Meet the Makers: Bob and Ben of Mctavish

Created by surfboard shaping icon Bob McTavish in 1962, Mctavish is a surfing lifestyle brand born out of Byron Bay, Australia. Today, alongside son Ben, they draw on almost a century of shared design experience to handcraft a unique range of surfboards, and an apparel range inspired by the joy and ritual of a surfing life.

We managed to get the effervescent father and son shaping duo behind the brand McTavish to sit still for five minutes and wax lyrical on a few of our questions.

When and how did Mctavish come about? 
BOB I’ve been a core surfer since 1956 and a shaper all over the world since 1962. Eventually I decided it might be wise to put my own name on things and work for myself.
BEN A hyperactive kid, a beach and a lump of timber! Dad made the first board in 1956, and it just went from there.

How would you describe the Mctavish customer?
BOB Someone chasing stoke!
BEN A discerning person that is chasing more than a ‘flash in the pan, on trend’ product.

Any advice you would give to someone thinking of starting a brand?
BOB Have an unquenchable thirst for discovering new ideas and variations. And don’t be scared of going broke doing it! (Bob has literally gone for broke multiple times).
BEN It should come naturally from something you’re already into and love doing.

What’s your design process and is there anything you do to help to get the ideas rolling?
BOB Always remain alert to a need… a gap in surfers’ hearts, not a gap in the marketplace.
BEN We are spoilt with the surfing lifestyle, the seasons change, the wave is moving, you’re moving, your board is moving, the sand formations move, the tides breathe in-and- out twice a day, all making surfing and designing boards so insatiable. There’s endless amounts of inspiration for what we create.

What is something not that many people know about you or your brand?
BEN Dad and I shape every McTavish board on the planet.

What has been the highlight of your brand/career to date?
BOB Our current range of board designs which are both mine and my son Ben’s, from four to fourteen feet.
BEN Keeping everything relatively small and pretty much under the one roof in Byron Bay.

What are you listening to right now?
BOB Neil Young Harvest
BEN Slowdive

What are you watching at the moment?
BOB Insta clips
BEN Junkyard Gold

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
BOB There’s more happiness in giving than getting.
BEN Don’t sing with a fake British accent.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Byron Bay?
BOB There’s surf available 300 days a year!
BEN The best thing is not living in Byron, that way I never get immune to the Bay’s beauty.

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