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Neilson Ice Nine Bonzer

I’ve had my Ice Nine Bonzer for a couple months now but we had a stretch of terrible waves. And then we got one of the best swells we’ve had all year and the night before my shaper dropped off a new stringerless EPS board that I’ve been waiting on for quite a while. So sadly the Bonzer has been sitting neglected in the racks without its fins even being installed and no wax.

Neilson 6′2″ Bonzer

Needless to say, the constant barrage of Bonzer-porn that gets posted over at SurfySurfy really had me wanting to try one out for myself to see what they are all about. I’ve wanted to get a Bonzer for quite a few years now, but have been trying to get my quiver dialed in so I never had all my boards perfect where I had room to experiment. I was always refining and updating shapes, trying to get all my boards to work well in the wave conditions they were intended for. Then several moths ago we received a couple of plant-based Ice Nine blanks to try out for Phoresia and figured a Bonzer would be a perfect experiment for one of the blanks. I picked the brain of my long-time shaper, Tom Neilson, and finally settled on a 6’2″ round-tail outline that he already had pretty diealed and had good feedback on from his team riders.

The Ice Nine blank shaped up well but there were some issues with the glassing. Ice Nice has the process dialed in but it requires following a rigid set of instructions to prevent overheating the blank during the glassing process. This board was airbrushed solid yellow as well, so there could have possibly been a reaction with the paint, but the end result left air bubbles in the glassjob. The flaws were mostly cosmetic but not something that could pass off in a retail environment. I wanted to ride the board a couple times before I gave a solid review of it to see if there would be any problems aside from the aesthetics.

Well I finally got the first sessions in on it this past weekend. To make a long story short, I was blown away. Friday after work I took the Bonzer out in some head-high junky beachbreak. Right away I could tell I was going to like it. It paddled how one of my favorite small wave boards paddled and just felt connected. The first wave I took off on I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly suprised by the speed and looseness of the board. I guess I had preconceived notions of it riding more like a single than a thruster but it’s a unique feel all it’s own. Loose but not like it’s going to slide out, it felt engaged but went rail to rail quickly and easily. With so much new design going on under my feet it was hard to tell what was contributing to the overall ride but I had a great session, caught a ton of waves, and was feeling really confident on the board. Not much more you can ask for out of a board on the first go out.

Neilson 6′2 Bonzer Deck/BottomSaturday morning the waves had dropped in size a bit but it was clean with a full tide. I took it out again to see how it would work in smaller surf that required a bit more effort to produce speed. Again, pleasantly surprised. I made some really fast little sections and it felt good on waist high bowly waves. All in all I’m super stoked on the combination. After two sessions I’ve got a minor heel dent from my front foot, but that’s it. No other pressure dents which is surprising considering the abuse I dished out to the board on Friday’s shore pound session.

The feedback on these blanks has been similar to that of the Biofoam boards. They tend to hold up better to compression dents and can be glassed a little lighter than an average poly board. The board is glassed with 6/6 oz. on the deck and 6 oz. bottom and poly UV resin. With the five fin boxes it’s no lightweight but I don’t mind trading a little weight for the added durability.

As far as the Ice Nine blank goes, it’s a viable alternative, but it does require some added attention during the glassing process. I’ll have to wait and see how the longterm durability is to make up my mind about it. It’s interesting though that in the past month I’ve ridden boards made of standard poly, biofoam/epoxy, IceNine/UV poly, EPS/epoxy, and a stringerless EPS/epoxy board. All were locally shaped and glassed. The alternatives in materials are definitely out there if you are willing to search them out and ask for them. Try it, you just may like it.

• Category: board construction

5 Responses »

  1. Cool that you enjoyed the bonzer. Now try it out on a good pointbreak!!
    A couple of guys from around the corner are working on a new foam project:
    Their first blanks should be shaped and glassed quite soon. I’m looking forward to try them out.


  2. Sweet board!

  3. a good bonzer is a great tool in the quiver!

    When Clark foam closed there was a lot of panic but it looks like it may turn out much better, on many different levels, than anyone imagined.

  4. Very very nice. But now I am cringing, cause I think I want one now. Really bad.
    DL, looking though surfy surfy and trying out the grain fish with the keels, I think I will pursue something along the lines of the green one about 1/2 way down the page.
    How big is the single fin you used on yours? By the way, what’s Tom getting $$$ for something like that?

  5. Hey Herb,

    Ricardo here. The center fin is 6.5″ You can see more info on the Campbell designed fins on the Lokbox website. Give Tom a call. It all depends on whether you want EPS, poly, Biofoam, color work, gloss finish, etc.