The creator of the tri-fin surfboard

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The creator of the tri-fin surfboard, Simon Anderson, was born in Sydney in 1954. When Simon was five, his father won the lottery and moved to Collaroy, near Narrabeen where he could learn and improve his surf.



In 1987, he was ranked third in the world for surfing with twin-fin boards. This type of surfboard was the trendy board to ride in the 70’s.

Once he weighed more than 90 kilos, Simon wanted something different to ride. He was craving more control over the board.

simo anderson 1After years of shaping since 1972, he decided to innovate the surfboard industry. Anderson created a square-tailed board with three fins that was smaller than those used in a twin-fin.

After consecutive wins at Bells and Surfabout and finishing the season winning Pipe Master in 1981, the world saw the power the tri-fin held. Anderson coined the name Thruster for this board style which has become the most common surfboard to date.

He explained his creation of Thruster in an interview:

“Well leading up to it I’d been on tour, and getting my ass kicked in small waves for years. The tour was expanding and going to more small wave events and was very scheduled, and the surf was a secondary concern. So I was riding a twin fin, Mark Richards was setting the standard, and other people had adopted it like Shaun Tomson, Dane Keoloha, and some others. So I was mucking around with twin fins, trying to make a good one, and I’d come up with one that was pretty good in two-foot surf. But I’d struggle with it when the waves got bigger. So I’d go from my twinnie to the single fin when the waves were bigger, and I’d be perfectly happy, but there was the problem situation in two to four foot surf where the single fin was a bit stiff and slow, and the twin fin was a bit fast and loose.

We had a break in October and I saw Frank Williams with his twin fin and little thing on the back, and asked him what it did. He said it was a trigger point, it made the twin fin more stable. That’s when I figured, okay, that’s my big problem. I’ll make the twin fin real stable and put a whole fin back there, and that was the light bulb moment. I went that afternoon or the next day, and made that first board.”


Anderson is considered the eighth most influential surfer of the 20th century and he was named the “Surfer of the Year” in 1981 by Surfing magazine.


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