Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mini Simmons USN styling

The Papa is once again inspired!!

Papa Nui's pal, Mr Fishfry, has agreed to help the Papa shape a new board. The object of this activity is to expand on the Papa's facination with the 1940's and in particular the board designs of vintage surfboard guru, Bob Simmons. The period following World War II was a time of great experimentation in surfboard design and Simmons was one of those remarkable surfing free thinkers who during the war worked for the Douglas Aircraft Company out in Santa Monica. He applied to surfboard design the technology and materials that he was exposed to at the plant and in conjuction with his enlightenment via a US Navy publication by one of the finest US naval architects, Lindsey Lord, a PHD from MIT who did an intensive study on planing hulls, Simmons was able to introduce this unique hull idea to surfboard design. The Navy had sought an ideal width and length shape for quick lift, maneuverability and speed. Lord maintained the study was solid information and a new, not previously known, naval science. The book was full of graphs, complex equations and recommended a new material to strengthen lightweight planing hulls; fiberglass and resin. The form developed was simple parallelism, with an ideal length-width ratio number called aspect ratio, used in wing design...From experimenting with this new technology Simmons influenced surfings development like few have ever done. It has been said that the greatest single contribution to the evolution of the modern surfboard was the introduction of the light board by Bob Simmons.
Todays take on Simmons' revolutionary developments is the Mini-Simmons, a cut down board applying the same principals from the vintage aquatic US NAVY technology.
It is this little baby that has the Papa so fired up! Pictured below is a beautiful example pulled from Tristan Mausse's blog "Mini- Simmons World Religion" and shaped by Paulo Jacinto. Reader's of PAPA NUI SAYS... will be familiar with the Papa's 9'6" sea-log shaped by Dain Thomas of Sea Surfboards and appreciate the connection between this beautiful little Simmons and the Papa's invasion barge board he uses regularly.

Obviously given the Papa's particular take of surfing, the Olive Drab resin tint on this Mini-Simmons is a must. But to personalise it even further the Papa feels a wartime stencil print is in order.
This print is based on Jack Kerouac's US NAVY service during the war.
Now as the summer is fast approaching and the beach breaks beckon, the Papa must get busy. But what shorts to wear while riding the Simmons? Should it be the olive green Birdwells or the khaki Under water demolition team numbers?

Finally is there any more seaworthy hat to keep the sun off the Papa's brow than a drab version of a traditional Dixie cup!


  1. Where can I get hold of one of those Dixie Cup hats?...

  2. This cup is produced by the Japanese brand, 'Corona' the best source is probably the 'lightbulb' store. Not sure if they still make them however. Perhaps try dying an original white one? They did this alot in WWII especially amongst the working crews who couldn't white hats clean.