Friday, August 7, 2009


Didn't sleep too well Wednesday night - all I could see was walls of white water.

We were very busy in the shop and that helped the day pass quickly. Thursday evening, dash home, get my self together and beat up to Gwithian. It was looking very mellow compared to the night before - chest high sets - clean and very workable. Perhaps now I could actually find out what the Bonga was like instead of simply fighting for survival.

I carried the board the three quarters of a mile or so to my favourite spot and thought 'this puppies heavy' I had to change hands a couple of times en route no big deal but not something the svelte 18lbs of Naish'ness makes me do. I weighed the Bonga on our shop scales later and it registered 23lbs with fins and leash. Actually not bad at all. The tail is also just slightly heavy for the balance point of the handle to be spot on. Again no big deal just a minor niggle that would not even register if I were straight off the beach into the break, in fact it's an easily solved issue by having a couple of leash plugs put in the deck a'la, C4 never understood why all the brands don't do this so much easier to carry using your paddle - come on guys! I would be very interested in the all up weight of a C Sub vector.

Paddling out was a breeze the board is super stable and to be honest I did not even notice the fact that it was a stepped rail or at least what their effect was - I have admitted to being a novice!!.

Turning into the wave was getting easier as was riding up over the wash. Step back, all my weight on the back foot with my forefoot almost 'hovering' in a sort of an olly manouver, and away we went. No drama. In fact the Bonga was probably my easiest first session of any board that I've had.

On the waves, which were VERY F A T and slow the board paddled in easily, cut back sharp and trimmed well enough for me to get as close to nose riding it as I can. It held it's edge solid and was totally drama free. Even on some of the later, steeper take off's the nose showed no signs of pearling or bogging down - it was great and were it not for the fact that I had the delights of the Naish under my belt I would have been totally blown away. The problem for me was that I had spent months - well at least three months - serving my apprenticeship on the flighty little 9'3" and whilst still far from being any where near competent I had been shown glimpses of what it can do. I think that the Bonga could take me close to the promised land if I were good enough or put in the time on it that would teach me the delights of board control from the tail, BUT I'm not sure that I want to loose any of the time that I have put in on the Naish.

I'm not sure that this really makes sense. My Naish has frustrated and thrilled me. It teases me and, on occaisions makes me actually believe that I can do this stuff and then . . . . . it's slaps me down like a total first time novice. I have dripped and moaned about choppy conditions - and then had a great surf in chop, I have fallen off in glass and excelled in the bumpiest of faces. The Naish has no limits and I'm sure that the Bonga does not either - it's just that - I've paid my dues on the Naish and it seems to suit me better. On Thursday on the Bonga when compared to the handfull of longboarders that were out struggling to paddle in to waves that I was tearing it up with three nice cutbacks, I knew in my heart of hearts I would have made five on the Naish - and that left me feeling a tad frustrated.

I have to keep in mind that the Bonga is £619 - its half the price of a Naish - surfs so well and is incredibly well made. Bouyant for it's size (I'm 203lbs 14 1/2 stone) and it floats me easily. I'm probably borderline on the Naish and yet would not want to give that up.

If you are looking for a performance, short Sup, and fancy a new board at pretty much used prices - get yourself a ride on a Bonga it's a bargain.

As an epilogue I surfed tonight (Friday) on the Naish. How could I ever of wanted another board? Next time it'll kick me in the teeth and I'll be begging for the Bonga!


NC Paddle Surfer said...

The sub vector is just as heavy. 23-24 lbs last I checked mine.

Maybe the new Naish 9'5 will be the magic one.

csx355 said...

Hi Dwight - thanks for the comments - I don't think the Bonga is actually heavy it's just that some of the boards, Naish and Starboard for instance are incredibly light and the difference it makes to me is significant throughout the whole session, not least in simply getting it to and from the beach. Last night on the Naish in clean waist high waves it was a total joy - if you get a chance to try one.

Jim said...

Is that the southpoint bonga you reviewed?

csx355 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
csx355 said...

Hi Jim - thanks for stoping by - yes it's the Southpoint Bonga - it would make a good Intermediate low cost addition to your hire fleet - it's not as stable as a Starboard 9'8 but has more nose rocker and IMO a bit more 'Surfy' - Not for beginners though. Steve