Matt Wilkinson // 22 // Copacabana, NSW:
You’re never going to go out in a ‘CT and catch the worst waves but out-surf someone. Everyone’s so good that you need to be smart and be on the best waves.
I think the judges now and the changes to the criteria at the end of last year have changed the mentality. They’ve given themselves the freedom to give scores for doing new maneuvers and cool stuff. It’s definitely fun to watch, like that heat with Dane in Puerto Rico last year. He got like a 9.9 for one turn. So good to see it. Back in the day, even if you did that same turn, it would be a 5.5 or something.
On your forehand it’s easier to get scores. If you got nothing, you can just go and do three carves. If they’re good clean, big carves, they’re going to give you an 8.5 or a 9. But if you’re on your backhand if you go up and do three of the same face turns, you’re going to get a 5.
Contests at places like G-Land, you get the same crowd that is definitely going to watch every event. They’ll be watching. But San Fran is going to be a million people who have never watched surfing, and they’ll be really interested in it, which is pretty cool I think. And there are plenty of good waves on tour.
It definitely pisses me off that I’m not in videos and don’t get invited on trips and shit. I’m not gonna go down to Taylor Steele and [beg]. I just kind of got a manager, so hopefully that will help get me into that kind of stuff.
Growing up you’re watching the guys on tour going mad and having a hell time. Then you get there and there are three single dudes on tour. You go down to the competitors’ area and instead of dudes shouting at chicks on the beach, they’re hanging with their families.
I guess if I get a chick or something someday, then I’ll stop having fun like the rest of the guys. I didn’t grow up wanting to become a pro surfer so that I could carry a suitcase down the beach to feed my kids.
Interviewed by Travis Ferré. Portraits by Steve Sherman