TWC 2015 Event Report

TWC 2015 Goes Off!

Friday Warmup
The anticipation for the 2015 Taranaki Wave Classic was at an all-time high after a solid month of south-westerly winds in the Taranaki region; and this was reflected in a solid entry contingent of eighty-one competitors ranging from all over New Zealand and places much further afield, like New Caledonia and the Gold Coast.

A ropey looking forecast on the Friday turned into a howling north-westerly with a decent sized swell of ‘mixed’ quality. By mid-afternoon Kina Rd had twenty-plus sailors getting some TWC practice in, and frantically re-rigging as the wind strength increased more and more, to the point where a 3.7 m sail was the best option. No complaints, this was just what the doctor ordered for a wavesailing weekend in Taranaki!


There was a definite buzz in the air at the first briefing at Oakura Boardriders Club, as the forecast was looking good. A styling new T-shirt design from Spore, some awesome Molly Woppy cookies and gingerbread men, along with tantalising products from Carbon Art, Gaastra NZ, Severne, Windsurf South Pacific and West Coast Sails. Thanks also go to Port Taranaki for their continued support of local events.


Everyone headed to Weld Rd to await the late seabreeze, and powered into the taco stand’s offerings in between surfing and SUPing and ogling at the demo equipment on display; including new designs from Carbon Art, Tabou, GA Sails, and Starboard. The swell was a fun size and increasing as the day went on, so few super keen sailors got out on the water around 2 o’clock and by 4 pm the SUP village that had been out in the break made an exodus back to shore, as more sailors hit the water. The wind never really got up to the level needed for competition, but Chris la Franchie and Dirk Ritterhaus were standouts in a show of expert light wind waveriding, catching the super clean waves up to logo high and performing some impressive turns and aerials.
Brew Mountain breweries, along with Kevin Hosking’s gourmet sausages provided the refreshments at a relaxed BBQ at the Oakura Boardriders Club in the late afternoon as the sailing contingent contemplated the great forecast for the next day.


As forecasted Sunday delivered wind and waves. The SW breeze was pretty much up at 4.7 m strength from sunrise and the swell was a fun shoulder to half-mast high. Sailors hit the water early and by 11:30 we had a competition on our hands with sailors out on sails ranging from 4.0 -5.0, dependent on how many of BBQ sausages they had eaten the night before. Two hours of judging commenced and Weld Rd was putting on ideal conditions to suit wavesailors of all levels of experience. Both the inside break from Weld to Ahus and the outside reef were throwing up decent sized sets, with enough room for everyone to have a great time and show off their skills.


The wind had a bit of offshore in it and sailors like Yoan Despujols from New Caledonia, and local young gun Andy Mabin were regularly seen high above the water, pulling out big forwards, table tops, pushloops and backloops. On the inside sections Graham ‘semi-pro’ Woods along with local guns Chris and Mike La Franchie, and the ‘Kraftwerk’ brothers Dirk and Olaf, were giving a master class in stylish wave riding, showing off some great turns, aerials and goiter attempts. The Women’s division was also making sure it didn’t miss out on the action, with Susan Killion, Rewa, Heidi Bader and Caitie Lennox all getting right in amongst the excitement.

By 1:40 the judges had convened and announced their top ten in each division, who were sent out for twenty minute final super sessions. These were followed up by more sailing right to the end of the afternoon, making the event a great success for all those who had made the journey.


The newly renovated Oakura Boardriders Club was once again the scene for the event dinner and prizegiving at 7 pm. The conveniently located, roof mounted TV screen provided great shots of the day’s action for the throng standing in the meal queue, downing Brew Mountain. Then it was time for the spot prizes and the hotly awaited drawing of the major prize – a custom made Carbon Art windsurf board of your own choice!

Watersports South Pacific provided a variety of great spot prizes, including roof rack covers, T-shirt, drink bottles, harness lines, and tie-downs (Dan T, Bikkie, Craig W, Paul B, Chris B, Clayton D, Andy M, Chris J, Heidi, Simon S & Thomas D… Phew!) as well as a stylish windsurf clock (Anton B.) and Neil Pryde mast extension (Angus Butterfield).

Guylioll won a wicked cool custom bean bag produced by West Coast Sails – ‘the Taranaki locals’ sail repairer of choice’ – thanks Tim Slatter!


Alexander Strohl and Gaastra NZ continued their great ongoing support of the TWC with a couple of OoCo belts (Dan Steele and Jim Rodgers, the pink one was hotly contested…), while Tony Borland-Lye took away a brand new Vandal wave sail.
Brian Smith and Severne Sails also showed great support for the event, giving away a new Severne wavesail (Dirk Ritterhaus) and a shiny Severne mast. In truth the mast was almost the prize story of the night – Mike La Franchie was the initial recipient, but in a stunning show of loyalty to sponsor Alex and Gaastra NZ he put the mast back up for a redraw. A couple of industry reps and redraws later we finally had a winner with Aaron Citto very happy to be fourth in linen for an awesome prize.

Then to the prize everyone was waiting for – the Carbon Art board of your choice. Drum roll please… and the winner was Craig Mercer. Nice one Craig and thanks again to James Dinnis and Carbon Art for such a great prize and event.

Thanks again to all our awesome sponsors for making the event possible, and to Thomas Davies for his massive amount of hard work behind the scenes during the past twelve months. See you all next year!

(More Pics to follow)

Final results:

1. Chris La Franchie
2. Graham Woods
3. Olivier Perkins
4. Mike La Franchie
5. Thomas Davies
6. Clayton Dougan
7. Yoan Despujols
8. Dirk Ritterhaus
9. Andy Mabin
10. Olaf Wahlen

1. Heidi Bader
2. Caitie Lennox
3. Rewa Kawiti

1. Luke Holliday