. Last week Gisborne Boardriders celebrated it’s 50th Jubilee during the National Championships. ‘Gisborne Surfriders Club’ was formed in 1964, and later changed it’s name to ‘Gisborne Boardriders Club’. The jubilee celebrations were held at the Tatapouri Fishing Club as the club no longer has its own clubrooms. Early club members such as Chris Ransley (1969 NZ junior champ), Ben Hutchings (1975 NZ Champ), Geoff ‘Lumpy’ Logan, Gail Patty (1967 NZ Womens Champ), and Paul Dobson; were present at the celebrations, along with many members and associates from over the years.
Celebrations opened with the ceremonial couch shell blowing and welcome mihi (speech) by local surfing kaumatua (elder) Ian ‘Moti’ Proctor. The mayor of Gisborne, Meng Foon, made a welcome address and presented a commemorative certificate to the club president, Andy McCulloch.
The highlight of the evening was the screening of the short movie ‘A Look Back Over The Last 50 Years’ produced for the occasion by local movie guru, Damon Meade. It’s a must-watch if you haven’t seen it. Click on the image below to link through to the video. (You’ll even see me featured in a brief interview towards the end of the movie). I’ve added old historical photos from the Gisborne Photonews, to the photos that I took on the night. ‘Go Hard, or Go Home’ was the club’s unofficial slogan from the 80’s. Hopefully Gissy Boardriders will be going hard out for another 50 years!
Aussie import Benny Hutchings, an allround waterman, won the 1975 Nationals in Gissy when lack of surf forced a change of venue from Piha (…amazing, but true !) For his efforts Benny won a trip to Australia for the Bell’s comp and a trip to Hawaii for the Smirnoff and The Duke comps. Just as well he co-owned Surfboards Gisborne, – Sunset Beach can be hard on your boards. Ben still competes in the Nationals, these days in the Over60s. Summers spent in Gisborne means Ben still gets to surf old favourites like Tuamotu Island, where Ben first met the cheeky young grommet, Al Byrne.
The surf fashions have certainly changed over the last 50 years. Hair styles and moustaches are a bit of a giveaway of the period. Here’s some before and after shots of some of the old boys.
The team above was supposed to be a NZ representative team, so how come they’re all from Gissy?! …maybe they were the only Kiwi’s who could afford to go? – The club was very financial at this time. The clubrooms, established in the old skating rink building in Grey Street, was a popular hangout and watering-hole in the 90’s. A lot of liquor was sold, which financed a lot of surf trips and club activities.
The club has had a number of competitive legends over the years. Since winning the NZ Senior title in 1984, John Gisby has racked up a total of 34 national titles. Turning 60 before this year’s Nationals ‘Gis’ was eligible to compete in the recently established Over 60’s division, which he won last week. In 2003 when ISA brought the World Masters to Taranaki, Gis’ won the Over 45s World title.
The only member to come close to Gisby’s record is the club’s first World Champion, Jay Quinn, who won the ISA World Under18 title in Sydney in 2002. Jay has won the NZ Open title 3 times. He added the NZ Longboard title to the Open in 2008. He was both U18 & U16 Champ in ’99, and the U14 Champ in both ’96 and ’97. Jay has come close to qualifying for the elite World Tour.
Older brother Maz Quinn has won the NZ Open 4 times. Although Maz has never won a World Title he won the ultra-competitive Australian Pro Junior series – breeding ground for future World Champs (Parko, Fanning, etc.) and finished 2nd to Taj Burrows in the World Pro Junior final. Maz then qualified for the elite World Tour and placed 5th in the opening event on the Gold Coast. He was king-maker at the Quiksilver France, where Kelly Slater hoped Maz would beat the other world title contender, Andy Irons in serious barreling surf. A desperate Irons finally caught up with Maz with just 5 minutes to go. Final scores: 11.76 to 11.33 – Andy became the World Champ. Maz became a household name in NZ and appeared on numerous TV sports shows. Maz is still the only male Kiwi surfer to make it onto the elite World Tour, although brother Jay came close.
Only one other Gisborne Boardriders surfer has ever achieved at a higher level than Maz Quinn in the International arena. A young kid named Al Byrne was one of the original grommets at the beginning of the club. His dad, Des Byrne, was the first club president. But that’s another whole story… Ô