Simon Jones on How to Make Twin Fins Sing

Old ingredients, new recipe.

Though he didn't invent them, no shaper has done more to popularise the long-railed twin fin than Simon Jones. Here, the fella behind Morning of the Earth surfboards describes why the largely overlooked design works when under the feet of a surfer like Torren Martyn.

Torren’s lines are unique: how has he influenced your boards over the past decade?
Torren is someone who’s comfortable being the person he is. That’s where you see the lines come from, which in turn kind of informs the way I’m allowed a bit of free range shaping his boards - he’s coming to the board as much as the board is coming to him. I can shape what I feel is going to be appropriate for certain waves without a really prescriptive design brief.

For example, when you see Torren standing tall taking a high line or soul arching into a bottom turn, he’s letting the board lead him. And then when he does a more powerful turn or jams into a tube, that’s the board coming around to his influence, which is where you get that uniqueness of line, one leading the other and vice-versa.

Working with Torren has supported this design path as he surfs the boards so beautifully and his surfing is so relatable to everyday surfers as well. I have always taken design elements from the past and merged them with the great leaps forward that modern shortboards have given us. In turn Torren has shown the boards I shape as solid options in a range of different conditions, which gives me the confidence to go deeper down these design paths.

How do you and Torren work together on design?
I throw the first splat of paint down, which is a design concept I want to explore, then we discuss the waves Torren has in mind, and then he expresses how previous boards have felt and what he’d like to explore on a new board.

We have a funny onomatopaeic language which is bred from our friendship that allows us to translate the feeling of surfing a board quite accurately! 

It’s an open and free-flowing process. I’ve always diverged to the left with my shaping, never really wanting to just follow everyone along. That kind of thinking is almost in parallel to Torren maturing as a surfer, where he’s confident and strong enough in his own character to be who he is and surf how he feels – which is much easier and more natural than trying to emulate others.  

You basically make the entire board, right? Glassing and everything...?
For many years I did everything end to end: shape and fin set, laminate and sand. Essentially, it was a great way for me to focus on the Morning of The Earth Surfboards project and provide enough to bring up a family.

As time went on, I ended up with more and more orders and I found myself in a situation where I needed a few clones of myself to keep up with the workload. The boards are now laminated by a really good group of experienced and passionate board builders up the coast. I’ve found it really great after years of working on my own to be in a collaborative realm.

It doesn’t matter what human endeavour you choose, it’s always really stimulating to be bouncing off different age groups and skill sets, and that energy with those younger and older guys and girls really adds to board design as a whole.

Do you manage to get in the water a lot? What’s your local go-to break?
When there are waves, I’ll surf. The older I get, I find it’s better to surf in brackets of under an hour - that way I’m happier with my surfing because my energy levels are right.

I love all the points around here and the beach just down from my house that I frequent when the swell is smaller. I like to treat that time down the front as relaxation. It's a walk through the bush and when you get out on the beach there’s hardly anyone and sometimes no-one – it’s just really pleasant to be there on my own or with family.

Then the points are more high energy: chatter, people in the car park, the buzz of what’s going on. It’s nice to have those two elements to my surfing landscape. 

How many boards did you shape Torren for the 'Lost Track Atlantic' trip?
There was a 5’9” channel bottom, a 6’4” diamond tail, 6’6” diamond tail - both single concaves - then a 7’2” and 7’6” channel bottom.

Just before Torren left for the trip, he’d wanted to freshen up how his boards felt so we veered away from channel bottoms on a few of his boards. These were all built with longevity in mind, not overly heavy but strong, triple-stringers etcetera.


Do you shape specific quivers for Torren depending on where he’s travelling to?
It relates to being able to identify the feelings Torren is seeking in a particular location, the sort of waves where he’s travelling to, and that will inform the surfboard development.

An example of this is recently when he was focusing on some heavier, cold water waves, we reduced the amount of foam in the forward part of the board.

As a shaper, I’m lucky to collaborate with a surfer of Torren’s ability, who takes the boards to such a wide variety of incredible waves.

You and Torren have played an innovative part in developing mid-length and longer, channel bottom twin fins. How did this come about?
That moment came from an interesting meeting I had with a young Californian named Simon who was travelling around Australia on a pushbike towing a converted pram with a seven-foot, rounded pin twin-fin.

