Born in Taupo the youngest of two boys, Tane never really knew NZ until he returned to his homeland at seven years old after leaving when he was only three months. His parents were never surfers and they had never experienced surfing, they were involved in the music industry with his father Drew a singer/songwriter and Australia offered more opportunity to earn a living than NZ. A decision to go chase the bright lights and stardom in the USA saw the Bowden family pack their bags with a NZ stop-over on the way. Some great friends had a holiday house in Whangamata and they offered it to the family to use while they returned home to NZ to catch up with family and friends, for what was only a short visit. It was here that upon laying eyes on the beach and feeling right at home in the Coromandel lifestyle, that the bright lights career was sacrificed to give their kids a chance to grow up in such a nourishing area. While older brother Mackenzie jumped straight into the surf, Tane really didn’t like it at the start and would sit on the beach throwing tantrums. “After a while I started to like it, but I never liked being pushed into a wave, I preferred to do things by myself, so when I started paddling and catching waves on my own and getting to my feet, I fell in love with the sport.” Tane an obvious natural wasted no time in progressing through the stages and in only a couple of years he was picking up accolades on the Surfing NZ Grom Series events, and sponsorship soon followed. The family had a bus which they would travel in to events and post up for days on end sometimes weeks; the kids surfed their brains out, were home schooled in the evenings and mum and dad worked on their music. “That was the most awesome time, just travelling around the North Island to these out of it places, surfing our brains out, while dad did gigs on the road.” After five years the family realised it was time to get serious about earning some money and NZ wasn’t offering up any fruitful leads in Drew’s profession, so it was decided to head on back to Australia and settle in on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. This was a difficult time for the family with the kids forced to sacrifice their surfing experiences for over a year, but they knew that for the family to get back on their feet, everyone would have to dig in. So, surfing went from being on tap back in NZ to just the odd weekend here and there, which hurt deep! After a year and once financially stable the family moved down to Torquay to offer the boys a chance to relish their surf time once again. “I used to get so frustrated being in Mornington seeing all these epic photos each day of Bells, but once we moved down there, I was so hungry to surf my brains out that I did so every day, all day and my surfing
really took off and I improved heaps” Improved he did! Tane went on to win and place highly in some of the biggest from comps in Australia, and is currently focussing on the Pro-Junior series and the 1-Star WQS events for the next couple of years. Drew eventually decided for the sake of the kids, to make the move to the Gold Coast where Tane got to rub shoulders with the best surfers in the world on a daily basis, surfing many of the worlds iconic waves every day, which has nothing but a positive spin-off effect for his own surfing. Tane still and always will see himself as being a loyal kiwi blooded bro through and through, and hopefully this year if finances allow he plans to represent his motherland at the ISA World Champs, forever having that NZL following his name on the heat sheets!
Kiwis have always been renowned as great adventurers, go get 'em types, those who sacrifice some of the finer things in life in an effort to score their favourite buzz. Travel across the world and anywhere there's surf you will usually find a kiwi in the line up and considering we have one of the smallest populations of all surfing nations that speaks volumes of the type of characters our country produces. We catch up with a few kiwis who have been "out there doin it" across the lineups of the world.