Boards: Matt Meola

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In fashion there is an obsession with new, but not new-looking. Jeans are sold with holes in the knees. T-shirts are sand-blasted for that plush feel. Jackets are sun-faded because ultimately, distressed sells. Why? 'Cause it feels good. Like an old pair of sneakers. And new boards, like new shoes, can take a little while to get used to. But what if you picked up a board that already had magic massaged into the deck? A new stick that felt like you'd known it for weeks? Lately, Matt Meola and his boards have had this kind of relationship. He tells us the story of finding his sole-mate.­ --Beau Flemister

MATT: You know how it takes awhile to get used to a new board because it doesn't have your pressure dings in it yet? So, imagine you get a board that already has the pressure dents from your feet shaped into it, but those dents run down the center of the whole board -- that's what this thing is. My shaper calls it a "double barrel contour deck." You can literally take this board out on your first session and it feels as solid as the board you've been riding for weeks. Your foot just fits perfectly on it.

This board is a regular PU blank because I have trouble riding Styro boards. I like how light they are, but on Maui it's so windy that when you're doing airs, Styros are hard to land on.

So, with these boards we've been using normal PU blanks and glassing them with epoxy. The board also has a fuller rail, but since there's that deck contour, it takes away some of the volume and leaves you with the same buoyancy as a normal board.

What's crazy is this is the same deck we get on our Jaws guns. But on Maui no one really rides step-ups. I basically ride two types of boards: my 5'4"s and my Jaws boards. [laughs] There are very few days I could ride anything in between, unless Honolua is big.

Originally, the first model I got was a 5'2" and then we stretched it to a 5'5". But 5'4" seems to be the magic number. Basically you just want it about 3 inches smaller than your normal shortboard. The board works all over, too, not just in windy Maui. I took it to the Maldives and the Mentawais and it worked great. It's one of my favorites.