Mataio and I met some years back briefly, and via the magic of so­cial me­dia we have kept in touch. I have watched as he has taken on every wa­ter­craft that is wind or wave pro­pelled. He is with­out doubt ‘the mas­ter wa­ter­man’. A man as com­fort­able in the wa

Adventure - - Contents - In­ter­view by Steve Dickinson - Im­ages by Mataio and Aman­d­ina

The mas­ter wa­ter­man

Tell us a lit­tle about you – where you are from, how you got into so many wa­ter sports and why? Your fam­ily, wife and kids, work? Hi Steve, I just wanted to say thank you for reach­ing out to me to do this in­ter­view. As for your ques­tion: I have the life that I have al­ways dreamed of. In the past I have had many jobs, most of which were a means to an end to help me surf. Now I am lucky enough to surf and get a pay check for it. My main spon­sor is RRD, they spon­sor my SUP, wind, kite, and cloth­ing, which is a wa­ter­man's dream spon­sor. I live with my girl­friend and my 18months lil mer­maid called Malia in Pa­para, Tahiti. Ev­ery­one I know who knows you de­scribes you as a wa­ter­man – what does it mean to be a wa­ter­man? I love that sim­ple de­scrip­tion, « The one who works or lives on the ocean » A man who lives, breathes and sleeps the ocean life. Also the one who un­der­stand it and know how danger­ous like the moun­tain it can be.

Have you al­ways lived in Tahiti? Af­ter a very spe­cial child­hood, trav­el­ling and liv­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, from France to Van­u­atu and Mau­ri­ta­nia in Africa, I ar­rived at French Poly­ne­sia when I was 18, di­rectly to Tubuai is­land be­fore mov­ing to Tahiti when I was 21 to go to the univer­sity. I never left Tahiti since this day.

How does Tahiti suit your wa­ter­man way of

life? French Poly­ne­sia and spe­cially where I live, is a re­mote part of the is­land where time moves slow and peo­ple live with only the ba­sics. I'm lucky to have a life where when I wake up, I de­cide what I want to do based on the weather. If there is wind, I will go kite board, wind­surf, or down­wind SUP. If there are waves, I will SUP surf. I do most of my pho­tog­ra­phy on my own, or my won­der­ful and beau­ti­ful girl­friend Aman­d­ina will take pho­tos of me for my cov­er­age. I'm very de­tail ori­ented and try very hard to get the best and most cre­ative shots and video.

You seem al­ways at the cut­ting edge of new prod­uct, how much are you in­volved with in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­vel­op­ment with your

spon­sors? A big part of my work is to test new gear, spe­cially SUP and Foil prod­ucts, to give them feed-back and im­prove the qual­ity and per­for­mance of this gear. I’m very in­ter­ested in tech­nol­ogy, the evo­lu­tion of shapes and ma­te­ri­als.

You seem to be in love with each of the dis­ci­plines kite, wind­surf, sub, foil, surf – is there one you are more pas­sion­ate about

and why? My dad is a wind­surfer since the be­gin­ning of the sport and wind­surf­ing is my first love. That sport helps you for all the oth­ers. Bal­ance on the board also un­der­stand the wind with the sail. And that free­dom feel­ing to go by your­self from a land­mark A to a land­mark B. In a word tell me some­thing spe­cial about each dis­ci­pline? Wind­surf FREE­DOM SUP SHAR­ING SUP foil SIL­VER SURFER Surf CARV­ING Down­wind FLY­ING FISH Kite­board BIG AIR

So do you also par­tic­i­pate in Va’a the more tra­di­tional way of get­ting around on the

wa­ter in Tahiti? I used to be part of a lo­cal team when I spend 3 years in a re­mote is­land call Tubuai, a 1 hour plane ride from Tahiti. It was such a good im­mer­sion into the Poly­ne­sian cul­ture. Now to tell you the true I have enough to do every day with the other toys.

Have you been in­volved in many com­pe­ti­tions and how has that gone

for you? I was never ever in­volved in com­pe­ti­tions and con­test is not the thing that I en­joy watch­ing to be hon­est.

Tahiti is known for some big swell – have you taken on those lo­cally – I am guess­ing

Sap­i­nus would be close for you? For sure my friend and Sap­i­nus was one of my favourite waves but I’m lucky to get Teahupoo lil sis­ter just in front of my house call ‘James’ this is fa­mous Raimana’s Play­ground to train­ing for big Teahupoo.

What does the fu­ture hold for Mataio? In the fu­ture my next dream is to be­come a team man­ager at RRD in Italy where I'll spend half of the year there, and the other half in Tahiti. I want to con­tinue bring­ing peo­ple into the ocean who are not fa­mil­iar with it to share the things I love to do and ap­pre­ci­ate. Past that I have no plans as I've never wanted to plan my life out that far ahead. I al­ways take what life gives me and make the best pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion out of the cards I am dealt.

RIGHT: It’s not ev­ery­day that right works, but when it’s ON, IT’S ON.

LEFT: Bring­ing peo­ple to the ocean is my goal and more.

ABOVE: My girl­friend and our lil mer­maid Malia.

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