Need a little inspiration in your surfing? The PB Custom Surfboards Nomad Bonzer is smooth, fast and capable is a wide variety of conditions. At home in a barrel and built to land airs with ease, this bonzer could easily replace your ‘go to’ shortboard.
A talented surfboard shaper and very interesting gentleman, Paolo Bianchinotti, leaves the ‘plain vanilla’ style of boards for other shapers and infuses his creativity into his label, PB Custom Surfboards.
I had seen the distinctive ‘PB’ logo on boards around Sydney’s Northern Beaches but didn’t realise that this was the personal label for the man behind production of the majority of Channel Islands Surfboards made in Australia.
If you feel you need more inspiration in your surfing, this PB Custom Surfboards Nomad Bonzer is a great alternative to your go to shortboard. The deep deck concave under the front foot creates a smooth, stable ride at all speeds while the back foot well provides control and leverage in critical situations. It really is a different, special ride.
+ Deep deck concave under the front foot makes the Nomad feel stable and connected at speed
+ Built in arch bar gives great leverage through turns and, given your back foot sits slightly higher vs. your front foot, this feature seems to provide additional pumping power through the front foot
+ Wide outline floats across flat sections
+ Bonzer action get you close to that lovely single fin feeling but you still have the drive and manoeuvrability of thruster or quad fin setup
– It is my first bonzer and the ride took some time to get used to
– I blew the tail out on my first drop into a solid wave. Once I worked out foot positioning around the foot bar, this wasn’t a problem again
The PB Custom Surfboards Nomad Bonzer at 6’0 x 21 1/2 x 2 5/8. Given the deep deck concave and high foot bar, volume is very hard to determine for the Nomad. Paolo reckons it would be roughly 38L’s. I surf the PB Customs Nomad as a 5-fin bonzer setup with four FCS B5 Bonzer side fins for maximum speed, acceleration and hold and a beautiful Alkali 7.25 in. ‘Classic Single’ fin. PB recommend setting the front of the single fin about 1 cm back from the back FCS bonzer side fins.
Best Wave Type
Stomach high to a few feet overhead. Loves to pump across flat sections but will handle a steeper drop and feels great in the barrel.
- Deep deck concave under the front foot for stability
- High foot bar for leverage through turns
- Wider outline with tail pulled in from the wide point
- Multiple tail configurations available
- Multiple fin setups available
- I’ve never ridden a bonzer, nor have I ridden anything quite like this so, sorry, no comparisons
Hey, welcome to Benny’s Boardroom. You are looking at the PB Custom Surfboards Nomad model. PB stands for Paolo Bianchinotti. Very long name and very, very interesting guy. You may not have heard his name before, but you probably should have. If you are in Australia and you bought a Channel Islands [00:00:25] board in the last few years, and I mean several years, Paolo actually manages the factory that produces most Channel Islands Surfboards in Australia so he has quite a big job and has literally been responsible for pumping out most Channel Islands Surfboards in the last few years. If you are riding a Channel Islands Surfboard, it was likely built under his oversight.
For somebody like that, you assume that he has quite a lot of skills and experience and he would be fairly knowledgeable. As a matter of fact, PB is. I went and talked with him about this Nomad because I had seen this up on his site. I had heard about him a few times and I saw the PB logo a few times in the water, especially around the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I was always curious about PB and then I saw this board.
This is a Bonzer with just some crazy, crazy, deck concaves and a big foot well along the back. Quite a few interesting dynamics going on with this board. This is the first Bonzer I’ve ever ridden and the first board by Paolo. Literally, I could sit here and just talk you through all the things that are different about this board and special, but I’d rather just take it back and tell you how it rides.
“The thing rides like a rocket ship.”
I had never ridden a Bonzer before so this is my first time riding a Bonzer and my take on the Bonzer is that it’s almost like you get that smooth single fin feeling, which if you’ve seen the Haydenshapes Cannon review [See the HS Cannon review…], you’ll know that I’m quite stuck on the single fin feeling now. You also get the drive and speed generation of more versatile fin setups like a quad or thruster setup. Very, very interesting to ride a board for the first time with a Bonzer setup but also very interesting to ride this particular model by PB Custom Surfboards.
