First of all, we got to think about what happens at that edge where your surfboard rail and the wave meet.
That edge is where the magic happens in surfing.
There are two options at that edge in a turn, sink or unsink your rail. Did you get that? Sink or unsink, that is the question.
But we’re not always turning, so that rail also has to be designed for flying down the face and gathering speed—thus your design must accomplish two goals for down-the-line surfing: reduce drag and release energy.
You have to design for turns and speed.
The ultimate dichotomy of surfing.
Ok, now we have to think about the different rail types and the functions of each. Which surfboard rails meet our ultimate objective of, well, surfing our hearts out?
I like Dave Parmenter’s description of rails, so I’m just going to quote him here:
“An over-simplified primer on rail shapes would probably contain these main premises: the lower and harder a rail is, the faster and stiffer it will be. The softer and rounder, the slower and more neutral-handling it’ll be.
Fuller, boxier rails are harder to sink, so have more potential for leverage. Thinner, tapered rails sink easily, but with less stored energy, are not as likely to leap out of turns.”
Leaping and going fast: these are the characteristics that I want for my Mini Simmons.
Let’s look in more detail at the types of rails:
Here is an image to help visualize what we are talking about.
You got to consider your surfing style and pick the rail design that best matches how you want the board to perform.
The rounder and softer the rail, the slower and more easy handling it will be. Think of a long board, most of these shapes have rounder rails and are for slow turns.
A hard rail provides better traction but can catch an edge easier than a soft rail. Think Slater in the pit or Dane throwing a big turn.
The lower and harder a rail is, the faster it will be and the knifier it will cut into the face of the wave and assist in the slash.
Thinner, tapered rails are good for quick turns, they sink easily—but they are not able to carry speed coming out of a turn.
However, fuller rails are harder to sink, which can translate into more drive coming out of turns as they bounce back from being sunk underwater.
Dude, I know it’s confusing.
I have shaped quite a few Mini Simmons with different rails and what I have found is that the 60/40 rails to 80/20 rails that get harder towards the rear work the best.
In fact, these were the same types of rails that Bob Simmons was using on his boards towards the end of his shaping experience after years of testing and refining.
I am more than happy to follow Bob’s lead.
Whatever rail you pick, have some fun and please let us know about your shaping experience.
Newly updated and expanded in 2017.
Keel Nation is a Mini Simmons eBook written from my past 15 years of passion, study and shaping of the Mini Simmons Surfboard.
Read about this fascinating shape and learn why and how to shape and ride a Mini Simmons from a shaper and lifelong surfer.
You'll also get access into a private Facebook group of Mini Simmons shapers and surfers.
The book includes:
Download your copy today!
Ode to Shaper Mike Trip
Ode to Shaper Steven Beattie
Weeksy’s Shaping CNC Mini Simmons Blank
“Inspired by the performance of the Mini Simmons design resurrected by Joe Bauguess and further developed by Richard Kenvin, I combined the classic dimensions of the Greenough Velo Spoon template with the proven single concave to spiral vee bottom contour and the AK4 quad set-up.
These shorter boards with fuller outlines are incredibly fast and maneuverable, and can negotiate the terms without any compromise in speed.
The curve from the wide point to the tail is very close to the outline curve of a fish, which gives the board the similar drive and acceleration off the bottom.
While this classic fish curve gives the board plenty of drive, the rail-line rocker breaks before the center-line rocker, loosening up an outline which would otherwise want to draw a longer drawn-out line.
The round arctail feels at home in the pocket and responsive in hollower waves, providing the best of both worlds—the drive of a fish with the elliptical turning radius of a round tail.”
Ode to Pierre Both Paulownia Mini
Resin Splash Mini Simmons
Ode To Shaper Grant Newby. Grant has been building Mini Simmons for 8 years since Ian Zamora brought the first Mini Simmons to Australia in 2007 to the Alley Fish Fry that I used to run for 7 years down here.
I love my surfing and to be able to spend my time at the beach, out among the waves is one of lifes true pleasures. To now be building boards of my own to ride is such a great experience for me. I love to feel what the wave is doing , what the board is doing and being able to design boards that bring the whole experience together.
More on Grant here: www.SurfboardsByGrantNewby.
Slide 65 Mini Simmons One Minute Shaping Timelapse
I used my Laundry Room to make a board based on the “Lord Board” – a planing hull in its simplest form. A slab of EPS foam has been sandwiched between two plywood sheets. The rails were made from EVA foam. It gave me a lot of “Happy Times” so far.
My version of the “Lord Board”: looks like a door, rides like a table top
5′ x 25″ x 3 1/6 “, 65 liters, parallel outline, slight roll towards the nose, zero tail rocker, flat bottom, flat deck and square rails
Lord Board: naked piece of foam without fins
ca 4’ x 20” x 3” (ca 46 L), unglassed, stringerless, closed cell foam,little rocker, a nearly parallel outline and square rails
Ode to Hunger Surfboards.
FREE chapter of Mini Simmons Book.