Old To Nine Lights Future Primitive
Nine Lights is committed to making boards that are more environmentally sound. Our boards are shaped from recyclable EPS foam, covered with natural timber, and glassed with low VOC epoxy resin. Combining these materials results in a board so strong it will outlast a traditionally made board, so less end up in the trash heap. The strength of the board comes from the outer skin, allowing the foam core to be very lightweight. Fiberglass is layered on either side of the wood sheeting, creating a strong I- beam structure that absorbs tension and compression. This means you’ll have less chance of breakage and you’ll get far less dings.
Check out Nine Light Surfboards
Okay, let’s make some keel fins.
You will need to purchase: wax paper, wood, fin rope, fiberglass cloth and resin.
Wear a mask or get eco resin.
Now, find a nice flat place to create your fin art.
Cut out your fins.
Now follow these directions.
Grab the life-size Fin Template below
Twinzer, I know it seems like we are talking a lot about fins these days but your fin setup can make a huge difference in how your board rides. The other day we talked about installing a small trailer fin on a Mini Simmons but today I wanted to explore the possibility of using the twinzer fin system on a MSS.
First of all you’ll have to forget using keel fins if you want to use the twinzer system on your MSS—it just won’t work. The twinzer setup is for a more performance oriented Mini Simmons and should go on a board with a bit smaller tail and less volume throughout. The twinzer is essentially as early quad and performs much like a quad—more drive, more speed, and you can hold longer lines. I like what user lawless said about the twinzer on the swaylock shaping forums when he described the twinzer, “more like a twin with superchargers in front.”
I was watching the Quicksilver Pro in France this week (watch the final heat with Slater & Dan online here) and was impressed to see Kelly Slater paddle out into thumping barrelling beachbreak on a 5’10 quad—the idea being that he wanted more stability and bite in the barrell as he was moving through critical sections. So a Mini Simmons twinzer is going to be your board for more vertical waves where you need to draw a line and it will also give you more bite on the face as you move through turns or in and out of barrells—getting barrelled on a MSS is so fun.
The inventor of the twinzer, Will Jobson, did his original twinzer designs with a deep single concave when he first made them in 1988. The concave was actually curved so that it was deepest close to the fins on the side and more shallow in the center. Jobson was looking for a way to get ride of what Surfing Encyclopedia calls the ‘terminally skittish’ syndrome and with the twinzer Jobson made design improvements that allowed a ‘fix’ for many for the twin-fin problems. Surfing Encyclopedia goes on to talk about Jodson’s twinzer design:
“The board’s tail area was narrower than that found on the twin-fins, while the fins were pushed back a few inches and moved closer to the center of the board, behind a second set of smaller fins that were positioned closer to the rail. A shallow six-inch-wide channel was cut into the back few inches of the tail area.”
The more fins you put on a board, the harder it is to get it dialed in—less is more with fins on a Mini Simmons and if you read this blog often enough you know that is my opinion. But opinions are like farts, they come and go and sometimes they stink. I’ll be shaping a Mini Simmons this winter with a twinzer setup, I look forward to reporting back to the MSS community and letting everyone know how it rides.
Trailer Fin—FCS Stubby Stabilizer.
I thought about doing this on my very first Mini Simmons, having a trailer fin for critical sections or when there is a bit more vertical face is a definite advantage and makes the Mini Simmons a more versatile board.
You also want something that you can remove for those smaller days or for when you want a more skatey ride.
I know you are thinking, how about the quad set-up for the Mini? I’ve ridden a few Mini’s as quads and for me they just don’t work—most boards are over-finned—including your fish and shortboard.
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.
This is a resource guide to understanding Mini Simmons fin placement. Before we get started on how and where to place your Mini Simmons fins lets do a quick review of fin dynamics.
Basic fin placement characteristics that will influence your ride include the following:
Min Spread Cluster
A Mini Simmons in many ways goes against convention fin placement basics.
What does that mean?
Well, a spread out fin cluster will result in a longer turning arc—definitely a characteristic of most Mini Simmons surfboards. However, the spread out fin placement is traditionally used on longer boards and is made for waves with speed and power. This is why it’s sometimes difficult to snap a Mini off-the-top or made a quick mid face cutback.
In contrast a compacted fin cluster produces shorter turning arcs, you could try it on a Mini but I’ve never seen anyone do it, could be an interesting experiment.
