Name: Matt Fielder
Lives In: Ocean Beach
Pre-Surf Music: Tone Loc
Girls in the Water?: “Yes, please!”
Matt has been surfing since he was seven years old. He grew up in Hawaii, where his father was a board shaper. After his family moved to San Diego in 1989, Matt began competing at the junior level. The one thing he dislikes about local surf culture is the aggressive attitudes.
“San Diego has got to be the rudest surf city I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong — places like Dog Beach are great; it’s a cool community and the people are chill. But the entitlement of the kids around the bigger beaches is astounding — they act like they invented water….
“In December of last year I decided to head out to Swami’s for the morning surf; I knew it would be big and I was excited to challenge myself. When I got there it was so packed that I couldn’t even get into the water without bumping into other people — it was kind of gross. So I decided to wait on the sand to see if it would clear out. I pulled out a book and started to read. That’s when the fight started….
“I was shocked that someone wanted to fight me for just sitting on the sand. Two guys came up to me and kicked my board, asking if I was from around there. I didn’t respond, and the next thing I knew, one of them tackled me. I’m a big guy and I can handle myself, but I think fighting is so stupid. It lasted a few minutes and I walked away with a fat lip.”
Matt says he visits Swami’s often.
“It made me more determined to show them they couldn’t scare me away…. I don’t think that anyone is a good enough surfer to get a free pass to bully other people. It shows lack of character and insecurity. Prove yourself on the waves; earn respect by being a good person.”