Greetings, Shredderz! If you’re a regular reader of the blog by now you know that I have a soft spot for the Bonzer. The Bonzer is a board I have written up numerous times, and I don’t expect that to stop any time soon! As the title suggests, this post will focus on the dramatic concave that you see in early versions of the Bonzer. A friend read some of my earlier posts on the Campbell Brothers‘ iconic design, and was kind enough to send some close up shots of a few of the Bonzers he owns. Give him a follow on Instagram when you get a chance. He has an insane collection with a lot of gems from Santa Barbara-area shapers.
As you can see, the photos really give you a great idea of just how extreme the double concave is in the tail. Pictured above is a vintage Campbell Brothers Bonzer, which I would guess was shaped sometime during the Seventies. I’m still tripping out on the curvature of the fin box, which looks like it was modified to fit the bottom contours of the board.
The second board is a Bing Bonzer, which I think was also shaped during a similar time period. Check out those branded side bite fins! The tail of the board is practically scooped out, which would have helped create water flow out the back. I am far from an expert on fluid dynamics, though, so rather than butcher the science behind this influential design, I’ll instead refer you to Malcolm and Duncan Campbell’s helpful rundown on Bonzer mechanics.
Finally, you can see a comparison between the Bing Bonzer and the Campbell Brothers model at the very top of the page. As you can see, the two vintage Bonzers are extremely similar to one another, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the Campbell Brothers actively worked on the Bing version alongside Bing Copeland and Mike Eaton.
Thanks to Jesse for supplying the pics for the post! And if you have any photos of any rad boards you’d like to see featured here, don’t hesitate to reach me by email, or DM me on Instagram.
Greetings, Shredderz! Today’s post brings you a pair of vintage Bing Bonzer boards that are currently for sale on Craigslist. I wrote up another Bing Bonzer earlier this month — check out that post here. Without any further ado, here are the boards:
Pics above are via the Craigslist posting. The yellow vintage Bing Bonzer pictured above is in pretty good condition considering it’s 40+ years old. Still, you can see some obvious spots on the deck where repairs were made. The deck has some sun damage, but now we’re just nitpicking. The glass-on side bite fins are remarkably well preserved, and I just love the Bonzer logo! The last shot gives a great close-up of the concave in the tail. The seller is asking $800 for this board.
Pics above via the Craigslist posting. Sadly, no dimensions are provided, but the board is very similar to the first vintage Bing Bonzer featured in this post. It’s nice to see a slightly different color combination, too: Board #2 has a green Bonzer logo on the side bite fins, and then a red Bing logo on the deck.
One thing that stands out about Board #2 is the different fin. Board #1’s fin looks like it is plastic, whereas Board #2 could be fiberglass. It’s difficult for me to say without looking at each board in person. If anyone has info on the original fins that came with vintage Bing Bonzer surfboards, let me know! This board is listed at $500, which seems like a great price for a Bing Bonzer in great condition.
It’s unclear to me who shaped each of these boards. The vintage Bing Bonzer I wrote up earlier bore Mike Eaton signatures (which were not pictured in the post). Both of the Bonzers above do not have any markings that I could discern.
Finally, you can see that both boards have standard Bing logos on the decks. At some point, however, Bing produced a combination Bing Bonzer logo. I have included one below. Stoked-n-Board offers up some clues for dating the boards above, via the logo designs. According to S-n-B’s excellent Bing entry, the non-Bonzer variant of the logo was produced starting in 1970. S-n-B claims the Bing Bonzer logo, pictured directly below, was used beginning in 1972. By that math, both vintage Bing Bonzers above were likely produced between 1970 and 1972. This is by no means definitive, but that’s the best I could come up with.
Check out Board #1 here, and Board #2 can be found here.
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!
