Sean Mattison, former American professional surfer, is a surf coach and designer – a total inspiration in our industry. [caption id="attachment_2009" align="alignnone" width="638"] Photo Credit: James Tull[/caption] We had the incredible opportunity of catching up with him…. Where did your love for surf come from? My love for surf started as a little kid. My mom would always take me to the beach. I started surfing at age 5 in Atlantic Beach, Florida. What is your earliest surf memory? I started surfing in 1974, then at age 8 I competed in my first surf contest. During the mid 70’s my passion and fire to compete grew immensely. How long have you been shaping boards for and how did you decide to start? Being interested in design my entire life, there’s a personal part where you become tuned to yourself and your life’s calling. I’ve always been a surfboard junkie and the love for designing boards motivated me to start my own surfboard manufacturing company, Von Sol. Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to the design, shape and style of your boards? When I was working in retail, I was surrounded by some of the best surfboards and shapers on the planet. My inspiration comes from understanding the philosophies of each designer. Everyone has a very unique approach to shaping boards and it is just matter of me figuring out what techniques work for me and what techniques don’t. Do you have any heroes and/or mentors? Kelly Slater is inspirational to me from an athletic standpoint. He’s been very influential competitively and from a design aspect. Last year, Kelly Slater used my 5th fin "nubster" as one of his equipment choice for his 11th ASP World Title. This technology helped him score a perfect 10, twice. His respect for my design and willingness to try out new technology means a lot to me personally. What are some of your favorite moments in your career? This is a rather broad question, since surf in itself has multiple experiences - you build relationships, create unforgettable experiences and accomplishments. To name a few favorite moments: - I was featured on the cover of Surfer Magazine’s June 1993 edition. - I was Assistant Coach for Team USA, in the 2009 ISA World Championships in Costa Rica, where we won first place (first win for Team USA since 1996). [caption id="attachment_2018" align="alignnone" width="638"] Photo credit: AJ Neste[/caption] - In 2011, I competed in the ISA World Masters Championships in Punta Roca, El Salvador, alongside Tom Curren and Jim Hogan. My team won the gold! - Kelly Slater winning the 11th ASP World Championship. The “nubster” was one of his secret weapons, since no one else used a 5-fin board. What is something that you would do differently? Different choices determine the outcome of one’s life to change drastically; therefore I’d say I’m pretty content with the choices I’ve made. The one thing I would say: be an opportunist. See the opportunity and seize it! What do you think is the future of your industry? People won’t quit something they truly love and there is a lot of passion when it comes to surfing. I think the surf industry is progressive and people will find interesting ways to enjoy waves differently. There will be ups and downs with surf brands in particular, but the passion for the sport will always remain strong. Which board (of yours) is your personal favorite? Surfboards are like golf clubs - the more you use them, the more you’ll understand which board works better in a particular condition. My most popular design is the Von Sol Shadow. It’s a utility board that has great versatility. [caption id="attachment_2019" align="alignnone" width="638"] Photo credit: Surfer Magazine[/caption] Any exciting projects coming up? Coaching is an incentive for me to get up every day! Life is a cycle – you learn and then give back. [caption id="attachment_2020" align="alignnone" width="638"] Photo credit: Steve Trailkil[/caption] Sean Mattison will be at The Boardroom, showing Von Sol boards at booth D13/D14. Go say hi!