Spotlight on Ryan Simmons

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Spotlight on Ryan Simmons

Rhino06Hi, Ryan!

Undeniably, you shred the waves of North Florida on your own creations.

How long have you been surfing?

I’ve been surfing since I was eight, but I had a six year hiatus when my dad, (a Navy pilot) got stationed in Tennessee. I’d say I’ve been surfing about 22 years.

How long have you been shaping, and how many boards have you shaped to date?

12029656_10153677983839630_1889092524510257314_oI have been shaping boards for about 12 years now. I dabbled since about 2005 but didn’t get serious till about 2010.  Currently, I’m roughly on board #605.

How did you come up with RHINO Surfboards as a name for your brand?


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The label “RHINO” is actually an acronym, it stands for Ryan Hangs Inside Not Outside. Nine times out of ten, I’m on the inside, I’m too impatient to wait on the sets.  
What shapers influenced your board building styles or techniques?

Mike Hickey of Soul Ride Surfboards made my boards for a while and taught me how to shape.  Around 2012ish I hooked up with Mike Whisnant, and he helped refine my shaping as well as better ways to approach it. I look up to Whiz ALOT, his shapes always look spot on. Anyone that handshapes and has made a living out of surfboards is my influence (Whiz, Dunlop, Rozo, etc..) it’s hard to make it work and pay a mortgage with it.

What do you feel shaping has taught you the most, and what do you look forward to learning in the future?

Shaping has taught me patience, believe it or not.  You can’t skip steps.  Everything has its place and if you miss one part the next won’t go as well then the following will be even worse. It’s a snowball. I’ll always be learning, and that’s what I look forward to in my shaping future.

Have you ever entered the Surf Expo Florida Shape Off?


Skipping the EXPO for Snowboarding?

      I’ve never been in the Florida Shape Off. Actually, I’ve never been to Surf Expo. I had all my credentials to go one year but went snowboarding instead. I think it would be fun unless I had to go up against Whisnant.

You are of the younger surfboard craftsmen in our community. Are you ready to fill the shoes of our local legendary older shapers as they retire?                                   

When our legends decide to “retire” there will be some HUGE shoes to fill. They all have built such a customer base I’d have to hire a whole crew to do that much work! I’d take the challenge, though, as long as there are no waves.

What’s your favorite wave around these parts?


My favorite wave around here is by far The Poles. It’s close to my shop, house, and kids’ school. The pier has it’s moments too. The talent around there is crazy. All the young kids are ripping, the older guys are ripping, Terry DeLoach is ripping… it’s very intimidating.

Where is your fave break globally, and where have you traveled?
The best wave I’ve ever surfed is La Libertad in El Salvador. It’s a SUPER long right-hand point and cheap food; win/win. I’ve traveled to Hawaii, California, Costa, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and up and down the Florida coast.


Tell us three other things you consider most important in your life, besides the obvious family & friends.

  1. Time, we all get a limited amount and so many waste it. You can always make more money, you can’t make more time.
  2. Sobriety, I never really talk much about it, but I haven’t used alcohol or drugs in almost 19 years (I was a bad kid).
  3.  It sounds cliché, (and you told me not to mention the obvious) but my wife is HANDS DOWN the most important. She supports my decisions and pushes me to get out of my comfort zone. She has a huge heart.

Thanks so much for your time, Ryan. We’ll see you in the shaping room or on the beach!

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By | 2017-06-10T17:39:13+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Spotlight|Comments Off on Spotlight on Ryan Simmons