Bob McTavish has been a household name for two generations of surfers. Over more than half a century in the industry, Bob has shaped thousands of custom boards for happy customers around the world in a career which began in the early 1960s, learning his trade from the ground up, working for pioneer board brands such as Scott Dillon, Dale, Hayden, Bob Davie, Morey-Pope, Keyo, and Cord. The McTavish brand dates back to 1962 when Bob McTavish Tailormade Surfboards emerged from the back room of Scott Dillon’s factory, but really came into its own when Bob made the move to the North Coast in 1969.
Always an innovator in surfboard design and technology, Bob has pioneered cutting edge changes to the basic concept of a surfboard since 1965, when he began to refine rail and bottom design to maximise performance. This was the very beginning of the movement that would become known as the shortboard revolution, in which Bob’s role was pivotal, but in fact is only a part of his ongoing contribution to the evolution of the surfboard.
Now in his eighth decade, Bob continues to push the limits of surfboard design across the full range of wave-riding vehicles, still testing his prototypes in the surf almost every day actively living out his philosophy of “Surf more. Have fun”.
BEN MCTAVISH (DESIGNER / SHAPER)
Ben left school at 14 to make his start in surfboard manufacturing as a glasser. Today he’s armed with more experience across the entire industry than anyone else of his age, having operated his own shortboard brand for 15 years before integrating it into McTavish Surfboards. As head designer and shaper, Ben shapes the bulk of boards coming out of the factory each week and has built a culture of ‘getting out there’ at McTavish.
Says his proud dad: “Ben is one of the few shapers who really knows how to carve a rocker on boards ranging from five feet to twelve feet long. In the age of computer shaping, that’s a dying art. I guess Ben was thrown in at the deep end when it comes to shaping, but he just took his time and steadily learned the skills.”
COL HYND (LAMINATOR)
Originally from Newcastle just outside of Sydney, Col has glassed at many staple factories, from Rhino Laminating, Pukas in Europe, and Vouch, before being snapped up by McTavish. For a grom that found himself gainfully employed by accident after spending a big night at a factory and set to work in the morning, Col’s attention to detail and love affair with the high stakes of quality glassing never saw him leave.
CHRISTIAN 'WISPY' BARKER (FIN INSTALL)
Hailing from South West Rocks, Wispy has been around shaping bays since his late teens, making his first board with Peter Cornish at Crescent Head, NSW and later building a local board brand with Steve Firkin in the early 2000’s. Despite joining McTavish solely in a retail capacity, Wispy’s talent for just about everything and desire to work alongside some of the best in the business has seen him drift into the factory to work on fins, and closely on design alongside Bob and Ben.