Vintage Campbell Brothers Bonzer

Bonzer Vehicles

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got another doozy for you. I’ve been a long admirer of Malcom and Duncan Campbell’s groundbreaking bonzer. The bonzer is one of the earliest tri fin surfboard designs, pre-dating Simon Anderson’s thruster by at least a decade. Yes, the Campbell Brothers and the bonzer are still going strong today, but as always, I’m drawn to early versions of their shape. Most of the early bonzers I’ve written up have been Bing Bonzers, which were the result of a collaboration between Bing Surfboards and the Campbell Brothers. The Bing Bonzer is rightfully a celebrated board, but I always keep my eye out for vintage bonzers produced under the Campbell Brothers label.

I’ve only featured a handful of vintage Campbell Brothers bonzers here on the blog, including this extra clean one I wrote up a while back. I was thrilled when I was sent the photos of the board featured here. Thank you to Ryan Lovelace for sharing the pics of this killer stick. When Lovelace isn’t shaping beautiful boards — entirely by hand, too — he’s quietly been collecting a few gems.

This wouldn’t be a vintage bonzer post without geeking out on the concaves in the tail. I don’t have measurements available, but to me the tail on this board looks pretty narrow compared to Bing Bonzers I have seen, as well as the vintage Russ Short model I featured earlier.

The board has a trippy space themed airbrush, which has faded a bit over time. Still, the board is in great shape considering its age. Jacob Campbell, who I believe is Duncan’s son, told me that Malcolm estimates the board was shaped in 1976. I love a spotless surfboard as much as the next guy, but I think this one has a ton of character just the way it is.

According to the Campbell Brothers’ excellent site, by 1974 Bing Copeland had sold off his eponymous label to Gordon & Smith. The Campbells and new ownership didn’t see eye to eye, and in 1975 the Campbell Brothers had struck out on their own. By this math the board in this post would have been made about a year or so into the Campbell Brothers’ independent venture, which was based out of Saticoy California, in the old W.A.V.E. Hollow factory. In the photo above you can see Malcolm’s signature “-PEACE-” inscription on the stringer towards the tail.

Last but not least, how sick is that vintage Bonzer Vehicles logo?! The Campbell Brothers have never been shy about sharing their worldview, and I love the various expressions on this board — Peace, “Be Mindfull”, and of course, the flying saucer logo. There’s a whole lot of character and history in this stick, and I couldn’t be happier to feature it on the blog. Thanks again for Ryan for supplying the photos!

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