The Taranaki Wave Classic is over for another year, with 76 entrants heading back home, tired muscles and a happy glow that only a full weekends sailing can supply.
Continuing on with the long history of events held in Taranaki, the weather delivered some classic conditions.
Carbon Art were well represented with a number of finalist choosing to ride Carbon Art boards. 1st and 2nd place were taken by Mike and Chris La Franchie, both riding Wave SC 51’s. Mike had the below comments to make on his board after lifting the 2007 trophy.
“The Wave SC 51’s balance of speed and control allows me the freedom to search for the most critical sections with 100% focus. No thoughts about the board at all. I know it will do exactly what I ask. When projecting of the lip or driving hard through a bottom turn the Carbon Art Wave SC 51 is with me all the way.”
Friday proved to be a great warm up with a clean logo high swell at Pungarehu for some epic conditions at one of the world’s best port tack waves. The wind was a little light for some, but the buttery smooth faces made rail to rail carving feel like an effortless dream.
Saturday the venue chosen was Waitara, on a small swell with the wind switching from South East to West overnight Friday as predicted. The day began with a light 12 knot westerly getting people out on the spot X playground. A quick count up showed over 50 people out on the water at the same time, enjoying the friendly conditions. Although the waves were small, there were smiles all round as everyone got wet and did a few wiggles.
The wind came in with the rain in the afternoon, rising to over 20 knots, but the rising tide made the swell drop even further. An impromptu free style competition was held with both James Court and Spencer Lewis showing their skills. This was a great exhibition for the spectators huddled around a BBQ on the downwind side of the bus, sheltering from the wind and rain. The general consensus was that James won the battle.
However the Taranaki Wave Classic is about waves, and sailors were frothing over the forecast for Sunday. A clean 16s period, logo high swell was due to rise over the day with sunshine and 25 knot south westerly winds. Taranaki did not disappoint and Weld Road was chosen as the arena for the wave event to begin.
The moves thrown down this year were the most diverse yet. Skilled wave riders were getting multiple aerials on the same wave, goiters, late smacks and plenty of workings. The jumping was up a notch or two from last year with the full array of push loops, forwards, backs, table tops, shove-it’s and even a shaka being stomped. The only move missing was a rewind, maybe next year!
The ten man final saw all of these moves landed, Mike La Franchie even managed to land a high back, followed by a clean forward, then a tabletop jumping consecutive waves on the way out. This jumping along with drawing clean lines on the waves gave Mike the top spot, followed by his younger brother Chris La Franchie. Chris’s wave riding, goiters and forwards made him stand out from the pack.
The Taranaki Wave Classic is such an enjoyable event because the emphasis is on fun.
The Expression Session format gets everyone out on the water free sailing in the usually epic wave conditions. There are no heats, no man on man elimination, and no stress. This looks awesome from the beach with every wave being shredded down the line by at least one person, and multiple sailors jumping over the same wave going out. The great attitude of the sailors, and respect for the rules of the road meant there were no crashes, collisions or other accidents even with the break crowded by sailors of every level.
Thanks to all the sponsors for their ongoing support of the event, and thanks to the organisers for donating their time and passion to keep this long running event going. The 2007 TWC was a great start to the spring/summer windsurfing season. Next year will be bigger and better, so book out labor weekend 2008 on your calendar now.
1st Mike La Franchie
2nd Chris La Franchie
3rd Paul Barron
4th Gary McCory
5th Charles Dinnis
1st Woman Jill Barron
1st Youth Tim Haxell