TWC 2016 Event Report


Taranaki Wave Classic 2016 went off! Hosted by Carbon Art Windsurf Boards, the 2016 event delivered fantastic conditions for both official competition and the ‘unofficial’ practice day on Friday. Pungarehu – the spiritual home of New Zealand wavesailing – came to the party early on the Friday with the traditional south-easterly arriving by late morning. Early bird locals were there and on it well before lunchtime, as well as the visitors appearing from all around the country; eager to get some practice in. The swell was a little shifty, but with decent sets and peaks up to mast high on occasion. There were waves aplenty!

mast-highSailors were using anything from 4.0 m to 5.0 metre sails, and with the size of the sets there was always going to be some carnage. At least one mast and a few sails bit the dust, as the carpark continued to fill up and eager sailors hit the water.

It must be said that this was not a summer style SE coming off a high pressure system, but rather it was coming off a low pressure, so the cloud and rain were out in force, especially in the afternoon. It was cold! Even the locals felt like we had slipped back into winter – tropical it was not… Perhaps not the ideal welcome for several international sailors from warmer climates, including Ben Severne, who was in town both as a TWC sponsor with NZ Boardstore & Severne Sails, and as a wave sailing guru. He rocked up mid afternoon (hopefully mentally prepared for the rocky launch and icy breeze) and got straight into it, showing off some great style and slick moves to the crowd watching from the carpark. An awesome warm up day and the Saturday was forecast to be just as good (and hopefully warmer!).

Heidi Bader – Xensr: “Taranaki turned it on this year – I had 5 days out of 5 windsurfing, at 4 different locations. Stoked to have sailed Pungarehu and Kina Road for the first time without destroying too much and sharing waves with great people. Congratulations to Severin Thiebaut for winning the Xensr; hope to see more Taranaki jump action showing up on the leaderboard soon!”



The first official day of the TWC 2016 dawned with clear blue skies and the south-easterly up and running early, much to the relief of the sailors gathered at the Carbon Art factory in Okato. James Dinnis had the full range of new Carbon Art waveboards out on display at the registration area, with their slick designs and vivid colours brightening up the day even further and adding to the anticipation. Better yet, they were all available for demo over the weekend!

After having either sailed or having heard about the sailing on the Friday, all competitors were ‘keen as’ to get out there – so much so that probably half those entered grabbed their stylish Spore designed TWC T-shirts, scoffed a Molly Woppy gingerbread man enroute back to the car, and headed for the coast without even waiting to get the official lowdown on the plan for the day! Pungarehu was the only plan!

A quick ‘re-briefing’ at the beach coincided with some coordinated beach cleanup (mainly thanks to Tony’s kids by the sounds of it!); while local resident Tihikura Hohaia also stopped by to offer a welcome and let us know that the correct name for the spot we sail is Teikaroa.

Low tide was around mid-morning, so the first influx of sailors was met with a wide expanse of rocks. Undeterred by a few measly boulders, the frothing hordes created a rigging frenzy and the Pungarehu/Teikaroa channel soon resembled a conveyor belt as sailors made their way out. Waves were slightly smaller than the day before, but the swell was more lined up and would only improve as the tide pushed in. Head to logo surf is always great fun and the break was soon lit up with a large number of sails across it.


Even with the large number of sailors there were plenty of waves for everyone. The wind was strong enough to be powered on a 4.7 m and an 80 litre board was enough for most – in other words the setup for the 2016 TWC was pretty much perfect. Plenty of sponsors’ gear was available to try, including the latest GA sails and Tabou boards from A’nD Distribution. Severne sails also had a large presence on the water, not to mention the new range of Carbon Art waveboards range being tried out to great effect. Sailors were pushing themselves hard, with numerous goiters and wave 360s attempted, great wave riding, aerials and even a few forward and back loops here and there. Ben Severne commented that Pungarehu was “… like a big playground – really good fun.” He showed some true West OZ style and was charging hard.

Some sailors also got to track their performance with the sponsor provided Xensr 3D tracking devices stuck to their boards, enabling them to record the number of wave rides and their length, top speeds, jump heights and G-forces. Move of the day went to Graham Woods, landing a high goiter back into the wave, much to the delight of those watching from the shore.


The wind and waves continued throughout the day and by the end most sailors were absolutely worn out with all the Pungarehu fun on offer. The BBQ sausages and beers appeared mid afternoon and enthusiasm for them was so great that by 4:30 pm that they were all gone and some super keen sailors opted to head out for a third session, continuing into the evening.

