Max McDonald EB5: Elevated Wing Bonzer

Greetings, Shredderz! Long time readers of the blog probably know by now there are few things I enjoy more than learning about influential shapers and craftsmen. This is especially true of those who aren’t necessarily household names. Today we have a sweet board shaped by Santa Barbara shaper Max McDonald. I had seen Max’s boards pop up on Craigslist every now and then, and I learned a bit more about McDonald’s career when I wrote an earlier post that featured his collaboration with the Campell Brothers. In the late Eighties, McDonald and the Campbell Brothers created a board called the EB5, which combined elements from both shapers. The E stands for McDonald’s elevated wing design, which was inspired by Sam Hawk and Dick Brewer’s winged boards from the Seventies; and the B5 refers to the five fin Bonzer shape invented by the Campbells.

The board pictured above is a Max McDonald EB5 that is currently listed for sale on Craigslist in San Diego. You can find the listing here. The board is 6.5″ x 20 1/2″ (thickness is not listed), and according to the seller it was likely shaped in 1990, shortly after the EB5 was first introduced.

The board has a ton of fascinating details. There are almost too many to list! Lucky for you, this is the best blog on the internet for over-analyzing vintage surfboards.

First, you don’t see a ton of non-Campbell Brothers Bonzers, especially from this era. I’m guessing that McDonald produced the EB5 under his own label, in addition to the boards that he shaped alongside the Campbell Brothers.

You can clearly see the elevated wing design in the picture above. There are also some interesting-looking channels that seem to run up the length of the board and create something that reminds me of an exaggerated tri plane hull design.

The tail itself is also unusual. I’m not sure how to describe it — a winged thumb tail, maybe? Regardless of what it’s called, it definitely looks cool and futuristic, a good thirty years after the board was first shaped.

There’s quite a bit of nose rocker on the board, as evidenced by the photograph above.

If you look closely at the photos from the listing, you’ll notice there’s small “epoxy” text beneath the Clyde Beatty logo. Beatty, in addition to producing his own shapes, was known for experimenting with various epoxy glassing techniques, particularly with underground Santa Barbara shaping legend John Bradbury.

As a bonus, here’s another cool Max McDonald five fin Bonzer. It’s not explicitly branded as an EB5 but it has the same fin setup as well as McDonald’s signature elevated wings. Check out the tail on this board, too.

I’m just blown away by all the details on this Max McDonald EB5. The longer I look at it, the more I notice, and the more questions I have. I would love to hear some background on the thinking behind the various design elements, and how they effect the actual ride of the board. Overall the EB5 strikes me as the product of a very detail-oriented and creative shaper, and if nothing else, it’s fun to look at. Oh, and the price is right too: the seller is asking $150 for the board. Here’s a link to the listing if you’re in the market.

Social Media Roundup: Last of the Decade

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the decade. I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to 2019 than by checking out some sweet sticks, so without any further ado, here are some of my favorite social media posts from the past month or so.

Stab Magazine called Tom Curren’s Maurice Cole-shaped reverse vee “the most famous board ever shaped”, and it’s hard to argue with that description. The Surfer’s Journal recently weighed in with some cool trivia, letting us know that there were two boards with the signature yellow rails and logo-less design: a 7’3″, along with the more famous 7’8″ featured in Servais’ timeless cutback photo. The existence of the nearly identical 7’3″ and 7’8″ boards is described at length in the Stab Magazine article linked in the first sentence of the caption.

Here’s where things get weird: in last month’s Social Media Roundup I featured an Instagram post from Maurice Cole himself, posing alongside an 8’0″ board with the same reverse vee, yellow rails and blank logos. Cole also claims the 8’0″ was shaped in 1991, along with the 7’3″ and 7’8″. Does this mean there are actually three reverse vee boards, and not two? I figure if anyone knows it’s Maurice Cole, but consider me intrigued.