Rick Surfboards is a surfboard label that should be more famous than it is. I admit, part of this stance is informed by my own extensive biases, starting with the fact I have a soft spot for Rick’s clean and classy logos. Setting aside these preconceptions, though, Rick Surfboards boasts a rich history intertwined with some of California surf culture’s most notable figures. Sadly, Stoner’s premature passing in 1977 brought an early end to a label whose influence can still be felt today. Today’s post is an exploration of the early history of Rick Surfboards, and the shapes it produced during the mid-1960s. This is the first part in a series. As always, if you have additional information on Rick Surfboards, please drop me a line!
Part I: History — Bing & Rick
Rick Surfboards is the eponymous label of Rick Stoner. Stoner was a native of the South Bay of Los Angeles, hailing from Hermosa Beach. In 1955 Stoner decamped to Hawaii alongside friend Bing Copeland. Even in the 1950s the North Shore of Oahu was a proving grounds for the emerging surf scene. Bing and Rick surfed until their funds ran out, then joined the Coast Guard reserves, where they were lucky enough to be stationed on a ship in Hawaii.
According to Copeland, shortly after opening up their shop, Rick decided to focus on being a full-time lifeguard, selling his shares of the business to Bing in the process. The newly renamed Bing Surfboards went on to become one of the most recognizable and influential surf brands in the world.
At some point, Stoner must have had second thoughts about the surfboard business. As best I can tell (mostly from the Stoked-n-Board entry for the brand), Stoner established Rick Surfboards in 1963.
Part II: Rick Surfboards from the Longboard Era (Mid 1960s)
Before the dawn of the Transition Era and shortboards, Rick Surfboards, like every other surfboard manufacturer at the time, initially focused on producing beautiful old-school longboards. Examples of 1960s Rick Surfboards longboards are highly coveted and demand high prices at auctions. Here is a rundown of some of the best-known early Rick Surfboards models.
Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model Longboard
The Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni Model is one of its most famous designs. Produced in conjunction with the legendary Hawaiian surfer, The Barry Kanaiaupuni Model first hit shelves in 1966. For the first few years, the BK signature model was a traditional noserider. This changed when the Transition Era hit (more on that later). There’s a great example of a Rick Surfboards Barry Kanaiaupuni model that was listed on eBay. The auction was pulled, so there is no final price associated with the board, but the initial asking bid of $2,500 is telling (as is the fact the seller, Brett7873, has sold a number of collectible boards before.) See below for pictures:
According to the seller, the Barry Kanaiaupuni model above was produced in 1966. The dimensions are 9’6″ x 21-1/2″ x 3″. The board has been restored by none other than Hawaiian surfboard whisperer Randy Rarick, which is the next-best thing to being completely original. One last important note about the board: even though Kanaiaupuni went on to famously shape boards at Lightning Bolt, it’s unclear whether or not he shaped these Rick boards, or merely leant his name to them.
Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model
Rick Surfboards also released the Dru Harrison Improvisor model in 1966. Dru Harrison was a well-regarded pro in the 1960s. Like Stoner, Harrison hailed from Hermosa Beach.
Here are some pictures of a recent Improvisor model that was listed for sale on Craigslist (board has since been purchased). The dimensions of the Dru Harrison Improvisor example are 9’0″ x 20-1/2″ x 2-7/8″. I believe this board is all original, other than some repairs that were made.
The seller claims the Dru Harrison Improvisor above was produced in 1967. Production of the Improvisor ended in 1970, according to Stoked-n-Board. During this time, Rick Surfboards released a number of different logos for the Improvisor. However, I have yet to see any examples of genuine vintage boards bearing the alternate Improvisor logos. Here’s an example of an alternate Dru Harrison Improvisor logo, but I believe this board was part of Matt Calvani’s recent run of Rick reproductions.
As for the collectibility of the Rick Surfboards Dru Harrison Improvisor Model, it is difficult to say. I haven’t seen any Improvisors sold at auction recently. The one data point I have is an eBay sale that took place almost six years ago. You can find the link here. The board sold for just under $3K, and apparently it had a very low serial number (#67). Sadly, there are no pics on the listing any longer.
