Matt started surfing when he was 6 years old, in Cape Town, South Africa. He grew to become one of the best big wave surfers in the world. He watches the globe for large storms, and when all the elements come together, book's a ticket and chases the energy across the world. He documents the big waves these storms create and produces high quality content which is distributed through various global media platforms.Matt's other passion is sharing his experiences to inspire and empower people to ride their "big waves".
To survive a big wave, remain calm and pull your limbs in to protect yourself. Increase drag by opening up like a sail and count to keep your thoughts positive. Transcript: "The number one rule for surviving a big wave wipeout is to remain calm. Our urge when we're under the water is to fight to get back to the surface, but if we can never overcome the power of the ocean, it's always going to be more powerful than us. So we need to in a sense surrender. So what I do, especially in the beginning of the wipeout when I'm close to the falling lip and the initial impact, it's like really, really powerful and strong. I pull my limbs in like this. So I make myself strong so that my shoulders don't get ripped out of their sockets or I don't get bent in any funny direction. So I make myself super strong like this. I also clamp down my jaw so that if I get winded, like watered, my air doesn't go out of my mouth. So clamp my jaw, pull my, make myself super strong. And then often after the initial impact that's very intense, the wave will pull you deep under the water. And that's when I kind of open up like a sail. So that when I open up like a sail, uh, increased drag and I don't go as deep. Um, and while I'm under the water, I try to think positive thoughts and I count, uh, because often we, our thoughts are racing and it feels like we under the water for minutes. But when I count, it takes me back to, Hey, I'm not under the water for as long as I thought. If you count in that, that wipeout at Mavericks I had, I was under the water for 17 seconds, which when you think about it, that's super doable. But when I think about how violent and aggressive the beating is, that makes it terrifying. When I break it down to the counting, it helps a lot."
Surf gangs are very real in certain places such as Hawaii, Jeffrey's Bay, and other areas where surfers are trying to protect their waves. In these areas, locals can be intimidating and aggressive towards foreigners, and even beat them up if they don't follow the rules. However, when the waves get bigger, there is often a common respect among surfers and a brotherhood of looking out for each other. Transcript: "Also, if gangs real 100%. So, surfing is such a selfish wart, like, people is all this vibe that it's everyone's chilled and happy and having a good time together and they are places like that. But in certain places where people want to protect the wave, like the, the worst place is Hawaii the way with pipeline. There's local gangs back in the day, used to be really bad people. Get beaten up all the time foreigners coming in because They the locals wanted to make phone is scared the so that they break wouldn't get. So crowded nowadays say in Hawaii, many people have pressed charges against low the locals, they can't be as violent and aggressive but it's still there's a lot of intimidation out there. I go to Hawaii every year and it's really, really tough. Being a foreigner. They trying to get waves, maybe get one one good wave in about three hours because the local guys are just taking all the waves I know. In Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa, there used to be a local kind of gang called the white shirts and they also used to regulate the lineup. And if people are out of line or God in the way or dropped in by mistake, they will get beaten up and then asked to leave the town. So there's certain places around the world especially when the waves are quite quite good in a place where there are guys regulating the life, all surf gangs real 100%. So surfing is such a selfish War. The the funny thing about it is that there's often a correlation often people who serve smaller, waves seem to have a big ego and there seems to be more aggression because I've certainly found as the waves get bigger, you got to the arteries which are further out. There's this common respect suddenly because people are out there. There's a Brotherhood everyone's looking out for each other to make sure you all surviving and often when the waves get bigger people have a lot more respect for each other."
