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  • Andrew Cowell


The Arthurian quest for the holy grail surfboard is a selfish one. World famous surfer /shaper Garry Linden explains, “The essence of the surfboard is the custom nature of its being, always designed to fit a specific need… The surfer/shaper starts the design journey with selfish motivations – his or her desire to surf beyond present possibilities…. The crusade for the ultimate performance [surfboard] requires… the right eye….”

Recently, while cursing the GO FASTER exhibit at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC), I came across this great story of the period by Gerry Lopez: “Everyone had different waves and were after a different feeling. Those McTavish wide-bottoms with the vee were pretty revolutionary. But when I saw Nat spin out on that first wave at Honolua, you could tell it was too wide for Hawaiian waters.

“After Maui the Australians went back to Oahu because McTavish was in the Duke meet. And they tried those boards at Sunset, and it was pretty healthy Sunset, and I remember McTavish taking off, making it to the bottom, putting it on a rail, and that thing turned on a dime. All of a sudden he’s shooting straight back up the face of the wave… that turn he did off the bottom, everybody saw it and our minds were blown.

“They went back to Maui and got a really clean day at Honolua… Nat was such a good surfer that he made that board do some really good stuff. “You know, the funniest damn thing, McTavish made this movie… and claimed that he did all this. And Brewer claims that he did it all… They asked me what I thought about it all. So I retold that story about how McTavish and his whole gang drove up to the cannery in Lahania… I told the whole story about smoking the joint on the grass, going out to Honolua, Nat spinning out and breaking the nose, all of that. Brewer’s looking at me. McTavish is looking at me. And I go, ‘You guys remember that?’ And they both go, ‘No.’ They didn’t remember anything!”

Photograph (Dick Brewer) - Michael Mijares 

Photograph (Bob McTavish) -

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