TWC 2014 Report

Friday – Ready

There was plenty of breeze in the Naki for the Friday Carbon Art TWC warm up day, but where to sail? A shifting forecast made for a tricky decision for the influx of wave sailors to Taranaki as the current SW was due to head SE at end of day. Some sailed Oakura Beach and Weld Rd in chaotic conditions, while most ended up opting for ‘trial by rock’ at Pungarehu, on one of the ‘lowest of the low’ tides in months. The evil pink rocks visible for 30 meters past the end of the channel were giving visitors pause, not to mention plenty of the locals being non committal in the car park! It certainly wasn’t the easiest introduction to NZ’s holy grail of wavesailing!



Saturday – Set(s)

Another shifting forecast was the challenge for the organisers at the TWC briefing. The initial call was made to go to Pungas, where early bird Taranaki locals were reportedly aiming to grab a sneaky epic session… that is, if they could get to the break in the super light early morning breeze. The mystery SE breeze proved too fickle however, and upon learning of the swim training that had occurred, some TWCers opted for surfboards and showed their style hanging 10 on the double overhead sets.


Meanwhile back around the coast at TWC Central a south-west seabreeze had picked up at Weld Rd in spite of the light forecast. The SUP village that had been enjoying calm conditions in the bay came racing in to rig up. The first sailors were out by 1 PM as the increasing breeze and falling tide combined to turn on some classic TWC conditions. Before long there were 40 sailors out and well placed banks on both the Weld Rd and Ahu’s breaks meant there were plenty of waves for everyone

Chris Norris and Daniel and Mike La Franchie got out first to make the most of an empty Ahu Ahu bay, closely followed by Amaya Holton in one of her first wave sailing outings and on the way to winning the Youth section.
Lots of loops were to be had during the afternoon as the wind was nice and consistent all the way from the inside to the outer reef. Mike La Franchie launched sky high on more than a few occasions, while Woo Norris was flying the flag high for Wellington. Andy Mabin was also looking sharp even without much recent time on the water. He busted into numerous end-over forward loops, with sometimes spectacular contortions of body and equipment. Jill Cooper busted a mast as the main casualty of the day but scraped back in over the rocks with minimal damage otherwise. Conditions ended up being so much fun that there was barely anyone left on the beach at one point.


Back on the beach Julien’s genuine French crepe caravan swung into action as a new surprise addition to the TWC, proving extremely popular over the weekend, almost to the point where Julien was having trouble getting on the water for a well-deserved sail. As the afternoon carried on sailors slowly made their way back to the car park where BBQ sausages proved popular with the kids, while the cold beers were a welcome refreshment after some super fun sailing and time spent checking out the shiny new demo gear on show from sponsors – new 2015 Carbon Art wave boards, A’nD distribution with GA/Gaastra Sails and Tabou boards, with Ocean Outfitters with Quatro boards and some styley SUPs.


The 2014 TWCs mystery guest turned out to be none other than NZ’s highest ever ranked PWA sailor Scott Fenton; Scott had also hit the water for his first TWC in many years and brought some awesome wave sailing styles into the mix. Hearing a few stories from his years in Maui and sailing Jaws was also a bonus as he chatted with competitors over the course of the weekend.

Sunday – Party!

After an awesome Saturday the forecast for Sunday was none too exciting for either  the wind or waves. Waitara was decided on as the venue of choice and after some light wind desperado schlepping by a few keen individuals over the super high tide, Mike La Franchie caused a rush to the water after catching the longest ride of the day. The breeze lifted ever so slightly – just enough to get planing on big gear and just enough so that 30 plus sailors got out there to grab the largest pieces of chop for a mad skills one-turn session.


Sunday evening we all convened at the Oakura Boardriders Club in anticipation of a fantastic meal from Laurent’s team, and ready to sample some of TWC sponsor Brew Mountain’s craft beers, as a sneak-peak early taster before their official release party at Brother Beer in Auckland Central on November 14th. The anticipation was further ramped up by the absence of the taps to get into the beers, these had mysteriously ended up in James Dinnis’s van, so we eagerly awaited his arrival.

DJ Fuzzbox, aka Julien was spinning some great tunes and after a fantastic meal Scott Fenton came up to join Paul Barron and Chris La Franchie to announnce the winners and give out some awesome spot prizes.

twc14 party

Congratulations to Mike La Franchie who took out 1st Mens, Heidi Bader 1st Womens and Amaya Holton – 1st Youth; with Thomas Davies and Chris La Franchie in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Mens division.


The spot prize draw was a highlight of the evening, thanks as always to our generous sponsors: Carbon Art (the board), Spore* (T-shirt and logo design), Ocean Outfitters, A’nD Distribution/Gaastra (a nice new sail), Maui Sails (a new sail too!), Brew Mountain (two kegs of craft beer), Shorebreak Paddleboards (the best quality sausages you’ll ever get!), Boardzone, Port Taranaki, West Coast Sails, and our favourite goodie bag cookie monsters Molly Woppy.


Anton was the super lucky recipient of the Carbon Art board of his choice, and then the second keg was cracked open, while event winner Mike brought out the Jaegermeister to cap off a great long weekend.




TWC 2014 Results:

Mens: 1st – Mike La Franchie, 2nd – Thomas Davies, 3rd – Chris La Franchie

Womens: 1st – Heidi Bader

Youth: 1st – Amaya Holton


/ Report by Craig Williams

/ Photos by Daniel Thomas