Your thoughts on my Mini-Gun design

I´m about to shape my first mingun and you would to me a great favor, if you chared your thoughts on my design.

What is this board for:

It is for me, intermediate landlocked surfer, 6”4 and 200lbs, 39years young. 25 handshaped boards till now.

Not a good surfer, but I´d say well trained waterman (37 years in the water, freediver,youth lifeguard, stress and rescue diver and so on).

I´ve been comfortable paddling around in deep water waves in the 2xoh region (2oh faces) and enjoyed getting tossed around. Let´s say I´m good at taking the beating. :wink:

As long as the waves are rather “fat” and not overly steep/bowly, I´m usually fine.

But I haven´t got a proper board for the conditions and I´d like to change that.

Next spring I´ll do a trip to France and maybe I´m lucky and waves like Parlementia are running in a proper size but without being to gigantic.

I want to use this board for reefbreakes like Parlementia, but also for Cornish winter waves. As well as winter waves / beachbreakes in France (from Quiberon to Seignosse) and Portugal (Algarve). Sizes from oh – 2oh most likely.

I like to trim and carve bigger arcs, I don´t throw the tail around or do fancy moves.

Getting up, carving one big bottom turn, trim a bit and pull outover the shoulder is enough for me.

I other boards are singlefins, fishes, bonzer eggs, mini logs. All ranging from 5.10-7.2 ft length, rather wide outlines (mostly 21 – 22 inches). I like flat rocker numbers.

General shape:

I drawed this classic semigun outline and hotwired the blank.

7.6 x 20.5/8, widepoint 2.5 inches forward. Thickness will be 3.1/8 – 3.1/4 for paddle power.

The rocker is taken from the US Blanks 78 EA, but scaled down to 5.3/8 nose and 2.1/4 tail.

Finsetup: Single + Sidefins / Widowmaker

Why that dimensions:

I can handle 7.6 in my car. And maybe the feeling is not that far off my 7-7.2 singlefins and bonzerr egg.

I want to ride it often to get used to the board, that means it should start to go in hh / oh.

I don´t need that much rocker, all my other boards are low rockered. I like to get in early.

20.5/8 may sound wide. But with my size and weight I like a little extra width and the waves are not overly steep.

Does this sound reasonable ?

Bottom contours:

I´ve searched the archive for bottom contours and looked up what is done on semiguns from Pyzel (Padillac), Lost (Retro Gun), Rusty, Stretch and so on.

I understand why all kinds of Vee get used on gunny boards and why most stepups are usually more like single to double. (power of the wave, speed of travel, lift, manoeuvrability at speed and so on)

I´m not sure if I should go into full gun bottom contours on that “inbetween” size 7"6.

I got my 6.6-7.0 with single to double for typical headhigh or sucky waves.

I think all the waves that will be ridden with that board will have enough power that I don´t need the lift from concaves/double concaves.

So I think it´s time to try something that sits deeper in the water and handles more speed than all the other boards I have.

There are all kind of Variations of belly/panel Vee/ flat nose with V / reverse V / flat / slight single through the middle and V / spiral Vee / slight double through the tail on those kind of boards in the 7ft -8ft region.

Right now my plan would be to keep it simple and use a slight full length Vee (lets say ¼). Or maybe only reverse Vee (I´m very front footed and often drive boards from the middle).

Maybe add very slight double concaves into the vee through the fins for when I use it in on smaller beachbreak surf ? Any suggestions / opinions ?

Attached images:

    1. Parlementia from the weekend, that is the maximum size I think I could handle. (maybe that Parlementia picture is already to big for a 7.6 board ?)
    1. Cornish reef break, taken from this video: CMBL Portrait 1 - Cold Water Tracking on Vimeo.

The waves in this video are the size I like. For the 1-2 biggest ones I´d need a good day, the other 80% is just about the size and power I love. I have a 7.2 bonzer egg that I use in those swells.

    1. my outline
    1. rocker 78EA, but scaled down to 5.3/8 nose and 2.1/4 tail, I want to get in early, cover some ground, have good glide. I don´t mind the turns to be drawn out arcs.
    1. hotwired blank. 2lbs EPS, 4mm Plywood stringer, glassing shedule deck 5+5 and 5oz patch, bottom 4+4. I don´t mind some weight in that board. I want my boards to last a long time.

Thank you for any input or feedback.


These are some of the boards I made and ride.

So with a minigun kind of board I´m heading into uncharted waters.

  1. picture left to right: 6.6x22.5 / 5.10x22 / 6.3x21 / 6.3x21

  2. picture: two 6.6x21 and a 7.2x21

The last one ist probably the closest thing I have ridden/shaped to what the new minigun will be like.

