Matt Warshaw is surfings most fabulous historian and is who the smart folks at institutions like the Oxford Dictionary call upon when they need credibility. Isn’t it strange though that despite writing about surfing nearly everyday and chasing waves for the better part of 40-years that Matt has resided in Seattle for some time and only surfs a handful of times a year. And also that getting barreled at Kelly Slater’s cattle ranch in November was the last time got the front foot in the wax?

Will you also quit the physical act of surfing once you get a taste of Slater’s sweet nectar? What WILL it take to get you to walk away or will you die one of those grumpy old dudes?



What were the main motivations for your shift away from surfing?

My scheduling was entirely dependent on how the surf was. It was a ridiculously long and good run and I thought that was never going to change. However, focussing so heavily on surfing comes at a cost.

I got married when i was 45, and we had a child when I was 49 and at this point it was getting harder for me to hit a bullseye in the water. I was getting sick of the maintenance involved – specifically, surfing crappy waves.

I was really sick of chasing waves, I was essentially sick of everything except surfing barrels. My skills were also beginning to deteriorate.


There were days where I’d surf poorly for a few hours and my frustration would begin to build, but even when I eventually came out of a long barrel I’d still feel an underlying sense of anger and frustration.

I hated getting like this when surfing. I hated missing waves and yelling out ‘fuck’, that’s not what I surfed for. 

I’m just glad I didn’t end up like one of those grumpy old dudes that is just stuck in surfing. They should get out there and try something else.




Click to STAB for Matt Warshaw and his reasons for moving to Seattle and surfing only twice a year despite writing about surfing for a living.






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