Rick Surfboards UFO Model
Rick Surfboards also produced the UFO Model longboard between 1966 and 1968, according to S-n-B. The UFO Model had a bunch of advanced features at the time of its release, including an interesting scooped out tail, a step deck, and a teardrop concave design on the nose. These features were incorporated to improve the UFO Model’s noseriding capabilities. Adam Davenport of Davenport Surfboards has a nice writeup of the UFO Model’s functionality, which you can find on his personal website here.
Here’s another example of a Rick Surfboards UFO Model. Pics below are from an old Craigslist posting (board is no longer for sale). The multiple stringer configuration is a common characteristic of the Rick UFO. On an aesthetic note, I love the logos, particularly the ones framing the stringer.
The UFO Model can be seen on the far left in the gallery above; it is the board with the blue / green fin and the quadruple stringers (two center stringers, and then one on either edge). The seller listed the board at 10’0″ and claims it was made in 1967. The asking price was $1300, but seeing as the board sold on Craigslist (if at all), I have no insight into the final closing price.
Rick Surfboards Assorted Noseriders
There are other longboard models that Rick Surfboards produced during the mid 1960s, but I have yet to see any examples for many of them. It’s difficult to comment on the rarity and collectibility of these boards. For example, I have only seen one D&B Pintail Model, and that was submitted to The Surfboard Project. Here’s a smattering of some random Rick pre-Transition Era noseriders::
Pictured above is a beautiful 9’9″ Rick Surfboards noserider with the classic old-school logo. I love the double laminates on the deck. It has serial number #1252, and the seller claims the board dates to 1965. This board has been listed on and off Craigslist for a while now. The seller has been holding firm at $1200, which I think is reasonable for an all-original 1960s Rick, but apparently I’m in the minority, judging from the fact the board has yet to sell. You can find a link here.
Pictured above is another Rick Surfboards longboard. Check out the beefy stringer. It’s also interesting to note the tail block and the glassed-on fin. The Rick Surfboards logo appears to be a few shades of blue lighter than the double-logo version above. This board is listed at 10’6″; pics via an old Craigslist posting.
Here’s a Rick Surfboards model with a rare “Tripper” laminate. Check out the Rick logo on the fin, too! I have never seen this model before, and I haven’t been able to find any other information about it online. Stoked-n-Board has no mention of a Tripper model. Pics via an old Craigslist listing. According to the poster, this may be an experimental board that never saw the light of day. The wedge stringer is taken from the Improvisor Model, and you’ll notice the similarities between the Tripper fin and the one on the Barry Kanaiaupuni Model.
Finally, see above for an example of a Rick Surfboards Noserider with a corresponding logo. Pics via Island Trader Surf Shop, who date the board to 1966. This is a pretty unusual logo, that I have only seen on a few boards. The board measures 10’1″.
As always, my sincere thanks for making it this far through the post. As mentioned earlier, this is the first post in a series that will cover the history of Rick Surfboards. Subsequent posts will cover Rick Surfboards’ Transition Era models — including the famous Barry Kanaiaupuni Pintail — as well as Rick’s transition to the 1970s and single fins produced under the stewardship of Phil Becker. Stay tuned and Happy Shredding!
The board pictured above is an example of a Donald Takayama Model, created for Bing Surfboards between 1965 and 1967. It’s currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County, and you can find the board here. The asking price is $1K. This may seem a little steep, but for reference, another Bing Takayama (albeit in perfect condition) recently sold for $5K at auction.
I’m able to notice a few key differences between the board at the top of the post, and then a few other Bing Takayama boards I found online. For the first comparison, see below for pictures of the Bing Takayama that was sold at auction.
