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The lead-up week to TWC 2011 had the seventy registered competitors full of enthusiasm, with both Thursday and Friday serving up some fun sailing conditions. Friday’s wind strength exceeded the forecast fifteen knots quite considerably, with a solid 25-30 knots (and even more in some of the gusts) blasting across the waves at Waitara (well, what was left of the waves that hadn’t been blown away!)…

This meant every sailor who had busted into town looking for a bit of early competition practice had their arms given a full stretch out with some great jumps if you prepared to hang on, and those with 3.7 m sails probably fared the best. Others snuck out to enjoy Weld Rd where a much more comfortable 15 knots was ruffling the smoother waves.

Saturday saw the travelling TWC circus roll into action at the Oakura Surf Club, where goodie bags were handed out, stacked full of essentials like Lift Centre downhaul rope, Seventh Wave beer coolers, a Carbon Art and Rodgers Dental cap and Molly Woppy cookies. As well as this some lucky entrants scored vouchers for local businesses like Snickerdoodles café and Butlers Reef bar, while we also got the rundown for the day’s events.
Rain and a less than hopeful wind forecast meant sailors’ optimism levels were fairly low, but the ever enthusiastic Paul Barron decreed that Kina Rd would deliver the goods at some point.
Certainly nothing was happening before midday, so the TWC crew made their way their way in dribs and drabs to Kina Rd, with pit stops at local cafes for coffees and motivational shots of sambuca for a hardy few (good idea Ferran!).

Surprisingly enough the wind at Kina was in fact from the south-east, but only light. The half-mast waves were definitely ready for action though and it was Anton and his SUP with sail attached to make the first foray onto the water, followed by Paul B and Chris La Franchie.

They managed to score a few waves but clearly the wind strength wasn’t up to getting seventy sailors into the break, let alone having them compete, so the decision was made to bust out the Mikes beers and crank up the BBQ – thanks to Kev Hoskings for the awesome roast beef sausages and Chris Jenkins for operating the tongs with aplomb behind the makeshift Ezzy sail windbreak!

A fun afternoon of tall tales and theories of how many beers needed to be drunk to bring on the wind then ensued.
Meanwhile, spotting an opportunity, Mike La Franchie and Thomas Davies had crept out into the break and were managing to get a fun session in with wave after wave, along with a few SUPs joining the party. Unfortunately the wind was still not really up to allowing more than a half-dozen sailors at most to take advantage of the waves, so as the BBQing continued for some, other competitors left in search of waves to surf and SUP further along the coast.
However, Paul Barron’s prediction of classic Kina Rd was about to take shape and at 4:30 pm a solid bank of whitecaps filled the bay. Julien La Feurve and Chris La Franchie were quick to act and hit the water fast, almost immediately planning out the back.

As they quickly made their way up to the break they were joined by a dozen or more other sailors all ready for action and a solid hour of fun sailing with some great waves was enjoyed by all those lucky enough to be present at the time. Four beers was deemed to be the magic number to get the wind going (and four sausages as well), however there was some debate as to whether they had a positive influence on the quality of sailing…

Day Two of the TWC dawned with a small swell in town and the forecast south-westerly resulted in Waitara being the best option for everyone to sail. Almost all of the seventy sailors made the most of waist-high playful swell and cross-off winds, and some occasional gusts allowed a bit of action; with the likes of Thomas Davies launching a couple of forward loops and Tim Haxell going for a goiter. Great weather meant for a great vibe on the beach, and more great sausages from the BBQ. Once again Chris Jenkins starred as King of the Grill, delivering hearty sausages in double quick time for the hungry masses.
The Rugby World Cup Final had everyone convening a little earlier than usual at the Oakura Surf Club for an awesome meal and the prizegiving. Due to the inconsistent conditions over the weekend no official comp result was called, but James Court was a happy man as this year’s lucky recipient of the Carbon Art waveboard, along with others who received prizes drawn from the host of other sponsor provided goods (listed below), before the All Blacks took on France in front of a partisan crowd with a smattering of French support.

Fortunately we NZers’ were spared our blushes (only just!) during a slighter closer final match than anticipated, while afterwards Julien showed off his mad skills on the turntables, fuelling a full-on party that went into the wee small hours. An even more hardcore crew headed into the throbbing metropolis of New Plymouth to rock up the big stuff late in the evening, and rumour has it that in fact there was only one TWC sailor left standing as dawn broke and he found himself booted out of Club 55 (for being too young and having too much fun, possibly). It was at this point a long walk back to Oakura beckoned, and was it not for the generosity of a passing motorist, the wrath of his wife may have fallen heavily upon him.
Unfortunately for our hero (who shall remain nameless, but is a German/Taranaki local who might be in previous photo and whose name may or may not rhyme with Kirk…) his free ride tried to take advantage of his good nature and a spot of fare dodging then took place. All in all, a pretty exciting end to the event! Monday was a generally quiet and slightly hungover affair for many, and no wind meant a relaxing last day for the 2011 TWC.

See you all next year!

Prize winners

• Carbon Art Waveboard – James Court
• 7th Wave Wetsuit – Paul Cooper
• WestcCoast Sails/Noel Leeming voucher – Hans
• RipCurl bag – Scott Wines
• NZ Boardstore boom – Bruce McCloud
• Survival bag – Lucy Waters
• Go Pro HD – OP
• StashIt Bags – Beach Giveaways
• K4 Fins – Simon Smith
• 44 fins (twin) Todd Wern
• Vandal 4.8 sail – Arnaud Villet
• Will to Win book – Anton Bieljeivans
• WestCoast Sails /Noel Leeming voucher – Scott McArthur
• Go Pro Mount – Clayton Dougan
• Oakura two nights accommodation – Jebbe
• Camera Mount – Chris Jenkins
• C3 fin wave – Paul Barron
• Drake Fin – Leeane Mabin
• Dryfones – Julien
• $200 Noel Leeming Voucher – Jill Cooper
• Watercooled bags – Woo Norris
• Watercooled boom – Magnus
• Seat on Couch to watch World Cup final – Stu Warmin

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