Surfboard: What is a bonzer?
For years now, I’ve been trying to wean off my longboard and start riding a shortboard. Not because I don’t love riding my longboard, I do, but the paddles out can be brutal without the luxury of duck diving and in general it’s a bitch to lug around! Shortboards on the other hand are easy to carry and travel with, you can fit them in your car, you’re less likely to ding them on the way up to your apt, etc, etc. And aside from the convenience, they offer some advantages once you’re standing on one. The ability to turn quickly for instance.
I’ve gone through a few shortboards already:
- an old school walden CD (the more eggy version)
- a Spyder mini gun (7′)
- a fish
Neither held the secret key. Yeah, I can get waves on them and they’re fun, but I don’t get nearly as many waves as I do on my longboard, so I keep going back to it and keeping my ear out for more options. I resisted getting a basic thruster because I don’t expect it would paddle into waves as well as say a fish and style wise it’s just not that interesting to me. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s a reason it’s the most popular set up.
Anyway, a friend sparked my interest when he said his favorite board was his bonzer claiming it was super fast and easy to get barreled on. I kept thinking about it and eventually emailed him for some more details. He came back to me with this: “Bonzers are cool because you can apply that fin setup to any shape you want”. Ah ha! I didn’t realize that! I thought they were floaty diamond tail boards only! I did some more research on the intertoobs and found that it’s not even the fin set up but more so the single to double concave that directs water outwards that makes them unique. The inventors of the Bonzer themselves, the Cambell Brothers, give the best description: Bonzer Mechanics. If you take a look at the their board descriptions you’ll get a good idea of what shapes are available: Bonzer Models
So, how does a bonzer ride compared to other boards? Well it depends on the shape of course, but a few key chararistics:
- turns off the tail
- often “floaty” as w/ the Bumblebee or Octafish
- you can trim and even get noserides on some
This article on surfline goes into the success and history of the bonzer: WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE RIDE BONZERS?
Lastley, the best way to get a feel for it it is to check out a few videos:
Hope that helps! Let me know if you get/got one and comments w/ more insight appreciated! (no login required)