The second example I was able to find was on usedsurf.jp, which always has great vintage boards for sale (albeit at steep prices, no doubt because the shop is located in Japan). I’ve reproduced those pictures below as well:
Now, let’s compare the three boards: the Craigslist board at the top of the post, the auction board, and then the usedsurf.jp board. First, all three of the boards share the same basic outline – a slightly pulled in nose, a triple stringer, and a squash tail in the back. However, the auction and usedsurf.jp boards also have two critical differences: they have large D-fins, as opposed to the Craigslist board’s more raked design; and second, you’ll notice the logos are slightly different. The Craigslist board’s logo has an evenly applied bold outline around the eye-shaped Bing logo; the auction and usedsurf.jp boards have an outline that gets thicker around the right side of the eye.
Close up of the auction board. Bolding is only on the right side of the eye logo.
Here’s my guess: the D-Fin boards (in this case, the usedsurf.jp and auction boards) were produced at a different date than the non-D-Fin boards (see one at the top of the page). The Craigslist board at the top (non-D-Fin) is dated as 1965. Usedsurf.jp dates its D-fin board to 1967. However: the auction board, also a D-Fin, is dated to 1965. Since the Takayama model was only made between 1965 and 1967, I think one of these dates must be wrong. In other words, I believe at some point Bing must have switched from the non-D-Fin to the D-Fin, or vice versa.
Consider, now, the tiebreaker. Here are two more boards I was able to find online, both of which are dated 1965 and closely resemble the Craigslist board at the top of the page. First, we have a board once listed on eBay (aka the eBay board). I can’t get a close look at the fin, but it looks like the rake fin design (not the D-Fin). Note the logo design and placement. First, it’s the logo that has bolding on right and left. Second, the logo is on the right side of the deck, fairly close to the nose.
Second is a board that was listed for sale on Cannon Beach Artz. It’s also dated to 1965. It has the same logo and placement as the Craigslist board and the eBay board, not to mention the red tail block visible on the Craigslist board.
Conclusion? I believe that the earlier run of Bing Takayama boards can be identified by three things: 1) The logo with the bolding on both sides of the “eye”; 2) Placement of the logo (right side of the deck, close to the nose); and 3) A more raked fin design (versus the D-Fin). There are multiple sources that date these boards to 1965. I believe the later model – produced in 1967, but possibly earlier – has the D-Fin, the logo with the bolding only on the right side, and then logo placement further down the board.
If anyone has more info, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, the Craigslist board is still for sale, and you can find it here.
This thing is 8′4″ and it’s got all the cool branding you would expect from this unique Campbell Bros / Bing collaboration. However, there’s some discoloration going on. Check out the Bonzer-branded glass on fins, though!
This thing is pretty trashed, honestly. I don’t think it’s worth buying. Nonetheless, it includes a good close up picture of the Mini Gun logo. More than anything else this is a great opportunity to share some cool older surfboard logos. Click through only if you won’t be triggered by the sight of a collectible surfboard that has been abused throughout its lifetime.
This board is no spring chicken either. Same deal with the other Greg Noll board listed above – just look at the cool logo. This is a rare variant that has Noll holding a camera while riding (you can see that it actually rads “Surf boards and film productions.”) One interesting tidbit is that Stoked-n-Board has the filming logo corresponding to the late 50s, but the actual green logo as being in the 1960s.
This is a really cool looking vee bottom board. I don’t think Daytona was a particularly notable Florida label, but I’ve never seen one of these before. It’s in decent condition, maybe a little pricey at $300, but I love these cool vee bottom transitional boards.
Skip Frye Gordon & Smith Longboard on Craigslist (San Diego)
If you’re wondering why the link is missing…this thing was taken down very quickly! Someone jumped on this bad boy. It was going for $500. I couldn’t get a good idea of the condition but I tend to think these boards are quite collectible.
Greetings Shredderz! We’ve got a real gem to take you into the weekend.
Pictured here is an extremely rare 1968 Bing Lightweight David Nuuhiwa model with a floral pattern. It’s currently for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles, and a mere $7.5K will take this bad boy home for you. It’s in all original condition, and it looks to be in great shape, other than some minor dings.
