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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Tue, 17 May 2016

Another surfer to look out for at the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA is Matt McGrillivray, the talented young JBay charger whose racking up international experience. Interview by Craig Jarvis.


FOR THE WIN: Feeling strong during his preparations. Photo Rip Curl / Ewing

On every stand-out swell, when he’s in town and not competing on a WQS event, Matt McGillivray can be found charging the biggest, roundest waves in JBay. From Boneyards to The Point, Matt scours the lineup looking for the bombs. He’s a standout at Supers at any size. We hooked up.

JBU Supertrial coming up…. Are you fit and ready for this event?

Yes. I'm feeling strong at the moment and am still busy preparing for the event. I've been traveling quite a bit and haven't been home too much this year, but this last week there was some nice swell in JBay and I was able to surf Supers almost every day, which was great.

Supers is quite a taxing wave for fitness. What have you been doing for training?

For training I have just been surfing twice a day and then doing some other simple exercises at home. I also have quite a large collection of books about the mental side of sports and have been trying to improve my mental game for contests.


A GOOD YEAR: McGillivray is getting used to living out of a suitcase. Photo Rip Curl / Ewing

How has the world of competitive surfing being treating you thus far this year?

So far this year the competitive surfing has gone really well. I spent quite a while in Australia doing events and then went over to Tahiti and did two contests there. I came home for about two weeks and then was off to a contest in Martinique. I've really enjoyed all the traveling and I feel that I have learned a lot along the way. It's such an eye opener competing overseas and seeing how high the level of surfing is, I feel that it has really challenged my surfing and helped me improve a lot.

You are a dedicated professional. What would it mean to you to get the wildcard?

It would be huge to get the wildcard into the Jbay Open. It's an opportunity to gain some invaluable experience surfing with the worlds best and to gain some international exposure. There is also a lot of prize money on offer, even if you got knocked out on the second round, so that would definitely help a massive amount to fund traveling and getting to some more QS events around the world..


AIR BORN: McGillivray rates Jordy and Kelly at Supers. Photo Rip Curl / Ewing

Who do you think is the greatest surfer to ever surf Supers over the years?

For me personally, I would say that Kelly Slater is the best surfer to have surfed Supers. I have always loved watching the way he surfs out there and the way he draws his lines differently from most people.

Who is the best South African surfer to ever surf out there?

As far as South Africans go, I would say without a doubt that Jordy Smith is the best out at Supers. I can remember in 2014 being totally amazed while watching that near perfect round 1 heat that he had at the JBay Open. That was some of the best surfing that I have ever seen.

What goes through your head when surfing a heat at Supers?

I've had the privilege of competing in the Supertrial over the last two years and I know that each heat that I've surfed I've been frothing to the max. The waves are always so good when the trial is run. It's hard to control all the stoke that you are feeling and I know for myself I've had to try and just relax and calm down, because my instinct is to just go on any nice looking wave that comes through, but it is important to be on the bombs if you want to make your heat. MattMcGillivray-RipCurl-Ewing

TURN STYLE: McGillivray plans to attack the section at the Supertrial. Photo Rip Curl / Ewing

Do you have an aggressive approach or a relaxed approach to surfing heats at Supers?

I would say I have more of an aggressive approach when surfing a heat at Supers. I try make sure I'm on the two best waves and then while I'm on each wave I focus on trying to come as hard off the bottom as I can to try keep my turns and carves as vertical as possible as opposed to just going down the line.

What are the dimensions of your go-to board and step-up board for this event?

My go-to board at the moment is a Spider 5'10 ,18 1/2 ,2 1/4 Slash Model with a rounded squash tail. When the waves are really big, then my step-up is a Spider 5'11, 18 1/2, 2 1/4 Slash Model with a rounded pin tail.

Good luck with the trial. We’ll be watching.

Thanks a lot.

The Supertrial forms part of the JBay Winterfest, the sporting and music festival that will take place in Jeffreys Bay from 6-17 July. The JBU Supertrial is presented by RVCA. Co-sponsors include Monster Energy, Stance, Oakley. Wavescape is the media partner. The event is sanctioned by Surfing South Africa and the World Surf League. Check the Facebook event page and join in the fun.

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