If I asked you who first came up with the 3 fin concept on the 'modern' shortboard, what would your answer be? If you're like most people, you'd answer that Australian board shaper, Simon Anderson, first came up with the three fin concept around 1980, right? Nope, read on ....
Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way trying to discredit the advances that Simon Anderson made in terms of the surfboard's evolution, because what he did was amazing, but even he will tell you that there was something going on in the three fin vain as early as 1970. Enter the Campbell Brothers ...
The Campbell Brothers are surfboard shapers who lived in Oxnard, California. They wanted to find a way to enhance the speed and control of the super-short (5'4" - 5'8") single fins of the day. After a bit of experimentation, they came up with the revolutionary idea of adding two long-based side fins to the existing single-finned surfboards. This made the boards great for quick directional changes in more demanding waves.
A little later, with the hope of finding an idea that would give the boards more speed, they started to experiment with a different concept for bottom contours and the single into double bottom concave was born. You thought that the single into double was a modern idea? No, this was happening as far back as 1972.
So what's so different about the Bonzer when you compare it to the regular modern board? Essentially the bottom contours of the board, combined with the fin set up, make for an extremely efficient water channeling system. This means phenomenal speed and manoeuvrability and a very cruisey, yet responsive surfing experience.
Part of the beauty of the Bonzer bottom concept is that it can be applied to ANY kind of board template, from longboards, to tow boards, to eggs, to modern shortboard templates - you name it. Today, proponents of the Bonzer are guys like Taylor Knox, Rob Machado, Dan Malloy and Donovan Frankenreiter.
When I initially heard about the Bonzer (about 2 years ago), I had to have one and I immediately started to source to bottom contour plans to give to my shaper. The result was a 6'1" modern template with a diamond tail - something really special - and I found it to be an all-round great experience, from the planning of it, to the shaping process and finally to the testing.
Not too long ago, I rode my Bonzer at a pristine point break along our coastline - the waves were clean, overhead and barreling and a friend of mine told me that he'd never seen me go so fast on a wave before. Actions speak louder than words.
I'd highly recommend trying to get hold of one of these little marvels, they're super fast, super responsive and super fun (and no, I'm in no way affiliated to the Campbell Brothers...). As always, experimentation opens you up to the different possibilities that exist out there in your pursuit of wave riding experiences. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed. For more info: http://bonzer5.com/