Grab Original Bob Simmons Board
Seminal post-World War II surfboard designer and shaper from Pasadena, California; a primary architect of the modern surfboard who almost singlehandedly brought into play the now-fundamental principles of nose-lift, foil, and finely sculpted rails.
Simmons was born (1919) in Los Angeles, the son of a postman, and raised in the Los Angeles communities of Silverlake and Pasadena. He developed a cancerous tumor in his left ankle at age 16, and nearly had the limb amputated before the growth went into remission. Bicycling to rehabilitate his leg, Simmons was hit by a car and broke his left elbow, and the joint had to be fused at a 45-degree angle. While in the hospital recuperating, he was advised by another patient to take up surfing to help strengthen his arm. Simmons eventually became a skilled if ungainly surfer, limited somewhat by his bad limb, and riding in a straight-backed legs-together goofyfoot stance. Malibu was his favorite break, as it was with virtually all Southern California surfers in the ’40s and ’50s. A high school dropout, Simmons nevertheless passed the admittance test to the California Institute of Technology, and was a part-time engineering student for nearly five years, earning straight As. When America entered the war in 1941, he quit school and became a machinist, and for two years after the war he worked on and off as a mathematician for Douglas Aircraft. He later attended San Diego State College for one semester and earned a B.S. in mathematics.