Hi I recently checked out a couple of beautiful Campbell Bros bonzer bottoms -- 6'4" and 6'8". I am hoping that you all could educate me on the performance characteristics of bonzers: what kinds of waves they excel in, how they differ from thrusters, similarities in lines (on the wave face) when compared to other fin set-ups. I love singles, quads, and twins, and surf thrusters a lot too. Maybe I should add a bonzer to the mix? My style is pretty cruisy, high lines and bottom turns with a couple of swoops here and there when all the elements come together.... Aesthetically, I love them, though I have never had the opportunity to take one out and give it the ol' high line, high speed test. Any info is appreciated. Happy surfing~ Kit
IMO the bonzers lack abit of release for most waves, (if you are used to riding more conventional thrusters.) If you are coming down in length from a lonboard that may not be an issue. They definately need some real juice to get them going. Rides more like a single than a thruster.
I'm with RP. The Bonzer wants to track, and ride high on the face like a singel fin. For that reason I love them. They are very fast down the line type boards. Having one or even 2 is in my mind a good idea. On those days when that break that has not worked for a long time stands up and fires. I grab one of my Bonzers(they are both made by Mike Eaton)and hold on. Jeff Hackman was a team rider for Mike Eaton and spent a lot of time on the Bonzer.
I got one of the old one's under Eaton, i guess the cambell brothers are doing bonzers now too. But i have an old one, i agree with everyone elses feeling on the matter. But i'd like to add the bonzer fins like to crack and their a bitch to fix, and sometimes the tail likes to drift just befor you're on yer feet. Still they are fast, and its another feeling which is good.
They are an exclusively tail riding board!
I have a 7'0" hybrid shape thruster (c. 1992) that I incorporated a 70's type bonzer bottom, about 1/4" deep. It's one of the best boards I've had. I've used it in all kinds of conditions up to 6 feet and havent had any gripes of any kind. It's fast, loose and drivey, all the things I look for in a board.
WarDove, I have a 10' Eaton Bonzer, I have had some good nose rides on that board. But they do surf well from the tail. Mike did not invent the Bonzer. I think he was working for Bing when the Cambell brothers, brought the idea into Bing. For many years if it was a Bonzer and had a Bing lable Mike made it. Mike still has a shop, and still makes some great boards. Replacing the bonzer fins on one of Mikes Bonzers is really not all that hard. Take a hook nose knife and heat it up with a propane torch, slide it down the sides of the fin. It is glued in using hot glue. Once you get most of the glue out have someone hold the broken part with a pair of pliers and move it side to side as you slide the hot knife along the sides. To put in a new fin just use a good hot glue gun. You can buy the fins from Mike Eaton. Now on a Cambell bro, board I don't know how they install there bonzer fins?
I think i read in Wavelength (UK surf mag) that the Campbells are using redex fins on at least some of their Bonzers now. They have just started licensed production in the UK. It is (in my opinion) a market ripe for something different to all the 6'2'' thrusters. Have fun, Dan
Thanks for the input guys. I would be looking for a 6'6" - 7'0" bonzer, and I like the high line characteristics that some of you wrote about. I am thinking of a semi-gun outline, and would use it in overhead, steep, down-the-line waves where driving and pulling in, or racing in the pocket, would be the idea. I am not stepping down from an LB -- been riding 6' something boards for years, and just haven't had the chance to get one of these under my feet. I am wondering why these never became as widespread as twins and thrusters. Too limited in their applications (i.e. only work best in certain conditions)? aloha, Kit
Had a CAmpbel Bros. 5 fin bonzer maybe 10 years ago brought back from USA by a mate. Great float. great speed, great TRACKING. It really is a problem with them. 3fin bonzers probably better unless into point waves (not where I live) or boards are realy short. otherwise tracking is always aproblem. I once tried fitting bonzer fins on 6'4" back in the 70's and it gave great projection but again lack of freedom. Tri fin setups are noting new it just took twin fins and Simon to make them work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've been riding bonzers for about 10 years now, right now i have a 7'8" Campbell Bros. and an 8'5" Point Blank----both done in epoxy-----fantastic boards! As to the tracking issue, it's easy / hard to cure,it's all about tuning the center fin as to size and placement , once you hit the right spot for that board, You'll know it, the board comes alive and the so called 'magic 5th gear' kicks in i don;'t think bonzers ever became all the popular because the campbell bros. were a bit hippy-ish and zen surfers and the other main issue---they are and were a bitch to shape, glass and sand ----the bigger companies wanted no parts of them.