Rob Machado is a Pipeline Master, he gets paid to travel the world and surf his brains out, and he’s also got phenomenal hair. If you find yourself running out of reasons to be jealous of the dude — who, by all accounts, is a super nice guy — he also gets Skip Frye boards for Christmas. This one is a beautiful 7’11” Frye Nozzle.

Speaking of things I’d like to see under my Christmas tree, add a Marc Andreini balsa Serena model to the list. My 9’0″ Andreini Serena is probably my favorite board of all time. You can see Marc posing alongside a different board in the picture immediately above this caption — note the White Owl logo on the deck, whereas the first board doesn’t have any logos. The logo-less Serena is actually a gift to the woman whom the board was named after, which makes it even cooler.

There’s no special significance to this shot, which was taken by multi-hyphenate Andrew Kidman. It’s just a gorgeous photo of a skilled craftsman that highlights the beauty and skill of hand shaping surfboards. RIP Allan Byrne.

The Campbell Brothers have been featured in the Social Media Roundup countless times now. They always have cool tidbits from their decades long history with one of surfing’s most enduring designs. Here’s an early Hawaiian quiver from 1983, featuring a trio of sweet sleds. Check out that Cafe Haleiwa logo on the far left!

Mike Eaton Bing Bonzer with Glenn Vitalis Airbrush

Greetings, Shredderz! I think we can all agree that one of life’s great pleasures is the feeling that comes along with finally getting to the bottom of a particularly frustrating mystery. Some of you may remember an Eaton-shaped Bing Bonzer I recently wrote up featuring a stunning airbrush by a mystery artist. Well, it turns out the artist responsible for the airbrush is a gentleman named Glenn Vitalis. In addition, a reader sent me another killer example of a Vitalis airbrush, this time on a rad vintage G&S stick. I ended up sharing the G&S / Vitalis board to Instagram, which you can see below.

Today’s board is another Eaton-shaped Bing Bonzer, and the photos you see here come courtesy of Bing collector Tom Moss. Tom graciously gave me permission to use the photos of his absolutely killer board. Tom is an admin of the excellent Classic Bing Surfboards group on Facebook, where he also shared some pics of his Bing Bonzer. And, if like me, you prefer to see (and ride!) surfboards in person, Tom is putting some of his personal boards up for display in the new Bing 60th Anniversary exhibit at the Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center. Tom claims the board below was shaped in 1978. Click the photos below to enlarge.

How sweet is that airbrush? The more I see of Glenn Vitalis’ work, the more I dig it. It’s interesting that the airbrush covers the deck of the board and not the bottom, as you might expect. Moss tells me that Vitalis later went on to do numerous covers for “Field and Stream” magazine. Sadly, I was unable to find any of Vitalis’ work online. Don’t miss out on the subtle red resin pin line, either.

And yes, the tail has the exaggerated concave and branded side bites (or runners, in Campbell Brothers parlance), just as you would expect from any vintage Bing Bonzer worth its salt. Tom has what looks like an original small Eaton fin installed as well.

Thanks Tom for sharing photos of your rad Eaton-shaped Bing Bonzer, and for sharing another fantastic example of Glenn Vitalis’ beautiful airbrush art!

Note: the article was updated on July 26 with a few corrections. The board is a Mike Eaton-shaped Bing Bonzer, not an Eaton Bonzer. Tom Moss is an admin of the Classic Bing Surfboards group on Facebook, and I also added some color around the fact that the Campbell Brothers refer to the side bite fins as runners. Thanks Tom for your help!

1989 Campbell Brothers Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

There’s something to be said about consistency, and the Campbell Brothers have been nothing if not steadfast in their belief about their groundbreaking design. It’s hard to refer to the Bonzer as an “alternative” design these days, given the fact the design counts surfers like Taylor Knox and brands like Channel Islands among its fans and collaborators. I’ve featured some vintage Bonzer ads before, such as this ad for the Bonzer produced under the Bing Surfboards label, and then another Campbell Brothers ad from the early Nineties. The brothers behind the design have also been very upfront about their progressive views over the years, resulting in the bold copy you see here. But you gotta love the fact the Campbells have never been afraid to challenge surfing orthodoxy.

