STUCK IN TRAN­SIT M AT T BEM­ROSE

New Zealand Surfing - - News -

You hear it when you travel, you read it in the travel mag­a­zines and online. New Zealand, our coun­try, has a rep­u­ta­tion as the most beau­ti­ful, serene and un­touched place on the planet. A visit to our shores is on most tourists ‘Bucket List’. As lo­cals it is easy to take what we have for granted, so we thought from now on we would catch up with vis­it­ing surfers that we run into on our trav­els and get the word from them on their ex­pe­ri­ences while tak­ing in the waves, views and vibes of Aoteroa. It just might make you ap­pre­ci­ate how good we have it just that lit­tle bit more. This is­sue we fea­ture Matt Bem­rose who as the Vol­com Coach/Team Man­ager for the top level WCT Men’s-Prime WQS Men’s and Woman’s WCT ath­letes, has spent a heap of time this side of the Tas­man and hung around our shores on and off for a decade.

What usu­ally brings you to NZ? Com­pe­ti­tions, Ju­niors, WQS, and Women’s

WCT's .

When did you first come to NZ and what were your ini­tial thoughts? My first trip to NZ was over 10 years ago, and my first thought was Holy shit this place is amaz­ing. I lit­er­ally couldn’t be­lieve my eyes when I first came over the hill into Raglan…. I won­dered why any­one would want to leave this place and why it wasn’t more built up. That trip was for a Pro Ju­nior at Raglan, I re­mem­ber hear­ing about the wave from peo­ple that have been there but words don’t do the place jus­tice. I was tak­ing about 10 grom­mets and I re­mem­ber the first day of com­pe­ti­tion wak­ing up to 4-6 foot flaw­less Whale Bay and I re­mem­ber think­ing to my­self "WTF" this is bet­ter than ev­ery place we com­peted around the world in WQS's and th­ese bloody Ju­niors get this to them­selves… I couldn’t be­lieve that this wasn’t a WCT and I told ev­ery Ju­nior that day they should cher­ish this op­por­tu­nity be­cause when they hit the WQS it aint noth­ing like this…" you lucky bas­tards" As a pro­fes­sional surfer you get to travel the globe to many epic lo­ca­tions, so what gives NZ the big thumbs up in terms of at­tract­ing you here? The sim­plest an­swer is, the waves. NZ is one of the most con­sis­tent places on the planet and has a vast va­ri­ety of waves (from what I have seen) out of any­where. And it’s also one of the more beau­ti­ful places on the planet, long rolling hills with plenty of trees. The drive from Gis­borne to Raglan is amaz­ing in it­self, go­ing down the gorge was crazy.

You were a trav­el­ling pro your­self, at what level did you com­pete? I com­peted on the WQS for around five years and got close to Qual­i­fy­ing then got in­jured, then the job op­por­tu­nity came up with Vol­com and I jumped onto it. I rep­re­sented Aus­tralia two times and Cap­tained them the first time at the ISA World Champs.

How many times have you been to NZ and what have been your most memo

rable ex­pe­ri­ences? I have been to NZ around 15 times and each time I have had very mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences, I think a lot of the time the peo­ple make the place and even though I’m an Aussie ev­ery­one has been cool as with me, if you don’t act like a dick head in the wa­ter and give re­spect then I was shown re­spect (af­ter a while ha­ha­hah) and I loved that. But if I could break it all down to the most mem­o­rable then it would have to be when we I flew with the Vol­com team over for the Cold Wa­ter Clas­sic in Gis­borne. I also flew my then girl­friend (now wife) over with us for a spe­cial rea­son - I wanted to ask her to marry me and af­ter four failed at­tempts I got it done… I wanted to do it in NZ be­cause of its beauty and if she didn’t say yes I could leave her there with the Quinn's ha­ha­ha­hah. Also on that trip, like ev­ery other one I have done, we scored ridicu­lous waves seven out of the eight days stay­ing there….

Where have you scored the best surf dur­ing your stays? Ev­ery trip I have done we have scored. I was in Taranaki ear­lier this year for the woman's WCT with Coco Ho, where she got sec­ond. Chicken Boy (Laura En­ever's brother) and I surfed ev­ery arvo and it was pump­ing. I re­mem­ber say­ing to him "does this place ever get bad?!". Out of all the places I have been there I can’t go past Raglan, that place fuck­ing pumps, it has so many dif­fer­ent sec­tions each chal­leng­ing, and of­fers up a va­ri­ety of wave shapes that would be very hard to get sick of even if you lived for a thou­sand years.

So will you be back any­time soon? I plan on check­ing the charts when I get back from Hawaii and if there are any good swells com­ing I'll be there, tak­ing up space on one of JC's couches.

Matt not only loves the NZ vibe, he's also got a great track record of scor­ing here. A late arvo back­hand shred at Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki. Photo: Cory.

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