I just want to talk you though a few things that Paolo has done here. I’m going to put pictures up on the website (here!) as I’m really not going to do it justice on film here, just so you can see all the things that are going on. You can see he’s got a massively concave deck through here. I’ve ridden boards before with concave decks. It gets you down a little closer to the water. In particular, having the concave here, Paolo feels like:
“You can stroke a little bit deeper as you’re paddling on to your wave.”
I would look at this board sitting in the water because it’s quite impressive to look at and I would push the board down to see this well up like a little puddle or something. The water will hold here and then if you tilt it back, it will just smoothly run back and run out the tail at the back to where you’ve got this quite large foot well running through the tail. This has a lot of different dynamics going on and the ride is like nothing else I’ve really ridden.
The first time I rode this board, I was up the coast again at one of my favourite little spots up the coast and I took off for the first time and the smoothness of the flow, feeling that you get down the line, again, kind of reminiscent of that single fin feeling but then, when you need to turn it, you can see that he pulls this tail back in very sharply here so it comes from a wide outline at the front and pulls it in, has this little wing here that pulls this tail in and again, makes it very maneuverable and easy to turn. Very interesting to surf that board for the first time in that beach break.
This Nomad paddles very well. This board is built with EPS and more than enough volume for me.
Like a fine wine, this board took me a little bit of time to get used to. Again, there are quite a lot of things going on here and Paolo is an advanced surfer and an advanced shaper. I think he refines his craft to such a point that you have to understand all of the elements working together to really dial it in.
Once I did dial it in, I surfed this not last week, but the week before in just a beautiful day offshore, almost glassy conditions. This fun little shoulder to head high to very occasional overhead sets at this punchy, hollow beach break. I took off on my first wave and actually blew the tail out. I think I pushed the tail a little bit too hard coming around the corner but every wave I caught after that, once I was able to pull that tail around, put my foot in the right place and push it around, I was then getting these beautiful, fast, running waves and just flowing up and down the face. It just feels so beautiful on your foot.
He’s got the concave deck like this and then he pulls the rails off quite abruptly so you’ve got these nice medium to low rails that again, feel very sensitive in the water. He’s also done something very interesting with the stringer. He calls this a ‘Ghost Tree’ stringer and it comes through here but you can’t actually see it. It comes out just in the back here. I’ll take a picture of that, too. You can’t really see it on camera. He feels, and I think this is fairly accurate appraisal, most of the stresses you’re placing on a board is in the back half when you’re pushing the board through turns and things like that. You want to have the most spring and the most resistance going through turns through that back half of the board. The ‘Ghost Tree’ stringer acts like leaf spring suspension and makes the board feel very snappy and responsive through turns.
He’s placed this stringer through the top of the board through here and out the back. It’s a very interesting kind of design feature that I’ve never heard of anybody putting in a board before.
That is the Nomad by Paolo Bianchinotti of PB Custom Surfboards. Very interesting guy, actually from the US. Before meeting for the first time, I thought perhaps he was Brazilian based solely on the name when I got in contact with him the first time, I spoke with him and he has a slight American accent because he was born in the US and he lives over here (Sydney, Australia) now, similar to me. He’s a bit of a mutt. Really lovely guy. Sort of guy you just sit down and talk with for hours about boards. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and has these very defined opinions based on all of his years experience.
That is the Paolo Bianchinotti Nomad, a 5-fin Bonzer. If you have not ridden a Bonzer, you should really try it. If you are around Sydney or even around Australia, you should really get in touch with Paolo at PB Custom Surfboards and try one of his boards. Spectacular shaper and very interesting guy to speak with as well.
I was surfing it with this Alkali [00:07:02] 7.25 in. ‘Classic Single’ fin that you see in the back here. Alkali is run by a couple of guys who are up on the North Coast of NSW around Ballina. Really beautiful stuff that they make as well. Very interesting design, kind of classical single fin design. I’ve actually got an Alkali in my Haydenshapes Cannon [00:07:20] now, too. That’s it.
Thank you so much for watching the show this week. Hope you’re doing well. Hit that subscribe button if you hadn’t already. Leave a comment if you have any questions and I will speak to you again soon.
OUTRO: This is the Nomad, grasshopper, by PB Customs. You should get one.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
This is a custom design, get in touch with Paolo to order yours! Read more about PB Custom Surfboards Nomad Bonzer here.
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