Panel Vee front to flat under frontfoot to slight double through the fin.

But it was made for average waves, more an everyday board. Very relaxed rocker, a little wide for more powerful waves and quite a thick foil (especially in the tail).


Your instinct to ‘‘keep it simple’’, is the correct mindset for this project.       Board length, width, and rocker, are near perfect.      Me, I’d prerfer the WP in the 5% to 10% of board length, forward of center.       Flat hard edge, in the last 12 to 16 inches of the tail.     I’ve ridden that kind of configuration in large Calif. reefs, and on the NS in up to3X OH.     Stick with your plan.

PS:   My board was 7’ 10’’ x 21.5’', to a 7 inch sq tail.

i do some boards for parlementia. At this size your board is fine for the wave problem is at this size there is lot of people with big boards that drop outside so you need big board to have waves too. Simple vee rolled front end middle seems to go well for thick boards in those waves. You can go with more glass, weight is your friend here give you glide and keep contact with wave, strengh too. 12oz top and bottom+deckpatch.

Wow, thank you so much. I couldn´t hope for so much feedback from you legends.

What I learn from your comments:

“Built that board, there is nothing to wrong with it. But even more size would do no harm.”

So I´ll get my first experiences with shaping and surfing those kind of boards with that 7.6.

And after that, I´ll go for a bigger and refined version. (maybe sizing up to something like 8.0x21 or similar)

I´m landlocked and decent waves for that board are only accessible by plain or by car (at least 1000km / 600miles).

The 7.6 is small enough to carry it with me all the time (car/flightbag) and I hope it will work as a kind of allrounder, too.

I want to use it as often as I can, to get used to that board and to get familiar with those kind of waves.

But you got me hooked on the plan to build a bigger “full on” version later on.


I´ll keep the length of the hard edge in my mind. The sidefins for the widowmaker will have the leading edge somewhere in the ballpark of 16 inches from tail. That´s usually where I start rolling the hard edge up. At least on my midlegth boards. Thank you for pointing out, that this will work on this board, too.

I think I want to do some kind of down rails in front of the hard edge, all up to the nose. Keep some volume in the rails in the front and the middle and thinning it down in the last third.


Thanks for suggesting a glassing shedule. I like the idea of beefing it up even more.

I will use the glassing shedule that I use for my stringerless boards. Which is 3x5oz deck (5+5 full + 5oz patch or full deck staggered) and 2x5oz bottom + 5oz finpatch over singlefin box.


I can understand that you chose the length as the maximum that would fit in your car but…

I learnt to surf in Parlementia in ‘66. I’ve been surfing here and shaping boards for that wave ever since. There is a very long paddle out and the line-up is fickle with frequent rogue sets coming from out of nowhere. Paddling power is the key here. Add to that the wind factor (as very obvious in your photos) which doesn’t help getting in and the fact that the wave, as you said, isn’t over-steep or vertical AND, last but not least, the fierce competition between 40 + other guys and you will be much better off with a longer gun. Many people start riding 10’+ guns as soon as the swell gets in the 10’ to 15’ range here. I’m very much afraid that you will be under-gunned with a 7’6" in those conditions. Even with a very good physical condition, a 7’6" won’t stand a chance against guys on 10’, 11’ or 12’ guns. My friend Pilou Ducalme rides a 12’ gun that I made him in pretty much all conditions there and the smallest gun I have shaped recently for Guéthary was an 8’6". Photos below are this green 8’6" and my friend Camille riding it at Parlementia, then the 12’ and a shot of Pilou riding the left at Lafitenia with it last winter.

Thank you for sharing your experience Guilhem.

First of all: Your boards are stunning. I constantly browse through your facebook pictures.

All you experienced guys tell me quite the same. I´d be very stupid and ignorant if I didn´t listen.

So I guess I´ll really have to built 2 boards if I want to surf something like parlementia.

That smaller board for heavier allround winter waves and beachbreakes and a really big one for parlementia and such.

I´m hesitating with a full on 9ft+ gun, because I´m only a holiday warrior. I think I can handle the size of your second picture. But the last one one is by far out of my reach. (Stunning picture !)

Seems to me, first of all I´ll have to make up my mind, how big of waves I can and want to handle. (And how often I´ll get that kind of big waves when I´m on surf holidays.)

My brain tells me a full on gun will not get good use and I simply should stay out of the water on those days. But my heart tells me “Nothing worse than the most exciting waves you´ve ever seen and not havening brought the right board.”

(Couple of years ago I was at Arrifana and Kangaroo Point was firing. Only 3 guys out (8ft+ boards) and I only had my stubby boards with me. I was sitting on top of the cliffs, constantly swearing how stupid I was not to bring a proper board. Promised myself never again to be so stupid.)