Where to even start on this thing? David Nuuhiwa was one of the surf world’s early superstars. As always, I will direct you towards the Encyclopedia of Surfing’s comprehensive and compelling entry on the guy for some more background.
In the 1960s, during the height of Nuuhiwa’s fame, he released two signature models in conjunction with Bing Surfboards: the Noserider and the Lightweight. The board pictured here is an example of the latter, as you can clearly see from the logo at the top of the post. Nuuhiwa, as you can see, is a man with tons of style:
Nuuhiwa’s Bing boards are in high demand today, thanks to the pedigree of the Bing label, and of course Nuuhiwa’s status as one of surfing’s earliest pros. For example, you can see a Bing Nuuhiwa Lightweight in much worse condition being sold for $2000 at the Surf Station Store.
Surfboardline.com also has a great picture of a Bing Nuuhiwa Lightweight. Note, however, that the Surfboardline board has a pintail, versus the squash tail seen in the board above.
The other thing that should be noted about the board at the top of the page is the floral pattern. The floral pattern is a rare and coveted feature. Bing’s website has an awesome page dedicated entirely to their vintage models, and they shed a little more light on the topic of the famous floral print boards. Bing had custom floral patterns printed right onto the fiberglass cloth itself, which is an unusual method. You can see another board on the aforementioned page with the exact same pattern as the board featured on this post! I have included the pictures below. Note that the board below is a Bing Pintail Lightweight – not to be confused with a Bing Nuuhiwa Lightweight – but the fiberglass pattern is unmistakable. (If you really want to nerd out on Bing models, you’ll see the third pic has a Bing Pintail icon visible on the deck.)
As for price, I was only able to find a few comparisons. First was the 7′ Bing Nuuhiwa Lightweight available at Surf Station going for $2K, but it’s in much worse condition. The US Vintage Surf Auction had a different Nuuhiwa Lightweight for sale recently, and while the estimate was between $6 and $7K, it looks like it only ended up at around half that. See here. The USVSA board also does not have the floral pattern. Long story short: the $7.5K price is certainly a lot for a surfboard…but it doesn’t sound crazy to me.
Final note: there are two different variants on the Bing Nuuhiwa Lightweight logo. The board at the top of this post has the Bob Dahlquist logo (via Stoked-n-Board), which dates strictly to 1968. In addition, the board at the top of the page has a W.A.V.E. Set box, which is also from 1968. You’ll notice earlier versions of the Nuuhiwa Lightweight have a different logo and glassed on fins. Here’s an example of the 1967 logo:
This might be my very first post about Bing Surfboards. Considering Bing’s place in surf history, that means this post is very much overdue!
I know I use the word “classic” a lot, but hey, I just so happen to write about some pretty sick surfboards. Bing is a quintessential California surf label, co-founded by two men who have earned their right in surfing’s history books: namesake Bing Copeland, and Rick Stoner, who later founded his own eponymous label.
I stumbled across a fantastic little Bing transitional shape that is still available on Craigslist in the San Diego area, which you can find here. The poster claims the board was shaped by Mike Eaton, who was one of the early advocates of the bonzer shape. You can clearly see Eaton’s name (though it is stamped, not signed) on the stringer in the last picture.
I can’t quite figure out what model this board might be. According to Stoked-n-Board, Eaton shaped for the label between 1965 and 2001. You can see a stamp on the stringer that indicates this board was shaped on August 15 1977, which places it towards the very end of the transitional era. The 360 logo on the board is also a giveaway for this time period. Curiously, the 360 logo isn’t listed on S-n-B’s page for Bing Surfboards, which seems like a big oversight given that you often see it on Bing boards from this time period.
The board is 9′ and 23.5″ wide. It also features a step deck. There’s another inscription on the stringer that says “Pinski”, which I am having trouble placing. It doesn’t seem to correspond to a specific Bing model, so I’m wondering if maybe this was a custom shape for someone with that name.