At the time I’d been doing shorter, rounded-pin twins and I was totally taken aback when I saw it, like, ‘you’re right on the money there, that thing’s insane!’ Similar to artists and musicians, I pluck ideas that make sense then develop those my own way. When I saw Simon’s 7’0” on his pushbike I saw a direction I should go in, so I shaped the first 'Massive' - a rounded-pin channel bottom, 7’11” x 21 ½” x 2 ⅞” from an 8’0” blank.

I rode it a few times and was just totally into it. I gave it to Torren to try - at the time, everything I was shaping for him was under six foot. He took it for a surf and then called me, flipping out, he couldn’t stop raving about the feelings it gave him. It was a real leap to have one of his favourite boards well north of 7 foot.

After that, we hung onto the 'Massive' for a while, then Torren took a trip to Cloudbreak to meet a big swell and I shaped him the first 'Fiji' - a 6’6” x 19 ⅞” x 2 ¾” with a triple-stringer for strength. I knew it was going to be solid and I wanted to help the boxes by embedding them in some timber.

Suddenly we found ourselves busily working developing boards in the range between 6 to 8 foot. It was just so exciting because there were so many feelings, lines, and sensations in that range, and that’s what’s really driven our work together with mid-lengths. 

Twin fins are often so loose. How do you make boards that still provide plenty of drive in solid waves ?
There are a couple of different things, but I really think of them as a single fin when I put them together.

I want the rocker to be almost as flat as I can make it, and at the same time I have to incorporate the turning curve into the rail line. So, when you look down the stringer you see a pretty flat board but when you look along the rail you see the arc of the turn I want the board to go through. That flatness through the board tends to move people slightly forward so they engage a lot of rail which is sort of like adding a fin which helps to alleviate looseness and add drive. I usually shape them with channels, allowing the board to sit down in the wave face rather than skim across it like a single concave does, and I suggest that they should be ridden longer than normal.

Even though the boards are long, twin fins go through the turn like a shorter board because they’re just pivoting off that one fin on the rail - you’re not dragging another fin through the arc.

Where do you see surfboard design heading into the future? 
Surfing is now in such a creative space, it’s like a firework going off in so many different directions. It’s so fascinating watching the different surfing and design going on.

Not that long ago, surfboard design was a fairly narrow playing field. Now, with so many different options, people are free to do anything and try anything. It’s just going to be fascinating to watch where it goes as people feel free to explore different design aspects that might suit their way of surfing, and the waves they’re surfing.

This will be where all the really interesting growth takes place. It’s also important to recognise when surfers, shapers, musicians, and filmmakers all come together with films like the 'Lost Track Atlantic' series. People are genuinely nourished by these films and as a result they feel inspired to explore their surfing, and boards, in their own new way.

Comments

tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 8:28am

Great stuff. Nice work Simon in simplifying and explaining your process!

BBrowny's picture
BBrowny's picture
BBrowny Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 8:39am

Fascinating how when I was young the twin fin was considered a dead end in design, but with the dimensions and rocker tweaked it becomes something new.

I also like how Simon answers the question about his go to breaks but doesn't mention any names!

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 8:52am

Genuine question; Anyone see any average joe type surfers around riding these longer twin fins, well?

Maybe it's the local surf conditions here, but, I'm yet to see any average Joe on a longer twin, (or quad for that matter) that surfs them well. Yes, they stand up and try a few turns, but it's more disconnected and kooky than others riding 1+2 or thrusters.

Or, maybe it's older, or less surf fit types (like myself) that I'm seeing?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 9:51am

One of my good mates surfs them amazingly. He's a great surfer though and has the Rasta vibes when surfing, always so smooth and stylish. He gets the most barrel time out of everyone as well.

So he'd make any board look good though you never seen him surfing anything with three fins.

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 9:12am

I think a guy like Torren Martin could pretty much surf anything and make it look good. Those longer twins are certainly working for him though. As for the average surfer, well they're pretty much always gonna sure better on a thruster. From what I've seen it takes above average ability to surf a twin well.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 9:31am

Ono-what?

stevehamilton_'s picture
stevehamilton_'s picture
stevehamilton_ Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 10:04am

In my experience (as an entirely average joe surfer) I dont find thrusters easy to surf at all. Id say most average joe guys out there riding mid length twins probably feel like its easier to surf a twin than a thruster. Whether "easier to surf" equates with surfing better, I'm not too sure. I still enjoy surfing thrusters but I have to surf with more focus. Some mates think I surf better on a thruster but I never feel like I do

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 11:00am

Kind of depends on what you call good surfing hey?

