Photos Eze Zaccardi and Hunter Thomson
Words Hunter Thomson


Last Wednesday we kicked off the beloved annual Byron Bay Surf Festival by hosting the Tom Carroll Photo Collection right here at McTavish HQ. Believe it or not Tom Carroll, one of power surfing’s most pivotal figures and a 2 x World Champion, was also a photographer. Tom documented his years on tour through his trusty Canon AV-1 from a unique and candid perspective. We hung a small curated selection of the photographs, which were taken between 1980 & 1985, and had TC there on the night to narrate the rest of the shots, projected as a slideshow in our outdoor carpark cinema.

As soon as 6 o’clock struck the crowd started rolling in and quickly packed out our HQ carpark. Stone and Wood and Ink Gin kept everyone hydrated and entertained until the sun set low enough for us to kick off the main show. James McMillan of Byron Bay Surf Festival welcomed everyone and introduced the man of the hour Tom Carroll and MC Sean Doherty up to the mic. After a quick discussion and brief Q&A, TC narrated a series of photographs, giving an insightful look behind the curtain about what life was like from 80-85 as a surfing professional. The crowd was enthralled and a round of applause erupted as we hit play on the exclusive screening of a Canon short film about the making of Tom Carrolls photo collection, to round out the night.

The following day, we held another photo exhibition at our new space in town, McTavish Outpost. We hung 30 finalists to the Byron Bay Surf Festival Photo Competition. Catering for all levels of photographers the aim of the competition was to showcase and celebrate the unique surf culture in Byron Bay and provide the opportunity for young photographers to have their work on the walls of a gallery. Bob was there to welcome everyone, before judges Ming Nomchong and Craig Parry announced the winners of each category; Grommets, Hobbyists and Professionals. Once again thank you to Stone and Wood and Ink Gin for providing drinks for the evening.

Unfortunately, as the sun rose on Friday morning so did the presence of Tropical Cyclone Oma that had been looming off the east coast throughout the week, slowly making its way south. The winds reached upwards of 100km/h and caused our Saturday Market & Sunday Trim events to be cancelled. So much time and effort from our team at McTavish and BBSF goes in to making the Trim happen and it was unfortunate to have to cancel. However, a key fundamental of the Trim is having fun and in the conditions we were dealt on Sunday it just would not have been suitably fun.

Nevertheless, the party went on and Byron Bay Surf Festival wrapped up the epic week at the Beach Hotel on Sunday Afternoon.