The El Tomo Fish: How Daniel Thomson’s Journey Into Fish Design History lead to an Aeronautical Inspired Future Craft.

A brand new episode of The Wire Podcast is live. But first… Some surfing on the El Tomo Fish.

You can hear the whole episode with Daniel Thomson on iTunes , YouTube and Libsyn. It covers much, such as the design story of the El Tomo Fish as heard above, and among other things, the way that Daniel’s design career breaks cleanly into six stages:

Daniel Thomson on the El Tomo, shot by Jon Foster.

Pre 2004 – Grom life: Growing up on one of Australia’s best point breaks, Daniel rips, riding performance shortboards. 

2004 – A Mind Shift: Richard Kenvin (seen in video above) travels from San Diego, California to the point break Daniel lives at in Australia with a quiver of traditional fish shapes designed by some of California’s most iconic surfboard shapers – Skip Frye, Larry Mabile, Rich Pavel and more. Richard is trying to find Dave Rastovich and in the process finds Daniel, who rides the fish shapes and feels speed and glide that he hasn’t felt before on his standard shortboards. Daniel is hooked.

2007 – Simmons Influence: Inspired by the late Bob Simmons; an Aeronautical Engineer from the 1950’s whose work Daniel had been introduced to in 2005 by Richard Kenvin and John Elwell (a personal friend of Simmons before his passing in 1954), Daniel begins studying F15 fighter Jets and F22 Raptors in the same way Bob Simmons used to study aircraft in the 1950’s, applying what he learned to his twin keel planing hull surfboards of the time. What Daniel finds more than five decades later is the way that specific ratios are used in fighter jet tails to create maneuverability with minimal drag while flying, and like Simmons, Daniel applies what he learns to Jet Fighter Tailed Fishes that earn a following in California and elsewhere.

Daniel and Rasta in 2009.

2010 – Modern Planing Hull: The vanguard. The Vader. The Evo. Daniel steps onto a worldwide stage with his MPH designs – created with intention to be ridden as short as possible with functional surface area and volume packed into the most minisculse shape possible. These designs use nothing more than what’s necessary to create surfing sensations that inspire surfers everywhere to ask “What’s the point of a pointed nose?”

2016 – Kelly Slater: After publicly expressing enthusiasm for Daniel’s MPH work with Stu Kennedy, Kelly Slater acquires Firewire and immediately puts Daniel to work applying his MPH designs to new bat tails, round tails and more as Daniel concurrently works with Stu to create boards for his WSL efforts on tour. Daniel seeks ways to sneak MPH principles into shortboards that appeal to judges eyes, and Stu puts on one of the most memorable Snapper Rocks performances ever seen on tour, riding the Sci-Fi.

Surfboard Historian Richard Kenvin rides the El Tomo, shot by Jon Foster.

2020 – Full Circle: Doing what he calls a ‘lap around the block’ Daniel returns to his Jet Fighter Tail concepts to explore the ways that what he’s learned from the past 13 years can enhance his designs from 2007, specifically using new modern quad placements with avant-garde fin templates and his now well-proven Quad Inside Single Concave.

Enjoy the full conversation with Daniel on iTunes here, Libsyn here, and on YouTube below.