Stab Magazine | Matt Meola's Spindle Flip

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Matt Meola’s Spindle Flip

Story by Elliot Struck Matt Meola lives in a windblown creative pocket on Maui. He and pal Albee Layer spend their days spinning wildly off kinda scary sections into kinda gusty winds and inventing tricks, and when they’re not doing that they’re hunting animals or drinking beer or just generally livin’ the good life. But […]

cinema // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Story by Elliot Struck

Matt Meola lives in a windblown creative pocket on Maui. He and pal Albee Layer spend their days spinning wildly off kinda scary sections into kinda gusty winds and inventing tricks, and when they’re not doing that they’re hunting animals or drinking beer or just generally livin’ the good life. But what’s most amazing about Matt and Albee is their penchant for above-lip activity that is the opposite of boring. What that means is trying tricks that have never been tried before, landing tricks that’ve never been landed before, and then popularising them and getting everyone else thinking. Matt’s flips, Albee’s double oop… it certainly ain’t dull. But naming tricks after yourself is not very chic and luckily two of the world’s most out-wide hucksters are two of the least haughty, so we got no Albee Alright Airs or Meola Mob Flips or whatever.

Now, Matt’s tweaked frontside spins that are similar to Flynnstone flips but more corked, are a well-documented occurrence and especially since John John started doing them. But Matt has polished a lesser-known flip on occasion, which he calls a Spindle Flip, and aside from an appearance on Surfline‘s Punt Of The Month, the move has flown under the radar a little. It’s kinda like a roll. If you asked a snowboarder, they might call it a rodeo (flipping off your heels). Whatever you call it, it’s rather hard to articulate, so we figured we should get Matt to do it. And, while he was there, tell Stab about what it’s like to forever hover on the edge of innovation. He’s currently in Portugal (but not for the event), where Stab dialled him for the breeziest of conversations about hucking into the breeze…

Stab: Tell me about the flip.
Matt: Oh, the corked double grab? I dunno, I was calling them Spindle Flips. It’s like a Rollo, kinda, except the opposite way that a boogie boarder would do it. I’ve never seen anyone else try one.

Where’d the idea come from? Two years ago I was trying to do a backflip. I hit the section wrong one time and it just did that rotation and I landed it. I was just tripping out. Then I kinda figured out how to rotate it. But I’ve only landed a few here and there.

How many swings at a new trick like that does it take until you’re getting close every try? For me it’s always different, depending on the move. For that move, for example, I was trying a completely different trick, but the way the section formed up last second, I had to hit it a little differently, and it totally threw my rotation off and I did it first try. I wasn’t even trying that but it just happened. Then there’s been other tricks that I’ve thought of before I’ve even gone out, had to totally figure them out from scratch. So it’s always kinda different, but that one came together first go, full-on accident. I learnt to do the rotation afterwards and now I go for them every once in a while when I get the right section.

Do they feel good? It’s a trippy rotation, but it’s super cool-feeling because it’s like… y’know when a boogie boarder does his rollo, they roll out with the lip, towards the beach? This one, you’re rolling the opposite way. It doesn’t feel natural. But it’s fully doable, it’s not the kind of move where you do one and then you can never do it again. You can fully get the feeling for it.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that a new move is invented in surfing every five years. But you and Albee don’t care for that rule. We have really good conditions for airs on Maui and I think it just gets boring doing the same air over and over and over. I wanna go out and try new shit, even if I don’t land anything even for two weeks straight it’s still more exciting than doing an air-reverse. And then another air-reverse. It gets boring, so I guess we’re forced to invent new stuff just to keep it exciting.

And do you and Albee talk tech and ignite each other? Yeah! Albee and I are always trying to figure out new rotations or weird shit. I have so many things in my mind that I’ve thought of, then gone out and tried and gone, “Fuck, I think that’s impossible.” But I swear, if you stick to it long enough, you can always start to figure it out. It gets frustrating sometimes though, because you’ll put so much energy and time into trying one thing, and you blow a lot of waves. Y’know, you’re supposed to be getting clips for certain projects, but you’re not getting anything because you’re trying the same thing over and over. But it’s so worth it at the end when you finally stick one, because I guess it’ll, like, change the sport a little bit.

What’s in the works? Right now, I think it’s a race between everybody who does airs, but I want to do a 540 (not oop). Frontside or backside, but I know Albee’s gonna be trying them backside ’cause we’ve got that wind into the lefts at home. So I’ll probably be trying frontside. That’s definitely a goal. I know Chippa’s been going for it, and Craig and everyone.

And, your secret weapon? I got all these tiny little shortboard shapes so I can spin faster. My shortboard is usually a 5’6″, but right now I have a 4’10” shaped for trying that move. Because the shortboard spins so fast but, my shaper and I have been trying to work on something that still has enough speed and drive, but still wide, with good surface area to land on. But the shorter the boards, the faster they spin.

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