I wasn’t really sure what boards to bring to Sunday’s AB3/Fish Fry. I thought about loading up all the new stock boards out of the showroom and hauling them all down to the beach, or bringing my personal quiver or just showing up in a wetsuit and a leash and just surf on borrowed boards all day. Then I remembered the Campbell Brothers Bonzer from 1989 (left) up in the attic and knew I had to bring it.
I’ve posted pictures of the ’89 Bonzer on this blog before. What stoked me out most was that my friend Brett had left his personal Bonzer for me to try and I realized it was very similar in theme to the ’89 board.
Aside from the different size, tail shape and volume, the two boards share a kinship in concept. A couple of people commented that the original board seemed advanced for the time. I remember back in 1989 (I was 19) the thing looked like a total spaceship. Five fins? Deep double concaves? E-wing rail channels? Whaaaat?
Since this was my Dad’s personal board he let the new guy learn to install fin boxes on it (with the old primitive router compared to today).
The 2009 Bonzer is 6’1″, the 1989 Bonzer is 6’5″. The rest of the dims were hard to read and I didn’t get a chance to break out the tape measure so I will try to follow up on that later. I’m stoked my Dad kept this board around because he isn’t really nostalgic and usually sells his boards after a couple of years. It’s a trip that Moonlight has been building Bonzers for Malcolm and Duncan for 2 decades.
*Thanks Brett for the loaner, I’ll ride it this week!
See also, Surfy Surfy: Astro Eggs: Then & Now
In 1989, shortly after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, my Dad Peter St Pierre hotwired a big chunk of styrofoam into a surfboard blank and had Mike Slingerland shape it into this longboard. Gary Stuber glassed it with epoxy resin. My Dad rode it a few times and felt the board was too light, especially in offshore winds, so it was resanded and then glassed a second time with polyester resin. He added this groovy artwork, surfed it for the rest of the summer and then the board was retired to the garage where me and JM dug it out last weekend. My Dad somehow got all that crusty wax off the next day.
*note the Rip Curl Surfboards label as they were a big client for Moonlight Glassing in the 80’s.
This is Gary Hanel aka GH. He has been shaping my surfboards since I was 15 years old (1985).
Here are a couple of pics of me riding GH’s when I was 17. Photos by Jeff Nelson.
This is Tyler Hanel. Tyler is the oldest of 4 Hanel brothers (all goofyfoots who rip). Tyler runs the KKL shaping machine service. He is really good at math.
Here is a surfboard Gary Hanel handshaped for Tyler. It is based on the 1980s boards GH used to make for us, but with modern updates to the rails and rocker. I was pretty stoked when I saw it so I asked GH to shape me one too.
Tyler laser scanned the board and made a digital file of it. Tyler and GH then scaled the board to my size and weight. This is GH manning one of the machines at KKL.
To mix things up a bit we decided to go with a stringerless blank. My friend Jason in Venice had recently hooked me up with some carbon fiber, so I thought it would be cool to do carbon fiber rails. Moonlight handyman Dave Dvorak glassed the rails.
When you have a special project like this you want someone with knowledge and skill. Here is Gary Stuber glassing the board with 4 oz S glass. The glass work came out immaculate.
After the board was hotcoated, fin boxed and sanded I thought it should get some snazzy red pinlines to finish off the rail cutlaps.
The finished board looking tight.
The Lokbox fin system shown here with the composite Taylor Knox fins.
The dims: 5’10” x 18 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
I’m not big on traction but I do like these backstops from my brother-in-law’s company, Destination Surf.
I rode this board during last week’s run of good glassy surf. It really wails. Believe it or not but I haven’t gotten a new thruster since the summer of 2000. The thruster is a stable platform and easy to surf. It’s not as fast as some of my other boards but it’s great for some basic old school wave thrashin’.
Usually the waves are bad when I get a new board but I got lucky this time. I snapped this pic after session #2 and before session #3 of the day.
A close look at the carbon fiber rails. I had a number of GH surfboards glassed with a variety of carbon fiber back in the 80’s so this board is quite the retro trip for me.
*Stringerless polyurethane blank by Just Foam.
*Shaped and designed by Gary Hanel, Tyler Hanel and HAL the komputer.
*Carbon fiber supplied by SciArt, Inc. They do custom weaving. Ask for Vince, ph# 949-788-1709
*Glass work by Dave Dvorak and Gary Stuber using low emission polyester resin.
*Hotcoat and Lokbox install by Dave Kerr.
*Sanded by Kenny Mann.
*Pinlined by Peter St Pierre.
*Glossed by Mark Donnellon.
*Wetsanded matte finish by myself.
*Traction and leash by Destination Surf.
*Fins: Taylor Knox template for Lokbox.
*Logo design and screenprinting by Jon Pankopf at Factory 101.
*Made with stoke at Moonlight Glassing in California, USA.
*UPDATE: this board was donated to the 2011 Summer Fun on the 101 raffle and was won by Ashley, one of the baristas at “Coffee Coffee”.
I recently spotted this old Moonlight board at a souvenir shop in the touristy section of Oceanside Harbor. It’s an early 1980’s Dan Van Zanten thruster under his Penguin label. It may have been made for the Rip Curl surf shop or for a Rip Curl team rider, I’m not sure what “Old Skull” written by the fins is supposed to mean.