Torren is doing Torren. He's not trying to surfing that long twin like a thruster, nor are many who ride them. He's fitting in with the wave, not forcing anything.

I think for many who ride boards other than your HPSB its really just about the 'feel' anyway.

That's the beauty of the time we're living in, horses for courses. Many of these shapers are building twinnies that can go anywhere.

OHV500's picture
OHV500's picture
OHV500 Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 11:23am

I think many guys use them for 'crowd control' - catching heaps of waves - not sure if they surf them well but it seems like heaps of fun. Isn't that what it's all about.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 11:53am

I've been riding a 6'10" mid-length twin (It's a thruster but I just ditched the middle fin) for the last year and I love it. Kinda through necessity as I'm getting on a bit now, carrying a few kegs and work has eaten into my surf time. Basically my surfing had gone to crap and I just wanted to ride waves.

I'm all over it, drawing different lines and really getting a buzz out of the feeling. Of course it doesn't pivot like a HPT but I can still bang out a turn every now and then. I'm sold.

Ps- I couldn't give two hoots how I 'look'. I'm having fun surfing again.

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 1:27pm

Same here Zen, life has got to my surfing ability. I have solely been riding twinnies up to 6ft 2 for 6 years now. I recently got a 7'4 twin and i love it. Goes in all conditions form 1 ft slop to 5-6 ft long wally points of joy. It's the sensation of glide and swooping big arcs that is addictive but when you do bury a rail of that length and arc right though, it is so satisfying. With an increased wave count , long rail and speed, they are addictive. I haven't ridden a short board since.

OHV500's picture
OHV500's picture
OHV500 Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 1:48pm

but are they the modern day 'mini mal' ?

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 6:53pm

i have a 7'6 mini mal and it rides nothing like the modern long twin

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 1:50pm

“People are genuinely nourished by these films “

Excellent use of language. So true. Torren surfs those boards beautifully and Simon Jones sounds like a nice bloke.

NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper's picture
NevFutureShaper Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 2:05pm

Brilliant collaboration! Well done both of you

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 2:43pm

All good, all around. (Will stick to quads, though.)

cycd's picture
cycd's picture
cycd Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 5:02pm

ahhh bugger it im hopping on the bandwagon...about to order a 6'5 and a 7'3 to a 7'5 off dale at byrning spears ... similar outlines and low rockers with triple stringers . Wonder if the mid 7 footer will be good for margs open reefs hmmmm

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 3:48pm

Keep us updated on those, will you? Very curious.

cycd's picture
cycd's picture
cycd Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 8:05am

NP

Surf Nerd's picture
Surf Nerd's picture
Surf Nerd Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 7:42pm

Simon sounds like a great guy and doing really good work. I like the idea of people working with their local shaper to find what suits them best. Always great to see diversity in any line up and people veering away from a dogmatic approach.

stevehamilton_'s picture
stevehamilton_'s picture
stevehamilton_ Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 1:42pm

low entry and flat middle but heaps of late tail rocker. old twins didnt have this rocker line

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 7:57pm

I see quite a few guys of varying ability surf them really well, but that's in good waves where that mid length glide and arc really shines.

also, Simon is a great bloke to surf with. Had a lot of good times chatting to him in the surf between sets.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 9:50pm

Who glasses these boards ?

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Tuesday, 24 Aug 2021 at 11:43pm

Simon, Torren and Rasta too are all making twinnies a bit of a trend...great to see but i prefer quads in mid lengths.Twinnies in 6'0 or under but those guys all rip, maybe Simon too i dont know.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 12:39am

I've got a 6'2'' x 20 x 2 3/4" (37L) nitro twin pin 4 channel being shaped by WW at the mo GS

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 12:42am

Nice when its delivered put some shots of it up.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 12:50am

Will do, haven't ridden a twin fin since the 80's, didn't like them but thought I would try again since they have evolved so much, we will see

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 9:56am

Dane really liked Simon's board.

rogerelastic's picture
rogerelastic's picture
rogerelastic Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 12:52pm

