30 June 2010

Byron Bay Welcomes the Mexican

The Mexican, keen to get on the road, spied an opportunity to take an early minute and fly down the Pacific Highway on Friday evening to pick up the Mexican special Old Farts Surf Co. Bobsled (Bob) from the McTavish factory before it closed.  Early pick up on Friday evening would enable The Mad keen Mex to hit the waves early Saturday morning instead of having to wait until the factory opened at 10 am. 
 (Spot & the Mex head down the Pacific Highway)
To avoid the congested Pacific Highway on a Friday evening on the first day of the school holidays, Mex enlisted Spot to pick him up with the gear already packed earlier in the afternoon.  Brimming with excitement of picking up Bob, Mex encouraged Spot to floor the accelerator of his jalopy, but Spot, undaunted, stuck to his under 100k/hr rule to prevent the beast rattling to pieces.
(getting closer)
The Mexican and Spot made it to the McTavish factory on the outskirts of Byron just before closing time.  the Mex said "as soon as I walked in I spied my Bobsled with the distinctive Mexican livery, just like the beast from 1978.  A helpful dude, Greg, showed Mex how to set up the fins and gave Bob a polish"
(Bob, the Old Farts Surf Co. Mexican McTavish Bobsled)
The Mex and Spot cruised into town to find a welcoming sign showing the town had banded together to open a cafe' with his favourite food.  "The Mex was thrilled with the gesture and quite chuffed" said Spot.
(Cafe named in honour of the Mex's visit)
The lads quickly booked into their hotel room and donned their limited gear to snag a quick 15 min sea trial before dark.
(The Mex and Bob set for the 15 min cameo sea trials before dark)
No photos were taken of this cameo sea trial but according to the Mex "Bob the Mexican Bobsled had plenty of floatation and paddled easy.  The surf was only small but Bob caught the waves easily due to the lift and acceleration given by the heavy concave under the nose.  Early entry meant easy to the feet and it felt comfortable straight away.  I felt the acceleration and drive the perfectly placed quad fin set up, even on the small waves with subtle ankle pumps.  I can't wait for an other crack at it tomorrow."
(Sunrise at Australia's eastern most point)
The Mexican was up early the next morning sussing the surf while Spot did what he did best and slept in.    "It was a beautiful sunrise and there was a small glassy surf running" said the Mex.
(The Wreck, waiting for The Mex and Bob to paddle out)
The Wreck was right out the back gate of our hotel so it was chosen as the scene of the initial sea trials.  it looked magnificent in the morning light.  The Mex went back to have breakie and wake spot to come and take a photographic record of the sea trials.

19 June 2010

McTavish and the Mexican

After reading Bob's book oldfartsurfer Mexican got pretty excited.  A couple of tacos and some hot chillies and he was mumbling "gotta get me a McTavish, gotta get me a McTavish " repeatedly.  The Mex did his research, found the web site for the impressive sounding McTavish Surf International Pty Ltd in Byron Bay, and, in response to the site's suggestion to ask for advice, the Mex sent an email asking for advice on what type of board would best suit him.  This is what the Mexican asked:

I’m 53 so starting to get slow to my feet. Have also moved from 75kg to 82 kg mmmm – better lose some. Have been riding a Webber 6’6” Afterburner which is great once I’m up and get my feet in the right spot but that only happens half the time or less so ends in a bit of frustration. I’ve got to admit it and go for something a bit longer. I’ve got an 8’8” mal that works really well in small stuff around the local point but I can’t carve on the average beach break.

My mate and I built a few hollow timber boards, he a 6’8” fish, me a 6’8” rounded pin with a lot of volume. Its OK, easy to paddle but a bit stiff and doesn’t accelerate.

Looking at your range I reckon your Carver or the Carver Fish look about right but the Bobsled might do the trick.

