Stab Magazine | Shaping Trends Have Come And Gone, This Man Has Not

Shaping Trends Have Come And Gone, This Man Has Not

A relevant (r)evolutionary throughout the eras: Bob McTavish.

hardware // Nov 15, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bob McTavish has been transforming raw foam into (Hot) Generation-defining planks for longer than most of us have been alive. Wild, huh? He founded McTavish Surfboards in 1962, when surfing was all D-fins, balsa planks and fancy footwork, before forecasting apps and carbon wraps and the WSL’s intrusive Instagram Stories. Two years before Greenough came and blew the doors off the whole thing, sent Bob and Nat spiraling toward’s Total Involvement and V. Before the whole Maui trip, and that back-lit Honolua bottom turn. 

It’s easy to romanticize when peering in the rearview, but the Noosa years before crowds hold a special place in our hearts, and in the collective history, and Bob McTavish thrived through the best of them.


It was the gentle pointbreaks of Noosa and the NSW north coast that initially stole Bob’s heart, igniting his half-century-plus passion for riding waves and forging the craft required to steer across them. Since then he’s remained relevant through the ever-evolving world of surf. Think how many transformations the humble surfboard experienced since its hardwood birth – Bob’s shaped through them all. He even came up with the thin-railed, high-aspect-finned board design that Nat Young had under his feet when he won the World Title back in 1966.


Bob flourished, “from original 9’6” logs, right through the short board revolution, through the gun era, right down to little white short boards, all the way back into the modern era of retro longboards,” he states above in the latest episode of SurfStitch’s A Day In The Bay series.


The five minute edit takes a tour of Bob’s ultra-hip showroom (ooh look, a coffee machine!) and shaping bay. It’s a walkthrough his entire process, from the hand of Bob (or Ben) down to laminating, glassing, glossing and artwork. Bob reveals two of his recent favourites, a mid-length vee bottom shape called ‘The Rincon’ and a Mini Simmons-style shape that looks like a blast in anything below the shoulder, dubbed ‘The Butterball’.


Stab adores Bob’s bubbling enthusiasm. He’s a man who undoubtedly see’s a half full glass and for his age, impresses moonlighting as host for the episode. Dive in above to keep up with one of the shaping greats, or better yet, pay him a visit at his Byron Bay space.


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