I recently had the chance to talk with Bonzing founder Austin Graziano about the company, their boards and what makes them so unique. They’re out to make a positive impact on both the Earth and skate scene with an approach that is all their own. Timeless skateboards using skater supplied artwork and sustainable, FSC certified wood.
First off, how long have you been skating and how did you get into scene?
I have been skating in some form most of my life. I remember getting my first skateboard, opening it on Christmas morning, the whole thing was yellow and it was awesome! Our driveway was a big hill so my brother and I would have competitions to see how far we could make it down. In the 90’s I was a big fat kid and all of my friends were learning ollies but I couldn’t ollie, so I took my board and skated the hills while they were learning tricks on the flat land.
I truly came into skateboarding much more when I moved to San Francisco. I went to school in SF and to clear my head after studying I would go skate! I would go out during rush hour because I loved all the mayhem of cars, weaving in out of pedestrians but always making sure I had an out. It is kind of weird in retrospect and I don’t recommend you skate in traffic but it turned into a love affair that is still very vibrant. Skating in SF is unlike anything in the world, buses to take you to the top of the hills with endless and epic terrain.
After graduating college I worked a couple shitty jobs but my skateboarding always got me fired up and got me were I needed to be and that is when I decided to start Bonzing. After I came out with our first board, I met Big Dave and he/we started the Sunset Sliders! That crew blossomed brightly and that also got me much more into the scene.
How did Bonzing get started and who are the key leaders who make up the Bonzing team?
Bonzing got started back in 2006 and slowly progressed. We came out with one board our first year, one board our second year, one board our third and then we started to expand. There are alot of ways to access what skateboarding offers but the boards available did not always get us there so I started shaping my own decks. I manage the operations of Bonzing and we have the most kick ass Team of about eight people who help shape, create graphics and make media.
I think one of the first things people will see when visiting the Bonzing site is your 4 step process. One the thing that stood out to me was the first step: using FSC certified wood. What motivated you to pursue this style of construction?
It is kind of interesting to create a product that destroys the world…… You ever drive by a section of forest that has been clear cut? — ie every tree has been taken; the land looks raped and pillaged and it is definitely a WTF moment — you get angry and upset. We do not want to be part of that and want our forests around for our children. FSC helps prevent
clear cut/deforestation and when we use FSC we feel better about making products that destroy the world.
Learn more about the Forest Stewardship Council and their efforts to protect, maintain and conserve our forests here: https://us.fsc.org/en-us
Step 2 and 3 also mention that a portion of every sale goes back to the person who shapes the board, as well as the artist. How did you guys come up with this process?
As you learn about the industry you find that the heavy lifting of creating products and media are done by the skateboarders on the Team. However typically the Team riders do not get to partake in much of the upside of what they create. Does that make sense to you? — you do the work but do not get the chance to benefit. When you see that happen you start to ask questions.
For me it makes sense that if you create something you should be able to benefit in its success. I gave our Team the chance to benefit in what they create and as a result the Bonzing Team has created some of the most rad skateboards available; the graphics are raw and the shapes are tried and true.
Continuing on the process, step 4 is about delivering quality products, how do you guys go about designing your lineup with that in mind?
Process is everything. Quality is not something you can just add to the recipe, it is in your process. It starts with what do you want to make? After that it is about getting you setup with the right wood so you can go explore, test and destroy. After much repetition of cutting, sanding, riding, and going too far you have answered a lot of questions about what you want to make and step 4 is about making what has been created.
We want and need to bring our customers a skateboard that you can kick the crap out of and it will last you a lifetime. There is a creation process and then there is the delivery of what has been created. If you haven’t ridden a Bonzing board yet, you will definitely feel the “quality” of a Bonzing skateboard when you feel, touch and ride your board.
Amongst your team riders and buyers which boards are your most popular? What is your current setup?
It is funny to see what is popular and at what times. Our best selling boards are definitely our Fatty series; Any of the Fatty’s are excellent hybrid boards that kick major ass. In regards to the Team it is a mixed bag and a lot comes down to personality and style; during the summer months downhill boards are popular but as of late the Lurktron has definitely been a go to for a lot of the crew.
My current setups are Grizzly and Boomers with 9in Calibers, the Lurktron with 9in tkps for the park and we are making some mini street decks with Ace 11’s that is so much fun for commuting, getting around.
With it being the beginning of 2019, should we expect any new additions to the lineup or changes for the upcoming skate season?
You will first see some functional minis, then comes a broadening of our street lineup and then maybe some more downhill and also pool/park shapes after that. I am thinking about bringing back the original OSO.
With the downhill scene taking a turn towards slalom style do you think Bonzing will eventually experiment with this style of deck?
Maybe? We do not have any plans to make a strictly slalom deck right now. I would say that a lot of our current boards could fit that idea; Our Grizzly runs a 24in. WB and comfortably fits 9in. trucks. The Super Fatty runs a 20 or 22in. WB and with an 8ply construction can handle any downhill speed . Team rider Adrian Da Kine downhill’s on his board the Da Kine that has only a 17in. WB. That is not to say that we will not. What board do you want to see us make?
Who are some upcoming team riders that we should keep an eye out for?
Anything else you guys would like to share?
Get out there and go get it! Check out Bonzing now and for your next board, it does not disappoint. Much love!