The Planing Totem

Paipo Lord Board Mini-Simmons Fish
Alaia Simmons Hydrodynamic Planing Hull Ekstrom Twin-Pin

The Planing Totems are a family of surfboards that begin with the paipo board of Oceana and Hawaii, along with the ancient Hawaiian alaia. These boards were shorter than the olo boards of Hawaiian royalty, and were used by the commoners of Hawaiian society.

Through tests conducted on paipo inspired “plate” models, in Pearl Harbor, in the 1940's, Naval architect Lindsay Lord quantified planing data from these models that he published under the title, “The Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls” in 1946.

Simmons used information from Lord’s book when designing his hydrodynamic planing hulls, essentially merging western science with ancient Hawaiian knowledge. After Simmons’ death in 1954, elements of his planing hull design were reborn through designs like the Mirandon Twin Pin and the Steve Lis fish.

In the late summer of 2009, a young surfer named Ryan Burch from Encinitas deconstructed everything when he created the “Lord Bord”, a basic chunk of unglassed foam that he shaped into a simple finless planing board inspired by the models used in Lindsay Lord’s “Naval Architecture of Planing Hulls”.

Burch’s hyper-creative surfing on this simple planing board is a dynamic demonstration of how the surf/skate style ultimately has its roots in the paipo and alaia boards of ancient Hawaii.