Editorial by Benny, words spoken by Simon Anderson
The man, the myth, the legend. Three fin thruster guru and world surfing champion Simon Anderson surfs well (funny that…). He also produces some amazing shapes under his own label, Simon Anderson Surfboards.
You would be hard pressed to find a surfer who doesn’t know Simon Anderson’s story. Apart from his career as a powerhouse professional surfer, Simon is credited with inventing the most popular surfboard fin configuration in the world, the 3 fin thruster, in 1980. To this day, this fin setup remains an industry standard.
Simon’s first foray into the shaping business began in 1975 when he opened a factory in Brookvale (located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches) under his then label, Energy Surfboards. Today, of course, he trades under his own name, Simon Anderson Surfboards.
I was very fortunate to catch up with Simon, film him surfing a few waves on an average day at his local beach break (he rips) and then hear him talk about his favourite board and daily driver, the Simon Early Bird.
Here Simon shows his stripes, surfing in average waves at his home break and tells us about his favourite board, the Simon Anderson Early Bird model.
This is Simon Anderson surfing and talking about his favourite board, the Simon Early Bird.
Simon: I’m Simon Anderson. This is my favorite board and the reason for that is that it’s a board that I would use probably most often because it’s a board designed for one to three feet. It’s an Early Bird model. It may mean nothing to you but it’s one of the models in my range of boards that I work on throughout the year.
It’s six foot four, twenty and one-half, two and five eighths (6’4 x 20 1/2 x 2 5/8). It’s a rounded square tail. It has Future Fins for no particular reason. I use Futures and FCS and I find them both good. I have my own custom fins fortunately that I use that is my shape pretty much and is unchanged since the late 80’s. It’s a shape that I like and it’s good to have a fin base that you can work from. If you’re constantly changing your fins you don’t know whether the board’s good or it’s not good. It may be that the fins are not suiting that particular board so I keep the same fins if possible and just vary the shape.
Getting back to this six foot four Early Bird, the nose area in it is twelve and nine-sixteenths. I just went to my laptop and checked the file. I get my boards pre-shaped. The tail is fifteen and one-eighth so:
“There is a fair bit of area in nose and tail but the board is actually still pretty streamlined.”
It’s an all round shape I guess in a board that’s shorter as is the trend on the tour. I don’t necessarily follow the trends on the tour but it’s good to maintain a touch there. Obviously if Kelly (Kelly Slater) is surfing it, there must be something going on there that’s pretty good.
This is my version of what they’re surfing on the tour and it’s a board that can suit a guy my age. I’m 60. I’m 105 kilos. This board is 26.8 liters (Correction: 36.8 liters) if you’re a liter person.
The rail is a little bit different to my normal rail. If you know what my rails are like then you know what I’m talking about. Basically, I’ve got a little flatter deck on this board to give me slightly more volume in the rail, but it’s still pretty low rail; low and soft.
With the nose, I’ve added a little bit more thickness through to the nose tip and this is just to help with paddling. Basically, I need all the help I can get and it’s quite a small board for me to surf and I need to be pretty fit to surf this board well. If I’m in good nick and I can catch the wave and get to my feet, then this board works really well for me. It’s smooth through turns. It’s reliable.
“I think that’s what anyone is looking for in a favorite board or a Magic board is something they can really rely on and not let them down.”
For me I like to, if I can get one good wave, do one good turn on the good wave then that’s going to make a session for me. I need the board I’m surfing to do a good turn in the critical position on the best wave I catch in that session and this board will help me do that.
The rocker is, this is going to test me, it’s two and nine-sixteenths in the tail and five, I think five and nine-sixteenths in the nose so it’s got a reasonable amount of rocker. I like to have a fair bit of rocker.
In association with that I’ve got fairly deep concave. It’s a single, a normal single going to a double. Quite often I’ll surf a single all the way through but this one goes to a double, then a vee right at the tail. This is giving me a nice combination of speed and a little bit of control with the double and the vee at the tail.
For whatever reason all those factors come together when I’m surfing this board and it flows nicely, doesn’t let me down, doesn’t spin out on a cutback, draws a nice line off the bottom. That’s about it.