Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Teeth

The Simmons platform has all the marks of true genius: functionality steeped in Newtonian mechanics, never-before-seen design aesthetics, and an incredible versatility--there aren't that many designs out there that will work for such a wide range of dimensions and wave sizes.
For example, the current crop of Mini-Simmons have sprouted at mid-to-sub five foot range. They slay flat-faced waves up to head high. On the day of his death in 1954, Bob Simmons rode a 10'6" in well-overhead surf at Windansea.
Reading Simmons theories gets me all sweaty and nerd stoked, so I carved out a 5'9" for myself that dives a bit deeper into the 'experimental' end of the design pool.
Low rocker (Simmons:"you just don't need it!") for maximum planing, and 'cambered' nose contour (in this case, a paneled forward vee) to spread water to the high-pressure rail area at takeoff. Domed deck blended into round, thin rails, to shed water off the airfoil. 
Widepoint ahead of center, as Simmons believed (and was backed up by aerodynamic and naval architecture) that load had to be forward of lift. 

Super wide, with a pulled nose rather than the more tombstone-y noses I've been shaping the last few years, as Simmons departed from the wide-nose plank designs of the day, experimenting with pulled-in and even pointed noses.
There's a subtle concave to reduce pressure flow under the board, and the tail is thin and wide.
The double wings are a departure from a more fundamental Simmons approach, but this board's going to be ridden in Northern California beachbreak, and a tighter tail will fit more comfortably into a steeper wave face. 

This one builds off my already flat Mini-Simmons rocker and breaks up the twin Simmons fins into a quad system.

These quads, too, depart from the norm, shifting more area from the rear fin to the forward fin. I love the drive off a huge twin fin, especially on drawn-out bottom turns, so this should maximize that hand-tickling-the-wave-surface feeling while adding an additional control element. Neal Purchase Jr.'s been having some success with this style in Australia and beyond.

Good lord, this post got tech weenie fast. How about little joke to break the geek tension:
Question: How do you know that Bob Simmons influenced your surfboard?
Answer: Because it works!
Are the various elements going to combine for maximum small-wave shreddage?
Who the hell knows?
All the applied design theory in the Library of Congress won't necessarily turn a lawnmower into a Stealth Bomber, but I'm pretty stoked to find out. 
Fortunately, we have a few weeks in Northern Baja coming up to provide a suitable testing ground. I'll keep you posted.


First Light Surf Company said...

I've been riding Neil Purchase quartet set ups for the past 6 months and they work.
Especially on my mini simmons
Go for it!

Makai Kalii said...

Q. How do you know that Bob Simmons was not the first shaper to introduce the thruster?

A. When you lived in Hawaii and surfed boards shaped by Ben Aipa and Dick Brewer who were shaping boards with the thruster set up years before Simmons.

First Light Surf Company said...

Makai Kalii..
You do realize hob simmons was shaping these
In the late 40... Early 50s...?
No one said he introduced the thruster ..
We're talking about functional rails, bottom contours, twin fins, rocker, planing surface, etc...

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are a true craftsman. Great shapes and fins. Northern California is lucky to have you. Ever ship to Florida?

Anonymous said...

Please post a picture of her all glassed up along with a ride report!