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70s logo tidy. 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!

movie link

*click photo to go to the movie

Mengs welcome

Mayor’s welcome

jubilee drinks

good turnout of young and old

Mayoral certificate

current president Andy McCulloch received the mayoral certificate

1st committee

early club comp

one of the first club comps

Lumpy, Gail, Chris

original members ‘Lumpy’ Logan, Gail Patty, Chris Ransley

Chris Ransley

Chris Ransley, 1969 NZ Junior Champ

Gail Patty

local legend Gail Patty, 1967 NZ Womens Champs

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.

Benny 1975

Benny wins the Open Mens, 1975

Benny Hutchings Hawaii

Benny on the North Shore {left], Mike Ho, Barry K [right]

Surfboards Gisborne

70’s scene at Surfboards Gisborne

Benny Hutchings, Island

Benny surfing the Island a couple of summers back

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.

Benny & Wayne

[left] tidy Benny Hutchings & Wayne Spence, [right] Benny & Chris Ransley ’72 World Champs

Tahiti team

Wayne Spence’s cookie-duster mo’ in the 80’s

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.

clubrooms

GBC clubrooms in the 90’s

Kaiti hall news

parties were held in rented halls before there were clubrooms

lads drinking

socialising was a big thing in the early days – no TV, internet, etc

400 dozen beer

sponsor Steinlager gave the ’84 Nationals 400 dozen

1984 Nats Midway

1984 Nationals, Midway -are those guys judging or guarding the beer?!

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.

John Gisby

’84 senior champ John Gisby has added 33 more national titles since

Jay - World champThe 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.

Maz Quinn reo

Maz Quinn – still the best backhand reo in the business  [pic. Cory Scott]

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

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falling light Okitu MED_0032shadows

Being the middle of wintewinter light Wainui_0009r the days are short and the late afternoon and evening shadows are long. The last few days have been brilliantly sunny and mild – once the frost has melted and the sun has got cracking. So I’ve been sleeping through the frosty sunrises and have been catching the sunsets instead. An afternoon surf is the warmest option at this time of the year.

The ‘Red Bus’ reef at Makorori was empty and beckoned me. I left it a bit late to get out of the surf though as the sun had already dipped behind the hills. You need to get out well before dark in wintertime to save freezing your butt off getting changed in the evening chill. The 8 to 5 crew have to drive home in the dark with no chance of an evening surf at this time of the year.  That’s usually me too, but I’m on holiday this week – happy days!     Ô

clean surf

sunny days, clean surf

rubbish bin

cool ‘n’ groovey trash bin

evening shadows

long evening shadows

flaxhead

flaxhead in the falling light

5pm traffic

5pm, homeward bound

carpark view_0014

Summer story #5

There’s nothing like catching up with old ‘friends’. The past week’s been a busy one but I managed to catch a wave at two surfing spots at Mahia that have been old acquaintances of mine from way back. On my many trips to the Mahia Peninsular back in the 70’s and 80’s, the two most consistent surf beaches were Blacks and Mahanga Beach. There was always a swell at one of them, it was just a matter of which way the wind was blowing. Mahanga is best in a West or Nor-west but when the wind goes northerly or Nor-east seabreeze, Blacks is the spot. However Blacks has had it’s weird moments in recent years – something strange had happened to our old standby. Consequently I hadn’t surfed Blacks for two decades …until Tuesday. It’s been a long time between surfs!

After several days in Hawkes Bay at a family event I was on my way home yesterday with a couple of hours to spare before dark. A front had come through and a Sou-wester was freshening. I thought I’d check out the Mahia surf on my way home, perhaps Mahanga ‘standby #2’ would be OK in this wind?

But before I arrived at Mahanga to find a half-clean wave running down the Point, I stopped on the main highway to take a photo …and as I hopped out, the car door locked behind me, motor still running, indicators still flashing!  Fortunately I was soon able to flag down a motorist to use their cellphone to phone the AA to be rescued. Waiting on the side of the road for 30 minutes, I reflected back on my first Summer Story when Frick nearly cooked his motor. (Boy, I bet Frick’s sure gonna laugh at this story!) Eventually I made it to Mahanga for a quick surf before dark. The wind was a little cross-shore but it was great to get wet after my little drama. Old friends came through for me.      Ô

Blacks

small crowd of 3 out at Blacks

debrief

surf debrief

Black's overview

Black’s overview

locked out !

locked out ! (yeah, I’m embarrassed)

old truck

…I wonder if I can get to the beach in that?