What do you reckon?
After a couple of days the Mex received the following response from none other than the General Manager of McTavish Surf International Pty. Ltd. with the following advice:

Thanks for your email. I think one of our shorter models with a bit of volume would be ideal for you, without transitioning to anything too big. The Carver is a good all-rounder for both beach and point-breaks, and you could go for something around 7’2” x 21” x 2 7/8”. The Bobsled is another option, and is still buoyant enough to get plenty of waves, but is also quick and loose. For the Bobsled I’d recommend about 7’0” x 21 ¼” x 2 7/8”. The Bobsled is more suited to beach and reef breaks, waves with a bit more push. I hope this helps out, and please feel free to email back with any further questions.

Well you can probably guess, the Mexican was, to use a grommet term, frothing with excitement.  "McTavish wrote to me, McTavish wrote to me" the Mex muttered.  But is wasn't all 3' and glassy for the Mex.  He was now tormented by the choice he was offered.  He couldn't sleep and lay awake all night for a week with "Bobsled or Carver, Bobsled or Carver" going round and round in his head.  Finally he made his choice.  "I like to catch waves and I like to surf a short board so my choice is the 7' Bobsled" said the Mexican.
One important thing the Mexican did in his order was to ask for his traditional board marking of a green swoosh through his board just like his original design on his first sponsored Oceans surfboard.  "by incorporating the traditional swoosh, I am paying homage to oldfartsurfculture" said the Mex, "oldfartsurfing cultural heritage is very dear to my heart"  Another critical request was to ask for the Old Farts Surf Co. decal to be placed on the Bobsled, a stroke of marketing genius and a sign of his allegiance to his current sponsor.
(The Mexican's first sponsored board, a 1978 vintage Oceans 6'6" swallow tailed twinnie with his trade marked green swoosh, a fine example of oldfartsurfing cultural heritage)
The Order has been placed, funds have been transferred and the decals have been posted.  Current attempts to ascertain if the decals have arrived have, however, are proving frustrating.  The Mex is planning to meet up with Spot in Brisbane next weekend and drive to Byron to pick up his new weapon of choice.  McTavish Surf International Pty Ltd have said that they will endeavour to get the board ready in time.  A phone call by Mex on Friday ascertained that the order had made it into the production system, but how far it is through the surfboard crafting process is currently unclear.  The Mex is getting excited and agitated and currently muttering "I hope its ready, I hope its ready, I really really hope".  We'll keep you posted as delivery day gets closer.
Click here for the previous post on the McTavish Bobsled.
Click here to tell the Oldfartsurfer what you really think.

14 June 2010

Stoked on Gingernut Snaps

Between the ages of three and eight my family lived in Mona Vale and my fondest memories are of spending the day at the beach body surfing, riding my Zippy board, and, in those pre-legrope days, waiting for a surfboard to bounce in on the whitewater so I could grab it and  ride a couple of little waves before the owner could swim in and collect it.  Sometimes the owner would thank me when I gave it to him, other times I would cop a mouthful of abuse for touching it.  It tells a lot about a person's character the way they treat kids, or anyone else for that matter.  These were the first five years of the 60's when the board's were about 10' long and kids towed them to the beach on trailers behind their bicycles.  In Stoked, the legendary Bob McTavish tells a series of wonderful stories beginning way before my recollections.  He also spent a lot of time around Sydney's northern beaches and, from my perspective, it was great to read about what was happening while I was growing up in the neighborhood.  All I remember is the beach, the house, walking to school, playing u/7 soccer and fearfully having to race in the North Narabeen ocean baths with a huge jelly fish.

Now the oldfartsurfers love a gingernut snap biscuit with their coffee in the Old Farts Surf Cafe' after a morning surf.  Gingernuts are great for dunking because they are hard and don't drop off in your coffee when soggy.  In fact they are so hard you pretty well have to dunk them to make them edible.  Now this is where there is a great connection between Bob and the oldfartsurfers.  One of Bob's earlier stories is of surfing with Ma and Pa Bendall on the sunshine coast and eating gingernut snaps on the rocks afterwards.  You might think it is a pretty loose connection, however, when you consider Bob's pretty much an oldfartsurfer himself, we'll claim it.

