Stab Magazine | Matt Bromley Makes An Uninviting Wave Look (Slightly) Inviting
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Matt Bromley Makes An Uninviting Wave Look (Slightly) Inviting

Mullaghmore and the third Risky Ripples episode.

cinema // Jan 30, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Matt Bromley is a South African with an insatiable appetite for thickness. This affliction has lead the man across the globe, given him a Billabong sticker on the beak and plenty of time inside gigantic barrels, the vision from which he dishes out via his Risky online vid series. 

You’re here because he’s just pressed green on his latest episode, and like us, you were curious to see how the gent faired facing the uglier shades of the North Atlantic – basically Mullaghmore. It’s cold, it’s dark and it looks like death, and we’re all fascinated with death… Right?

So to add some meat to the above five minute bones, we fired Mr Bromley a few questions.

Matt, Risky Ripples latest ep was a month in the making, tell us more.
Ireland is always a risky destination. You can either score the best waves of your life or get totally skunked with onshore winds. You have to spend time there if you want those magic windows. Often you don’t see them on the charts; those moments when the wind drops and suddenly it’s absolutely cooking. We were on our toes for those magic moments throughout the trip.

What drew you to this beautiful, yet harsh corner of the globe when there’s so many tropical tubes to thread in that balmy band around the equator?
There are certain waves in Ireland that will change your life. They’re big, gnarly and raw, and when all the elements come together, it can be as good as anywhere. Although there are many good waves on the west coast, for Ep3 of Risky Ripples, we were in Ireland to chase Mully. I pulled the trigger on a very marginal forecast.

After watching the charts for over a month, I finally decided it was time and flew over for a big storm heading straight for Mullaghmore. The wind was however supposed to be cross onshore, but there was a little chance that it could deliver up something special.

MattBromley Cliff 7568

“I believe everyone’s been given a talent or and ability, it’s our responsibility to use this to go big and to inspire others with what we do so that others will step out of their comfort zones and chase their passions. I love big wave surfing, and when I stand on the rocks before I paddle out, I feel purpose and peace because I know that this is exactly what I was created to do.”

Any wild stories?
After breaking into Noah Lane’s house to get my 8’2, we ventured down to the headland. It looked gnarly but kind of do-able. I paddle with Russ and Natzo Gonzales for a closer look. From the channel you could see what was really going on. It was 20ft plus and throwing the biggest barrels, however 90 percent of them had the clamp of the year on the end bowl. It was so sketchy!

One double up sent us into a spin; it would have been the xxl ride of the year for sure, a 20ft double up that barreled like teahupoo for 100 metres. The boys were pumped and I followed with my tail already between my legs.

The highlight of the session was watching Russ drop totally vertical on his 9’2 into a huge huge barrel. I remember looking over the edge and thinking “no way is that possible”. He knifed it on the rail and pulled straight up into the barrel. I remember him saying how horrified he was when the exit of the barrel closed as a big piece of windy water shut the door. He bounced off the reef and pulled his vest.

I got one pretty sick one and then airdropped into a double up. When I bottom turned, there was a serious right barrel coming towards me, I straightened out catching the lip to the tail of my board and got launched up into the air. I also pulled my vest (laughs).

Who do you dig having as travel buddies?
I’ve been missioning a fair bit with Russ Bierke. I seriously rate him as one of the best slab surfers in the world. So surfing waves on consequence with him is pretty incredible; to see how deep and late he goes. Last year when we missioned to this crazy Aus slab I just sat back and took notes as he slide into waves I didn’t think were paddlable on a stick. I learn so much surfing heavy waves with Russ, and that didn’t change at all when I saw him packing 20ft bombs at Mully.

Guys with similar interests just seem to naturally gravitate to the same spots on the same swells. I like to cruise with humble guys who charge hard. The underdogs who are willing to go off the radar for risky waves.

MattBromley Portrait 7232 preview

Think this man is ready to get jammed head first into a North Atlantic abyss?

What is it about the heavy stuff that gets you going?
I believe everyone’s been given a talent or and ability, and it’s our responsibility to use this to go big. And to inspire others with what we do so that others will step out of their comfort zones and chase their passions. I love big wave surfing, and when I stand on the rocks before I paddle out, I feel purpose and peace because I know that this is exactly what I was created to do.

Give us some tips (not that we’re super thrilled to follow your footsteps at Mully…)
– Leave your fair weather self behind. You have to be thick skinned and hardcore cruising in Ireland. Most of the time, it’s sideways rain or hail that you’re venturing out into.

– Take Wellington’s. Many of the surf checks require walking through deep bogs.

– Don’t be ashamed of thermals underwear. When the storms come, the wind seems to cut through any clothing, so keep those crowned jewels warm with a snug pair of thermals.

– Respect the local boys and they’ll welcome you with open arms. They’re the biggest legends as long as you’re a lekker bru.

– Take a few good books. Ireland can sometimes give weeks of offshore and the best barrels of your life or it can give you months of howling onshore. A good book or two is essential to lift the spirits.

What’s coming up?
This is our 3rd and final episode of Risky Ripples. Then in March we release Risky Ripples: The film, which will be most of the same stuff mixed into a storyline alongside some extra footage from Home and Hawaii. 

I’m getting married in April and then traveling through Indo for our honeymoon – so pumped for a new chapter. I’ll still be chasing the Risky swells and super keen for my next video project.

Vid by Andrew Kaineder, with additional cinematography by Guy Mac.

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