JASON / MATHEWS
In an era where the best three waves, longest rides and most wiggles were dominating surfing contest criteria, along came JM! Hailing from the Taranaki strong hold of Waitara JM brought a no nonsense power surfing approach to any size wave, completely destroying the lump of water he rode with massive hacks and at times freeing the tail, a manoeuvre many years before its time. In his prime JM was a staunch competitor and he sent the fear into those who paddled out in the same heat. In 1988 JM won the first of his National Titles and made the NZ Team to the ISA World Titles in Puerto Rico where he finished 13th in the Open and 4th in the Longboard. In 1989 JM was in dominant form winning 5 out of the 7 National Pro-Am Circuit comps, in those days you dropped your two worst results so JM finished the year with a perfect record and the National Circuit win. After the 88 World Titles the NZ Team stopped in to Hawaii on their way home and JM immediately impressed in the powerful waves of the North Shore. Being Maori JM was mistaken for Hawaiian and racked up some impressive wave counts at Pipeline, Backdoor and Off The Wall, the hardest lineups in the world to score waves. JM fell in love with Hawaii and has returned several times. JM’s career was hindered for a number of years when a back injury made surfing impossible, after a long period of rehab JM returned to the competition circuit on his comeback and won the 1994 National Champs in Dunedin. And then also returned to National Team for the ISA World Titles in Brazil. These days JM dedicates his time to supporting the Waitara and Maori surfing communities, as well as his role as president of Surfing Taranaki, where he uses his experience to mentor and direct the youth.
ABOVE: Undoubtably the most powerful surfer to ever grace a board on NZ waves. Photo: Spence INSET PORTRAIT: The sunglasses say it all “Legend”