Morey-Pope McTavish V Bottom

Greetings, Shredderz! Today we’ve got another fascinating piece from the Transition Era. Longtime readers of the blog might be aware of my fascination with Tom Morey, and if you don’t, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Morey was one of surfing’s great inventors, and it is always a pleasure to see examples from his decades long career, which was defined by fearless innovation and unorthodox thinking. Today we have a v bottom single fin that was produced by Morey-Pope Surfboards in collaboration with Australian contemporary Bob McTavish. Thanks to Nico for sharing all the photos you see here.

McTavish, Morey and Pope crossed paths during the Transition Era, and worked together on a number of models for the Morey-Pope label, including the well known Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker. The McTavish Tracker is believed to be the first mass produced shortboard, starting in early 1968. However, I believe the board featured in this post, despite bearing McTavish’s name, is not a McTavish Tracker, but rather, a predecessor to that model. Liquid Salt’s excellent McTavish interview sheds some more light:

Then I went in January to California and shaped at Reynold Yater’s shop and made myself a sweet 7’6 or 7’8. Karl Pope then offered me a deal at Morey Pope and that is what became The Tracker. I didn’t like the one Karl Pope marketed. Mine was a narrow tail with only slight vee and a pointed nose like a Brewer. But Karl said no, he wanted something more like the Plastic Machine board because that is what Australia was going through – blunt and full. That’s just what they wanted. My board was much more streamlined and refined. By mid ‘69 we discovered flat bottoms and down rails from Bunker Spreckels and Vinnie Bryan in Hawaii. Later that year, we began using a smaller, stiffer, upright dolphin Brewer fin.

Bob McTavish Interview with Liquid Salt

Judging from McTavish’s comments, I believe this board is an example of the Tracker’s predecessor, which he made at Karl Pope’s urging. The vee is much more pronounced, and McTavish’s description of “blunt and full” certainly seems to apply when comparing this shape to the Tracker.

Pictured above is a Ron Stoner shot of McTavish with his famous Plastic Machine model, and below that, a photo of a Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker. The Plastic Machine looks to have much more in common with the grey Morey-Pope McTavish vee bottom featured earlier in the post, as compared to the Tracker.

Another potential clue lies in the board’s tail. As you can see in the photo above, the Morey-Pope McTavish V Bottom looks much more like the one found on the Plastic Machine, than the less dramatic transom found on the Tracker.

In conclusion, I believe this Morey-Pope McTavish model pre-dates the Morey-Pope McTavish Tracker, making it a cool and unusual offering from two influential board builders. Once again a shout out to Nico for sharing this cool board with everyone, and for memorably capturing it with some killer pics.

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