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Joe Quigg Interview, 1984


In late 1949, Bob Simmons threw Joe Quigg and Matt Kivlin out of the garage he had rented for them to sand and glass surfboards he shaped. The exact reason is unclear, but is probably because of an on-going personality conflict with Quigg and that Simmons felt they were copying his technology in boards that they made for themselves and others.

Ever since Simmons' death in 1954, it has been difficult placing Simmons and Quigg in historical context when it comes to the evolution of "the Malibu Board" -- the further evolution of what Simmons first created and others like Quigg and Kivlin adapted first for girl surfers and then for themselves. Over the years, Joe Quigg has taken increasing amounts of credit for this evolution -- and other innovations -- often contradicting the record as we know it, and himself.

In 1984, Kevin Kinnear interviewed Quigg for an article intended to be published in BREAKOUT magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine ceased publishing before it could be printed. At last, it is now available in its entirety by following the link at the bottom.

Bob Simmons biographer John Elwell wrote that Kinnear had not known about the "long history of conflict between Quig, Simmons, and others" when he interviewed Quigg. It's likely that this interview would never have seen the light of day had it not been Elwell's indignation at how Simmons is increasingly being portrayed by writers who prefer to believe Quigg's contributions were greater than Simmons'. John wrote (in part):

"Recently, in January 2017, there have been published on the Internet and elsewhere articles that are critical of Bob Simmons, demeaning him, and mischaracterizing him. With labels like 'Gnarled Genius' and 'Knobby Misanthrope of Surfboard Design,' these portrayals of one of surfing's greats have only been compounded by personal attacks made in interviews by his former sander and glasser, Joe Quigg.

"Since 1984 -- and probably earlier -- Joe Quigg has increasingly taken personal credit for contributions to surfboard design that Bob Simmons and others made themselves. While Quigg has made contributions of his own, his gross over-reach in seeking credit has been tainting the historical record.

"Because Joe Quigg's narrative continues to be repeated by others as if it were true, I am compelled to release a previously unpublished interview of Quigg, done in 1984, and held in my personal collection since then. In that interview not only does Quigg contradict himself, but he contradicts the historical record and even himself again in later interviews. One might forgive him for that, but to take personal credit for the work of others and at the same time speak ill of them is quite another thing."
     -- John Elwell, 3 February 2017 

To read the complete transcription of the recorded interview, please go to:

Joe Quigg - Kevin Kinnear Interview, 1984

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