Whilst the book is introduced by award winning author, Tim Winton (of Breath fame), the book pretty much seems to be written by the man himself.  Bob tells a series of amazing stories with a lot of warmth and humour.  He must have an incredible memory as they cover his life from childhood hitching to the sunshine coast, sleeping on the beach, through his famous stowaway trip to Hawaii and the development of the short board.   If half these stories are true he has hand an amazing and envious life.  This is a real nostalgia trip and gives insight to some of the memories of your surfing life that you only read about in newspapers and magazines. 

An interesting aspect of Stoked is Bob's development as a surfboard designer.  His ideas and how he came about them are of real interest to anyone remotely interested in board design and surf history.  His collaboration with George Greenough and some of the greats at the time of the shortboard revolution gives a wonderful insight into what was happening at the time I was buying my first surfboards.  In fact the oldfartsurfer Mexican was so impressed he has decided he is going to order himself a McTavish to see what all the fuss is about.  More about that later.

Rating 5/5 for surf stoke.

10 June 2010

Mick Fanning - Focus, Commitment & Down to Earth

I'll have to admit that before I read Surf For Your Life my perception of Mick was that he was a bit of a beer drinking boofhead, albeit a boofhead who was a brilliant surfer.  Well shame on the Oldfartsurfer for taking a superficial view of the lad based the sensationalist surf press.  Pictures of his alter ego, Eugene, swilling beer, and photos of Mick's willy hanging out of his board shorts are not the full picture.  Mick and his writer Tim Baker have done a brilliant job of presenting a great story starting with Mick's childhood in Western Sydney, the loss of his older brother, an horrific injury and the focus and dedication he applied to come back from adversity to become world champion.  The story is worthy of a Rocky style movie, but what impressed me was insight into Mick's personality and spirituality.  It is well written, difficult to put down and changed the Oldfartsurfer's perception of Mick to one of a well grounded and generous world champion.

05 June 2010

The Dude Tour of SE Asia

At home the current air temperature is 7degC and the expected maximum is 12degC.  The water temperature is 13degC.  The surf report says clean 1'-2' but closing out along the entire length of the beach due to the low tide.  The high tide offers later in the day offers little primise with the wind is forcast to turn onshore.  AND, its raining.  With surf off the agenda for the first day of the weekend the Oldfartsurfer texted The Dude to see if he was fairing any better somewhere in SE Asia.
(1'-2' clean and closing out, 7degC)
The Dude, the Mastersurfcraftsman of the Old Farts Surf Co., had packed his hand made 6' fat fish, The Craic, and, along with The Good Woman, headed to Jakarta in search of culture, waves and beer.  The first report came through saying he had only had two beers in three days, an exceptionally low beer count for an oldfartsurfer on tour.  He had a much higher beer count on his mission to Spain last year looking for Splinter Group contest sites, however, he promised to improve his performance. The second report was of no waves in Jogjackarta but waves at a new location on the south coast of Java.  The Dude is remaining tight lipped on the location of these waves.
(6' fat fish, The Craic, being tested at home)
The Dude's texted reply is as follows "3 foot and closing out at Legian.  Hoping high tide at 4 pm will be the go.  Water is warm at least".  So the Dude has reached Bali, lets hope he gets some good waves.
(The Mexican, The Young Dude and The Dude, Legian 2007)

Bonus Bit
From the English to Spanish dictionary (Granada University, Spain)
old fart
(n.) = carroza, viejo chocho, vejestorio, viejo pesado, viejo pelmazo

Ex: Old farts are everywhere, and they bring with them the ghosts of the past -- ghosts that are long dead and need to remain so.
Click here to tell the oldfartsurfer what you really think.