The other interesting thing about the ad is the inclusion of Max McDonald. I was actually able to find out more about the board featured in the ad thanks to Surfy Surfy, whose excellent blog is always worth a visit.

Surfy Surfy Campbell Brothers Bonzer Mac McDonald.JPG
The EB5 featured here is a bit different from the one at the top of the page. Pic via Surfy Surfy

Surfy Surfy ran the photo above in a blog post, which you can find here. The photo you see above ran in Breakout Magazine in 1989, the same year as the ad found at the top of the page. The EB5 board that is featured in both advertisements is a collaboration between Max McDonald and the Campbell Brothers. (EB5 stands for Elevated wing Bonzer 5.) The Campbells started experimenting with five fin Bonzer surfboards in 1983. By the late Eighties they were working alongside McDonald, combining the fin setup from the five fin Bonzers with McDonald’s elevated wing design. McDonald began working on the wing design in the mid Seventies, after seeing Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s experiments with the design. All of this info is contained in the article that Surfy Surfy reproduced on their great blog.

If you look closely at both advertisements you can see the elevated wing design. The Campbell Brothers still use the elevated wing in a good number of their boards today.

Campbell Brothers Bonzer Elevated Wing Tail.jpg
Max McDonald’s elevated wing design has its roots in Dick Brewer and Sam Hawk’s shapes of the Seventies. It’s purely functional, but I happen to think it looks absolutely gorgeous, too. Photo via the Campbell Brothers Bonzer 5 site

Thanks for reading and visit again next Thursday evening for more vintage surf ads as part of the Sagas of Shred series!

Vintage Bing Bonzer Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Thursday evening here in California, and so I’m obligated to serve up some more vintage surf ads for all you kind folks. Usually, the Sagas of Shred series features ads that I have personally scanned from my stash of Surfer Magazine back issues. Today’s post, however, features an ad that I found somewhere on the internet. If this is your original scan or upload please let me know so I can give credit where it is due! Anyway, today we have a vintage Bing Bonzer ad. The original file had 1973 in the filename, so I’m guessing the ad may have run that same year. According to the old Stoked-n-Board archives, the Bing Bonzer was produced between 1973 and 1976, so the timing adds up. Still, I don’t have any confirmation around the date.

That said, it’s probably best to focus on the downright sexy curves of the cherry red Bing Bonzer featured in the advertisement. I’ve geeked out about the Bing Bonzer many, many times before, and I still can’t get enough! By now you may know that I’m a huge fan of the branded side bites, but you can also see they’re complemented by a cool Bing branded fin in the ad above.

Last but not least the testimonials are all-time, too. Who is Wildman?! More importantly, the Bing Bonzer bears the stamp of approval from folks like Steve Wilkings, Jeff Hakman, Dru Harrison, and of course, the Campbell Brothers, who were responsible for creating the landmark design in the first place. Tiger Makin was a Rick Surfboards team rider alongside Dru Harrison. Between Makin and Dru Harrison, along with Rick Surfboards’ early ties to the Bing label, this rare Rick Surfboards / Mike Eaton bonzer I posted on Instagram recently is starting to make more sense. I had no idea that Hakman and Harrison had anything to do with the Bonzer before seeing this ad. Then again, the Bonzer has had no shortage of notable fans in its forty plus years, ranging from the folks mentioned above to people like Taylor Knox and Alex Knost.

Tune in next week for more Sagas of Shred!

Vintage Campbell Brothers Surfboards Ad: Sagas of Shred

Greetings, Shredderz! What, you thought just because it was a national holiday the Sagas of Shred train would come screeching to a halt? Think again, amigos, because just like every other Thursday evening, we are coming in hot with a vintage surf ad for your viewing pleasure. Today we have a Campbell Brothers Surfboards ad that originally ran in the May 1991 issue of Surfing Magazine (Vol 27 No 5).

