The Easter Masters Surf competition held in New Plymouth was extra special this year as they celebrated 25 years of the Masters Surf competition. It was, and always will be, a great competition – but over the years the masters has become more of a social event with surfers from all over New Zealand attending each year.
With competition divisions named Microgroms (30-34), Grommets (40-44), Juniors (45-49). It gets funnier with Surf Gods (70-74) and Zimmers (80 Plus) and Grovellors (being the lids) and Kneelos, this paints a great picture of what the weekend is all about
One of the highlights of the event is the Dunga derby where you can simply grab any old board that floats and just go for it!
The Perfect Wave was at the Masters in 2015 and we loved the event so much that this year we invited Bob McTavish to join in on the fun for the 25th annual Master Event.
The weekend started with me (Glen from TPW NZ) picking Bob up from New Plymouth airport and quickly whipping him off to his hotel for a quick weekend debriefing with our legendary MC Arch (aka Wayne Arthur). Only about 2 hours later we had Bob down at the New Plymouth Surf Riders Club at Fitzroy Beach, sitting at a table with Arch with a wine in hand, having some great laughs as Bob reminisced about some classic old tales and surfing adventures from the good old days.
This night was also dedicated to the raising of some cash for our charity called A Perfect Foundation.
It was the first fundraising event held by The Perfect Wave New Zealand so we were all naturally quite nervous about how it would all go. With Arch and Bob going for it, providing some great laughs we also spoke about our charity and the serious side of helping the children of the Mentawai.
As surfers, it was agreed that over the years we never really thought too much about the people that lived in this amazing surf wonderland. This was our opportunity to give back and do our bit for the local people of the Mentawai.
We had some great donations from some very generous sponsors that we had up for raffle, with the major prize of the raffle donated by The Perfect Wave – a trip for 2 to Bali staying at the Hidden Valley Resort.
We had a silent auction running and a donation jar at the bar.
There was 3 very special prizes up for auction. The first being Bob’s very own Rincon 7′ 10” x 22” surfboard. This was a real beauty and boy, did we have everyone’s attention when I pulled this out of the bag! The bidding was on and what a fight it was, with bids going back and forth in lots of $500 at a time (my nerves had calmed at this point) with Arch and his wife Daisy getting caught up in the action with a slip of the finger and almost bidding against each other! It was game on and the fundraiser was underway.
Then it was on to the auction for the surf trip on board the Carpe Vita. A 125-ft, pure luxury surf charter in the Maldives and a spot on board Bob’s very own trip.
Then a very special exclusive day trip, traveling down Surf Highway 45, exploring some of Taranaki’s best surf spots with Bob, having a surf and a good old Kiwi lunch on the beach with a few beers and some very tasty mussels cooked on an open fire. It doesn’t get much better that this! The auction was a great success, raising some great money for our charity A Perfect Foundation.
With that out of the way, we had the raffle to finish things off. The major prize was a trip for 2 to Hidden Valley resort in Bali and a stack of other prizes all drawn out of the hat all in one go!
The next morning, after changing all the heats to suit the guys on the day trip, we ventured off for what we said was going to be a 3 hour trip. We left the club rooms at about 10 am and we arrived back just in time for the masters formal dinner at 6.30 pm. What a day it was!
A quick little tour through town and then we hit the coast. First stop was back beach as you do – this is the compulsory stop before committing to the trip. We just wanted to show Bob how it’s done around here!
The surf was pumping. Huge mountainous swells moving on in on the high tide and closing out in huge straight walls was telling us the coast was on! We got in top gear and headed on down with a quick stop at Punio road where the other half of the comp was on and yes, we were right – it was on!
We looked up and down the coast and it was breaking everywhere.
Every reef, left and right point as far as the eye could see was firing. What perfect timing, I thought. Here we are with Bob McTavish and some special guests on a coast trip that I dreamed up only weeks before had come to life. Of course, I said that it’s always like this here – it’s just another day in the Naki!
Bob couldn’t believe it, he was well impressed.
We moved on, looking for some more action and decided it was a good time to have a snack and a beer while we waited on the tide. We found a nice little spot further down that I had never surfed before and to be honest, I wasn’t too keen on. It was a halfway-to-Aussie paddle and it looked like crap after seeing the perfection elsewhere.
I didn’t say anything as it wasn’t all about me and proceeded to wettie up. I threw some extra rubber in the back of the van for Bob but when I was about to tell him, I looked around and he was off already. The bloody Aussie in the crew with years on all of us was about to show us all up!
And that he did. Bob was first into the lineup and one of the last back to shore. With a long paddle out, 3 hours in the water and no wettie – What a legend! He still rips, by the way.
I sat back and watched Bob as he carefully selected the first wave of the day. He was quite deep inside, and with a sizable set wave heading his way, he turned and paddled. It was on and the look on his face as he popped up and looked down the drop was one of pure stoke, I compared this to a kid on Christmas day opening the perfect present they were dreaming about. I couldn’t believe it.
Here is a guy that has been surfing longer than most of us. Has lived and breathed it every day and surfed in some amazing places all around the word and he still gets that feeling that we sometimes wonder one day if we will ever lose. Well, the good news is that Bob McTavish is living proof that the feeling we get of pure unadulterated bliss when we launch off down that long super fast section on that perfect wave, it will never disappear!
It was time to head back to base and get the evening underway. We arrived back in true surfers’ style: We were late for the formal dinner with the special guest, still in our board shorts and mangy T-shirts. But hey, the surf called, right?
After dinner we gave Bob the mic once again and he gave up a re-cap of the day. He was impressed! He shared his workout regime (which was simply touch your toes in the morning) and a life on the road cooking class (shown below).
It was the final day of surfing at the Masters and Bob had to head home. I dropped Bob off at the airport and not long after, Arch said to me that Bob had been in town for only 38 hours. Wow, we had achieved so much. Bob just didn’t stop, he didn’t even show signs of slowing down. This fella is a machine and an inspiration to say the least.
I learnt a few good lessons from Bob: Keep surfing, always. Be honest. (He made me promise to throw one of my boards away and never give it to anybody. You have to love his honesty )
And you are only as old as your spirit.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2016 Easter masters an amazing weekend. All those who came along and got involved, those that competed and those who donated your all legends!
Bob McTavish will be touring in 2017 on board the Carpe Vita for an amazing surf trip through the Central Atolls in the Maldives. If you would like to be part of this trip and surf in paradise with this true character of the surfing world, please contact us for more information.