out of the front V2 Foil and the front of these fins, I felt it worked really well when tandem with those fins. It worked really well in this wider tail of the board, which is interesting. The other modern planing hulls that I’ve ridden, I’ve kind of preferred them as thrusters. This, I think, I do prefer as a quad. That was my fin set up, the Medium Futures Fins EA Blackstix 3.0 thruster fins and the Haydenshapes rear trailers.
To summarize my experience with the Tomo Surfboards EVO, I again had a great experience on the board. I’m really sold on this type of design. I think every person that I’ve pointed to get one of these boards, even the few people who’ve bought the ex-demo boards that I was riding when I tested them, everybody has great things to say about this style of board. It might take a little bit of getting used to, but not much.
I think it’s more, again, the psychological thing that you just need to get past the shape and how it looks different from the conventional boards that most of us ride. Once you get past that, I think again, I haven’t had anybody come back to me and say that they haven’t enjoyed their time on a modern planing hull Tomo Surfboards design.
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Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
Standard Tomo Surfboards EVO Dimensions & Volumes available at Tomo Surfboards website:
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The LFT construction started showing fabric and surface cracks after 5 surfs In several spots. FireWire does not warranty their boards in any way and told me this was normal wear.
That’s about $116 USD a surf before needing repairs to keep it water tight.
I had a Cymatic, great shape, awful construction.
I LOVE my Evo, but I think Benny kind of has this board all wrong.
When I bought it I had "waste high to head high" in my head, thinking it would be a small wave companion to my Omni. At first I tried it in 2 foot summer waves. In those conditions, for me, the board was ok on the face but it's so short it can be hard to make waves when it's small. There is such a thing as a length to beam ratio. Honestly I wasn't getting the board.
When I took it out to a local reef in a decent 3 to 4 foot groundswell, light offshore, the Evo just came to life. This board is a high performance thoroughbred, it's the fastest board I have ever surfed. It just accelerates off the takeoff like nothing else and holds its speed through manoeuvres. With all the additional speed my turns and cutbacks were instantly more powerful and aggressive. I feel like I am a 10 - 20% better surfer in waves like that on my Evo.
It makes surfing easier.
But in waste high waves the Evo is just ok, it's actually too short for those waves. I think people get confused because the board is shorter and wider, and that's usually the shape you reach for when the waves are average. But to really feel what this board is all about, it needs good waves. If you just want a small wave board, there are probably better options.
That's been my experience over the last year anyway.
Great to hear your take on it Tim...I am often wrong and love it when others' share their experiences! It helps us all!
I've just surfed my new Evo 5"7 for the third time . Even though it was mushy beaches today under my feet the board is super quick & Responsive. I normally ride a 6 foot Hypto Krypto , stepping of that onto the evo , I realize how lazy my surfing has been. Rail to rail insane love this board, can't wait to go surf it again soon. Cheers Tomo for making such a great board.