The Campbell Brothers have never been ones to conform, whether it’s fin setups or political views. Thus the military propaganda style imagery of the Campbell Brothers Surfboards ad featured above doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The stark black and white lines are a significant departure from the dominant aesthetic of the late Eighties and early Nineties, which favored bright graphics and lighthearted, feel good messages. I love the old school Bonzer script logo splashed across the bi-plane, which took me a bit of time to even notice.

While I can’t personally claim to regularly surf Bonzers, there are plenty of ultra talented surfers who have joined the Campbell Brothers’ revolution. One such surfer is Alex Knost — check out some of his stylings on a Russ Short model in the video below. The Campbell Brothers’ place in surfing history is assured, thanks to their groundbreaking design and the accompanying decades-long effort to spread the word of its high performance capabilities.

Finally, given that it’s the waning hours of Thanksgiving here in the States, I’d like to offer a few words of gratitude to anyone who has made it this far through this post. If you’ve ever read the blog, checked out my Instagram, or even laughed at one of the pitiful dad jokes littering this site — okay, that’s probably taking things too far — then I can’t thank you enough. Frankly, I’d write Shred Sledz even if no one read it, but the knowledge that there are a few people who actually enjoy what I do makes it all the better.

Yes, Yet Another Bing Bonzer

If you’re getting sick of me writing about Bing Bonzers…well, you might want to reconsider your Shred Sledz patronage. And trust me, this is not a blog that can afford to lose any more readers! But I digress — pictured here is a certifiably bitchin’ Bing Bonzer that’s currently for sale on Craigslist in Orange County, California. All pics in this post are via the Craigslist listing, which you can find here.

I don’t like to think of myself as a grouchy old guy grumbling about how they don’t make ’em like they used to…but it’s hard not to look at the fifty-year-old board pictured above and come to that exact conclusion. In particular, I can’t stop looking at the resin pinlines. They are so clean and subtle but also make the board pop. The color combo is incredible, too. Overall, the surfboard is striking without seeming at all excessive.

Bing Bonzer Tail and Fin.jpg
This is a beautiful surfboard. The End.

How sexy is that matching fin, too?! You can also see the signature deep double concave in the photo above, as well as the Bonzer branded side bites. I love the contrast between the sharp lines of the side bites and then the pronounced curves of the concave in the tail. I think the Bing Bonzer is one of the most beautiful shortboards that has ever been created.

Now, as for the price: the seller is asking $800. I have seen better deals on boards like this, but I have also seen much worse. And while it seems like Bing Bonzers aren’t ultra rare, they don’t often pop up for sale, and the condition can always be a crap shoot. This example has some noticeable heel dents on the deck, and some nicks scattered throughout, but the most important aspects of the board have been well preserved over the years. Of course, I haven’t seen the board in person myself, so standard caveats apply. Provided there aren’t any issues with the board that aren’t shown in the pictures, I think this is a pretty fair price for a genuine Bing Bonzer.

There’s no telling who shaped it — possibly Mike Eaton, I guess — nor are any dimensions listed. You can check out the Bing Bonzer on Craigslist here.

Price Checks: Vintage Bing Bonzer

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we are featuring a beautiful little vintage Bing Bonzer that sold on eBay for $800. You can find a link to eBay listing here; all photos in this post are via the listing.

My take is this is a good price for a very cool board. By contrast, I wrote up another Bing Bonzer, albeit one in much better condition, that sold on eBay for $1,100. The Bing Bonzer looks to be pretty good condition, especially considering its age.

When I first saw the vintage Bing Bonzer pictured below, it almost looked like a stubby-esque outline. However, I was surprised to see the dimensions: 8′ x 21 3/4″ x 2 1/4″.

