Hundreds expected for 2007 Tairua Pipemasters
By Alison Smith
Hundreds of people are expected to again gather on the shores of
the Pepe inlet for the Tairua Pipemasters national wakeboarding
contest on February 17.
The Tairua Pipemasters has become the favourite event of the year
for New Zealand’s top wakeboarders including former world
champions Andrea Fountain and Jeff Weatherall.
It will be free for all spectators and takes place at the harbour
inlet beside the Pepe playground on Tairua’s main street.
Riders will practice on Thursday February 15 before qualifying rounds
the following day and finals starting 5.30pm on Saturday February
17. An afterparty and prizegiving will be held at Shells Bar and
Now in its fourth year, the event maintains its casual feel for
competitors but provides impressive action for spectators who get
close-up views of wakeboarders sliding over purpose built obstacles
similar to snowboarding rails.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s pipemasters
because the standard of riding will have stepped up a level for
sure,” says event founder Devan Rowe. “New Zealand’s
top wakeboarders have been riding rails overseas all year and it’s
an aspect of the sport that’s really growing.”
Rowe says a new development in the sport has been the invention
of a portable winch system that can be set up just about anywhere
and tows riders without the use of a boat or jetski. There will
be a demonstration using winches on finals day.
“We’ll be building some temporary pools using hay bales
and riders will wakeboard and wakeskate in these. It’s definitely
crazy and hard to imagine but you’ve just got to come and
check it out.”
The name Tairua Pipemasters is a play on the legendary Hawaiian
surf contest but relates to the use of PVC piping used in the rails
and other obstacles built specifically for the event.
Building supplier Carters give materials and in previous years
have sent celebrity builder John “Cocksy” Cocks –
himself a keen wakeboarder – to help with construction of
Tairua Pipemasters has grown to be the most popular event for New
Zealand’s top wakeboarders and it is still only possible thanks
to the volunteer time and skill of local board riders.
“I’ve done this in the past with myself, [builders]
Matt Land, Cocksy and Simon Smith just because it’s a great
day out in Tairua and it gives us a chance to get all the country’s
best wakeboarders together and see what they’re capable of.”