Champagne Glass: Simon Jones 7'2" twin fin
We've had just two installments in the Champagne Glass column over the last year, so you'd call it semi-regular at best.
Yet I, like many others, was enchanted by Torren Martyn's surfing in the recent film, 'Tesoro Enderrato' and once the style references ended - bit o' Nat, bit o' MP, touch of Rasta too - then the talk about equipment began and I saw an opportunity.
Torren was filmed riding a few boards during the twenty-minute movie, but for the majority of it he was on a luscious mid-length. Obviously made by Simon Jones, he's Torren's shaper after all, and it was a twinny of course, we could see that much in the film. But the model?
I had no idea so I called Torren to find out.
"All of Simon's boards are handshaped," explained Torren when I asked the name of the model. That quickly put the kibosh on my article idea, but we'd come this far so I pressed on. Maybe there was something we could learn after all?
The board in question was a 7'2" Simon Jones twin fin, four channels running out a round tail, with a vee bottom throughout. It's the product of something Torren and Simon had been working on for about four years. A project that began with a mix of serendipity and wide-eyed curiousity, as all worthy endeavours should.
"Simon shaped a 7'9" for Glen Casey to take to South Australia," says Torren, "but if was never surfed, didn't even get wet, and it ended up in my hands."
"At the time my boards were getting shorter and shorter and this big thing just came out of nowhere. It was so refreshing, just this feeling that I hadn’t had before."
You may have seen Torren surfing it in his first film for Needs, and if you've paid any attention to his career, you'll know Torren likes to swing between the extremes: "My typical board length at the time was between 5’4" and 5’8", but suddenly I had all this extra length - the drive, the glide. I couldnt get off it!"
Since then, Torren has been filling in the gaps between the two lengths. Thus the two boards he took to Central America for 'Tesoro..' were 6'10" and 7'2" - though the 6'10" broke first surf.
"All the surfing - bar a few waves - is on the 7'2"," says Torren. But like so many great relationships it got off to a rocky start.
"We made that board before the Iceland trip last year, and I don't know if it was the conditions, the wind, or the amount of rubber, but it didn't really work. I didnt click with it."
Yet he had enough fun on it around his North Coast home to take it to California while visiting his girlfriend. Torren thought he'd be riding it at 2' Malibu, yet the trip coincided with an incredible forecast, a long road trip, and an impromptu movie - 'Tesoro Enderrato' of course. You've seen the footage and no doubt marvelled at the surfing, at Torren's effortless grace and shadowland tuberiding.
Arguably, the high point of the film is the last five minutes with Torren surfing a steel-gray, bowling righthander, not a wave that screams 7'2" twinny, and yet there he was, slotted, repeatedly.
"If knew I was going to surf waves like that I would’ve put something else in the quiver, maybe a mid-six, but honestly, now that’s it all done, I’d ride the exact same board again."
"There was so much water moving out there, so to have the paddle power, and to get into them earlier was an advantage. That session gave me a new perspective. Like, I could've dropped into it on a smaller board and pumped through it, but instead I got into it earlier which gave me more time to set my path. I did less minor adjustments but ended up with longer, more drawn out moments."
The board, as you would've seen in the film, didn't survive. However, despite the new perspective and the accolades from peers he's not rushing out to replicate it.
"I never get two boards the same. I just get so excited about the idea of something new. I love the challenge of always progressing."