BOARD BUILDERS

Board Builders

It’s no accident that many of the McTavish builders have been associated with the brand for decades. Says Bob: “Our factory has always been a gathering place for people who know and appreciate the skills of our industry and the quality of the boards we produce.

Building around 25 boards a week, the McTavish craftsmen know that the reputation of the brand rests on the quality of their individual work, and their ability to function well as a team.

Beyond this fact, there’s a higher collective ambition. Says Ben: “Building custom boards for people is a key part of enjoying your shaping. Not just earning a buck. You’re bringing joy to someone. Providing stoke”.

With their combined design pedigree aimed at this simple truth, you feel joy in every type of wave.

Bob McTavish (Shaper / Founder)

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.

BILL MCLEAN (LAMINATOR)

An industry veteran, Bill started with Bill Cilia in Sydney, before moving to San Juan Surfboards in Byron in 1971, when he also started glassing Bob McTavish boards. When McTavish moved from Lennox Head to Byron in the 1990s, Bill joined the team full time. Says long time friend Bob: “Bill will go to any extent to do a perfect glass job. Even 46 years ago, he was fastidious. It had to be right.“ Now, informed surfers will know the privilege of having a legend like Bill glass their board.

 

MAL BUGDEN (GLOSS COATER)

Another Byron local, Mal started in the industry in 1971 at San Juan Surfboards, working after school and weekends when he would also wet-rub McTavish boards before they were gloss-coated. Another respected all-rounder, he worked for many brands, including Michael Cundith, before re-joining the McTavish team over two decades ago.

KERYX ATKINS (POLISHER)

Keryx grew up in Newcastle, learning to surf at Merewether Point and Catherine Hill Bay. After a few years spent in Melbourne working in Industrial Design he settled in Lennox Head as a Polisher for McTavish.

 

ALONZO PUNKER (ARTIST)

The son of a famous Israeli artist, Alonzo got his start in the surfboard industry working as a spray artist for Town & Country in Hawaii in the late 1970s, where some of his best known works were seen on Martin Potter’s colourful quivers. He later worked for the brand in Australia before moving across to McTavish. A surfboard all-rounder, Alonzo can turn his hand to any aspect of production, and is an accomplished glasser and sander. With the era of painted boards slowly fading, he has now switched his focus to resin art.

 

REED SMITH (QC / DISPATCH)

With a hawk eye for detail and love of 60’s style- from surfing to cars, Reed is the ‘new blood' embodiment of the transitional era Bob was so heavily a part of.