Wednesday, 14 November 2012
ghost in the machine
For the last couple of months i've been borrowing this 5'2 Bing mini simmons from a friend. It's pretty well recorded on here that i'm a big fan of this type of board and the bing version certainly hasn't disappointed. Matt Calvani supposedly put a fair bit of time into refining his design and his version is similar but different to the kenvin/Baugess original. While the bing keeps the absence of rocker and the s- deck, the step is fairly subtle. The belly up front is there but much less severe than in Ryan Lovelaces velo-sim version for example. Bing have also kept the rails thin so they stay in the wave face as it gets steeper and speeds increase. The fins are lovely ply keels with a template closer to gephardt fish fins than Kenvins half moon design. Right at the back, the tail has a slight curve (arctail) and it's 21.5 at the widepoint and 2.5 thick so closer to a fat keel fish than the original Baugess shape in this respect also.
In the water in paddles well and crucially is foiled well enough up front to duck dive more easily than most of these shapes. It gets into waves early and has a feel of a smooth, fast, fish. The very subtle belly roll water entry gives the classic simmons style lift but without the overtly hully feel of the Velo Sim. This flatter contour is most definately noticeble on your backhand and the board feels far less skittery under your heels as a result. There's plenty of down the line speed on offer, both from a high line trim and top to bottom pumps, the gephardt style fins giving plenty of drive but a more positive hold than the half moon template. It's perhaps not quite as "alive" and whippy in feel as the bar of soap i own, probably beause there is less concave on offer through the fins and the wide point is further forward, i'd place it more as like a normal fish with better glide and less carvy more skatey looseness.
Like all mini simmons, it goes great in junk waves, far better than a conventional keel fish. I'd say that this is where these shapes excel. They're great at making average (or worse) days fun, i'm not sure they would be your first choice on the best day of the year, but then we don't get many of those if we're being honest do we?
Although i agree we should all try and support our local shapers, not many people in the UK are making a tried and tested simmons still and the bing version is a very usable in a daily driver sense and less specialist than some that are available. In short, i'd consider buying one if there was space in the shed.