Super Fun Night – TWC 2017 Event Report

Taranaki Wave Classic 2017

Welcome to the Taranaki Wave Classic 2017! Taranaki’s seabreezes have been working consistently this spring, with any hint of a westerly zephyr turning cloudy mornings into sunny afternoons, and the wind boosting up in strength for fun down-the-line sessions. The lead up week to the TWC was proof of this, with sailing on tap everyday from the Sunday through Friday, including a session at the holy grail of Pungarehu. A lucky few competitors got into town during the earlier stages of the week, including Tim Pitcher from Oz, who timed his trip to perfection, and scored some fun at all the usual spots, like Waitara, Ahus, and Pungarehu.

By 10 am on TWC Saturday there was a good crowd for the event briefing at the Oakura Boardriders Club, many of whom were enjoying a coffee from one of the TWC’s most local of sponsors – Vertigo – who have moved from underneath the giant surfboard in the village; down to the beach and, most conveniently, directly underneath the Oakura Boardriders Club. Fantastic to have with a yummy gingerbread man or cookie from everyone’s favourite goodie bag contents – TWC sponsor Molly Woppy. Not to mention putting on the latest awesome TWC T-shirt from Spore* Design.

Some wind was forecast for the weekend, but given the swell had tapered away to near nothing during the preceding Thursday and Friday, the decision was made to convoy like crazed cats out to Waitara and blow the cobwebs out with some blasting and jumping. A phalanx of Carbon Art demo boards were available from the rigging area. Mad rigging ensued; those with foils foiled and those without found some small ramps to bust out all manner of manoeuvres; it was noted by one wit that they had never seen so many forward loops being attempted by the local Taranaki crew. The wind came up enough for everyone to blast around on sails down to 4.7 in size and achieve some decently high (relatively speaking) jumps off the larger ‘shin-high’ bumps.

Standout on the day was local hotshot Graham Woods, with all manner of spinny-flicky, round-and-round tricks (i.e. your humble correspondent is not down with the names of the nu-skool stuff…). Mike La Franchie and Katrin Dau turned heads on the water with their bids for the ‘Proud Peacock’ award. Katrin dressed as an ocean-going cat, while Mike was most politely described as something between a fearsome samurai warrior and/or an extremely camp sailor.

Back at the Oakura Boardriders that evening the first keg of Pale Pat Supreme from TWC sponsor Brew Mountain was cracked, along with some yummy ciabatta buns and sausages on the BBQ. The evening started with plenty of TWC entrants along for the mellow ride, but was finished off in ‘fast and loose’ style by a hardy few who managed to peak super early and have the first keg well and truly sorted out by midnight.

Early on Sunday it was clear that the swell had lifted a little as we watched a hapless kayak fisher get smoked while attempting to launch off Oakura beach, much to the amusement of all. Since the high tide was at midday the call was made to go to Weld Rd, and fortuitously enough the skies cleared and the sea breeze lifted, enabling sailors to get out there and get into some action. Good fun all round, and, as the story goes, ‘better earlier’ for those of us who arrived more into the afternoon. A high point for some was OP launching into the ‘Proud Peacock’ race, gliding gracefully across the water dressed as a mermaid, and certainly attracting the attention of some of the more blurry eyed. What has been seen cannot be unseen, that is for sure… After checking sponsor Port Taranaki’s website for live wind details, a few entrants raced out to Waitara mid afternoon as the tide dropped to take advantage of the strengthening sea breeze there and the waves also starting to show.

Capping off a fun week/weekend of action was the TWC event dinner, wrap-up and party for the ages. Carbon Art’s James Dinnis, Katrin Dau, Paul Barron and Chris La Franchie wrestled the MasterChef mantle away from TV and took on the cooking challenge, producing some exquisitely cooked steaks, chicken and ‘something I prepared earlier’ salads. Prizegiving was good entertainment with selections from the array of quotes and nominations for the various prize categories. Graham Woods was voted in for the King of the World award as the standout sailor of the weekend, with his acrobatics at Waitara. The Crash Test Dummy award very nearly saw an upset with Dirk’s ‘Friday night lights’ episode getting a fair few votes. Ultimately though it was Anton ‘Jshape’ (the French spelling I am led to believe) and his foiling exploits that won through – he certainly raised more than a few local eyebrows as he causally foiled through the shallow rocky break at Weld Rd on Sunday.

Dirk’s name appeared on the roster once again as a nominee for Grommet 2.0, however the clear winner was Amaya. The most hotly contested of the awards was of course the Proud Peacock – there could be only one winner – with Mike La Franchie strutting off with the trophy. Finally, perhaps the most coveted trophy was for the Ocean Ranger beach cleanup. The TWC kids certainly shone in this area, with all manner of tyres, foam, and all sorts of other junk being presented to the rigging area. Luka and Frankie did an awesome job again, but it was a huge (and vocal) effort by Calvin Cooper that saw him take out the top spot. Good work Calvin!

Sponsors and spot-prizes followed:

New Plymouth surf shop Beach Street provided a fun looking goodie-bag, won by Martin Johnson.

The evening’s most popular runner-up Dirk took home a tendon from NZ Boardstore/Serverne – stoked!

Jason Coxhead grabbed the Xensr tracking device from Heidi and Xensr – perfect for making you push your limits.

NZ Boardstore/Serverne provided a super awesome Severne boom, won by Trevor Kimber.

Richard Cooper and Craig Williams both picked up a $100 voucher from local Oakura surf shop Vertigo Surf Shop – thanks Jono!

NZ Boardstore/Serverne were super generous on the prize front and Eric Noack took home a hat and uphaul – thanks Brian!

Katrina Dau added to her hoodie collection with a nice Severne hoodie from NZ Boardstore/Serverne.

An’D Distribution/GA Sails provided a 4.5 metre wavesail won by Taranaki’s own Chris La Franchie – thanks Alexander!

NZ Boardstore/Serverne were stoked to provide both Amy Fisher and Olaf Whalen with a styley Severne backpack.

Tim Slatter, local sailmaker of West Coast Sails fame put together a cool designer ‘utility’ bag won by Chris Bolt.

NZ Boardstore/Serverne – again! This time a nice 4.4 m Severne wavesail won by Mike McKinstry.

And to the grand prize to rule them all – the Carbon Art waveboard from local shaper and board factory James Dinnis/Carbon Art. The TWC 2017’s luckiest entrant was Mike Foote – enjoy that sweet board Mike and we hope to see you back in Taranaki riding it at some point soon!

Some hard partying ensued into the night. The beer ran out and the ‘not before four’ club operated a few shuttle runs/stumbles to various local residences to procure more lubrication. It sounded like a huge celebration, finally winding up around 4:30 am with a hardy few ‘keeping on keeping on’ – a party resembling those of TWCs from many years past.

Thanks everybody for making the event lots of fun as usual – shout out to the Auckland crew who always put in a great showing; and WHiO Photography for snapping some great pictures (check out their Facebook page). Big-ups to Chris and Tim who made the haul over from Oz – awesome effort – and many thanks again to all the TWC sponsors; your support is much appreciated. Thanks James Dinnis and Carbon Art for once again headlining this awesome event.

See you all over the summer and at next year’s Taranaki Wave Classic! In the meantime please support all the awesome Taranaki Wave Classic Sponsors:

Carbon Art

NZ Boardstore/Serverne


An’D Distribution/GA Sails

West Coast Sails

Vertigo Surf Shop

Beach Street Surf Shop

Molly Woppy

Brew Mountain

Port Taranaki

Spore* Design