Thank you all for pointing out that “bigger is better” for that kind of waves.

Lesson learned.


I was hoping Balsa would chime in and save me the work, and he did!

Actually, I was writing a response yesterday between classes and accidentally closed the window.

Most of it is above but I’ll add my two cents. One of my best sessions at Parlimentia was on a 7’5" round-pin single. But it was only a couple of feet overhead, and it was getting close to dark, and for some odd reason on that summer evening about seven years ago there was virtually no one in the water. Glassy near perfection and that wave rocks on a board in that length range.

Reality though is usually otherwise. Lots of guys in the water. Read that as lots of guys (and a few girls) who know the spot and sport unusually high-volume boards in particularly long lengths. Both long, and thick, for paddle power. Many of the best rides are on full-on guns, as Balsa has pointed out. If you can’t beat 'em…

There is always a guy or two on shorter boards that mangage to do surgical strikes into the take-off zone, usually just inside the main peak, and get stellar waves. I’m not that guy. Shifting peaks, crowds that know the wave better than I do, pick your reason. Playing the double-peak positioning game there without volume just sucks.

Which leaves you with one good option when it gets big: more length and thickness as you’ve already deduced.

If you really want to take off on the main peak at that size and up, look at Balsa’s boards. Hard tails, softer through the middle and nose. I would personally avoid a hard rail in the nose as I don’t like the way it deals with chop/wind - I want a bit of penetration. Bit of roll up front for the same reason. Maybe flat to vee as you’ve suggested. Love widowmaker setups. The southern swing-peak and the inside peaks leave room for lots of other options.

Personally, up to that size I just ride whatever 2+1 HPish longboard I’m riding at the moment.  Plenty of paddle power, enough rocker, and boards that I trust. A bit too much nose on certain drops, I’ll concede, but then really fun to carve through to the inside. “Longboard guns” work great too. Bigger, and the real gun comes out, but that hasn’t happened in a few years.

I’ll point out that this is only valid (for me) up to DOH. I think Balsa will agree (feel free not to!) that this way is a very different beast at 3x OH than it is at 2. At three times (call it 15 to 18 foot faces) I have come out of the water seriously shaken there. Granted, I’m not a big-wave guy, but the judgement stands.

Sorry for the long-winded post. I love this wave.


Trying to sort my thougths based on your input…

I guess I´m probably looking at two boards. But maybe not a minigun + a full on gun. Maybe a minigun and a big glider could do the job ?

There are the winter waves I surfed till now where I sometimes felt my current boards where to short and wide.

Winter beachbreakes overhead to double overhead in Ireland (Lahinch), Spain (El Palmar) Portugal (Algarve) and France.

In those waves I like a board that´s at least a little bit duckdiveable. The 7.6 should come out somewhere around 47-50l, which I can duckdive half decent.

I think I will struggle with a bigger board on the way out as well as to fit that board into the waves.

Deepwater waves like Parlementia and such. Not overly steep, long distance paddle out.

Surfing Parlementia when it´s really big is unrealistic for me. This size is most likely what I´m shooting at:

So when I want more foam / a bigger board, but I´m not into the really big and hollow swells (not bigger than double overhead)…

Would it be stupid to think a kind of 8-9ft “longboard” could work for me in this wave ?

Something in the direction Bill Thrailkill suggest, or maybe something like Skip Frye (or Mitsven, Mabile and others) Glider/Magic, Andreini Serena and so on.

I mean, not overly narrow like a full on gun. Maybe close to 9ft long and maybe 21-21.5 wide.

Maybe this would suit the way I surf and the size of wave I´m aiming at.

And I think it will get more use than a really big gun, because it´s probably more versatile for a guy like me.


Thank you Jeffrey. I wrote my other answer where I try to sort my thought at the same time you wrote your post…

Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Really good to understand for me. (everything, the wave, what happens in the lineup, what shapes/rails you prefer and so on)

And what you´re describing is quite what I´m looking for regarding the size of wave.

Funny you suggest some kind of HP longboard, because that question rose in my mind and I wrote the other answer at the same time you were writing your answer.

It´s getting clearer to me, that in my case more paddle power/volume maybe comes in form of a hp-longboard rather than a full on gun.

Thank you all so much for your comments. I´m learning a lot !


If board 1) doesn’t need to “compete” too much and you don’t mind looking like a bit of a freak then I have a novel suggestion for you that will be at odds with most reasonable advice.

As an introduction see following image of Simon Anderson surfing a 6’6” thruster in 1981. Thick, wide, low rocker and mostly full length vee I believe. He’s about your size and didn’t have too much trouble catching and performing on waves this size with a board that small. Since none of us can surf like Simon, stretch that board of his out to 7’ and retain it’s characteristics. You will get the volume you’re looking for in more compact form. There’s nothing to stop you from making it a widowmaker either.

