Stab Recommends: McTavish, a Fine Brand With A Hell Of A Story
Worth the price of admission for the Stowaway yarn alone.
I fell in love with the stories before I fell in love with surfing.
I’ve only realised it in hindsight, but the tales of travel, perfect waves, strange cultures and certified left of centre behaviour caught my attention long before the feeling of zipping along waves captured it. And it was the old guard; Lynch and Young, Ted Spencer, The Witzigs, Alby Falzon… I worshiped these guys for the adventure and the counter culture I discovered in old Tracks mags, books, and on pirated DVDs from Bali. There was a certain…outlawish…tint to their character which was most appealing to an impressionable mind, and Bob McTavish was certainly amongst them.
What I really loved about McTavish and his ilk was how incidental it all seemed, if the tales are to believed. The story of the scruffy layabout McTavish (who’d previously been living in his car and eating loaves of bread stuffed with bananas for sustenance) stowing away on the boat to Hawaii for the adventure of a lifetime only be caught, sent home, then having to fine-tune his shaping to pay the wager, morphing into one of the most influential and prolific shapers of the modern age is bound to be part fantasy, but who cares? Folklore is by definition a mixture of fact and legend, and that’s why they’re so important.
McTavish, the man and the company, had the good sense to set themselves up in the Byron Shire before the great exodus reached its peak, and so are nicely set to capitalise on a prim position in Byron’s sought after industrial zone. They’ve got a handsome showroom and cafe, and they’re about much more than just boards, although the crafts that come out of the factory are still some of the most beautiful and desirable bits of foam around. McTavish 2020 features a full range of apparel, and unsurprisingly, like the boards, it’s simple, aesthetically pleasing, and designed with specific tasks in hand. Easy on the gimmicks, and rich in quality.
Hinterland Flannel Shirt
Winter means flannos, and unsurprisingly McTavish turn out some nice tartan. You’d imagine that a brand founded by a guy who pretty much pioneered the concept of standing around the campfire after a surf in a flanno would know the constructs of a successful fuzzy shirt, and the Hinterland is a fine example.
A pair of cords named after and styled on a John Witzig photo? Now that’s the type of romantic surf dorkery that I can get down with. The photo of a couple of long hairs skipping across a northern rivers stream is burned into the retinas of surfers the world over, and it’s not a bad mental image to pop up every time you pull on a pair of soft and familiar dacks.
Dark navy and white conjures sailors, dark skin, outside tables with checked table cloths, chilled beer or wine, hors d’oeuvres… man this isolation causes the mind to wander. Anyway, apart from prompting great romance, navy also looks wonderful on a pair of trunks, as the Bay shorts attest. Perfect in length and shade for the surfer who likes to jump between crafts.
The graphic tee has tripped up more than a few heritage brands, but in our humble opinion this is a good one. Love the Barry McGee vibes and that the phone number checks out.
South Coast Hoodie
Hoods are the perfect transitional garment, perfectly situated between bed and the outside world. Which fits nicely into the Bunker range, McTavish’s take on COVID-19 wear. It’s based around comfort and not really leaving the house, but really who doesn’t love high-quality, comfortable basics?
Couldn’t browse the McTavish racks without landing on a beautiful surfcraft, and in a handsome rack the Tracker reigns supreme. Nothing like getting in early and standing ready for the curl to unfold, especially if the rest of the pack’s falling from the sky on thrusters and praying their fins catch. Negotiating the third dimension on a piece of genuine surfing history is only proven to enhance the experience.
We highly recommend a trip to McTavish, whatever it is you’re after.
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