A futuristic surfboard and a traditional surfer’s first impression

Which end is the tail?
Which end is the tail? Photo: Courtesy of Tomo
I’m a simple guy. I like single-fins with clean lines, I still wear a wetsuit with a zipper in the back, I still think there’s something cool about glassed-on fins and I still use a key to start my car. Some might call it old school, some might call it traditional and some might call it super lame.

However, I’m still a modern-day human living in a modern time, so my curiosity still gets struck when I see something unusual.

Progressive surfboard design may start to grow on me. Photo: Jon Perino
Progressive surfboard design may start to grow on me. Photo: Jon Perino
Enter the Tomo Evo. I’ve seen plenty of dudes in the water on these boards that look more like a wakeboard than a surfboard, and they’re absolutely killing it. They look so narrow, so blunt, so … strange. This is not what I grew up watching the Momentum Generation riding.

But the people I see surfing these Tomos are making horrible waves actually look pretty good. They’re making sections I couldn’t make on my 5’10” thruster and they’re throwing their tail out the back on knee-high mush.

There’s got to be something to this design.

The tricky thing about surfboards is that rarely are you able to give one a shot before you commit to buying it (surfboards are like a box of chocolates). However, this year’s Camp Shred at San Elijo State Beach gave me the opportunity to give this futuristic, shredtastic-looking board a try. Here’s what I found.

My first impression as I walked the board back to my campsite to suit up was that it actually felt rather normal under my arm. Weighted accordingly, width and thickness felt about right and, other than the fact that the nose and tail look almost interchangeable, it actually felt very familiar. I opted for the Evo in 5’5″ x 19 ½” x 2 1/2″ with 30.5 liters of volume, and a quad-fin setup.

Why quad fin, you ask? Why not?

Remeber the ...Lost video, 5'5"x19 1/4"? These dimensions aren't far off, but still worlds apart. Photo: Jon Perino
Remember the …Lost video, 5’5″ x 19-1/4″? These dimensions aren’t far off, but they’re still worlds apart. Photo: Jon Perino
As I began my paddle, I realized that the buoyancy of this board felt good — much more float than I expected. It felt surprisingly familiar, but with much less foam than I’m used to. Not a bad thing at all.

The waves were good size this day. It was easily overhead on the sets and really consistent. I sat on the outside and waited (it was crowded). After catching a few solid waves, I really got a sense of the speed that this board can handle. As I’ve read that this board really shines in sub-par waves, it held up in the solid stuff, too.

I was expecting groveler performance, but instead it felt like a normal shortboard. It turned on a dime, and although I didn’t get a chance to really push it and release the tail, it certainly handled long, drawn-out rail work to my delight.

Tomo Evo surfboard review
Fin check. Photo: Jon Perino
The most vexing thing to me were the bottom contours. Tomo calls it “double inside single concave into split quad concave planing hull.” Huh? Whatever you want to call it, it looks complicated.

“The Evo feels as if it’s almost ‘levitating’ on the water!” says Tomo. I’d vouch for that.

The Evo really does seem like it would be a great all-around board to add to the quiver. It’s small, light and has the capability to perform in most normal surfers’ daily conditions. It’s offered in lengths from 4’8″ through 6’0″.

As for my verdict: I certainly had a good time on the Tomo Evo, with nothing to complain about at all. In fact, I’d really like to have another go on this thing in really crappy waves (as odd as that sounds). A good friend was telling me that he surfed it in waist-high slop and it actually made him feel like a better surfer than he actually is.

But for me, I think I’ll stick with my classic design … for now. Maybe that’s because I just feel more comfortable on something familiar, or maybe I’m just old school. Whatever. I think I’ll go watch Good Times now.

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