I’m also about your size and hate surfing boards over 7” even in big waves. Shorter boards (even high volume ones) are easier to duck dive (less leverage required) and make last minute decisions to swing around and take off on - especially useful in big beach breaks. I’m a pretty average surfer, even on my best day, but have no issues with surfing DOH waves on a 6’6 - 6’8” with these antiquated characteristics - thick, wide, low rocker, full length vee or roll.

OK. That’s my opinionated and uneducated rant for the day.



Good thoughts.

A have similar thoughts concerning duck diving and last minute swiging around.

Giving up on the original plan of a “inbetween” winter board and splitting it into 2 boards means I can suit each board better to the particular waves.

Splitting the 7.6 into one “smaller” winter board in the lower 7ft region (duckdiving and quick positioning) and a bigger 8-9ft with maximum glide and paddelpower (no duckdiving).

Maybe something like 7.2*20.5 for the smaller board … but still keeping some kind of Vee bottom.

(I have a 6.6x21 single to double, so I want the “stepup” to feel more than just a little bit different. Hence slightly over 7ft I think.)

If you’re willing to take a chance on this somewhat unconventional path/acquired taste don’t be afraid of tail thickness/width either as long as you use the appropriate amount of vee or roll throughout - the board I’m surfing here is 6’7” with a 16 1/2” wide and 3” thick tail (great for no paddle, sink/spring the tail take offs) and handles waves up to this sort of mid size with no problems.



Great picture.

I´m not sure, if I´ll follow the path of tail thickness/width.

But I´ll keep it in my mind.

I have made me a hand full of boards in the 6.4-7.2 x 21 region , all with that “elliptic”/flowing shape. Variations in foil and thickness according to the desired ride characteristics.

I like those boards and I want to keep the “stepup” similar. Except for trying a Vee bottom on this one.

Don´t get me wrong, I´m always keen to try out shapes I havent ridden and keep my mind open. And I thank you for the input.

But this time I want more of an evolution / refinement / upscaling of what I got and what I like.

I still miss this early board of mine, think it was Nr. 4 and 7.2x21 (sold it). But now I like thinner foil on the rails and a more thinned out tail. (I lost more than 40pound since working on my surfing shape). I´d like the new board to proceed in this line of shapes.

I considered what Bill Thrailkill said about where he prefers the widepoint.

I moved it forward a bit, to 4.5" forward (5%).

I like it, looks very pleasant to my eye.

And I shrunk down the length to 7.4, because I don´t necessary need to squeeze out 7.6 when I build a 8ft+ board later on.

Can´t wait to get into the bay and shape that board. Unfortunately that won´t be before the weekend.

I´ll be back with some pictures once I shaped it.


Hi RDM - That looks like a meaty wave to me!


If the waves are over 6’ I shouldn’t be out there (too unfit, too old and not good enough) - so that wave must be just under 6’.

After you guys pointed me in the direction of a longer board, my mind is quite busy.

I don´t think I want to handle a 9ft+ board at present (shapingbay 6x10ft, travelling, in the water), but maybe that changes over time.

But I started drawing some outlines in the 8.6 region and compared the two new boards to my actual quiver.

And with that compilation it became obvious to me, that there is a tremendious shortage of longer boards in my quiver. It´s about time to change that.

(1-4 from the left are current quiver, 5+6 planned boards)

Gruesse MiWie,

I cannot comment on guns or big waves but I can relate about limited shop space.

First time I did a 11’ x 24" glider in a 12’6"  x 7’ space space. Bay for Big Boy Longboard

Second time I did a 9’8" x 30" SUP in a 11’2" x 6’ 6" space  SUP + stands + bay

In both cases one of my shaping lights was one of the boundaries to the adjacent space.

The second time I hinged the light so I did not have to crawl under it and I did not have to run the board in and out a window to access the space.

I hope you can make the longer boards work in your space. I am only a dozen boards in, hoping by the next dozen I can make some nice ones like yours.

Regards, -J


JRandy I totally missed your big boy longboard thread. Just scrolled through it, love all the pictures from the build process. Great stuff. Will take a full reading lateron. I love built threads.

Hats off for building those boards in such limited space.The board looks good.

My bay is small, but I´m very glad I have it and I love working in there (it´s in the basement of our house). Wouldn´t mind 1-2ft more in each drection, but that´s complaining at high level.

WIth a 8´6" I´ll have to crawl underneath the board I think. Or take the risk of damaging the board with my belly when I squeeze my way through at the ends, haha…

(The walls are 10ft apart but free space is more like 9´6" )