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Joyride: Testing A Holy Man’s Pagan Craft

The Modern Twin from Pagan USA is too hot for hell.

Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ed note: See the bottom of the page for your chance to win a brand new Pagan surfboard.

Five years ago, California’s Matt Pagan decided to ditch the pro surfing life for a career with more consistency and longevity. One that could sustain him for eternity.

After some formal training, Matt joined the pastoral staff at Mosaic — a hip, non-denominational Christian Church in the heart of Hollywood — to share his love of Christ with members of the greater LA region. According to this photo on Mosaic’s homepage, Matt seems to take great joy in dunking new congregants in large bodies of water — an endeavor he may have initially grown familiar with through years of grom abuse at LA’s most revered cloesouts.

Interestingly, Matt and Britt Merrick share the traits of having a pastoral background and making rather agreeable chunks of foam. Photo: Mosaic.

Around the same time, Matt started tinkering with surfboards. He made his first batch in 2017 with the help of local shaper Jon Mangiagli (“They were horrible, haha”). By 2018, Matt stepped off the Chillis he’d used throughout his pro career to ride his own shapes exclusively. In 2020, he learned Shade3D software and turned some of the handshapes he’d been liking into digital files, which then became models. That’s when Matt saw the potential in building a ‘brand’ and selling his boards to the public.

“The short-term goal was to get boards to a place where I could surf them at a high level,” Matt says. “Then the goal became getting my friends and people around me boards that they can get better at surfing and/or surf at a high level.”

So that’s how a certified Christian pastor* came to make Pagan Surfboards.

Funny how life works out sometimes.

Hand-shapes will rise again.

Five years after Matt hand-shaped that first batch of blades plugs, I found myself holding one of his most cherished creations: a classic-style twin with a wide nose, flat rocker and thick, squash-colored rails.

Naturally, I wanted to see how this “Modern” Twin would perform in a range of (excellent) conditions. Enter Kandui Resort.

Small waves, tall waves, strong waves and long waves were all sampled on the Modern Twin. It handled some better than others, but always with a factor of fun.

Same same but different.

Let’s Talk About Fins

You’ll never guess which twin fins I liked the best.

Even when a different set should theoretically work better (like the fiberglass T2s in pumping Indo), for me, the Rastas always seem to straddle the line between freedom <———> control. It’s the only twin fin I can trust, unequivocally, regardless of conditions.

May these fins survive 1,000 reef scrapes. Photo: Federico Vanno

The Verdict

I’ve had fun every time I rode this board — in weak waves, hollow waves, and rippable waves.

After riding the Modern Twin once, Eithan Osbourne tried to steal it.

My wife loves the Modern Twin so much, that she wouldn’t let Eithan have it.

Safe to say this Pagan creation is a crowd favorite. I’d recommend it to anyone who follows Christ, hails Satan, or simply enjoys riding waves. With any luck, that could be you (see below).

Dance with the devil. Photo: Kandui Resort

How to win a new Pagan USA surfboard: 

Email us at [email protected] (subject line: Pagan) with the following info for your chance to win. 

Where you’re from:
What’s the most unholy thing you’ve ever done on a surfboard?
Bonus: Include a photo of yourself surfing

Here’s the winner of a previous Joyride board giveaway, Lucas Zender, and his new Channel Islands NB3.

Don’t smile too much, Lucas — you could still put the pad on wrong.

Previous winners include: 
Amy Markham: Haydenshpes Cohort_I
Blair Overton: Rusty Keg
Angus Farrell: DHD Mini Twin
Adrian Hellman: LSD Hammer
Isaac Plunkett: Haydenshapes HK Twin
Jourdan Davis: JS Blak Box III 
Jeremy Pether: Lost Rad Ripper
Ashley Uy: Surfboard Broker x Ghostshapes
Cudi von Pup: Haydenshapes Raven
Jay Piper-Healion: Pyzel Mini Ghost
Murray Wardrop: Channel Islands Twin Pin
Aidan McCall: Rusty Miso 
Kalani Lucas: Panda Shrizz
Lucas Zender: Channel Islands NeckBeard 3
Gabe Federico-Matthews: JS Black Baron 2.1
Reef Hutabarat, Jared Wallach and Joe Bracegirdle: Futures Legacy Series x CI Pro
Dash Dunkell: KT Surfboards

*After 5 years at Mosaic, Matt has recently stepped down to help his dad’s general contractor business full-time. He shapes boards as a side job/passion project.

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