Friday, May 18, 2012

Mini Simmons Love

My friend, B.'s, brother, G. and his brother's friend, M., picked this board up at a surf swap -- they all three kind of co-own it -- in a sense it's a community board. It's a 4'11" Mini Simmons shape by Steve Forstall. The Mini Simmons was designed by Bob Simmons. Simmons was a pioneer of surfboard and skeg design. Surfline has a very concise history about him that you can read here. The little gem pictured above was my first encounter with such a shape. I saw it first at B.'s loft-warming party in Bushwick (no joke -- as a digression I am also doing research on the origination of the hipster phenomenon in Brooklyn -- I am having trouble deciphering whether I am one and then that makes me think that the category is far too large). It was love at first sight. I could barely talk to other people at the party. I knew that I had to go out with it some time. Then B. came down with a gnarly case of ingrown toenail so he was out of commission from February thru April. Time passed and I put the hope of riding this board out of my mind. Then May swung around and B.'s toed healed up. Of course he never stopped monitoring conditions and thus he shot me a surf text the day before a fun little swell was predicted to arise. A mission quickly formed and set. I picked up Th. and T. first in the Lower East Side, then cruised to the outer Wick to scoop B. He had two boards in hand: his 5’6” simmons-esque quad and the above 4’11”. We did the 6am hustle out to Long Beach and were greeted by hazy 3-4 foot peaks. I rode my thruster for the first hour or so. Got a few sneaky head dips, but nothing too special. The tide came up quickly and the waves started to bog out. We had left the little wonder on the beach -- first come first serve style. When I went in to make the switch B.’s quad was in its place. So I took that out. It’s really skatey but a bit too loose and stiff for my taste. Just doesn’t have that magic zip. Still I rode it a bit until I saw that B. got tired and went in. The time finally arrived for me and the 4’11”s first date. Everything that followed was pure bliss. Paddling was cake. The thing absolutely zooms into waves. I caught wave after wave, weaving and dashing into the shorebreak. I hadn’t felt that sort of speed and responsiveness since the first time I rode my CI fish (which still goes great by the way -- just a bit of a different feel). This board provides the kind of surfing for me where I don’t need to think too much. Its curves and my style have a natural symbiosis. I have surfed it twice since then and those sessions were equally as enjoyable. The new dilemma: how do I own one for myself? I will get more chances to ride this one but I definitely need one of my own. I’d also like to experiment going smaller -- like 4’6” or so -- real biscuity. I have since looked at other Mini Simmonses and they all have this bulky and heavy look to them. I like that this one is made out of very light epoxy and has shortboard-esque rails to it. I do know that this board used to belong to Montauk shredder Mike Detemple (whom I don’t know personally), and I’ve tried to contact him via Twitter to see if he has any others for sale, but no dice. That’s cool. I might just have to dig harder. Thinking about getting Steve Forstall to shape me one. I did some research on him (see link). He was very influenced by this design in his early shaping days and has immense knowledge about east coast waves, plus he shaped this wonder, so he’s definitely worth contacting, but then I dunno how I’d get it to NY from Florida on a gradstudent budget. I think a good route might be to talk to some surf shop bros or to just find a longboard, saw the nose off, find some skegs, and make my own. Whatever route I take, I am determined to make something like this mine. Oh and if you want to read/see more info on such like boards check out Hydrodynamica’s cool little piece on them here.

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