DESIGN FEATURES: The Tomo Vanguard is built using Firewire’s kite-specific construction technology and features Daniel Tomo Thomson’s radical, early-planing hull. These strapless-only surf shapes still have a light custom feel, but with added durability over the pure surf construction. The Vanguard has a rectangular outline that starts with a flipped and blunt nose, and features very parallel rails. Some single concave in the bottom bleeds into rounded soft rails through the mid-section. The tail has some channels that lead into the diamond, swallow-tail shape.
FREERIDING/FREESTYLE: This was one of the smoothest-riding, blunt shaped boards of the test. It has great upwind push even underpowered and smooth water flow whether the rail is buried or pushing hard on the fins. The smooth flow and chop-eating ability of the Vanguard is impressive and it seems to have a magic combo of concave and rocker. Looking at the board’s shape you’d think it should turn like it does but amazingly, the Vanguard can turn fairly tight, and holds a nice carving edge at speed. Nice to punt with excellent balance.
RIDING SURF: The Vanguard excels in a wide range of wave conditions. It’s short and compact but the shape packs a lot of power and can get the most out of smaller waves and coast you through the weak sections. It’s skatey and loose for quick linked turns on smaller waves, and when it gets bigger it doesn’t get oversized too quickly. With its short length it can get vertical and make it up and down on waves with speed and precision. The control and smooth stability you get with the Vanguard can help you get in the right spot in the break but it takes some time to get used to how it works. This is a board that can open up possibilities on sections that traditional shapes have a harder time getting to. When you plant your back foot as far back as possible the Vanguard can kick into turns nicely and paste the wave face with confidence. This is a surf stick that you can use in a lot of different conditions and have a blast.
BEST FOR: Accessible to all skill levels. Performance in real world conditions.
Editors Note: The Kitesurfing Magazine test team tested the Vanguard with wax only, wax and a rear deck pad, and with a full deck pad from WMFG. The full deck pad was the test teams preferred setup for ease of use, maximum comfort, and best traction.