Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton Board by Tom Eberly

Greetings, Shredderz! Are you ready for a heaping helping of Eighties neon, brought to you by Hot Stuff, one of the finest Aussie surfboard labels of yesteryear. First and foremost, shout out to Steve, who is by far this humble blog’s most prolific source in terms of reader submissions. Steve picked up this incredible stick along his board collecting journey and was generous enough to share these pics. Anyway, pictured below is a Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton model, shaped by Tom Eberly. Shockingly, Eberly doesn’t have his own Encyclopedia of Surfing entry, but he was part of the second wave of Lightning Bolt shapers, behind names like Lopez et al.

First of all, how gorgeous is this board?! The rainbow gradient airbrushes on the deck and the bottom are absolutely ridiculous. I’m stunned the board has remained in such great condition. Even the glass-on fins look like they’re still solidly fixed on.

Hot Stuff is an Aussie brand founded by Paul Hallas and originally based out of Currumbin on the Gold Coast. The brand might be best remembered for its association with Rabbit Bartholomew, who won a world title surfing  Many talented shapers have passed through Hot Stuff’s halls, such as channel bottom maestro Al Byrne (RIP), Neal Purchase Senior, Eberly and even a young Bob Hurley. The board featured here was almost certainly shaped in the US, given Eberly’s involvement. Another giveaway is the pair of laminates on the tail — the Clark Foam logo on the left and the West Coast Glassing logo on the right. Curiously, there’s a Quality Glassing devil logo, which I believe is an Australian glass shop. See here for an absolute cracker of an Al Byrne-shaped Hot Stuff stick with a Quality Glassing logo.

Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton 1.jpg

Kong, of course, refers to power surfer Gary Elkerton, and it’s gotta be one of the greatest nicknames in surfing history. Kong helped bring Al Byrne’s famous six channel boards to life in pumping surf on his way to three runner up finishes on the world tour, and some virtuoso performances at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. Byrne shaped for Hot Stuff before founding Byrning Spears, until his untimely passing a few years ago. The Hot Stuff Kong model, however, appears to have been made by other shapers for wider release. I can’t say who shaped the Australian Hot Stuff Kong boards, but Eberly and Bob Hurley helped shape the ones that appeared Stateside.

Unsurprisingly, Board Collector has posted some great examples of Hot Stuff Kong models. Here’s one with Byrne’s signature channel bottom design, although it’s unclear if Al shaped it himself. Board Collector has another example of an Eberly shaped Hot Stuff Kong board, which must have been shaped around the same time. Finally, There’s another post with an interesting selection of Hot Stuff sticks, including some Rabbit / Al Byrne collaborations.

Hot Stuff Kong Gary Elkerton Vintage Surf France 3.JPG

I was able to find another bitchin’ example of an Eighties Hot Stuff Kong board, this time on a website called Vintage Surf France. The French board also sports an amazing looking channel bottom, but again, I’m not sure whether it was shaped by Al, or if it was done by someone else. It’s in such great condition I’m wondering if it might be a newer reissue, although the traction pad looks like an older one.

Finally, it’s worth following Elkerton on his Facebook page. He doesn’t post all the time but there are some gems there, including an AB-shaped channel bottom that Kong credits for his contest wins at Sunset. It’s actually a Byrning Spears board, not a Hot Stuff, but still has the Kong logo. I’m guessing it was shaped shortly after Byrne left Hot Stuff to strike out on his own. At the bottom you can see an amazing shot of Rabbit and Kong both toting some awesome-looking Hot Stuff shapes (if you look closely you’ll see the AB logo peeking out on Kong’s board).

Once again I’d like to thank Steve for reaching out with pics of this killer board. If you have something similar and you’d like to see it featured here, please do let me know.

Vintage Bonzer Surfboards at Wi-5 Premier

Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post is a bit bittersweet. On one hand, we have the premier of “Wi-5”, a short film collaboration between Taylor Knox and the Campbell Brothers, who famously invented the Bonzer surfboard design. The premier brought out some of surfing’s biggest stars, and it was also an impromptu exhibit for some wonderful examples of vintage Bonzer surfboards. On the other, the film’s premier doubled as a charity benefit for Leeanne Ericson, who was attacked by a shark while swimming off San Onofre. Ms. Ericson faces some pretty hefty medical bills as a result. I urge you to check out her GoFundMe campaign here. Shout out to Taylor Knox, Mick Fanning, and everyone else who helped raise money for the good cause!

The Hi-5 premier was chock full of acts of charity AND some rad vintage Bonzer surfboards. See above for an Instagram post from Buggs of Surfboard Line fame. You’ll see some incredible vintage Bonzers flanking Duncan Campbell in the center. I took the descriptions from an Instagram Live broadcast that Buggs streamed during the event, where he got Duncan Campbell to provide some details about the boards.

The yellow board on the far left was shaped in 1973 / 1974 and was designed for the Hawaiian winter, hence the Lightning Bolt laminate. However, I don’t think it’s an “official” Bolt in any way. There’s also a Bing logo affixed to the yellow board. The orange board, second from left, was shaped in 1975 / 1976 and it was made in the Campbell brothers’ stomping grounds of Oxnard, California. The center board was one of the two main Bonzers ridden by Taylor Knox in the film.

The multi-colored board located third from right was shaped in 1977, and apparently it is one of only two similar Bonzers that were made. The multi-colored board is particularly interesting because of its Australian influence. In the video, which is no longer viewable, Duncan Campbell shows off the channel bottom of the multi-colored Bonzer and mentions that it was informed by the designs of Col Smith and Jim Pollard, who were shaping for Shane sub-label Fluid Foils at the time. Pollard in particular is known for being an early proponent of channel bottom boards. Andrew Kidman has a great interview with Al Byrne detailing Pollard’s early contributions to the design.

Col Smith Hawaii Boards 1977 via CrowsGarage.com
Col Smith showing off one of his Jim Pollard-shaped Fluid Foils. The photo was taken shortly before Smith left for Hawaii in 1977, where he turned heads with his surfing. Pic via the excellent entry on Crow’s Garage, which is a must-read!
Shane Surfboards Fluid Foils from BoardCollector.com.jpg
Fluid Foils logo detailing Jim Pollard and Col Smith (look at the bottom right). You can also see the logo on Col Smith’s board at the far left in the photo above. Photo via Boardcollector.com

I wish I had more pictures of the multi-colored Bonzer to share; sadly, the only ones I can find are also from the event. Still, in the photo below, you can see some more of the deep channels on the board. You’ll notice the channels on the multi-colored vintage Bonzer travel up most of the length of the board, very similar to the board Col Smith is holding in the photo above. My guess is that the multi-colored board was shaped in 1977, shortly after a Hawaiian encounter between the Campbell brothers and Col Smith.

The black twin fin shown second from right is another rare Bonzer, given that it has a comparatively pedestrian fin setup. The board was shaped in 1978, according to Buggs’ video. It is the only example of a twin fin Bonzer I have ever seen.

The final board, pictured on the far right in both Instagram posts, is also a trip. It is a collaboration between Hawaiian surfboard label Local Motion and the Campbell Brothers. I believe this board belongs to Buggs now. Once upon a time it was ridden by Hawaiian fixture Tony Moniz, whose children are now well-regarded pros in their own right.

I was able to find earlier pictures of the Local Motion Bonzer on an old site belonging to Kristopher Tom, who currently runs The Vintage Surfboard. You can find the original pictures here.

Last but not least, you can contribute to Leeanne Ericson’s medical fund here.