Tiffany uses a combination of preparation, mental game and visualization to help manage the adrenaline she feels before big waves. She focuses on building a strong foundation of readiness and positive self-talk to stay calm and make good decisions in high pressure situations. Transcript: "Adrenaline, adrenaline, Tiffany has pros and cons. I think it goes a long way before I got into the big waves because obviously in the window as a huge adrenaline is going through the reef, but I like to prepare long in advance. I like to have a lot of discipline in my training and I try to mimic the big wave, environments in the swimming pool in my training. I try to visualize as the big waves, the big wipeouts, I put myself in the situation long before it actually happens and there's I like to call this like building a foundation of being prepared and when I have the strong Foundation of Readiness, when the adrenaline hits, I feel like this at lessens the impact and it helps me to still remain calm to think clearly when the pressure is on and make good decisions. So I think Like being prepared and it's a huge part. And then I think also the mental game, when I'm able to, I talk to myself all the time. So I try control the thoughts that are coming into my mind. I try for my mind with statements that are only empowering and encouraging and that also helps a lot with adrenaline."
It depends on the type of wave you are looking for. If you want intense barreling waves, look for an ocean floor with a steep gradient from deep to shallow. If you are looking for long point breaks, look for a headland at an angle where the waves wrap around it and create an even gradient from shallow to deep. The best is to have a reef or point where the energy converges and then a deep spot next to it. Transcript: "It's the best type of ocean floor for waves. It depends. What kind of way is you looking for, if you want intense barreling waves, you're looking for an ocean for, that's from very deep to shallow, very quickly. So the Steep, gradient creates a wave that rears are very fast and barrels and is very intense. A lot of people don't like these valves though, because the wave rears up so fast, on the other hand, if a lot of people's favorite waves are Long Point Break. So like in Jeffrey's Bay Inn in South Africa, We have the base right hand Point Break in the world. So the, the head land is at the perfect angle, as the waves wrap around the Headland. They sweep into the point and these long lines come in, and it's a fairly even gradient going from shallow to deep the waves break and peel along the rock. That's why it's called the point break. So peels along the Rocks, so it really depends. What kind of way is you looking for, obviously the longer the reef. The the bit, the the better it is. Ideally in any situation. The best is to have a reef or point where the where the energy is converges on and then a deep spot next to it. So deep spark has the channel where the waves don't break so you can ride the waves on the reef and then pull out in the channel, paddle back out of your hair dry and go get another way. So it's always great when there is a safe sewing or Channel."
I was surfing at Mavericks and a big wave broke over me and i got held down for 25 seconds. I eventually made it back up to the surface by pulling my vest which inflated with air and allowed me to float back up. Transcript: "My biggest, why pod and hold down was at Mavericks, San Francisco basically took off on this wave and I was a little bit late on it and a wind past vertical, there's probably like a 35-foot wave, the nose of my board dug into the water and I fell forward and I body surfed on my back down this huge wave. And I remember looking up in the and the lip coming over me and I was inside this mess. Of barrel at broke over me and then what happens is, as the wave sucks is like a Vortex and it sucks, suck me up. And it was this long moment of Stillness sucking up and up and up. And then I went over with the lip and then it did. I hit the impact and was so violent in the wave. Pushed me really deep under the water and it Mavericks, the waters cold and dark. It's more dense. So, it pushes you deeper. I just pulled me down Into the Depths and called me under for about 25. S, i was pressed on the floor on the ground just with what felt like the weight of the entire ocean pushing me down and I pulled my vest. So my inflation based. So it filled me up with air eventually. Let me go came up and luckily there wasn't another big one after that."
I've seen five great whites while surfing, and have also seen whales, dolphins, turtles, and sea otters. It's been a surreal and beautiful experience. Transcript: "I've had some incredible experiences with animals. The big questions, obviously, living in South Africa. Have I ever seen a great white? I've seen about five, Great Whites, while surfing when I was young my friend actually had breached out the Water by great whites and Jeffrey's Bay. He landed back in the water. His board was shattered into three pieces, his leash it snapped and he had to swim ashore. Luckily, the shark didn't come back for him and all he had was like a little scratch on his wet suit on his stomach, nothing else? Else I've had to like swim past me really close. I could almost touch them, but all the other times when I've seen them, I haven't felt threatened. It's been a very strange surreal experience. I've also seen whales really close and dolphins, turtles, sea otters. It's one of the beautiful things about surfing is all the marine life, you see."