The Mini Simmons is named after it’s originator Bob Simmons, a visionary surf/shaper from Los Angeles. Simmons’ greatest contribution to surfboard design was the application of objective hydrodynamic theory to the small planing hulls we call surfboards by dropping the rails with a lot of hard edge in the tail section and using a Simmonsesque, rounded nose contour developing into a semi-severe single concave under the fore-mid-section that flows into a double-concave that is deep enough to form a slight vee through the tail section before coming to a flat edge.The noses and tails were thin and featured hydrofoiled rails. They were wide and with wide, slightly pulled-in tails. The nose had an increased turn up with a camber and slight belly in them.” Simmons called these “hydrodynamic planing hulls.”
The Mini Simmons phenomenon is one of cult status, with websites dedicates to the craft. An online search will reveal sources on the history, design and how to shape your own Mini Simmons. Maarten has been coming to J Bay for several years from Belgium. Last year he had an opportunity to ride a Mini Simmons and instantly fell in love with the magical carpet ride. Upon his return in 2018, Maarten approached local shaper Hugh Thompson for a custom design. As can be seen, Hugh added a few design aspects to his Mini Simmons. At the back it has a slightly rounded diamond tail. This shortens the rail line and and allows for more manoeuvrability at high speeds. The fins also run more parallel to the stringer. This generates less drag and allows a smoother transition through your turns. Approx 21 inches from the nose, Hugh also shaped a hull within the concave of the board to enhance the “Planing Hull” of the board.
To compliment and complete the J Bay experience, local artist Stephen van der Watt was asked to provide his signature artwork. The result is a beautiful masterpiece that is ideally suited for the long point breaks of J Bay and represents a collaboration between two talented artists and craftsmen.
If you’re looking for advise on your next board, feel free to drop Hugh a line on any ideas you might have.