Bonzer style longboard questions

My son had a 9’ longboad a number of years ago that had a bonzer fin setup and concaves. He really liked the board but no longer has it. I am considering making him a bonzer style board somewhere in the 8 to 8’6" range. Have a few questions:

Good idea?

Bad idea?

What blank?

How much nose rocker?

How much tail rocker?

Three fin or five fin?

Concave flow?

Rail flow?

Wings, no wings?

Thoughts and comments appreciated.


I think it’s a good idea. I made a 8’0" eggy/hybrid shaped 5 fin bonzer for someone,I have a friend that rides a a 9’-0" Campbell bro’s. longboard and he loves it…

Any blank that you have been using for longboards will work

The E-Wings are kind of tricky to do. My first bonzer had them but I did not notice and improved performance but they sure look cool…

Good luck.

Don’t forget that Red-X and Lokbox BOTH make the side fins in box form, if you want to take that route in glassing instead of glassing them on (you can just install Red-X or LokBox boxes).

Like to see a picture of that thing when it’s done. By the way, do you really need to turn them from the tail, or can you get up and turn them from the mid part of the board? I’m asking because I’m debating whether to get a 8’2" single fin or a bonzer. Thanks

I found them to be fairly tail-oriented for turning. The side fins provide a lot of lift. So, if your weight is too far forward, the side fins will lift the fin out. It just wouldn’t work for me at all. And you can feel it if you try to turn from too far forward, there is just no response from the board.

OTOH, they turn pretty nicely from the rear - much nicer turning for a longboard than a thruster or 2+1, IMHO.

Blakestah…I find that my bonzers and all the Campbell Brothers that I have ridden turn very nicely from the center of the board…almost like a skateboard when carving from the middle of the board… When riding off the tail(over the fins) that is where the sweetest spot is but the sweet spot is also larger and extends out way in front of the fins. On my bonzers I do a vee panel bottom or a rolled vee the entire length of the bottom of board with more vee out the tail. this is probably why my boards turn better form the center. I have never had the fins come out when riding to far forward… the only thing funny you might notice is that you might have to position yourself a tiny bit back further on the board when paddling into waves because of the increased lift in the tail… Speed, smooth flowing lines and holding power is what the Bonzer is about.

Emil…That board is in the waiting line at Moonlight so it might be a long time before I see it.

Could you be a back-foot dominant rider???

I was told by Duncan Campbell not to even bother trying the Campbell Bros boards owned by one local here - said they did not represent a “bonzer”. They had the bonzer 5 fin set up made by Malcolm, but lacked the concaves. I never rode them, but I have ridden a Campbell Bros bonzer with the concaves. If you push hard on the rail, right where a thruster rail fin sits, you can easily pop the fin out of the water. However, that is not how you ride them. Heavy foot in the middle, near the rear, and it turns quite sweetly.

WRT longboard usage, I can say that if I walked forward on the Campbell Bros bonzer I rode, it wouldn’t turn at all.

But it turned quite nicely, was not at all tough to ride, and carries loads of speed through a bottom turn. One of my buddies rides Eaton longboard bonzers and also finds them tail-oriented wrt turning. They are 3 and not 5 fin models, but one of the most common performance characteristics of bonzers is that they are tail-oriented in turning, more so than a 2+1 or single or thruster. That definitely matched my experience.

Good comments. I’m going to go ahead and try one, what the heck, I’ve been having fun surfing different boards the past few years. Shipman, I got you on the get in line and wait, it will be the same with me! Thanks

Blakestah…I think I am Bi-footed oriented… Don’t know how you where riding that bonzer but I have never had the back fin pop of the water even on the steepest makeable turns yet.

Ask Duncan if the modern bonzer 5 is truely a tail turning oriented design. I’d really like to know, please…

It would be a truly wonderful thing if Duncan actually sent me email with an interest in discussion of surfboard dynamics.

The issue with the fin popping can be verified easily. It only took me one turn. Just stomp forward on the inside rail, right where you’d push on a thruster to make it come around as fast a possible. Be aggressive. If you pop the fin you will lose the board. I did.

BTW, I don’t think of this as a design flaw. Obviously, boards all have a way in which they work, and it is up to the rider to make the most of it. You just don’t ride a bonzer like that. I’d keep my weight further back than on a thruster, and push slightly, just slightly, forward and to the side that I am turning to kick in the fifth gear, and glide in a high plane through the turns. My impression, in limited testing, was that bonzers held a lot of speed through the bottom turn, and couldn’t quite cut as small a radius turn as a thruster comparable in board size.

The thruster, when you get really rail fin oriented, starts to move its center of rotation closer to, or on top of, the rail fin, whereas with the bonzer it is always about the rear fin. But the bonzer will carry so much speed through the bottom turn from the lifting canted rail fins…sorta apples and oranges. On our beach break at Ocean Beach making it down the line matters more than really short radius turning, and I am surprised bonzers haven’t caught on more.

But on a board that is longer, or compared to a 2+1 when you cannot really pivot around the rail fin anyway, the bonzer’s advantages grow.

Blakestah, what size was / were the bonzer[s] you have ridden ?

And, were they three or five fin models ?

thanks !


I rode a 7’6" in waves from shoulder high to double overhead on 5 different days. A good friend of mine is a huge fan of the bonzer, but has Eaton 3 fin longboards. It wasn’t tough to come to a consensus, among us, for how the bonzer rode differently from a thruster.

The speed through the bottom turn was surprising to me, even above that claimed by its proponents. At the end of my testing I would intentionally stall near the lip to see if the bonzer could make a section - rarely disappointed.