The Coast News Group
Sea Notes

Sean Mattison and the winter so far

Everything is wet. The ocean is too wet. Too big, cold and nasty to paddle out and get swatted. Not at my age. I mean, last Saturday I watched half a dozen sit in the pack at Swami’s on a stormy evening, dropping into waves that were beyond triple overhead — maybe 20-foot faces on the biggest sets. Yowza! Haven’t seen waves that big in North County in a few years. How’d that discount store board work for you?
Just a few weeks ago I overheard a group of giddy transplants talking about how they were learning to surf, and how the weather is never cold or rainy. They hadn’t lived through a real winter, I guess. So maybe they will trade in their gummy bear model surfboards, get something that paddles and rides and become real surfers. It may be that surfing is on a long bucket list that includes things like free climbing El Capitan and jumping out of an airplane. I feel safer on solid ground, thank you.
Before winter is through it is going to be big and rough and while most will be huddled up with a loved one or have an excuse, avoiding the storm, others will seek its direct impact. Todos and Maverick’s may set new size records. Some will make the voyage to Cortez Banks. Local breaks will stretch themselves to hold the sets, which will teach newcomers what a big wave looks like. Tip: You don’t have anything to prove. If it’s too big for you, please stay out of the water, for our sakes, if not your own.
Last week the wind gusted to 50 mph and I took a walk on the beach at Swami’s. Nice to have the beach alone for a change, I thought, until turning back, face to the wind, nearly being blown over. The car heater felt so good.
Real surfers love nasty weather. Sean Mattison is a real surfer, as hardcore and diverse as they come. I first heard of Sean from Pipe Master Joey Buran, who “discovered” the kid on the East Coast, where he was making a name for himself as a new young ripper. Even on the West Coast, Sean stands out, making covers and center spreads of both long and shortboard surf magazines.
But lifelong surfers branch out, and Sean has spread his branches wide, being one of the first to rediscover the joys of ancient surfboards. He was also nearly solely responsible for rediscovering Mike Hynson as a gifted surfboard designer. As a strong competitive surfer, Sean now loans his battle-worn knowledge to Team USA, where he and Aussie transplant Ian Cairns continue to march our boys to international victory.
Having ridden more different types of surfboards that nearly anyone else, Sean Mattison is well-qualified to start his own label, or any surf related things he likes.
At this writing, Sean Mattison is in New Zealand, coaching the U.S. Team. To learn more about Sean and his new line of Von Sole Surfboards, visit: