Tracking Bob McTavish

This thing is in far from great condition, but at the risk of overusing this phrase, it is a cool piece of surfboard history.

Aussie shaper Bob McTavish claims to have shaped the first ever shortboard in California history in early 1968. Here is an excellent article / interview in Liquid Salt Magazine that details the history of a surfboard whose behind the scenes creation story reads like a who’s who of surfing. Earlier in the season on Hawaii’s North Shore, McTavish had taken one of Gerry Lopez’s boards and cut it down from 9′6″ to 8′6″. He then took some feedback from Dick Brewer, and during a stay at George Greenough’s house while surfing nearby Rincon, McTavish shaped a board that helped usher in the shortboard revolution. That board – known as the Rincon Tracker – later went for sale at a Randy Rarick auction. McTavish wrote a blog post about this board which you can read here.

Photo Credit: Liquid Salt

Shortly afterwards, McTavish struck a deal with Morey-Pope to make a shortboard model named the Tracker. You can see an example here, which I found on Craigslist in San Diego. The board isn’t in fantastic condition, but it is water tight, and the current price is $200.

According to Stoked-n-Board, McTavish actually shaped some of these boards as well, from 1968 to 1970. The Tracker model was produced from 1968 to 1972, which suggests that there are Trackers made that weren’t necessarily McTavish handshapes.

I did some more internet sleuthing and found an entire Picas album for the board when it went for sale a few years back. This reveals that a fin was glassed onto the W.A.V.E. Set fin box, which is an unfortunate bit of aftermarket modification.

If you want more information on McTavish, I can’t recommend Surf Research enough. Their entry on McTavish has some great pictures of his older boards, as he has shaped for many labels other than Morey-Pope. Surf Research has a great example here of a tracker shape that McTavish made for Aussie label Keyo.

This board isn’t perfect by any stretch, but if you’re interested, check it out here.

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