Behind the Section: Matt Meola


Every Innersection has a story… this is Matt’s

Story Nathan Myers
Photos Tracy Kraft
Trailer by Elliot Leboe

“It’s amazing the power the Internet has these days,” says Maui filmmaker Elliot Leboe, the man behind Matt Meola’s Innersection. “We had no idea the effect Innersection would have on Matt’s career. It changed everything.”

Innersection likes to claim Meola as its poster child. And not just cause his boyish good looks and otherworldly aerials. Meola symbolizes the potential this project offers to talented-yet-unknown surfers. The club is no longer closed -- Innersection just kicked down the doors.

Few people knew who this young Maui, late-starter was before his section appeared in the Spring Round. He obviously didn’t win on popularity or the online population of Maui -- Matt qualified because his surfing stood out.

A few months later, Meola was synonymous with Innersection. He had a new headline sponsor (Oxbow), a feature profile in Surfing Magazine, and a lot of buzz. But could he live up to his own hype. Meola admitted still didn’t plan to compete or even travel much.

In hindsight, Meola’s qualifying section wasn’t the most amazing edit. The surfing was futuristic, but the edit was pretty straightforward. Still, we were excited because we knew how much potential it had. Matt was focused on getting some better waves. Leboe owned a RED camera and he knew how to use it. They were both amped to raise the stakes for the movie.

Taylor and Leboe met up during a premier of Castles in the Sky on Maui. Turns out Meola’s mom runs local film festivals (which will be premiering Innersection later this month). After some conversation, Leboe re-filmed a theme, added waves from two recent trips, and turned in a much improved project.

We said, “Looks good, now go shoot more. Add this. Swap that. Change that.”

Another edit. And then another. And finally, a minor trim. Ah yes, it was perfect.

The guys as VAS entertainment, who distribute Innersection, just saw their first copy of the movie, they said: “My god, who is Matt Meola. That part is so insane.”

That’s our poster boy.

Leboe just sent us a new clip that’s pretty ridiculous. “Is it too late to swap this in?”

No, it’s not to late….for next year’s Innersection. February 2011…we start all over again.

[Matt Meola will be hosting an Innersection premiere with Clay Marzo at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, November 26th, 7:30 pm. Event is free -- thanks to Oxbow -- and open to all. Don’t miss it.]