Michael recently purchased a Tom Wegener Mini Simmons, pictures below. The previous owner had the original Wagner fins made from wood and a set of FCS FK-1 fins. Michael says the board goes well with the FCS FK-1’s but it just slides out even at take off with the smaller wooden fins.
Michael asks: “Would it be best to persevere or work down in size..i.e I can shape some in between out of old FCS fins and then work down to the smaller ones or should I just persist. I have only had one surf with the small fins in 1-2′ slop) whereas the larger ones were in 4′ waves and I really enjoyed it but would like to get into the loose feeling that I have seen in some of the Mini Simmons clips.”
To Wegener replies: “With the small fins, you mostly have to use your rails. There is a knack to getting the rails to stick in and get traction. It is actually a lot easier to get the board to hold in on a steep face. In mushy waves they don’t get the speed to suck into the wave and the board just drifts sideways. I know your frustration.
Fin-less surfing did not come as easily to me as it did to most of my friends which was really maddening. I suggest trying the small fins again when you get to Crescent and there is a long wall to work with. Belly board a few waves to get a feel for the rails and then stand up. You will not believe the speed you will get and as the board goes faster it will be easier to control. Then you may try making slightly bigger fins.”
Thanks to Michael for sharing his question and to Tom (read more about this extraordinary shaper) for providing such valuable insight.
Fins are way over rated—especially on a Mini Simmons.
My take has always been smaller and lower with fins on the Mini but Tom Wegener has taken the ‘less fin argument’ a few steps forward in his almost fin-less chinned vacuum creation.
Tom Wegener, shaper of the year in Australia, says he got the idea from the rails on a boogie board with “chinned vacuum rails.” He then accentuated the fin set-up with tiny little pegs—forget the keels on this design.
Essentially the idea is that the built-in chinned rail acts as a fin through the length of the board giving some stability through turns and maneuvers.
In fact, this rail replaces the necessity for the traditional keel fin set-up and allows the surfer to pull off radical 360 style maneuvers with ease (see video below).
More on Tom Wegener here.