TWC 2008 Report

TWC 2008 EVENT REPORT

The Event that had it all!

Pre event

With just about every forecasting website online being checked out daily leading up the 2008 Taranaki Wave Classic, this years even looked to have the potential to really turn it on.

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Forecasts predicted that a huge low was due to cross over the North Island with it bringing a strong southerly flow in the southern Tasman, with it hopes were high that it would bring a MONSTER swell. By the time the low tracked across the country over the weekend it brought classic SW followed by SE winds that gave us one of the best TWC’s so far.

So with a huge amount of anticipation, a large crew of guys decided to get to the’naki early and try to score some early waves. On the Friday before the event about 15 guys got a bit of a teaser at Bayly Rd. This spot isn’t often sailed by the locals (which we later found out why), but it was the best option on the cards for the wind direction.

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The walk down the board ramp at low tide gave everyone a real surprise….. 200m of the slipperiest slime covered concrete that any of us had seen. As we inched our way down slipping and sliding with every foot step the lightness of the wind became apparent. Though super gusty, the guys from Nth of the Bombay hills used to rigging bigger gear probably had the best time, while the Welly boys on the smaller stuff had what could only be called “an interesting time”, especially trying to make it back up the boat channel.

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So with some salt on the face everyone was amped for the event the following day

Day 1 – Waitara
The day started of with a light drenching of liquid Taranaki sunshine and glassy conditions as the early birds rocked up the the Oakura Boardriders club rooms for registration and briefing.

After a bit of a chat the doors opened and we all helped Roger from Rogers Dental Studio load the 70+ entry packs stoked full of Colgate products and other goodies inside. But the real ooogeling began when the Carbon Art boards came out of the back of the van. Two lovely wave boards and a brand new Carbon Art SUP.

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After a bit more chatting and catching up with fellow sailors from around the country the briefing got underway.

James Dinnis kept it short and sweet….. “see you all at Waitara for a beach briefing at 11.30”. The road trip was on and a convoy of 70+ cars, wagons, utes and vans all loaded high with gear headed North. Along the way nearly every Dairy, Service Station or Bakery had their shelves stripped of high-carb food snacks.

As folks arrived at the beach they were greeted with sunshine, head high swell and glassy conditions. A few keen souls made the most of the conditions and cracked out the SUPs for a quick pre-comp session. However the wind picked up very quickly which sent them back to the beach to rig the windsurf gear.

The signs were looking good as the wind continued to increase throughout the morning and the mass super session kicked off.

Most competitors started out on 5.3-6.0m sails and big boards, however the wind kept getting stronger and everyone was sent back to the beach to change down. 4.5m-4.7m was the general call for rigging number 2 and on went the smaller boards, but the wind gods weren’t finished yet and they kept turning up the dial. Very soon folks were white knuckling it through bottom turns and barely getting out of their top turns.

Time for rigging number 3 with a few brave folks opting for 4.2m down to 3.9m sails. Unfortunately as the re-rig was happening the wind swung a little off shore which made for a sketchy launch, but once out the back the extra control on the face was evident and waves got shredded.

Then it was time for the semi final #1. As soon as the Top Ten from the Super Session hit the water the gods cranked it up to MAX! The reef was a mass of spray and it was hard from the beach to tell the difference between the chop and the waves. Even though it was well over the top, the finalists managed to put on a good show with some out of control rides (often resulting in hard slams and drillings) and massive jumps, although points should have been given for just being able to complete a gybe in that wind strength!

James Court commented “The best thing was the jumping! You could line up the ramps from about 100 metres out and just launch into the stratosphere. I reckon I did one of the biggest push loops of my life during the super session. Everything went quiet and it became difficult to breath without breathing apparatus.”

After everyone retreated back to the beach the BBQ and beer chillers were cracked out and everyone filled up. As everyone chatted, ate and drank a few hard souls went out and scored what looked like the best conditions of the day as the tide rose and the wind backed off a notch or two. But most were to knackered and were happy to just watch.

Day 2 – Pungarehu
With aching bodies and stretched arms everyone rocked up to the briefing a little later than on day 1.