*MSS Recommended Fin: two glass-on keel fins placed near to rail and tail
Fin Distance From Rail & Tail
A good place to start is to place your rear fin base one inch from the tail and one inch from the rail. The further back you place your fins the more drive you’ll get from the placement.
However, you are going to get lots of opinions on this one, but I like my Mini fins close to the tail (maybe 1/2 inch) and close to the rail (around 1 inch at the base). A more forward fin setup will be looser and have a short turning radius. The further back you place the fins, the tighter the hold and the longer slopping turns you’ll be able to perform—think snowboard carving.
You’ll likely want to play with fin distance to tail and rail as you shape more boards, altering the fin cluster dimensions can really impact total design characteristics—which is the fun of surfboard shaping.
*MSS Recommended Measurement: 1′ off tail + 1′ off rail (rear fin base measurements)
Fin tow is the percentage of tweak you give the fins off the 90 degree mark towards the stringer. The more tow you give, the looser a board feels in a turn. However, that tow comes at a cost because more tow equates to more drag while going down the line. Think about it, if you have two straight lines (or fins) moving forward in the water there is very little resistance (aka speed). Add an angle to that straight line and the water flow is disrupted—until you engage a turn, that’s where you need that tow to divert your forward energy into a new direction.
So that being said you want to find a balance between straight line speed and angled redirection. Unless you plan on just going straight. If you are shaping a board for a beginner you don’t need to worry about dialing in the exact tow. But if you put in too much tow you’ll find it hard to turn a board and the increased drag will make it slog in the water. (Slog = slow hog).
I recommend just a tad of tow, just enough to make sure your turns are fluid but not too much that you’ll be dragging your ass down the line.
*MSS Recommended Measurement: 1/4 inch of tow or at place 85 degrees.
The fin cant is the ‘lean’ of the fin off 90 degree center. More cant, leaning away from the stringer, will give a board less drive and projection out of turns and less cant offers the opposite.
Cant is the angle it makes in relation to the bottom of the surfboard. A fin that sticks straight up, perfectly perpendicular to the board’s base contour, is said to have a no cant. Canted fins point outwards, toward the rails of the board. Increasing the fins’ cant leads to a more responsive board through turns, while decreasing the cant (bringing it closer to 90°) makes the board faster, especially when traveling in a straight line.
I wasn’t a big proponent of cant on a Mini until recently when I rode one with about 4 degrees of cant. That ‘canted’ board really performed well and was a blast to ride. You’ll have to make up for the cant with a little more volume to help compensate for the extra drag created by the more dynamic angles.
*MSS Recommended Measurement: 2-4 degrees
A Mini Simmons is being born in France and word is out that I’ll get to ride it in a few weeks as part of the Mini Simmon’s Europe project that is emerging.
I REALLY look forward to it.
See shaper Philippe DELSANTI in action . . .
These board will be outfitted with custom olive wood fins.
Fins made by hand by surfer Scott Bell.
visions of perfect half circles
slicing through mounds of water
slice and dice . . . perhaps trice
fins . . . so much to learn
This is one of the first Mini Simmons Twinzers I ever saw.
It is a very interesting fin setup, not traditional at all and I wonder how those small forward fins work.
I’d love to hear more about this board and how it works (or doesn’t).
See our full article on the Mini Simmons twinzer please click here.
Mini Mini. 5.4 x 22 x 2.25
hips way forward
step down tail
my last one i got all fancy
big front + rear rocker
scooped the bottom
i had it out in 6-8 foot surf the other day
and i can tell you man
that thing performed so well
and i can get it vertical
a kid paddled out and was like, hey, you’re the ‘mini guy’
ha, i do surf other boards, but I am starting to wonder WHY?
so this one
i took VERY little off the bottom
the least i have ever taken off any blank bottom
i read this article about blanks
about not changing the blank too much
so on this one i tried that
it’s really straight—like an erection
my thinking is
surface area, harmony, SPEED
i can’t wait
a little smaller on the keels?
you need to make up for the lack of a rail-line
and fins do the trick nicely
my bro Jamie
foiled some mini-simmons keels
with a whopping 8.75″ base, and a 4″ height
long and low
lots of freedom
put the drive down low below the water
that is lacking on a board so short
i am ALL about glass-on these days
fuck any other kind of fin on these mini’s
it’s like a snap-on dick versus an attached unit
not that i would know by the way
i am just saying, it’s something like that
it’s got to be, right?
FREE chapter of Mini Simmons Book.