Matt Bromley is the kind of surfer you want to see succeed. He’s talented, keen to chase, and has no problem sending it when the waves get crazy, but he’s also humble, unassuming, and friendly—a refreshing counterpoint to the entitled pro athlete stereotype. When a sequence floated across our desk of Matt packing an all-time XL barrel last week, we were understandably stoked—both that South Africa’s season was already warming up, and that one of our favourite chargers had scored the wave of the day. We reached out to Matt to get the skinny on the tube, the session, and his thoughts for the coming big wave season.
Hey Matt, rumour has it you scored an epic barrel at Sunset Reef last week. Want to tell us about the session?
This system had a different approach to the previous storms, which, over the past five months, have been very disappointing. The swell marched in from the west with a good period, and every reef in the Kommetjie area lit up. At first light, I could see the ocean had some serious energy. I paddled out to Sunset and it was cooking! After a little warm up I got my lineups and sat in my normal position, which is just behind the peak.
When this wave marched in with a really big wall, I got really excited because those are the ones that can deliver a magic ride. The reef at Sunset always pulls the wall back to the peak, and as the energy converges, it causes the wave to steepen and barrel.
I looked up and saw that I was way behind it, and had a split second to straighten out or pull in. I decided to give it a go, and as the rail engaged it sling-shot me up and under the lip
I was paddling a little too far out, stroking as hard I could. Then the wave went vertical underneath me, so I bent extra forward and hopped to my feet further forward, near the middle/nose of the board. I looked up and saw that I was way behind it, and had a split second to straighten out or pull in. I decided to give it a go, and as the rail engaged it sling-shot me up and under the lip. I was five or six meters back in the tube, but because it was so big it gave me time to make up ground before the foam ball exploded just behind me.
The barrel breathed inside, filling up with mist, and then shot me out the end. I couldn’t believe I was still on my board, safe in the channel. It wasn’t the best barrel of my life, but it was the best ride I’ve had at my favourite wave in the world.
It seems like the season is starting early this year. Is that pretty standard, or was this a bit of a surprise?
March is the time when seasons shift and the swells start filling in. From now until June is our best time for Cape Town surf, as the swells start coming up to the African continent and the strong south easterlies die down.
Last winter you were stuck at home due to COVID-19, but South Africa had an all-time season. This year COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed a bit. Are you planning to chase swells, or do another winter at home?
Oh man, I’m so excited to get on the road again. I managed to sneak over to Hawaii and California in December, but since then the US has shut down South Africans again, and Ireland still requires a two-week quarantine. We didn’t get Dungeons last year, so hopefully if we are stuck here, we get some beastly swells for the deep-water reefs to awaken.
Hopefully so! We’ll be keeping an eye on you down there, and hope you keep scoring!