Rumours were that there was a Gale warning for sth Taranaki with SE winds and a 3-4m swell….. this report had Pungarehu written all over it. When this was confirmed by James a few faces went a couple of shades paler.

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After the day before’s beating, the thought Pungarehu in Gale force winds and monster swell made nearly everyone stop a think for a few seconds… ‘hmmm is this gonna be over the top, will I die???’ then everyone snapped out of it, took their frilly blouses off and hit the road.

The scene from the drive down the road to the coast must have dropped a few jaws, from a couple of km’s up the road the spray being whipped off the top of the waves went up like giant water blasters.

As the road took us closer to the sea it was clear that the Gale was in full force with mast high swells were getting torn to shreds by 40-50knt winds. After everyone had managed to squeeze their vehicles into literally any available spot in the bushes the beach banter began, the most common themes were:
1. Is this even sailable?
2. That walk out over the rocks is gonna be killer
3. And who’s gonna be the first idiot to head out.
Well the answer ending up being Yes, Yes and James Court followed by Dan Thomas.

Everyone watched on as the guinea pigs made their way out the back, first obstacle… was it possible to gybe in those conditions? Answer…kind of. Then was it possible to ride waves? Answer… most definitely and James showed everyone how by ripping up the waves of his choice. This was enough for the rest of the competitors and the race was on to rig the smallest sail available and to get out there.

The procession of guys carrying their rigs over the low tide Pungarehu rock garden made the scene look like a line of leaf cutter ants in a nature film. If it wasn’t for the Waka channel excavated by the Maori tribes a few hundred of years ago, this spot wouldn’t be nearly as accessible. Even still the walk was long, slow and often painful, its safe to say that everyone left some skin behind that day.

As the morning went on the sun appeared and the swell got bigger, the wind also slowly dropped back to nearly manageable conditions and there was some great riding going on. Jumps didn’t happen as much as on day 1 at Waitara as most people weren’t too keen on being caught in the white water and ending up on the rocks, which as it happens was a fairly common thing.

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After a long session the final was called and the very tired sailors headed out one last time. Unfortunately some of the top contenders had given all they had in the previous sessions leaving nothing in the tank, while local knowledge came through in the end for Chris La Franchie allowing him to stick plenty of aerials in the most critical sections on the wave.

As the final came to a close and everyone’s arms had turned to jelly, a final clean up set rolled in. This caught nearly the whole fleet on the inside and sent most of them onto the rocks, with only minutes to go and no possibility of anyone adding points to their scores the clock ran down and the TWC 2008 came to an exhausted end with Punagrehu having the last say.

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Highlights.
James Date staying out all day without a rest. We all thought he was a machine running on some kind of super-energizer-pixie-juice until he told us he was having rests out the back when he dumped his gear… Smart move.

One visiting sailor got his thigh seriously slashed by his twinser fin and didn’t notice until he took off his wetsuit. He arrived at the after party looking a bit worse for wear after hours in E&A and multiple stitches.

James Dinnis getting out on the water at and showing us all how go over the falls and survive the mandatory drilling at Pungarehu with style.

After such a legendary event it only fair to finish with a legendary party and prize giving, all eyes were again on the Carbon Art spot prize this year being a Carbon Art Stand Up Paddle board. Rewa was the lucky lady who got to take this one home.
Thanks to all the other sponsors who put up the other great prizes this year including Sails, Mast, Booms, Wetsuits and more.

Thanks to James Dinnis from Carbon Art, Chris Brown from Deepfried and Roger from Rogers Dental Studio for stepping up and putting on another great event, without these guys these events would never happen.

Final results
Mens
1. Chris La Franchie
2. Paul Barron
3. Mike La Franchie
4. Charles Dinnis
5. James Court
6. Clayton Dougan
7. James Date
8. Tim Haxell
9. Jay Wittaker
10.Tom Brankin

Womens
1. Jill Barron

Junior Men
1. Tim Haxell

Thanks to all the sponsors. 
Rogers Dental Studio and Colgate
CarbonArt
Deepfried

Gaastra
Naish
Windsurf Hawaii / Simmer
Ezzy Sails
Maui Sails
Seventh Wave
Ezzy
Zimmos

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