Pictured below is a Bing Bonzer shaped by Mike Eaton that is currently for sale on Craigslist in Orange County. You can find a link to the board here. The Bonzer was invented by the Campbell Brothers in the late 1960s / early 1970s in Ventura, California. Their website has an excellent overview of the history of the design. The design, which predated the thruster by almost a decade, endures today. The board above, however, harkens back to the original days of the Bonzer, when it was first released in collaboration with Bing Surfboards.
Mike Eaton was one of the head shapers at Bing during the early 1970s, and he continued to shape Bonzers even after leaving the label. The Bing Bonzer pictured above measures in at 6’9″, and it looks like it’s in great condition. Check out the last shot for the close up of the branded Bonzer side bites. I can’t decide if the 70s themed color scheme is ridiculous in a good way, or, as the New York Times put it, harkens to “the decade that taste seemed to forget.”
The real star of the show is the tail of the board. Check out the Bonzer branding on the side bite fins. It looks like the board has its original fin, which isn’t always a guarantee when dealing with boards from the 1970s. Note the bolt located behind the fin, which has a loop around it holding the string that is attached. This indicates that the board was likely shaped before the leash became popularized. Take a look at the two pictures above for a nice close-up of the dramatic double concave in the tail. Later on, when Eaton shaped Bonzers under his own name, he continued to produce boards with extremely deep concaves.
The seller is asking $700 for the board. You can find a link to the board here. I am a bit torn on the price. First, it’s not every day you find a genuine Bing Bonzer in good condition. That said, a first generation 6’10” Bing Bonzer failed to sell at the 2013 California Vintage Surf Auction. Estimates for that board ranged from $300 – $600, which seems low to me.
Sadly, as I mentioned in a previous post, it appears that Mike Eaton suffered a serious stroke in 2015. See this page for updates on his condition, but it has not been changed since December 2015. Mike, if you are reading this, thank you for your contributions to surfboard history, and we wish you nothing but the best!