Brian Smith – NZ Boardstore/Severne Sails: “So amazing Taranaki turned it on for Ben Severne and great to see the skill level of the local riders right up there against the Aussie crew. I’m pretty sure next year we’ll have an Aussie invasion!”



Sunday started out ideal for surfing so plenty of TWC people hit the beach on all sorts of craft, both in Weld Rd/Oakura and around the coast. Others were happy to give their arms a rest and wait on the slim possibility of the forecast seabreeze. By 2:30 pm the BBQ was in full swing again, along with our very own TWC Mike’s La Franchie beers! A few SUPs, wind-SUPs and even a couple of wavesailors (Ben and Heidi, among others) got out into the small waves in the super-light breeze. Then it was off to the TWC dinner and prizegiving!

This year the fantastic dinner was provided by Laurent and the Team from Lahar, along with Brew Mountain supplying a couple of kegs of beer. Thanks also to the Whio Adventures photographer who took a TON of pictures over the weekend and we got to check them out on the big screen during the evening.

Then it was time for the prizes. This year it was decided the prize categories would be a little more fun and that all the competitors could nominate and comment on the winners. So, without further ado:

The Family Man – Most effort and consideration spent negotiating the ‘house rules’.

Anton Og. Best Quote: “I can’t believe he still went out there with ‘that look’ on his wife’s face.”

The Rigger – Most time spent talking/rigging up equipment

Alexander Stroh. Always working on keeping the GA and Tabou profiles up there!

The Wooden Spoon – Best Wipeout 

Mike La Franchie narrowly beat Chris La Franchie, Graham Woods and Ben Severne, who all had some big stacks. Both La Franchie brothers also lost skin off their faces, so no effort was spared by them!

The Ballerina – Best launch across rocks/shorebreak

Christophe Massa. For wearing a bootie bag.

The Superman – best maneuver/most charging

Graham Woods. For landing an epic goiter back onto the wave and all round awesome sailing.

The Cleaner – Best beach clean up effort

Tony’s kids were unanimously agreed on as the winners here – cleaning machines and their effort is much appreciated. Free goody bags next year I say!

Alexander Stroh – A’nD Distribution/GA Sails: “Once again the TWC 2016 was an amazing weekend in Taranaki. This year’s conditions were epic and it was fantastic to watch some of the top riders ripping at Pungarehu including a good crew of GA Sails riders. Sunday provided some more ‘user friendly’ surf and SUP conditions at Weld Road which were thoroughly enjoyed by many with lots of laughter and fun allround.


Sponsors Prizes

After the trophies it was time to thank all the awesome TWC sponsors and hand out a few spot prizes.

The Taranaki Windsurf Club would again like to thank Port Taranaki and Molly Woppy for continuing to support the Taranaki Wave Classic. We love Molly Woppy’s fantastic cookie products and greatly appreciate a local company like Port Taranaki giving us their support!

West Coast Sails – our great local sail repairer, in Okato and close to Pungarehu – provided a gear bag won by Hans Wannemacher.

GA Sails delivered a GA 4.2 m sail won by Tom Brankin

Maui Sails Harnesses from Carbon Art were won by Tim Pitcher and Trevor Kimber

An Ezzy 400 mast from Vertigo Surf Shop was initially won by Richard Cooper, but… he had to give it to his wife Jill. Tough gig Richard!

SUP mag and T-shirt – Chris Jenkins

Xensr 3D GPS Tracker and SUP mag – Severin Thiebaut

Severne Sails represented with not only Ben Severne himself here for the weekend, but also the Severne 400 mast won by Chris White, and a Severne 5.6 m wave sail won by Alex Gruen.

And finally the big one! The awesome Carbon Art waveboard was won by… Jill Cooper. Nice one Jill, and have you given Richard his mast back?

James Dinnis – Carbon Art: “Another great fun filled weekend for everyone; a big thanks to all the sponsors, organisers and competitors for making this event what it is! See you next year.”



A super offshore wind combined with a surprisingly fun junky little swell ranging from waist to head high. This wasn’t breaking in the usual spot on the point but provided enough action to see up to 15 people at a time on the water. A great end to a great weekend.

Thanks again and as always to James Dinnis and Carbon Art for another fantastic TWC!

TWC 2016 Sponsors – Thank you again!

Port Taranaki

Molly Woppy

Brew Mountain


GA Sails

Severne sails

Carbon Art

West Coast Sails

Vertigo Surf Shop – Oakura

Spore design for the T-shirts and trophies

Windsurfing NZ