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.

Vintage Bing Bonzer Duo

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:

Vintage Bing Bonzer #1: 7’1″ with Diamond Tail (For Sale on Craigslist Ventura)

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.

Vintage Bing Bonzer #2: Dimensions Unknown (For Sale on Craigslist Orange County)

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.

Vintage Bing Bonzer 4.jpg
Close-up shot of the tail. Pic via Craigslist.

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.

Vintage Bing Bonzer Logo
Here is a version of the Bing Bonzer logo that was reportedly used starting in 1972. Note that both boards featured above have the standard Bing logo with no reference to the Bonzer.

Check out Board #1 here, and Board #2 can be found here.

Bing Bonzer by Mike Eaton

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.

Eaton Bonzer Bottom The Board Source.jpg
Example of another Eaton Bonzer tail. Look at the scooped out double concaves. Pic via The Board Source
Mike Eaton Bonzer Explanation.JPG
Mike Eaton’s handwritten explanation on the hydrodynamics of the Bonzer design. All I know is if it’s good enough for Taylor Knox, it’s good enough for me! Pic via Eaton Surfboards

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!

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (May 8)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope your stoke levels are high and rising. Here’s a smattering of rad surfboards I’ve seen pop up on social media over the past week or so.

It’s a scientifically proven fact that you can’t go wrong posting pictures of vintage Lightning Bolt boards. And sure, the thing has a bit of water damage, but I much prefer old boards with some character than a lot of the full-blown restoration jobs that prioritize aesthetics over preservation. But I digress. No matter where your preferences might lie, Gerry Lopez was and will always be the man.

 

Another proven fact: there is no such thing as too much neon. This here is a selection of some primo Echo Beach vehicles, courtesy Lance Collins of Wave Tools, and Peter Schroff of Schroff Surfboards. Love the Team lams on the Wave Tools boards to the right.

Click “Continue Reading” below for some more selections…

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (May 8)”

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (4/8)

Greetings, Shredderz! Hope your weekend has started off in style. As always, see below for some selections from the wonderful world of social media.

Shaped by Alan Byrne by hand for Sam to ride Pipe. 10'4".

A post shared by Andrew Kidman The Windy Hills (@andrewkidman) on

Allan Byrne, the force behind Byrning Spears, tragically passed away a few years ago as the result of a motorcycle accident in Bali. His legacy as the world’s pre-eminent shaper of channel bottom boards remains, though, as shown in this Instagram post by Andrew Kidman. The board in the post is an absolute beast, measuring at 10’4″ and designed to tame Pipeline. The surfer is underground Aussie charger Sam Yoon, who was written up in a nice Surfer profile that can be found here.

Continue reading “Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (4/8)”

Shred Sledz Social Media Roundup (3/22)

Greetings, Shredderz! Here is the latest in vintage surfboard news from the far reaches of the interwebs, collected all in one place.

Dick Brewer, Sam Hawk and Owl Chapman. 3 names that means so much to our surfing community. Just legends!

A post shared by Vintage Surfboards (@luisrealcollection) on

Luis Real is the owner of North Shore Surf Shop on Oahu. He is also the owner an extensive collection of vintage surfboards that has been known to bring grown men to tears. He posts a lot of incredible stuff on Instagram and on the Vintage Surfboard Collectors group on Facebook. This post above is a rad picture of a rare Dick Brewer logo that features Sam Hawk and Owl Chapman as well. Note that in the top portion of the pic, Sam Hawk is on the left, Owl Chapman is in the middle, and Brewer himself is to the right.

Today’s post features some tasty Bonzer content for all you alternative surf craft fans. Check out this Shane Bonzer shaped by none other than Simon Anderson! This is a cool look at one of Anderson’s earlier experiments with a tri-fun setup before he invented the proper thruster and revolutionized surfboard designs forever. Note that the owner of the account above is none other than Duncan Campbell, brother of Malcolm and one of the co-founders of Campbell Bros.

I'll take the brown one

A post shared by Joel_tudor (@joeljitsu) on

Your last Bonzer related post of the day comes from none other than Joel Tudor. Check out the comments in the thread where Tudor and Malcolm Campbell are discussing how Joel is going to take that thing down from the rafters and have the outlined copied so he can make a repro. Check out the fin placement on the board on the right — just like the Campbell Bros recommend. Love the little “Bonzer Vehicles” logos you can see next to the side bites, not to mention the funky double concave and the super thinned out tails.

Look at this beautiful example of a Steve Lis fish! And check out those dimensions: at 5’2″ x 20 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ it’s not hard to see the kneeboarding influence. You can barely see a little logo on the bottom of the board towards the top.

Presents Expression Session 1

A post shared by Surfboardsandcoffee (@surfboardsandcoffee) on

Surfboards and Coffee (looks like their website isn’t quite ready for primetime yet) is a group of surfboard collectors in LA that host regular meetups to compare boards and ingest some caffeine. If I lived in that lovely City of Angels I’d like to think I’d be a regular, but alas Shred Sledz HQ isn’t moving from the Bay Area any time soon. Anyway, check them out on Instagram (and how about the spray job on that Stussy!)

Last but not least, Marc Andreini took to Facebook to explain some of the backstory behind his famous Vaquero design. The board on the right is an early predecessor of the Vaquero — then called the “365”, because Andreini and co found they could surf the board nearly every day of the year — from 1974.

Early Campbell Brothers Bonzer

Look at this super rad early Bonzer design, which you can find on Craigslist here. The board is located in Ventura, CA, the ancestral home of the Bonzer design and the Malcom brothers who are responsible for shepherding it into modern surf consciousness.

The poster claims this board is from the early 90s, which sounds about right. Stoked-n-Board lists this logo as having only been used from 1968 to 1970, which, if I had to hazard a guess, isn’t quite correct.

The dims on the board are a healthy 5′7″ x 21 3/4″ x 2 1/2″. I still can’t get over how wide that tail is! Apparently it has a concave deck as well, which is an interesting touch. The poster claims this is an early Bumblee outline, which has since been refined into something a lot more recognizable.

The board is going for $275 and you can find here.