the “thumb”

Having been a student of board design for a while now, I am pretty stoked that a lot of barriers are coming down. With Joe Bauguess’ mini Simmons boards and Tom and Joe Wegener’s alaias etc. breaking down all pre-conceived notions of what makes a board work, it seems a door has been opened that hopefully will never be closed again.

I first saw one of Joe Bauguess’ mini Simmons at the 2007 Sacred Craft Show at the Swift Movement booth. I had to ask the guy there if it actually worked. Of course I had heard of Bob Simmons and his text book on naval architecture by Lindsay Lord. I was intrigued to say the least. As the next sacred craft show approached I decided to give the concept a try.

lindsay lord HPHThis is a Lidsay Lord planing hull and this concept was the basis for Bob Simmons’ keel fin designs. It’s no stretch to see the similarities. I also honed in on a photo of a Bob Simmons twin that looks like it was taken at Windansea. The belly is there, as is the deep single concave through the tail, and the keels of course. The concept of displacing water and then redirecting it back under the board into the concave and sweeping it back through the keels for control was a little hard to wrap my brain around at first, but now seems perfectly natural. This is a really organic shape.

My desire was to do a board along these lines without really being a replica. I took an old egg template and chopped it to 6’7″ because it just looked right. The wide point moved back to form nice hips and the tail ended up just over 16″ wide. I really loved the flow of the belly-single concave bottom plan and felt pinched soft rails would be comfortable. This is the result.

mast surfboards HPH

I absolutely love this board and everyone who tries it seems to have a good time almost immeditely. I showed a smaller one at the 2008 Sacred Craft Show and who showed up but Joe Bauguess. I had heard from an aquaintence that he was a bit upset with people stealing his new idea. When he introduced himself I said “Oh shit! Are you here to beat me up?” He was actually quite pleasant and we discussed the design for a while. He even was kind enough to stop down that evening to Surfindian in PB where I was having a show with Sam Cody (my boards, his art).

Joe Bauguess and I, Sacred Craft 2008Joe is a master craftsman and a real gentleman.

I have since made several  of what I call the HPH aka”the thumb”, named after Bob Simmons’ insistence that his boards were “hydrodynamic planing hulls” and my friends’ endearing nickname. I have a feeling that these boards will start showing up everywhere soon. A lot of people are doing versions and it’s a testament to the fundamental design that they work so well.They are just so fun that everyone will want one in their quiver. And we should thank Joe Bauguess and RK for the inspiration.

a beautiful lesson in humility

I was surfing Swami’s with my friend Riiko last week. As we walked down the steps to the beach we passed a city worker who was power washing the stairs. He stopped spraying to let us pass and I thanked him for letting us get by. But Riiko, as she walked by, said to him “Thank you for your hard work.”. I must say it was an example of a mind set that we have lost touch with in our culture. Namely, the appreciation of labor and a necessary job, performed well. To me it was a thing of beauty and a lesson I will not soon forget. Thank you Riiko and thank you to all the people who work hard to keep our public places working for us.

It’s all been done

Contemplating nothing except the next few hours.
Contemplating nothing except the next few hours.

A lot of energy has been expended on “new” designs and “retro” re-inventions lately. I’ve just finished watching a video, kindly put together for me by my sander (you know who you are, and thanks!) and I have to say, there is not a lot that hasn’t been explored. I watched square tail twins in Florida in the 70’s, hulls in the 70’s (not to mention the “foil” from the 60’s that John Bishop showed me that is suspiciously similar to the later Liddles). All I’m saying is that time is not as linear as we might believe. Ideas come and go, and come again. It’s all good fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. This is supposed to be fun after all. Thanks


shaped another board today. It’s quite an honor to be associated with Channin’s up here on the hill in Encinitas. The list of people who have inhabited this shaping room is a bit daunting. Of course Mike Diffenderfer, Renny Yater, Pat Curren?, Rich Pavel and others I can’t remember or don’t know about. I fell very fortunate to have the opportunity to have glassing of this quality available to me. Thanks to Randy and Kevin.


I’m laying in the bus, my face is serving as a space heater, what with all the heat radiating from my sunburn. I surfed two sessions this morning. Sunny, almost glassy, and the tail end of a nice south pulse. Life is good.


One of my personal heroes, Hadji, turns 91 this summer. He’s a Tourmaline local and I asked him if I could shoot some photos of him getting ready for our session on the day before he turned 89. We had a great session that day and I seem to recall him surfing on his 90th as well. I hope to get the chance to enjoy a few sessions with him this summer as well. It’s an honor to count him among my friends.

I remember, someone brought a monkey to the beach and, of course, it was the center of attention. A mutual friend was taking his turn bravely letting the monkey sit on his shoulder, when Hadji snuck up and dribbled warm rinse water onto the guys back. He jumped so fast, you’d have though a monkey was pissing on his back. We all fell out.