The only unspoken issue above is the duck-diving. All my in-use boards are 6 foot something (6'8" twin; 6'10" Bonzer 5 and a 6' 18" single and on the odd occasion my 6'40" mal ;-) ) and in big beach breaks I often wish I had a liiiiittle less volume.
Glide and flow may be new experiences for some on shorter railed equipment I think.

dave.cardano's picture
dave.cardano's picture
dave.cardano Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 1:28pm

Willing to give it a test drive

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 2:28pm

They are incredible. Fast responsive and fun. Can only dream to ride mine on points like Torren. For now

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 4:20pm

what have you ridden?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 3:11pm

I surf lots of different boards depending on the waves and the crowd, and I think the "good surfing" thing really does come down to how you feel yourself when you're surfing rather than how others see you surf.

I've got a longer, drawn out Torus Twin from Gary McNeill which has the hold and drive of a thruster but the looseness of a twin. It's the fastest board I've ever ridden, and you can ride it like a thruster if you want. The main advantage of the longer twins seems to be that you can simply trim across the waves, whereas on a thruster I feel like I have to keep the board turning all the time to make it go - it doesn't like straight lines much. But the control is great.

I've also got 7'4 and 8'8 twins, both very different but both fast down the line, much quicker than my 2+1s. I think a lot of the hold issue has to do with the mid- and tail-rails: hardness of the rails, the tail foil and rocker lines.

I see a fair bit of angst directed at people on bigger boards, some of which is justified cos their eyes roll back in their heads and they get carried away, some is just paranoia at the threat of extra paddle power. If everyone minds their manners, it'll be fine.

A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 10:37am

Hi tango

What are the dimensions of the Torus Twin and the 7'4" and the 8'8"?

Some pics would be great if you can post them.

Thanks

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 4:39pm

Gday Salty, I've got no hope of posting photos, but I could email/text some if you get Stu/Ben to put you in touch with me. Happy if they want to pass on my email.

Dims:
Gary McNeill RTT 6'10 x 21 1/4' x 2 7/8
Corey Graham 4-channel pin twin 7'4 x 21 1/2' x 2 7/8
Greg Brown Gash Toecutter, swallowtail 8'8 x 22 3/4' x 2 15/16 - it looks too wide, feels too wide under your arm, sounds too wide, but it isn't too wide under your feet. Handles 2-6ft no probs. Maybe it's the 8" base glassed on keels.

Good luck!

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 4:51pm

Heres a Toecutter...gotta agree with Brownie...farkn Beauty

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 8:37am

That board of Roachy's is a mad thing. It looks unreal and it feels perfectly balanced under your arm, beautifully foiled too. I'll swap him for a few waves one day....

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 11:06am

Agree.

A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 12:15pm

Hi Stu,

Would you please forward me tango’s email when you get a chance.

Thanks

A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog's picture
A Salty Dog Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 5:18pm

Thanks tango.

I've asked Stu/Ben to send me your email and I'll be in touch.

The 8'8" looks interesting!!!!

Cheers

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021 at 6:04pm

Wise words Tango.

Norm de Ploom's picture
Norm de Ploom's picture
Norm de Ploom Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 3:37am

Found a Jim Banks 7’6” twin onThe Gumtree and have to say, it’s a damn good board.
Heaps of rocker and single to double concave, nothing like what you’d think on a fishy sort of board.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 2:39pm

I reckon 'V' at the rear is really handy on twinnies or you get that with the rear channels. Definitely helps it get on rail which I had forgotten how much fun it is. Once the full concave thing took over I forgot how easy it is with V to lay it over and back again particularly on a chubbier wave.

old-dog's picture
old-dog's picture
old-dog Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 3:23pm

Funny how twins make you surf a certain way, I have some old early 70's super 8 footage of myself riding a 6' G&S twinny at yorkes doing all the high line soul arch vogueing gliding stuff and nursing it through cutbacks and it looks identical to the modern hipsters of today. The extra glide from less fin drag felt great but when thrusters hit the scene it was a game changer and I have never wanted to revisit that style since, just too poser looking now, plus I never could work it out on my backhand.
Torren rips on it in world class waves but it would be good to see him on a state of the art thruster for comparison. Cheers.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 4:42pm

I dunno about that, old dog. Some of these new twins don't require any nursing at all. You can even surf em without going into poser mode.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 2:11pm

Second that. Chalk and cheese between the cica 1980 twinnie and a performance one of today and they are fine backhand as well. Not a fan of those fishy twins which is more the poser type.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 4:14pm

Torren only switched to twins in 2014
His first board from Simon was a single fin which he didnt click with.....so he ripped the fin out added 2 fins ...

