In honour of the 40th anniversary of the Bonzer I made my own little pilgrimage to Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu to track down Duncan Campbell at the Haleiwa Cafe and congratulate him on the anniversary and clear up a few questions of my own about the history of the design.
1) Why was it called Bonzer in the US and Bonza in Australia. Was it a rip off or intentional?
Duncan explained the two versions of the name were completely legit. The boards in Australia were labelled Bonza out of respect for the original and also differentiate them as the Australian version. Bonza is also Australian slang for 'excellent' and therefore more culturally relevant down under.
2) What was up with G&S making boards labelled Bonzers in Australia and Bing making them in the US then later G&S also making them in the US?
Duncan told me that was a strange co-incidence. Peter Townend introduced the design to Australian G&S at the same time the Campbell's were working on developing / trying to commercialize the design with Bing. Then, co-incidentally G&S USA bought Bing and thus absorbed the Bonzer design in the US G&S stable.
The original early 70's Bonzer was given as a gift to the Campbell brothers by Tim from Kona in acknowledgement of the anniversary of the design.
I just love the Campbell Brothers by line 'be mindfull'. Compared to 'Just do it' it is such a wonderful sentiment and can be applied at all aspects of life, not just surfing, which I'm sure is exactly what they meant.