The Mini-Simmons evolved during the filming of Hydrodynamica and has brought Simmons to life for an entire generation of surfers more than five decades after his death. Accounts of Bob Simmons riding short foam and balsa boards at Windansea in the early Fifties inspired us to build a series of short Simmons planing hulls for Hydrodynamica in 2006. Another stimulus was a 5’6” Simmons-inspired planing hull that Al Nelson built and rode at Windansea in 1956. The that were built for the Hydrodynamica project were intentionally finished in pure matte white to accentuate the aerodynamic form of the planing hull and illustrate it’s relationship to California’s modern design movement of the mid-twentieth century.
Simmons was employed by Douglas Aircraft in 1952, as were famed California modern designers Ray and Charles Eames. Simmons’ planing hulls are functional examples of aerodynamic form being used as a central element of mid century modern design. Al Nelson went on to use these forms and materials to design the Dragon Fly personal aircraft, which won the prestigious Oshkosh aeronautics show in 1980.