I remember the three fin bonzers were exclusively down the line point break kinds of boards. They were tracky and people kept that perception about them. About two years ago Casey McCrystal came to us and said you've got to try the five fin Bonzers. Casey made me one with a very interesting rocker that he developed for Tim Curran. It was much looser than I recalled. But, it really needs some power to make it light up and you do need to ride them back foot heavy. But, they can redirect on a dime without any tail drift. The first time I snapped a redirect after backdooring a section, I almost went over the top. You've got to be prepared for a major hook up. So, my curiousity was peaked. Malcomb and I started talking about making a Red X set of Bonzer runners. Malcomb gave us a set of masters to make our molds and drew up the installation instructions. He also made me a Bonzer based on my regular template. One of the first things Malcomb told me was that you can make just about any template a Bonzer. I've never ridden a fish style. So, they may ride differently. But, from the boards I've ridden, they need a square wave and a heavy back foot. But, you can get great drive out of them and they will turn so efficiently that you carry all your momentum stright through your turn. And, if you want to through a fast redirect in hang on cause there is no tail slide. Malcomb had us make Red X for his design to make it more accessable to other shapers and easier on the glass shops to install. There has been a lot of new interest in Bonzers this past year. We will just see were it goes.
The E-B5 Elevated Wing Bonzer Five Fin Malcolm and Max McDonald – partners in crime for decades. Max is still shaping, custom only, out of his Santa Barbara shaping facility 805-9638668
La Super Rica- aaahhhhhhhhhh
yep- not a bad place to eat.
La super rica---great place to eat after grooving with the chumash spirits
once I surfed rincon on a cold rainy day with just a couple fellas, there was a friendly guy I talked to- he was a chumash teacher- i knew his uncle from my college years in S.B. it seemed really right to surf rincon with a chumash.afterward we went to La Super Rica. fully classic. we live up north but no trip down south is complete without a visit to the Beach House, Rincon, and La Super Rica
i always feel so much respect for the chumash when out at the islands or other remote areas.they really had calif in it's raw pureness. I also love sea urchin and raw tuna and seaweed salad after surf!!Try it! It's great like ocean ice cream!hahaha
Max is three blocks away on Milpas. He's one of the nicest guys you ever met. I saw him throwing shaka with his Bonzer Longboard on top of his car, huge smile, always optimistic in his approach with customers and their ideas. He's shaping and glassing his own boards. Max, and his stepson James, are doing all the work themselves. Check him out.
Try the posole (usually available as a Sunday special) - it's fairly hot but super tasty, as is practically everything La Super Rica makes. My nephew still remembers the posole from 3 years ago after eating there just once, and what does a 12 year old remember from that far back? I wholeheartedly agree that the Beach House-Super Rica-Rincon are all mandatory stops on any SB trip (I'd also throw Channel Islands in as well, it's right across the street. Also if you have the time try the Wine Cask for dinner - the food and locally produced wines are tops. Looking forward to my next trip this fall already - maybe I should look up Max and order a Bonzer then as well.
I’ll vouch for Max. He had been making the Rocketfish for Clyde Beatty for over ten years before they divorced and went their separate ways. Good, good fellow and board maker. I’ll vouch for La super rica too. There is always a line around the corner.
JT on a bonzer egg...more photos available on the website.