A Broken Back Doesn’t Break R.K.’s Clean Lines on the El Tomo Fish.

Richard Kenvin is a Surfboard Historian and Published Author who has lectured at the University of California San Diego and also curated Surf Craft; an art exhibition showcasing surfboards built from the 1940’s to present.

His work as a curator of surf board designing culture is unparalleled. We dig into it in a new episode of The Wire Podcast (iTunes, Spotify), available wherever you listen to podcasts.

Setting up for a speed line. Richard Kenvin on the El Tomo Fish. Photo: Erik Derman.

R.K. is most popularly known as Director of the Hydrodynamica Project (with over 30k followers on Instagram).

It’s this role that enabled him to resurrect the work of Bob Simmons, an Aeronautical Engineer who died while surfing Windansea in 1954, leaving behind a trove of formulas created for optimizing speed and glide in surfboard design, hard earned through a career focused airplane flight.

Richard’s work as a Surfboard Historian means he saves everything – especially Tomo’s 15 year old fish, a precursor to 2020’s new El Tomo Fish.

It was Richard’s work unearthing the legacy of Simmons that inspired Daniel Thomson in the early 2000’s.

Daniel used Richard’s resurrection of Simmon’s efforts to inform his own design of a Modern Planing Hull that caught the attention of Firewire C.E.O. Mark Price as he watched Tom Curren ride it in Santa Barbara.

Swipe Tomo’s Shapes

Mark quickly brought Tomo into the Firewire fold, creating a platform for the Vanguard and Vader, popularized by both Tomo and Stu Kennedy; a collaboration that earned acknowledgement from Kelly Slater during the 2012 U.S. Open.

You can hear Kelly’s praise of Tomo in this video:

By 2015, Kelly’s interest had lead to his direct work with Tomo on the Sci-Fi and Omni, and later the Cymatic and more.

Today Tomo, mindful of his success with both Kelly and Firewire while speaking about Richard, says: “RK resurrected the Planing hull movement and played a huge roll in inspiring my design direction. I would not be where I am today without his guidance and support. Forever grateful.

A look at history (in this new episode of The Wire Podcast) proves Tomo’s statement true in many ways – it was Richard who personally brought Tomo to the U.S.A in the early 2000’s to live at his home in San Diego while Tomo began building his brand in North America.

Tomo shows Richard the El Tomo Fish for the first time in La Jolla, California.

Richard and Tomo remain close to this day, and you can hear Richard on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching ‘ The Wire by Firewire Surfboards ‘ on any podcast platform, where Richard is a guest in our newly released episode #50.

The Complete Tomo Collection