The Effervescent Bob McTavish, in Croyde

Thanks to Tiki for organising the "International Shaper Tour" so we could have Bob McTavish, Steve Walden and Richie Lovett here in North Devon. It was just a shame that Greg Webber couldn't make it after all.

I went to the open Q&A session in Croyde Village Hall on Thursday and was taken aback by the force of nature that is Bob McTavish. The guy still seems to be still living off the adrenalin of his first wave!
He told us about being sacked from his job when a teenager and then living in a cave, surfing all day, shaping short boards, how excited he is about quads at the moment and about surfing his most beautiful wave alongside a couple of dolphins. The only thing he wouldn't elaborate upon was his previous day's surf at Putsborough! He was born in 1944 which makes him 64 or 65, I think, but he still has an enthusiasm and energy that would put most of us to shame.

Richie Lovett and Steve Walden both had plenty to say, most memorably Richie with two life threatening stories: firstly about his cancer which took most of his femur (and his slow recovery and growth into a different kind of surfer) and secondly his being swept away by a Tsunami while lying in a beach hut at G-Land, Java.

However, perhaps due to the format, Bob McTavish stole the show - almost acting as compere and reminding the others of the questions before handing over the mike. Characters like him only come along every so often in any discipline and it was an absolute pleasure to have him in Croyde Village Hall (ironically surrounded by dusty photographs of marmalade touting pensioners) blasting the dust out of the air, fuelling our passion and also stoking the fire that is the North Devon surfing scene with kind words and reminders of what we have here under our noses.

The only sour point of the evening came when the raffle draw conspired to plot against me and - despite all feelings of fate - I didn't win the surfboard. Tim Kevan was the lucky bugger who walked away holding a brand new 9'1 McTavish Quad under his arm...

If you want to read more about the things being talked about check out Chris Preston's interview with Bob here at Drift Magazine.


  1. What a fantastic article, I wish I could have been there.

    My first experience with a McTavish board was when I transitioned from short to long and its very difficult to go back.

    I started learning on the beaches in Perth, Western Australia and initially on a shortboard. After I realised that I didnt really want to paddle my butt off to catch every wave and the surf wasnt that big close to the city I went for something with size... namely a 9ft MvTavish Canonball..

    Ever since I found my feet so to speak on a longboard I cant get enough. Theres something graceful and soul like when your walking along the stringer ...

    Needless to say my next board will once again be a longboard and more than likely a McTavish.

    Thanks again Bob.


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