A TWIN FIN ODYSSEY TO AN ATOLL FAR, FAR AWAY. BY LUKE KENNEDY. ALL PHOTOS BY SIMON ‘SWILLY’ WILLIAMS.
Aerial specialist, Matt Meola, unpacks his quiver and almost apologetically explains why he has so much foam and fibreglass crammed into his travel cover. “When I told a few shapers about this trip they all wanted to shape me a board and I didn’t want to say no to any of them, so I just brought them all.” As Matt starts hauling the boards out of his bag, the other surfers stand around and ooohh and ahhh, grabbing them off him, clutching the rails; tucking them under arms and imagining the ride. The unveiling of twin fins carries a distinct sense of ceremony. On some pro surfer trips, boards can take on a kind of utilitarian quality – bleached white, dispensable – tools of the trade that can be readily replaced and replicated – but the twinny still seems to inspire a sense of mystique and wonder. Just at a glance twins promise transportation to a more Zen-like space; a path of least resistance where speed, flow and style trump the more forced jam, hack and slash of a thruster. Despite the eagerness to please his litany of craftsmen, Matt professes ignorance when it comes to this trip’s chosen board genre. “I really know nothing about twin fins,” he cries as he tries to decide which one of his shapes to ride. The island of Maui, where Matt is from, goes pretty much flat in the summer and Matt becomes consumed with chasing fish and hunting. He hasn’t surfed in three weeks when he arrives on the boat, whippet thin and wearing a beard that is somewhere between biblical and rockabilly. Despite his professed lack of knowledge, Matt seems equipped with the essential ingredient for an exploration of design – an open mind.