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Matt Bromley : Home Break goes XXL

Matt Bromley is one of the world best big wave surfers. He’s caught monster waves at Jaws in Hawaii, Mavericks in California, Nias in Indonesia and more off Irelands rugged coast alongside the world best, but it will be the session this weekend (Saturday 22 September 2018) at his home break within paddling distance from his bedroom window that will go down in history and memory as one of the highlights of his illustrious career…

TO BE SHARING IT WITH MANY OF THE OLD LEGENDS WHO’VE BEEN RIDING IT FOR DECADES WAS PRETTY INSANE.

You grew up in Kommetjie, Cape Town close to Sunset Reef, tell us about it?Sunset Reef is central to my big wave career. We moved here when I was 12 and I’d come home from school and watch the old boys towing into the mountains, right in front of our home. I knew one day I wanted to surf out there! Fast forward 15 years and we’re out there at Sunset, surfing one of the biggest days in history. It was very special! And to be sharing it with many of the old legends who’ve been riding it for decades was pretty insane.

AT 30-FOOT, IT’S HITTING AN OUTER LEDGE THAT DELIVERS BARRELS YOU CAN DRIVE TWO DOUBLE-DECKER BUSSES THROUGH.

What is special about Sunset Reef?It’s the perfect big wave. A finger of reef reaches far out into the ocean with deep trenches off the back and on either side, so no matter what the swell, it can never be too big. The stronger the energy, the bigger and more hollow and perfect it gets. The wave marches in as a huge wall, and then as it feels the reef, it bends in and turns into this A-frame peak, reeling left and right. At 30-foot, it’s hitting an outer ledge that delivers barrels you can drive two double-decker busses through.

NEXT THING I GOT WHIPPED INTO THIS THING. I REMEMBER LETTING GO AND LEANING OVER THE EDGE OF A STEEP MOUNTAIN SLOPE.

Why do you surf big waves?I believe it’s what I was created to do. Surf big waves and inspire others to follow their passion. And when I’m out there, and it’s really big, instead of fear and doubt, I feel purpose, joy and peace. When I’m in God’s hands, that’s when I feel most alive.

Tell about your first wave on Saturday 22 September 2018?My close friend and photographer, Alan Van Gysen and I – along with my 10’2 gun (paddle board) launched the jetski from the slipway in Kommetjie, ready to paddle some bombs. We dodged absolutely massive waves on the outside reefs, breaking in places I’ve never seen before. Then we got to Sunset and the chaos was suddenly groomed into perfect, huge peaks. Simon Lowe and Andy Marr had already been towing bombs all morning, and Simon came straight over and said, “I’m gonna get you the biggest wave of your life!” It was not a paddle day. Next thing I got whipped into this thing. I remember letting go and leaning over the edge of a steep mountain slope. The way down was such a rush! I launched over some bumps building up to top speed. I thought I was on the shoulder of the peak but when I bottom turned the wall stood up and the bottom started sucking, as if the whole ocean was moving. I could feel the monster just behind me the whole way. I pulled out screaming with stoke and Simon picked me up and was like, “How was that?! Wild hey!?” Haha and Alan was right there on our ski cheering. Simon Lowe, Andy Marr and Jake Kolnik, thanks so much for giving up your waves to tow me in! It was amazing to be out there with such legends.

I THINK WHEN THE WAVES ARE THAT NUTS, THEN YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE ROPE AND GET PULLED IN.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE DEBATE BETWEEN PADDLE SURFING AND TOW-SURFING?Many people think that towing isn’t ‘cool’ because in reality, anyone really can get whipped into a wave. However, when the waves get real XXL and there’s barrels the size of a three storey buildings, you can push the limits! Saturday was 100% unpaddleable. We are all trying to push our boundaries and get the wave of our lives. I think when the waves are that nuts, then you have to take the rope and get pulled in. Hopefully next time we can go deeper and get some big barrels!

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