Mon, 20 April 2020

What a warped year for WSL rookie Matthew McGillivray. The JBay local was frothing for the 1st tour event on the Gold Coast, then Covid-19 abruptly flattened his curve. He chats to Spike.


HINDSIGHT: Matt McGillivray could never have imagined today's scenario. Photo WSL / Heff

donate-nowMatthew McGillivray ended the QS season at #4 spot to join the world's top 34 next year. A 3rd in the Hawaiian Pro and a Quarterfinal finish in early December last year saw him join the 2020 CT, which was due to start on the Gold Coast last month. At the time, he said:

“It was such a rush of emotions, such a relief. It’s been my biggest dream and to be able to achieve that is just hard to describe. Such an amazing experience to be here and how everything has worked out. So many good, happy emotions. Jordy Smith has been the whole inspiration for South Africa for over 10 years, to be able to join him on tour is incredible," he said.

What a shame to be faced with such a catastrophic shutdown - with ensuing economic meltdown - in the world with a severity akin to World War II.

"I was on the Gold Coast getting ready for the first event when everything started shutting down. With the quarantine for international travel and then the no surfing restrictions back home, I decided to ride out what is happening here. I have some family over here, so they're looking after me and now I'm just waiting to see what happens around the world and when travel will start back up again," McGillivray said.


PROPER BARREL: Matt is fortunate to be locked down in Australia, where you can surf. Photo WSL

"I'm staying behind the Surfers Paradise area. Surfing is still allowed so I'm very fortunate to still be getting in the water here and training. I've been going down to south Stradbroke mostly but they've shut the roads to the Spit where you paddle from so it requires a skateboard and a two kilometre warm up to get there.

"I am still very connected with folks back home. I'm supporting the Lets Feed Jbay campaign and also Ground Swell Aid, who are getting food parcels to those who can't afford to eat in the Jeffreys Bay area. I'm also making use of the WSL #StayLocal campaign to help two surf schools in Jbay in this time of closed business.

"Its too early still to say what will happen with the tour. I really hope a few events still get run but it has to be fair for re-qualification and it's hard to see there being sponsors for the QS events. WSL has told us they will wait until June to give a call on what will happen.

mcgillivray m9875Sunset19heff

DRAWN OUT: A radically revised Championship Tour lies ahead, if it happens at all. Photo WSL

"Yeah it took a while for me to process, I'd been training hard and was expecting such a full year and then everything came to a stand still pretty quickly. Definitely a bizarre one but I know I'm fortunate to be where I am and that things will resume in the future. The main thing now is just to keep healthy and make sure I carry on improving before it all kicks back into gear.

"Its not fair for me to talk on this and I really feel for everyone stuck at home in this time. I don't think though that you can give surfers special treatment over everyone else who can't exercise or enjoy their sport. Our country doesn't have the health care and infrastructure to deal with the rapid spread of this virus and thats why things have to be so harsh for now.

"My thoughts are with everyone back home in lockdown, please hang in there and continue playing your part for the country so it can recover sooner than later and everyone can get back to doing what they love. "


World Surf League #StayLocal campaign

The WSL has launched a #StayLocal campaign to help sustain and tell the stories of surfers saving small surfing related businesses. Click here for more info.

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