TWC 2003 Report


By Mark Hollenstien

What a great weekend!
This year’s Taranaki Wave Classic offered some of the best conditions seen in a long time in a NZ based wave contest. There was two solid days of sailing, first competition day was held at Pungarehu on Saturday, with masthigh sets coming through and very windy conditions keeping everyone on the edge.

Let’s start with a bit of history first….

James Dinnis from Carbonart, Chris Brown, Mark Hollenstein and Aaron Constable figured it was high time for the event to grow bigger and better, without trying to turn it into a semi professional or even professional event, which usually don’t offer much for the guys and girls at the beach who wants to actively take part.

The format was clear. After seeing the numbers of the traditional NZ Wave Nationalss drop from year to year, mostly due to the unpopular man-to-man format, the decission was that it had to be an all out expression session with focus on fun and a big party after. The first running of the event in 2002 was a full success. More than 70 participants, ok conditions and heaps of spot prizes for everyone.

The committee decided to run the 2003 event pretty much in the same format, and since the Taranaki Wave Classic had already established itself as one of the most popular Wavesailing events in the southern hemisphere, there was no need to change.

2003 event… even better !

The more than 65 competitors didn’t know what hit them when the initially crap forecasts for the weekend all of a sudden indicated SE winds and good size swell… the tension was right up there and Friday was used as a warm up day for most with registration at the New Plymouth Yachting Club. Like last year, there was an Australian contingent, not quite reaching last years numbers, but instead with a name everyone knows…. Grubby Allaway, a top ranked PWA wavesailor and everyone was looking forward to see the master at work.

The effort of the day was done by Onno from Auckland who due to the shifting winds must have driven about 300 km and one full lap around the Mt. Taranaki in search of the right breeze. It didn’t matter, at the end most sailed Weld Rd or Fitzroy and everyone seemed happy.


The forecasts proved right (for once), with very strong SE winds, and it was all panic stations. Briefing was held at the New Plymouth Yachting Club, the call was made to sail at Pungarehu. The format was for a 2 hour expression session, after which the 10 best sailors would be selected for a 30 minute final super session. The conditions were pretty intense with masthigh sets rolling in and the first guinea pigs on the water getting annihilated on 5.0’s. Luckily the Crusher was virtually non existent on the day, which proved perfect as it was a great entry day for those who had never sailed Pungarehu before.
The super low tide was a real bitch, with many sailors doing the eggwalk multiple times due to rerigging and breaks between sessions etc. The action on the water was great, noticeable performances were shown by Grubby Allaway (obviously), the two local boys Neil Piebenga and Pete Hesselgrave with nice aerials, and James Court from Wellington, with the unbreakable will to put himself into some very sick positions midair, of which one can only escape from injury by luck or something.

The wind was nuking and average sail sizes went down to about 4.0 to 4.4. The girls, all of which had never sailed Pungarehu before did an outstanding job and all managed to catch some waves which was indeed not an easy task.

After the finalists were selected, the final was sailed in great conditions, Grubby Allaway dominating in the waves as well as in midair. Quentin Bye, another Australian sailed extremely well also, together with the Taranaki locals Neil Piebenga and Pete Hesselgrave. The Wellington crew with James Court, Woo Norris, Clayton Dougan and Will Thorpe followed closely behind.

In the womens final, Simone Hollenstein was able to secure the win ahead of Alex from Auckland.

Day 2

The wind had swung marginally to the S, but the main reason why the call was made for Kina Rd, was that none of the competitors could face walking over the rocks once again, the tide was so low, the competitors nearly had to walk out to Tasmania to get to the water !!!!

The commitee felt that Saturday at Pungarehu was worldclass, and it was agreed that Saturday would count 70 % to the overall and Sunday 30 %.

The wind was a steady 20 knots and there was nice sets rolling in, producing masthigh waves in the Kina South break.

What then happened can only be described as a “zoo” as all competitors at once tried to ride the same shoulder of the wave. At times, way of right rules were blatently abused, but luckily enough everyone realized that the TWC is a fun event so it never became an issue. Instead it felt like everyone was having a ball and just going hard out, ripping that little bit harder than they usually would, which is what everyone wants to see.

The second day didn’t really bring much change in terms of results, Grubby Allaway dominating once again with huge Pushloops and great waverides. Quentin Bye and James Court also showed insane airtime.
In the end, Grubby Allaway won the mens and Simone Hollenstein the womens class.

After 2 days of epic sailing, everyone was very rooted, and all that was left to do was to go and pick up that brand spanking new Carbon Art waveboard which James Dinnis from Carbon Art offered as spotprize, and which there must have been about 65 guys being absolutely sure they would win it. !!!

The evening began with a few beers and a great BBQ, organized by the Carbon Art crew. With more spotprizes than in the previous year, the tension rose as 3 sails, Icebreaker wear, Vouchers, Xbox games, Condoms (yes), and DVD’s were given away. The board was finally taken away by Pete Smith from Auckland, and of course as usual, it was a bit of an anticlimax for the remaining 64 guys who didn’t win it !
Anyway, the party went on, and it seemed like everyone still had a good time.

Chris Brown from, who already had put in an epic effort prior to the event by doing up the whole event website etc, was filming all weekend and in a frantic rush managed put together some footage of the past days action in time for the party. At this stage I would like to mention Chris Browns extreme efforts with the TWC, and without him the last 2 events wouldn’t have been half as good.
Chris is now putting together the event video, which hopefully all of you will buy so we can do it all over again next year !!

Other special mention needs to go to James Dinnis from Carbonart, for keeping the spirit of wavesailing right up there, making it by far NZ’s favourite windsurfing event and for putting considerable costs and time into it year after year.

Also thanks to Aaron Constable from Eastcoast Boardriders for raising the profile of the TWC in Australia and for making this a real trans tasman battle. (in a fun way !)

Thanks also to everyone coming along, its been a great weekend, see you all next year !
The final results were:
1. Greg Allaway, Australia
2. Neil Piebenga, Taranaki, NZ
3. Quentin Bye, Australia
4. Luke Johnson, Australia
5. Pete Hesselgrave, Taranaki, NZ
6. James Court, Wellington, NZ
7. Chris Norris, Wellington, NZ
8. Clayton Dougan, Wellington, NZ
9. Tony Knussen, Auckland, NZ
10. Gary McCorry, Wellington, NZ

The final womens results are:
1. Simone Hollenstein, Wellington, NZ
2. Alex Burnett, Auckland, NZ
3. Bronwyn Ward, Wellington, NZ