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 4:56pm

Lucky in Australia picking up such great boards for cheap on Gumtree. Expensive and generally shit in the UK.

Some great shapers here, but rare to get a second hand bargain.

old-dog's picture
old-dog's picture
old-dog Thursday, 26 Aug 2021 at 6:44pm

@ tango, yeah for sure, Look at MR, never saw him nurse a turn ,I was talking more about the average semi kook manbun hipsters that have recently jumped on the bandwagon. Elite level surfers could rip on an ironing board but it is refreshing to see alternate styles of surfing, Some of Torrren's top turn carves were beautiful to watch and the twinnies I remember were crap for tube riding.

Goonza's picture
Goonza's picture
Goonza Friday, 27 Aug 2021 at 10:35am

I have a 6'6 Josh Keogh which has made my heart sing.
Had it for about 8 months and really struggling to get off it. Had it shaped for Point days but found myself reaching for it in almost all conditions. Paired with some Soar fins, thing hums and feels amazing through turns. If I could work out how to post pics on here I would throw a few up. It has been a revelation. Whether I look like a kook/hipster is a matter for others, I certainly couldn't give 2 fks.

theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthe... Saturday, 28 Aug 2021 at 9:26am

I think it's the planshape and the tail shape that really is the key difference between many twins...
and where the twins are set...

there is a world of scope between twin and twin

not saying anything new here - just have heard a young punter (top unit) talk about very different twins as though they might go the same

that's the joy of surfboard understanding I guess - it's lifelong

cosmic's picture
cosmic's picture
cosmic Tuesday, 31 Aug 2021 at 6:43am

Great Article. I stopped using a center fin in thrusters 15 years ago as I forgot my center fin one day when living in aus . Was small beachies that day. . I was amazed at how easy It was to catch waves and fly through dead spots. (much less drag without the center fin) . over the years I adapted my surfing to 2 fins. and now use a standard larger twin fin rather than the usual G5,s I used .even On bigger days here in indo (Well big for me 6ft . or double overhead) I,m able to surf it without feeling too loose. i,m talking 5.10 to 6 ft lengths and I,m a skinny light frame. . l tried using a tiny trailer fin, but felt completely different and a lot of drag. The board I,m riding now is super flat rocker and 2 channels.18.5 wide. good for waves in the 2 to 6 ft range, l,m comfortable with that as l.m just a cruiser born in 52. not a shredder. l did make a twinny back in the late 6O,s when col smith made them popular. l think it was super short with heaps of volume, glassed in big fins of course . l didn't really like it then. It felt weird after riding the longer single fin pintails of the era. All BOARDS ARE GOOD AS LONG AS YOU ENJOY THE SLIDE . For the loVE of surfing.

cosmic's picture
cosmic's picture
cosmic Tuesday, 31 Aug 2021 at 6:43am

Great Article. I stopped using a center fin in thrusters 15 years ago as I forgot my center fin one day when living in aus . Was small beachies that day. . I was amazed at how easy It was to catch waves and fly through dead spots. (much less drag without the center fin) . over the years I adapted my surfing to 2 fins. and now use a standard larger twin fin rather than the usual G5,s I used .even On bigger days here in indo (Well big for me 6ft . or double overhead) I,m able to surf it without feeling too loose. i,m talking 5.10 to 6 ft lengths and I,m a skinny light frame. . l tried using a tiny trailer fin, but felt completely different and a lot of drag. The board I,m riding now is super flat rocker and 2 channels.18.5 wide. good for waves in the 2 to 6 ft range, l,m comfortable with that as l.m just a cruiser born in 52. not a shredder. l did make a twinny back in the late 6O,s when col smith made them popular. l think it was super short with heaps of volume, glassed in big fins of course . l didn't really like it then. It felt weird after riding the longer single fin pintails of the era. All BOARDS ARE GOOD AS LONG AS YOU ENJOY THE SLIDE . For the loVE of surfing.