Years surfing: 20+
Also known as “Chono” and “the wax head”, Matt grew up on Sydney’s northern beaches where he started his surfing journey catching the whitewater that came into Curl Curl rock pool on his bodyboard, before learning to ride proper waves on the beachies and reef breaks around Long Reef.
His northern beaches upbringing also gave him an early appreciation of the area’s rich surfing history, and he soon became one of the most knowledgeable surfers of the retro era, with an incredible depth of surf and hot rod car trivia at his fingertips. Not surprising, since his father, Mark, worked in classic car restoration, a passion that is now the family business.
When he’s not under the bonnet, Matt can invariably be found riding one of his many collector logs or the latest McTavish design, channeling surfing’s roots with every deft cross-step or drop-knee. He says: “Bob McTavish is one of my greatest influences, from the boards he shapes to his approach to riding a wave. Every time I surf, I feel a bit of Bob out there with me.” Other influences include Joel Tudor, John Gill, Shane Herring and Ozzie Wright.
After years of making finals whenever he competes, 2016 was Matt’s breakout year, winning the Logger Pro at the Noosa Festival, the Byron Bay Logger, and the old mal division at the Snowy Classic in Manly.
CHRISTIAN “WISPY” BARKER
Years surfing: 25
Wispy got his nickname growing up at South West Rocks on the Mid North Coast of NSW when his brother couldn’t pronounce his name.
A carpenter by trade, and a gifted surfer on both long and short boards, Wispy has become a valued test pilot for McTavish designs and works closely with shaper Ben McTavish on the development and design of new models. His favourite McTavish? “It’d have to be the Bluebird. I’ve had my best waves on it.”
Wispy is a free-surfer who feels no need to compete, preferring to ride what suits, when it suits. Although he only took up longboarding when he moved to Byron in 2010, he has taken to the glide like a natural. A popular figure in the surf and around the McTavish factory, he is known for his impeccable manners in the line-up, where he is happy to share the waves with all, regardless of their ability.