bob mctavish : honolua bay sessions, dec 1967
Maui ...reeking of "the real islands". Green, high mountains, green deep valleys, pineapples, slow, rainy, hot, sunny.
Lahaina's the town.
Old whaling port, and it really says so.
Docks, harbour, reefs, shanties, bars, dens, pits, plenty of slow smiles.
A few tourists - mainly nights.
Beee-ootiful town calls beautiful people - young people from U.S. east and west coasts are making
changes there, making their peace there, making their love there.
Lahaina-mother Maui's third eye.
Everyone surfs - or knows what
Several small board shops - Thurston's, Buddy Boy's and Brewer's.
Strawberry Fields kind of.
Boards are great.
Small shops have the freedom to be great.
They can change fast.
These shops are one place where its really happening.
R. B, Richard Brewer.
The wheel of U.S. board design - pintail man.
Does his thing once or twice or thrice a week at Buddy Boy's.
R. B. Dick is feeling things now - Vees, tuned fins, lack of length.
Herein lies a story.
Up the coast a bit is Honolua
It's just a little cool-green of course, thick, trees very trippy.
Buddy Boy's Bay.
Slow bouncy drive, cruise to a
Silence till a set comes through.
Its come up a few feet!
Did you see that curl?
That's a tube right there.
Lets get into those Mothers!
Paddle off the ramp through brown rainwater for 100 yards, moving past the inside dribblies now.
Looking up - another set hitting
outside - Wow.
That's bigger than it looked in there - must be six feet.
Move past the bowl.
That's a cathedral!
Six feet high - moving fast, throwing hard and perfect - out - arching curving down. .. keerrack!! whoomfff.
Water's so clear!
Green flat rock.
This take- off looks tight.
Deep water onto a ledge - in front of a cliff with a just cave.
Bring good karma with you ...no pukas, bad karma?
...Well ...Honolua breaks boards as well as perfectly.
Visible a half-mile out, swinging on those outside reefs.
Runs wide. .. then in!
This thing is stacking up!
Might just move out a little more!
Take the second one I guess.
First one looks mighty good!
About 6 feet.
Aah ... let it go.
That's got to be eight feet!!
Bowling slightly even here on the take-off!
Now. ..easy. .. two paddles. ..lift-off!
Deerop!! ... down into that curve. ..bring it up on edge.
..GET IT ON!!
Move it out!
Right over! (that noise)
Inside! (that feel)
A GIANT GREEN CATHEDRAL AND I AM THERE.
Positive-Negative Pow!! Infinity.
Curl just going further ahead of me, but it's right!
This situation is flawless.
Now only water visible sky gone - can't see out but who needs to because time is gone.
The door is open.
The wave laughs, board breathes, sun smiles, Cruise out into ... peace ...
Good Honolua is a tube from take
off to calm centre.
This day Nat and I had our deep Vees going.
Ted S. had his 8'9" pintail in one piece till it was two pieces.
Buddy Boy was visiting Him on most rides - in spite of his overlong machine.
George did It quite often. .. Paule made It.
Six hours at six to eight feet.
Only a few there.
Coupla cameras, coupla shapers--one was R. B. Dick was digging the whole thing.
Those Vees - pulling turns in the most tight spots, gaining speed in those turns, thrusting out of them.
Making waves, making them tighter.
Pintails were beautiful - in the fall line.
Magical Mystery Tours.
But the U.S. - going round, up, thru- thrusting!!
YOU got the speed.
YOU went where you wanted - when you wanted.
Said R. B. when asked - "They work."
Dick Brewer went to his groovy tin shed and made a beautiful pintail - 'V' bottom.
Just a basic change of design -
no "yippee-we did it first" because who is "we"?
We are all brothers 'V' is one change - many many more coming up from many many people - so names don't matter.
Minimum drag and high rise tails, flex tails, interchangeable flex tails, false bottoms, keels rather than skegs, bat ray bottoms - it's all happen\ing.
So dig it, brother.
boards taken to Hawaii in the winter of 1967 by Bob McTavish,
Nat Young, Ted Spencer, Peter Drouyn and other Australian
surfers were in fact 'Gunned' versions of the designs
developed for Australian surf.
Between February and November 1967 intensive competition between Sydney manufacturers and their stable of surfer/shapers (primarily Midget Farrelly (Surfboards), Palm Beach and Bob McTavish at Keyo Surfboards, Brookvale) saw length reduce from 9 ft to 7ft.
3. The little
wide-back machines (Vee
Bottom Stubby) were only a brief stage of design
The gunned versions tested by McTavish and Nat Young in Hawaii in December 1967 met with mixed results.
McTavish took Nat Young's invitation to the 1967 Duke Kahanamoku Contest at Sunset Beach.
His performance earned the title from one observer as "The Spin Out King" - see below.
|Bob McTavish and Little Red,
Honolua Bay, Maui, December 1967.
Volume 1 Number 12, 1969.
Photograph: John Witzig.
5. By the time this issue hit
the news stands, Bob McTavish had quickly revised his design
concepts and was developing a heavily forward foiled Tracker
In Australia, by mid 1968 the wide Vee Bottom had been largely replaced by three designs -
Forward foiled Pin tails or small square tailed Trackers and Egg-type Double-ender round tails.
6. The only noted Australian
surfer who continued to use the wide tail concept during 1968
was Nat Young, who was preparing material for Eric Blum's The Fantastic Plastic
The film would promote the Vee Bottom design to American audiences, for Australian designers it was past history.
US manufacturers would contine to produce the model to1969.
7. Wide tailed templates would not re-emerge till 1978 with the No-Nose, typified by Cheyne Horan/Geoff McCoy's Lazer Zap.
8. Vee became a standard feature in bottom design, but has never been as deep as in these designs.
9. The accompanying image was
a tight crop of Bob McTavish at Honolua Bay by John Witzig,
Large version above fromJarratt: Jeff Hakman, (1999?), page 62.
10. The article does not
have a formal title - the first line is quoted.
The board details were previously described on this page as:
Ted Spencer's 'Little Red', 8ft 9" x 22" stringerless rounded pintail. Possibly Shane Surfboards.
The board itself, however, broke in two at the Honolua Bay sessions.
These details were taken from multiple viewings of Paul Witzig's Hot Generation and Bob McTavish's account of the Honolua Bay sessions,
"A plastic drinking straw...." Surf International Volume 1 Number 3, February-March 1968, page 11.
In November 2003 Ted Spencer
For what it's worth, so called Little Red board was 8'4" in length single stringer 23" wide and was shaped by Bob McTavish and I at Keyo Surfboards in Brookvale Australia.
It didn't break badly in Hawaii and I took it back to OZ.
Many thanks to Ted Spencer for this invaluable contribution.