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This board was one of the last shaped by Col McNeill, a well-known and respected New Zealand surfboard shaper who gained his shaping skills in California and Hawaii.
The artwork is from various friends and surf club members who have added messages to the board over the years.
Col was a highly respected surfer, especially in big waves, and made a friendly and lasting impression on everyone he met. Col settled in Northland to shape surfboards and raise a family, but unfortunately in the mid-1990s was diagnosed with cancer.
A lot of Maori Bay locals had strong ties to Col, and in 1997 a contest was established as a way of helping the McNeill family when Col could no longer work due to his advanced illness. Sadly, Col passed away after the first contest leaving behind his wife and two young daughters.
The Maori Bay Boardriders continue the contest to this day as a memorial event and is the largest event run by the club. While the initial aim was to continue to support Col's family following his passing, at the family's request all proceeds raised from the contest are now donated to a worthy cause.
Mick McDonnell was a friend of Col for more than 20 years.
"He would never accept being caught inside and had a great story to tell every time you met him. He was a true character and a real crazy bugger.
As long as there was a stretch of water, and he had a board, he had said he had nothing to complain about. If it were fine but windy, he'd say, 'Well at least it's not raining', and if it was raining, he'd say, 'We're already wet anyway'. Nothing would bring him down."