Sunday, July 7, 2013


I was asked by Tim Stafford from the UK as to how I have evolved my Mini Simmons to where it is now. It challenged me to put my thoughts down and cover the journey. Here it is...

I suppose I came about this board concept from many directions and influences. I like to express my ideas and collective thoughts by actually doing something with them and just build a board. Some have worked better that others. Some have maybe been too many things going on or needed to be more subtle.But they all surfed and people have had fun on them.

This is I believe the first Mini Simmons to come to Australia and that was shaped by Ian Zamora of California and he brought it with him to the second Alley Fish Fry

The first mini simmons I made was shaped for good mate Johnny Tesoriero as a stringerless EPS and hand foiled bamboo fins
I like the mini simmons concept of the compact planing hull. It is small fun and very fast and functional.To this I have added a large concave out through the tail , then gradually extended the concave forward so that it was just sneaking out through the hull entry in the nose. This happened over a number of boards. It seemed to work and not effect anything else. This was with a round nose simmons mind you.
 I kept the S deck and fined the rails down on this one to appeal to mates who surfed short boards and couldn't get their heads around the whole thing.
 Hand foiled bamboo fins in the traditional simmons shape

 I also lashed out on a 10ft version for myself , that is heaps of fun to ride. Hull entry and long deep concave
 So when I squared the nose off I started with the hull entry only and experimented with the width of the squared off nose to get a balance with the lift of the hull and the chance of the rail catching.

 Still with a slight S deck and more concave coming through the nose slightly

 Mostly it was people getting over the visual impact of no nose in front of them really and adjusting to that in their heads.

 Pretty radical hull and concave combo that was a real test to shape. With a concave deck as well.
 Lots going on here.
 Hard to get a balance between the bottom contours and the desired rail foil

Then when I added the concave through the nose I went all out and just turned the nose into 2 hulls so that when you do a full rail turn you actually split the board down the middle and narrow the board width like it is a catamaran / 2 hulls. It works and I have had great feedback. Also the concave through the nose expands and goes full width in the middle of the board.

 Tapered rails to keep the volume in the guts but fine the rails out. Full with tail concave. Very fast and able to get the rail to dig into the face of the wave as well.

I have also experimented with the full length board concave after checking out a Greenough spoon with the edge on it. So I made a fish and a simmons like this , but instead of Georges flat bottom where it is clear glass I made that a concave. As the spoon when it healed over and twisted, the water would push the middle of the board up into a concave shape. So I just built it into the bottom of my board from the start. Then outside of this I had the edge that George used. It all worked but then getting rails to not be too bulky was very hard.

 Concave deck as well
 Hull to an edge and then a concave full length that tapers to the tail. Complex to shape.
 I still have this board and some guys just love it.

I also made a foam and glass alaia with this bottom, very fast. Then I dropped the edge and put all these contours back into the bottom of the board rather than sticking out, which made it more subtle and it is from here that lots of other ideas have come.

Concave deck and side cut outline
Full length concave small fins if needed and foam for float

The FAQ - fat arse quad fish. wide tail and pretty experimental for its time

I have made all sorts of shapes and sizes as well for mates and other open minded people.
 This is the smallest a t 3ft 8" for Kyus King on the Vans surf team. He was only 12 so a bit of a challenge at the time to scale it all down for him.

 4ft 4" for Josh Punch
And then my latest the Hydro simmons with the full length concave

The double diamond tail is just a way of narrowing the tail with out turning it into a standard swallow  / split tail fish.And is in keeping with the squashed up look of the rest of the board , compact. The small V in the middle frees the tail up more with the big concave down the middle and all that water being compressed out thru the fins. The wide tail square simmons has so much lift with a rail to rail concave that it is easy to transfer the weight to the front foot and slide the tail out and do 360's which some guys love and others see as loosing control, even though you have massive keel fins right on the rail to hold you in of steep waves. Some guys have even done cheater fives on these short wide boards because they have so much lift in such a short length. You just have to approach riding these short wide boards like skate boarding / snow boarding, wake boarding, where you don't move your feet much at all as there isn't much latitude to do this with the limited space available anyway.You need to use your upper body and move with the wave, weighting and unweighting to generate speed. Watch Rasta on a fish and see how he generates so much speed.

So I have combined lots of things to come to where it is at now. As a narrow outline and a thruster setup it surfs in the pocket and goes vertical like a short board , but shorter / no nose. And as a wider version with quad setup it is a high performance simmons like Bob never envisaged. A bit like a "Fish Finger" and a "Hash Brown". The over riding thing is that guys are blown away by how short they can ride these types of boards. Because you use all the board all the time. 85kg guys on 5ft boards. Then when they get of the un-glassed wood ones that does there heads in with no wax at all as well.

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