Matt George has many personas. If you asked ten people, you’d get as many opinions of the man: visionary; charlatan; humanitarian; the greatest lover womankind has ever known. The list goes on. One thing that everyone can agree on is Matt has a way with words. He’s a master of the sound byte, a proud purveyor of the gift of gab. In fact, we’re claiming Matt is surfing’s most magnificent orator. Which is why we asked Matt to give us a dose of worldly perspective in his own inimitable words. Behold, the universe according to Matt George.
I am the only man I know who has slept with Kelly. I went to do a profile on him when he was fifteen and he and his family, single Mom, lived in this tiny little house. And they slept on mattresses on the floor. So his Mom just bunked me with Kelly. Like a sleepover or something. I was a grown man at the time, so that was interesting. But Kelly was regal even then. A boy King. Like Alexander the Great. I have always thought of Kelly like that. Like a Knight. No armor, just blood and bone. Like he belonged in a royal court or something. Problem is, he is the only man worthy of standing in that royal court. Except for maybe Layne Beachley.
I have a strange appreciation for models. It always seems like they are about to take their clothes off.
Shane Dorian should have received a special academy award for his performance in IN GOD’s HANDS. For the movie, we would do a scene together and then for the next scene he would go out and tow into 50 foot Jaws. That would be like those guys in the movie 300 slaughtering each other for real.
I have walked that boulevard of broken dreams. It took me years to realize that I didn’t like anybody in the business. I quit it cold turkey and went back to a penniless life with my surfing mates. I wanted live the movies again, not make them. It has been the second best decision of my life. The first was joining the United States NAVY at 28 years old.
Yeah…ok…but if I actually had to become a musical instrument, I would want to be a piano. More drama in it. Funny, how all these Surfer Musicians are all guitarists, all front men. Not horn player in the bunch.
I truly believe that I appreciate surf photography more than any other human being on earth.
I voted for him to be the President of The United States. Seriously. I wrote his name in. Shane is the finest leader of men I have ever met. In times past, he would have been Spartacus. But he has chosen to lead himself and let others follow. I am proud to count him among my friends. I would charge a gun nest at his side if he asked me too. I cannot say that about any other surfer. Not Kelly, not Laird…no one.
It could be the mightiest country in the world. But who the fuck wants to be that? I love everything but the garbage. Fuck, man…what the fuck are we doing to this miraculous place?
Do you know that the weight of a tree’s combined limbs are exactly the same weight as the trunk? That to me is the best metaphor for aging. To keep your experience solidly rooted, to keep it holding you up, letting your wisdom counsel you, to keep you in the ring, throwing punches, reaching for the sky. To never stop gathering the experiences we seek as surfers until the day you cross over into the whiteness. And at my age? Being a surfer is still getting me laid.
The one thing men forget about prostitutes here in Indonesia is that we are the prey, not them.
I voluntarily fled America. And I always saw myself retiring in Australia. But after all my aid work I have done here, our remote boat operations in the outer islands in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami, the Padang earthquake work, conducting the first test Tsunami evacuation in Indonesian history, having the President shake my hand for it, the Pendangaran Tsunami 2007, the Mentawai Tsunami 2010, evacuating all those people off Mt. Merapi when she blew (That was fucking hairy) and all my free medical work here in Bali…shit, man…I realized that Indonesia needed me more than Australia ever could.
Despite the modern digital age, holding words in your own two hands will always be more meaningful than looking at them on a monitor. That is why I love surf magazines so much. The ownership of it all. And they are our cave paintings. Forever set in stone. You cannot delete a surf Mag. It’s like…It’s like if surfing was a number of different countries, then surf mags would be our flags.
Sex in San Francisco
I once jumped out of an airplane without a parachute on. And that is nothing compared to what my eyes have seen while swimming in the dark sexual waters of San Francisco.
I love what Mick Curley once told me. Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up. I am very proud to be able to say that I have almost lost my life on a number of occasions helping others during disasters. I no longer need to know the answer to the meaning of life. I found it. The only thing I could have done without, though, is being shot at by the Pakistani Taliban. Me and my translator had to jump into a freezing cold, raging river to get away. And did I mention the landslides? If I wasn’t a surfer, she and I would have drowned.
I have heard it said that I love the sound of my own voice. That could be true. But I have never thought of it that way. I just love the mastery of words, the lyrical aspect of them and the live connection with more than one person at a time. To me, public speaking is like being a conductor of a symphony. You can hear what people are feeling, what they want, and then you can give them the best noise it takes to get them there. It’s a rare talent, to be really good at it. Tai Graham is the best I have seen on this side of the world. His tone is very calm, very family. And that hybrid accent of his sounds like a macho song.
I was an insect compared to those guys. When I joined up, I was a top triathlete competitor, in the best shape of my life. I thought I was tough. And these guys made me look like a feverish child. I was never, ever going to be tough enough for what they do. My attempt at becoming a Navy SEAL was pathetic. They chewed me up and spit me out of the Navy. The pride I have for the Armed forces will never relent, my Dad was a fighter Pilot, my Godfather was an ace. I grew up in the Navy. But I never had what it takes to stand with men like that. No way.
People ask me why I have never been married. I always answer…just lucky I guess.
Human beings have never written so much in history. Texting and such. Problem is, 99% of it is nonsense. I hope that social media evolves into something that brings us physically closer to the each other, not farther away like it is now. It’s so masturbatory.
The Halcyon days when my brother Sam and I and Tom and Dave Parmenter traveled the world together were the best performance surfing days of my life. We were all really good then, coming on and we shared a common intellect. Like a private joke on the rest of the world. I remember being in the surf with Tom once, Mexico, I think it was, and he dropped into this barrel and I swear, I really do, for a few moments I could see right through him…it was like he had become the water himself. Tom Curren is not a surfer, he is a sorcerer.
I believe we are witnessing the fall of Rome all over again. But that’s not such a bad thing. Look at Italy now. Everybody loves the place.
Surfers don’t take trips…trips take surfers.
I have never been drug cool. I can booze it up, sure, I am Irish…but being mind fucked never appealed to me. What if I had to run from a tiger all of a sudden?