Simon Anderson was born in Sydney, Australia on July 7, 1954. At age 13, he received his first new surfboard. He started surfing in contests in the early 70s and gained a reputation of being one of Australia’s power surfers. He started shaping surfboards in 1972 and created his own label in 1975 called “Energy Surfboards.”
In 1977, he placed in the Pipeline Masters and made a name for himself by surfing large waves at Sunset Beach, on the North Shore of Hawaii. Simon was never able to control the Mark Richards style twin fin in larger surf. In October of 1980, he saw a surfboard with three fins, the middle one resembling a small half moon.
Inspired by this design, Anderson made himself a square-tailed board with three like-size fins that were smaller than a twin fin. He placed the two side fins on the rail 11" up from the tail with the middle fin about 3" from the tail in the center. He called this new design the “Thruster.”
It had seemed like this three-fin configuration not only held in the steepest part of the wave but also the hollowest part of the tube, and added thrust and speed to the performance of these thinner, lighter surfboards. They allowed riders to go off the top of the wave with slashing, whipping turns and cutbacks that enabled longer and deeper tube rides.
The first thrusters were made in San Diego, California. Simon Anderson convinced Gary McNabb, the owner of Nectar Surfboards, to make the new thruster model. This fin/board design has not been improved on since 1980. Ninety percent of all surfboards today are of the Simon Anderson tri-fin design. Surfer magazine listed Simon Anderson as one of the eight most influential surfers of the 20th century.