Bob Simmons - A lesson from the past to the present

The legacy of Bob Simmons is one of the most dynamic links between surfing’s past, present and future. Simmons was considered the Einstein of surfing. He didn’t call his creations surfboards, but referred to them as hydrodynamic planing hulls. Simmons designed these planing hulls using theories that descended from the timeless realm of physics, mathematics and science to achieve efficient hydrodynamic lift. The planing hulls were state of the art and Simmons made a quantum leap forward by building lightweight foam core boards and riding a six foot Styrofoam planing hull in 1950! Simmons was far ahead of his time, but unfortunately he would never complete his mission to build the perfect surfboard due to his death while surfing a large swell in September 1954. 

The tales of the short Styrofoam board sparked the birth of the ‘Mini-Simmons’ thanks to the efforts of Simmons’ old friend John Elswell, surfer Richard Kenvin and veteran shaper Joe Bauguess. In 2006 Bauguess and Kenvin applied their Simmons design expertise to create the Mini-Simmons, keeping Simmons’ signature touches intact and blending in modern design elements. The souped-up Mini-Simmons was nicknamed after the cartoon ghost ‘Casper’. It was cute, white as a sheet and like Simmons, it came back from the dead.

Video by The Surfers Journal 

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