Vintage Bing Bonzer Nose.jpgVintage Bing Bonzer Side.jpg

I really love the prominent beak in the nose. This board looks like it has tons of paddling power. The subtle pinlines on the deck and the cream and blue colorway are both beautiful touches, too.

I can’t help but compare this Bing Bonzer to other examples I have seen. The first thing that stands out to me is the Bonzer logo that appears on the side bites. See below for a close up from the board that just sold on eBay:

Vintage Bing Bonzer Fins.jpg

Now, see below for three other Bing Bonzers I have written up previously. You’ll notice the Bonzer logo is different on the three boards below. The text is in all caps and it’s not quite as “round” as the font on the white eBay vintage Bing Bonzer, for lack of a better word.

In addition, the entire tail end of the eBay Bing Bonzer looks different from other examples I have seen. The white eBay board has a much more mellow double concave in the tail compared to the extreme scooped-out design of the three Bing Bonzers above. In addition, the eBay board has a round tail. One other random note: I have seen a different version of the Bing logo that includes the word “Bonzer” in it, which is different from the standard Bing logo on the deck of the eBay board.

It seems clear to me that the eBay board is a different model than the trio of Bing Bonzers pictured above. However, I’m not sure which came earlier — the Bonzers with the super deep tail concaves and the all caps logo on the side bite fins, or the eBay board. It’s also possible they were produced at the same time, but I think that’s less likely. A knowledgeable friend thinks the eBay board might be a later version of the Bing Bonzer, but I can’t confirm any of this. According to the Campbell Brothers’ website, the Bing Bonzer was only produced between 1973 and 1975 at the latest.

If you have any clues about the dates different vintage Bing Bonzer boards were produced, please let me know! Finally, you can find a link to the board featured in this post here.

 

Skip Frye Bonzer 5 Conversion

I’m usually hesitant to share pics that have been posted on other sites (except Craigslist and eBay posts, of course). When I stumbled across this unusual Skip Frye bonzer that’s currently listed for sale, though, I knew I had to share the good word. First, news of the board’s sale was originally posted to Surfer’s online forum (link here). You can contact the seller via that link. Second, the photo of the Skip Frye bonzer was originally shared on Surfy Surfy’s awesome blog. You can find the original Surfy Surfy link here. Hit up Surfy Surfy’s site for more pics of the board. And if you find yourself in sunny Leucadia, Surfy Surfy and its sister coffee shop — yup, named Coffee Coffee — are worth an in-person visit.

As for a bit of background on the board, you can find a more detailed rundown in the link to the Surfer Forum post. The Skip Frye bonzer measures in at 6’10” x 21.5″ x 2.5″ (apparently ‘just shy of 2.5″‘, according to the seller). I freaked out when I first saw the board, as I have never seen a Skip Frye-shaped bonzer before. However, turns out that the board was originally shaped in the Eighties as an egg with a thruster fin setup. The board was later converted into its current five fin iteration. The other interesting thing about this Skip Frye stick is the prominent Moonlight Surfboards logo. I can’t recall off the top of my head if I have seen any other of Skip’s boards with a similar laminate, but it’s definitely unusual.

The seller doesn’t list a price with the board, and I think it’s safe to assume that he’s expecting a Godfather offer. I hesitated to even call this guess an educated one, but I would be surprised if the Skip Frye bonzer changed hands for less than $1,500. As for my personal preferences, if I were to shell out the money for one of Skip’s prized sleds, I would prefer an all-original fin setup. Then again, that’s just me, and that’s not to take anything away from this neat Frye bonzer.

Anyway, you can check out the Surfer Forum link here to contact the seller, and make sure you check out Surfy Surfy’s blog here for more pics of the Skip Frye bonzer.

Concave for Days: Bonzer Tails

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.

Vintage Campbell Brothers Bonzer TailVintage Campbell Brothers Bonzer Tail 1

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.

Vintage Bing Bonzer TailVintage Bing Bonzer Tail 1

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.