History/Origin of Fin Toe-In

Multi-fin boards almost all have toed-in side fins, The amount of toe-in and how you set the toe-in has been

discussed at length on Swaylock’s.

I know that sometime in the early 70s toe-in became a standard, I was there for that one. But where did it come from?

Until recently I thought I knew the answer to that question, but some recent revelations have cast doubt on my theory.

This is the place to sort this one out, so all you history buffs, shapers older than me, fin gurus, etc., give it up; who was

responsible for spreading this development?


This is a “good one”. I am sure a small group will want to take claim. In our area where the fish took off as a kneeboard and guys started standing up on em it became obvious to me that to eliminate the “tracking” problems, fin shape and angles had to change. All I know for sure is “TOE OUT” does not work. Bear Mirandon’s twin pins had toed in hatchet style fins early on. Radically ahead of their time.


I’ve read alot on this one.

Hard to know if what you read is true or not.

Some attribute it to Mark Richards putting toe in and cant’ on his first

Twin fin shaped under the tutelage of Brewer. Cant remember if they attributed

both or one or the other , either toe in or cant to MR. Most probably just ‘cant’.

Much earlier, when David Nuihiwaa(spelling) was shaping a twin fin fish,

a copy of the Lis or Frye versions it was attributed to Nuihiwaa for

using toe-in on one of his early (or first) twin fin fishes.

I think a magazine from the era repeats this.


Much earlier, when David Nuihiwaa(spelling) was shaping a twin fin fish,

a copy of the Lis or Frye versions it was attributed to Nuihiwaa for

using toe-in on one of his early (or first) twin fin fishes.

I think a magazine from the era repeats this.

I heard a story way back when about Nuuhiwa (and presumably his crew) taking one of his fish to the beach, surfing it, coming in, knocking the fins off, adjusting angles (cant and toe-in) until they came up with a version similar to what would be considered today’s norm. I can’t confirm the story, just something someone told me when I was a kid.

simmons had his set at something like 8 degree toe in…(not much whatever it was)

Simmons had toe-in on his twins?

perhaps i’m wrong but it seems to me there was a slight toe in…maybe it’s my memory that’s slightly off…


I had this discussion with Alan Nelson, a Master Shaper/Designer, and IMO, a surfboard design genius. Alan was a surfing contemporary of Simmons, at Windansea, in the early 1950’s. Both Nelson, and Curren were influenced by their contact with Bob Simmons, his ideas, and his board designs.

Alan told me that Simmons had a slight toe-in on his wide tailed twin fin boards. It is crucial to understand what Simmons was designing those boards to do, to appreciate the nuances of his design elements. Most of what he was doing was not understood, and he would not talk about it. An example is the still misunderstood reason for his concaves.

Out of curiosity, do you think the San Diego fish guys or the HB guys like Nuuhiwa (assumption of location on my part) or Hayward were thinking of Simmons’ twin fins or were they going off their own experimentation? I recall the early '70’s twins for the most part had fins parallel to the stringer, so it makes me think these guys were trying to improve on that design element.

Ultimately the influence can be traced to Simmons, at least in the San Diego area. As pointed out, the Mirandon brothers were doing twins in the mid 1960’s, and Bear Mirandon admits being influenced by a small balsa twin fin that was made by Alan Nelson, around 1957. (see recent TSJ) I had seen that board, in the day, and it looked like a ‘‘Mini-Simmons’’, right down to the small half moon fins. Knowledge of the design was certainly available in the surfing community, and I’m sure it was behind the development of the ‘‘modern’’ twinfin. By 1971, we were getting dealer requests to put toe-in on the twinfins. I think that influence came from outside the area, and was not generated locally.

As far as the modern toe-in / cant fish type works,Steve Brom / Terry Martin / Clyde Beatty should get all the credit here…Period.

David was just a Champion…he rode any and everything.

My good friend Dempsey Holder would have said,“Simmons”.


Thanks guys, this is exactly the kind of discussion/info I was looking for. I was not aware that Simmons put any toe

on his twins, but all I’ve ever seen are pictures of his boards, and if the toe was very slight it wouldn’t be apparent.

The early twins of the modern era had those big square tails with the fins set straight and right on the corners. Then

Steve Lis’ fish came along, also with the fins set straight. I was trying to pinpoint the who and where of the sudden

appearance of toe-in there in the early 70s. The TSJ article with the Mirandon Bros. board was a real eye-opener, as

it showed the toe was there just waiting to be picked up by the ‘‘modern’’ shapers. To find out that it might go back to

Simmons is mind-boggling.

Can any of you remember the exact sequence of events? Herb, you’re saying it came out of Hobie’s shop?



Not the Hobie shop… the Dyno shop in H.B…that’s the label that most associate Nuuihiwa with back in the early 70s(EAGLE LABEL).

I owned a early Brom/Dyno, say late 72’ / early 73’ that had toe but zero cant.

Later , in 73’ I bought a Nuuihiwa Surfcraft / Martin that had toe and cant and was the first of it’s kind to me.

Clyde was if not in the forefront was a day or so in the rear…it was close between the three, but I’d have To give it to Steve Brom as being the inventor/designer of toe…and cant… in the modern age of surfing.


PS. I do remember David going back to Brom over at Dyno in 74’ to get a fish built for his travels to Japan,while under contract w/ the Surfcrafts label(Terry Martin shaper)…That should say it all ,really.

what about the pre bing cambell brothers bonzers? Talk about toe…jeez. That was in the late 60 early 70s?

Correct me if I’m wrong, Simmons may have been the first attempt, but attributing modern toe-in to Simmons

is probably off base unless his boards were displayed regularly and used

as a historical reference for other designers. I would surmise that

his boards were stowed away and dusty somewhere influencing no one.

Of course, an occasional pic was probably run in the usual non-detail oriented surfing

pic mags of which design concepts were neither explained or detailed.

Its like attributing the thruster to the first guy to put 3 fins on his board in a

similar configuration instead of Simon Anderson. …You gotta make it successful.

Anyhow, Simmons is one of our surfing DaVinci’s.

but from what I understand, he didnt explain or promote his designs to anyone.

Was kind of tight lipped about it all.

If I wasn’t at school and had access to my archives. toein is definetly originating way back before fish or MR.


what about the pre bing cambell brothers bonzers? Talk about toe…jeez. That was in the late 60 early 70s?

When I looked into this a few years ago, the bonzer runners were the first toed-in side fins I could come up with also.

But then TSJ came with Richard Kenvin’s article on the Mirandon Bros. and pushed the date back a bit. That’s the whole

reason I started this thread, to see what else was out there.

I just looked at my personal ‘‘museum’’. I’ve got the first fish I ever shaped (spring '72) and the fins are straight on it.

I have another that I shaped in the summer of '73 and the fins are toed. I can’t remember how I found out about it.

i was under the impression that bear and nick started adjusting toe to aid against tracking on thier twin pins around 1969. good call

if anyone has a copy of Da Bull, Life Over the Edge there is a photo of an early twin fin. it looks to be in the mid 50’s and the two fins are almost in the center of the board and canted out fairly significantly, they might have toe-in too. In two weeks when i am back home I will resurect this thread

Velzy “butterfly” fin In the pictuure.