Nuhaka garage

join AA, well worth the money!

Mahanga Point

finally made it to Mahanga Point

Beach patrol_crop 0064

Summer story #2

Eli torso_0005The beach is the only sensible place to be when the thermometer hits 30°.  But when folks head to the water to cool off there can be problems if there’s a swell running, with rips and holes to catch out the unwary. Keeping everyone safe in the water is the mission of our dedicated Surf lifeguards.

For my second Summer Story I’m featuring Eli, a visiting lifeguard from San Diego, who is volunteering at surf clubs around NZ over our summer months and is having fun sampling our local waves while he’s at it. Eli is based at the Wainui Surfclub for a few weeks. The other day the waves were clean, hollow and inviting. I caught Eli taking a break from duties to sample a few Wainui peelers. A top bloke, who is also a great surfer, Eli came in from his break with a smile a mile wide. You can see why from these photos.   Ô

flag patrol

the view from the Surfclub

peak

Eli’s view from the watchtower

dog patrol

“you’re on patrol for half an hour Butch, I’m out there!”

tube ride

Eli pulls into a sweet one

tubing wave

what Eli travelled 6400 miles to find

smiles

Butch is happy, it’s his turn for a surf now

watchtower

stoked…and back on duty

breakdownSummer stories

SO many waves to ride, so many photos to take, but so little time left to do anything with the photos. I’ve finally downloaded the photos from the last nine days and here we go again with a fresh dose of the salts! It was hard to know where to start so to jump back a few days, here’s a story of life on the road in the heat of summer chasing hot waves with mates Frick and Lorenzo.

As well as being saturated with pumping swells from all directions, the Tairawhiti region has also been blasted with sunshine and hot temperatures – does life get any better?! But the heat of mid-summer does has its down sides. The pointer on the fire risk signs moves to ‘Extreme’ and fires are banned, cars overheat, and the wax can melt off your surfboard deck while it’s parked up on your car roof.

fire risk signI didn’t need much convincing to join Frick and Lorenzo on a wave hunting mission to Mahia chasing a NE swell spiraling off ex-tropical cyclone Freda. Unfortunately we missed the peak of the swell (to see The Spit pumping at the peak of the swell the night before click here ). But once we finally got to the Mahia reefs, some fun waves were enjoyed. However the mission was almost thwarted by Frick’s car overheating 15 minutes short of our destination. Just as well we were carrying a few litres of water to wash ourselves off after our surf ! Mission accomplished.

breakdown

waiting for the motor to cool

checking the surf

finally made it to the Mahia reefs

first reef

First Reef was full of mal riders

The Spit

The Spit was full of young fellas

Second reef

‘Second Reef’ looked about right for us old fellas

Lorenzo racing

Frick kicks out as Lorenzo races behind him

Frick

Frick cuts back – not bad for an ol’ fella

two up

Frick claims it …or laments Lorenzo getting the good one?

carpark full

the Reefs roadside was full up

weather forecast

not a bad forecast for the next week!

Outlook for the next few days is an easing swell but hot, sunny days. ‘Tairawhiti’ means ‘the sunny side’ of the country, no mistaking that right now!      Ô

Wainui sunrise

taking to the sky

The swell has eased a lot from the pumping swell earlier in the week but there were still a few good waves around for those who knew where to look. Conditions were good as a strong seabreeze didn’t come up to spoil it, as we can often get at this time of the year. Looks like the swell is going to be small for the rest of the week though. Good news is it looking like the wind will be offshore so at least the surf will be clean.

The NZ Scholastics Champs are now over. Well done to Jules and Abby who brought national titles back home to Gissy. Jayda, Dayna and Jasmine were unlucky not to snag a title themselves. The local team were the defending champions but had to settle for third place this year. The kids being away gave the old farts more of a chance to snag some waves last week but it’s still the school holidays so the kids had their wave hunting noses to the air today.

A couple of the pro boys were out at the Creek this afternoon too, so between them and the kids it was a bit of a hassle-fest. The video camera filming on the beach seemed to justify drop-ins by some, but it encouraged the boys to take to the skies with an aerial display. I passed on the surf and took a few shots instead. Frick, who was just drying off, said he had it an hour back with only 3 others out – his wave nose was obviously sniffing pretty good today too.     Ô

sunrise tower

fiery start to the day, Wainui Surf Club tower

aerial

fireworks in the air

Creek rights

a rare empty set

airborne

taking to the sky

Abby

Abby, now the Scholastic Under14 Girls champion

city sunset

sunset over the city on my way home