matt me­ola

Tracks - - Fresh Fish -

Four years ago Matt Me­ola was in the Mal­dives with Asher Pacey when the waves bot­tomed out. On a whim Me­ola, who is best known for his gym­nas­tic-in­spired aeri­als, bor­rowed one of Pacey’s DHD twin fins and glided into a whole new world of pos­si­bil­i­ties. “I re­mem­ber it was like the funnest thing ever and I didn’t want to get off it… I didn’t ex­pect it to be as loose and as fast – it was just like a re­ally good board.” Although the twinny made an im­pres­sion on Matt, he didn’t re­visit the de­sign un­til he was re­cov­er­ing from a knee in­jury just over a year ago. “I wanted to make a fun board that I could ride com­ing back from in­jury and that I wasn’t go­ing to try crazy shit on, he ex­plains.” Con­vinced a for­giv­ing twin fin would be the per­fect craft to gen­tly has­ten his re­turn to full con­fi­dence, Matt found him­self plun­der­ing the in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion. On the DHD web­site he tracked down the board that most re­sem­bled the one of Asher’s he’d rid­den in the Mal­dives a few years ear­lier and did his best to re­pro­duce it. “I took a pic­ture of the out­line and tried to make my out­line on the com­puter just like it.” Matt’s part­ner in the well-in­ten­tioned fi­bre­glass piracy was Mar­lon Lewis. The son of iconic Maui-based shaper, Jimmy Lewis, Mar­lon had ac­cess to a shap­ing ma­chine and was happy to par­tic­i­pate in an ex­per­i­ment that at first glance seemed akin to help­ing a For­mula One driver to race in a vin­tage go-kart. Once the board was glassed and fin­ished Matt was hop­ing for some­thing that urged him to­wards cruisey cut­backs and down­the-line speed runs, in­stead the board proved to be a ma­jor source of temp­ta­tion for the in­jured aerial junkie. “I started rid­ing it and think­ing it was go­ing to be some board that I wasn’t go­ing to try airs on and it ended up be­ing su­per high per­for­mance… The first ses­sion I pulled a back-flip on it and I was like ‘holy shit this thing is crazy’.” When Matt got the call up for this trip he in­stantly re­alised it was an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the twinny from a range of dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. His di­verse six-board quiver fea­tured ev­ery­thing from flat and fat 4’3” slabs to rock­ered out fi­bre­glass slip­pers and ev­ery­thing else in-be­tween. The ex­per­i­ment taught him that like all board-types dif­fer­ent twin fins have their dis­tinc­tive nu­ances, but there also seemed to be some com­mon el­e­ments. “I brought a pretty big va­ri­ety of boards and each one had its own spe­cial thing, so I don’t want to say all twin fins do this or that. How­ever, one thing that they all had in com­mon was speed. They’re way faster than a nor­mal short board and I felt like I could carve way bet­ter on them. On my nor­mal short­board I feel like I’m stuck with the same carve that I al­ways do and on these it was like I could do a real long, drawn out carve or I could do a tight one and pull it short … I felt like I had way more con­trol in my carve, which was weird be­cause I ex­pected to have less con­trol.” And what of the twin fin’s suit­abil­ity for launch­ing high tra­jec­tory flips and spins? “The con­di­tions we got were ter­ri­ble for airs, but I got a few sec­tions and I didn’t feel like it held me back at all,” in­sists Matt. Matt laments the fact that Maui’s howl­ing trades don’t al­ways make for ideal twin fin con­di­tions but by the end of the trip he’s adamant that he will be mak­ing use of his al­ter­na­tive quiver when­ever the waves clean up. “I’ve got six of them now so I’ll def­i­nitely be bust­ing them out.”

Matt Me­ola lit­er­ally ‘chan­nelling’ Tom Hanks in Cast­away as he plants a hand and pow­ers through a front-side carve.

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