Old Bonzer

I shaped this one around 1985. Beat up broken and slightly abused still being used. Time for something new…

Stepped deck thickness under chest with thined out fliped deck kicked tail rocker…Sound familiar to what guys are doing now on “modern” boards.

“Been there done that” as they say.

Pg 104-105 of George Orbelian’s “Essential Surfing”.      My copy is dog-eared on this page.  And pg 146-147 (which you shaped).    


Do you favor the long runners or the double (split) runners?  Also, I thought I saw a comment from you a while back about not particularly liking the concaves.    What are your views on the concaves for this type of layout?  


Full disclosure - the reason I’m asking is because I’ve been contemplating doing a Zinger-type twin midlength for myself using a template similar to the one above.   

Pretty sure I have covered most of this in other discussions. I will say that a small center fin, you would be surprised how small, will make a huge difference in how a “Zinger” responds.

I liked the “twinzer” type effect of the 5 fin type set ups better than the long runners. When you start to see the fins as the channels it opens up a lot of new bottom contour possibilities.

Awesome.  Ahead of your time - 26 years later, we're catching up!  The rocker looks identical front and back.  Very interesting looking board.  Its what, like an 8-6?  Love to ride it!

The board is 9’ the guy is 6’5" .

These were Eaton’s nightmare. The fin was my contribution.

As far as rocker foil and flow. We used the old 9’3" blank. Lots of foam. The Rockwell 653 with MAJOR modifications was key to getting all the kick, zero to wide open to zero flip the tips, I did so many of these it became muscle memory. The power sander helped set deck kick and step deck.

The Electric rolling pin was a impressive tool also.

I thought it was pretty cool one day when Eaton told me I had shaped more ‘‘Eaton’s’’ than he had.

I remember seeing lots of those Eaton bonzers around that mid-80s time period, it's nice to get to ''know'' the guy who shaped 'em. They always looked really clean. I talked to Mike a few times at the trade shows and he said he had a great crew doing the work.

Thanks Mike.

I was always happy being the guy behind the guy. I was never very good at beating my own drum. I just wanted to learn how to be a good shaper. These boards really challenged your abilities.  When I was first learning to shape em Mike would give me 4 or 5 and come by our shed behind an old lumber yard. This is a whole other story. First the boards. He would say to rough em out and he would be right back to check em out. Huh, maybe he would show up maybe not. Never “right back”. Then he would take a black magic marker and go over ALL the faults. Okay finish em up “I will be right back”. A day or two would go by out comes the marker fix em again. All this would take about a week. Finally he would come by for the final check out. Looks good, here is $25 for each one. ALL FRIGGAN WEEK FOR $100 on the same 4 boards.


The “Shed” was just that a leaky funky wooden dirt floor SHED. Robin Prodanovich and I shared it. Surfer magazine did an article about “modern longboarding” and the people that were still making longbords at a  time when it was rare to see one. There was a full page spread photo of Mike and one of our boards. Some guy was looking for where the boards were being made and somehow found the “shed”. I was working the guy was standing in the doorway with the magazine. He pointed to the picture and said he was looking for where these boards were made. I said here. He looked around at the “shed” kinda shook his head in disbelief and walked off .

Ace, would you say your The One board is something that is a modern version of these boards, or something totally different?

I saw a video of Joe Bauguess and he was shaping a zinger with the electric rolling pin. It said he was making the Eatons now.

I seem to recall a sign tacked up in the shaping room at Bing's old shop that said something to the effect of  " You can lead a Bonzer to water but they are a bitch to sand "  or something along those lines.........

The “ONE fin” boards have as close to deep channels than I have gone in a long time. I am exploring some different concepts trying to get the tails to flex and provide some squirt and lift. When I was riding the Bonzers one of the complaints was that the were “stiff” and worked best in bigger waves. I started working on center fins that had a “radial tire” type of flex. And we started playing with the side fins to go along with the ride.

 The ONE fine is also an attempt to see if I can make a surfboard with one fine that is able to hold its own in today’s lineups. we used to get guys that had taken the runner fins out of their Bonzers and swore they rode better. As Bradly Buben “RIP” once said to me after much sole searching as I was carrying one of my latest multi fin contraptions to the Point, “Albert, you only NEED one fin.”

Unfortunately the Eaton thing ended badly and I just dropped out and shaped here in OB ever since.

I’ve ridden a lot of singles and one thing I like about multi finned boards is that you can get a lot back from the board when you push really hard in a turn. I don’t feel that kind of energy coming back from some of the singles I’m riding. Something about moving the fins out to the rail on the shorter wider tailed boards that changes everything. If I have a straighter rail line, a narrower tail, and hard edges, I can get quite a bit of power from the turn.

Your One seems to be using a wide tail so it’s very interesting.

I completely agree with everything you said about multi fin boards and wider tails. 

First I am not gonna say this ''ONE" is a good big wave idea. I am concentrating on smaller waves where the wider tails can be a plus. Couple feet over head take off to ankle high complete rides.

I think by “hooking” the rails under and using them as “fins” with a straighter rail line the plan is to be able to rail to rail drive em like a multi fin board.

Been having pretty good feedback. Definitely a smooth type of ride but still able to fit into tight corners. I have a whole pile of other boards and I keep grabbing my new “ONE”. One thing for sure after you set your first turn they go FAST.

Yeah, I notice you use a straighter rail line in the tail. Probably rides great the way you have those tail concaves to thin it out. Thin for singles, thicker if you have more fins.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff from you veterans. I like the way Deadshaper’s Stoker V Machine and Ultimate V Machine look too.

My brother has a 10’ longboard with a bonzer bottom shaped by Jim Turnbull (RIP) and it’s a magic board. It was originally a thruster, but he converted it to a single, and it still rides good.