Most of the design elements of the planing hulls that Bob Simmons was developing in the 40s and 50s were pretty radical for the popular thinking about surfboards at the time.
Many of those design elements carry through to today and give us what we consider to be “the modern surfboard.”
However, it really wasn’t until the early 2000s that the Mini Simmons was resurrected.
And while the design is over pushing 70 years old at this point, it remains a fast, fun surfcraft even today.
What is a Mini Simmons
A Mini Simmons is a speed machine. They’re floaty, short – usually around 5’3″, wide, with a flat bottom and a little nose lift.
Twin keels are low profile and pushed towards the rails.
The Mini Simmons is a good choice in small waves, but can be great for bigger waves with some open face to work with too.
Turns tend to be more carvy and arching with rail to rail surfing, but the short length allows you to slide, spin, and maneuver the board with ease.
History of the Simmons Planing Hull
Bob Simmons was developing and experimenting with surfboard designs in the 40s and 50s that were unlike anything else at the time.
Simmons took the science and theories from boat designs and applied them to his surfboard. He was obsessed with numbers and dimensions, and aimed to create boards that were lighter and faster, and based in science.
He was one of the early experimenters of fiberglass, foam, and multiple fins.
He was also one of the first to experiment with bottom contours and concave as well as rail design – all of which comes to the forefront of the modern surfboard.
Simmons died in 1954 while surfing at Windansea.
In the early 2000s, John Elwell resurrected some of Simmons designs and with the Hydrodynamica project.