A humble, 21-year-old local from Haiku, Maui, went from being a quiet underground surfer to one of the most talked about surfers in the world overnight. Matt Meola was awarded $100,000 for a mere three-minute video clip contest.
The contest was put on by Taylor Steele, a legendary filmmaker in the sport of surfing. Surfer/filmmaker teams had to submit segments, which would then be voted on by the general public. The five highest-rated sections became a surf movie named “Innersection Blue." Those who bought the DVD could vote on their overall favorite segment once again online.
At the end of the online voting, Meola came out on top shocking the surfing world and himself with a hefty $100,000 reward. His name is on the top of the surf industry's spotlight. After letting the fame and spotlight commotion soak in, Chaminade Newspress was fortunate enough to get a hold of him while he was on a little break in Oahu doing an autograph session in early April at Aloha Boardshop.
CUH: What was your reaction when you and Craig Anderson (another video applicant) got called up on stage at the awards ceremony?
Matt Meola: I was pretty nervous since Craig Anderson and I both got called up on stage, my heart was pounding. Once they announced my name … it’s hard to explain.
CUH: I know you won a big chunk of change, what do you plan on doing with it?
Matt Meola: I haven’t really figured that all out yet. … Actually I am buying my mom a new computer after this autograph session, possibly a new Jet ski since my tow in partners ski is kind of beat up and well, there’s this store in Hookipa which used to be called Kuau Mart where my friends and I used to go for a bite to eat after surfing and the landlord recently raised the rent really high so they had to shut down. I kinda wanted to throw a little fundraiser event to get them back in there and help them out. Lots of memories there.
CUH: What’s next on the agenda for you? Any new movies or trips?
Matt Meola: After this I am heading off to Cali for some business stuff then on the 18th I am off to the Mentawai islands for a surf trip. Hopefully I can get some good footage for the new Oxbow movie, I haven’t gotten any real good footage since I injured my knee a couple months ago, I have just been rehabbing taking things slow, I should be good for the trip.