2016 will be a very different year for talented J-Bay local, Matthew McGillivray, who will now be looking to hit the QS full time after his recent signing with Ripcurl. Matt was down in Durban recently, staying with Spider Murphy while training and working on his boards for upcoming comps in Portugal and oz. Zag caught up with him to get his thoughts on the year ahead.
Zigzag: Howzit Matt, firstly congrats on recently signing with Ripcurl! When exactly was it made official and how did it come about?
Matt: Thank you! I signed with Rip Curl two weeks ago when I was in Durban. My contract with Hurley finished a couple of months ago and shortly afterwards Rip Curl approached me with an offer. Hurley was an amazing sponsor and I am very grateful for all that they did for me and my surfing. However, I am really excited for this new season with Rip Curl and what the future holds working together with them.
After putting down the books this year, you’ll now be hitting the QS full time… how’re you feeling, excited? Nervous? Ready?
I’m very excited about next year. It feels so good to be finished school now and to be able to concentrate fully on my surfing career. I did a couple of QS events in Europe this year. It was a good learning experience and it showed me how difficult the QS actually is.
Will you be aiming to compete at every event possible this coming season? or what’s the plan? It’s an expensive game following each and every event…
I’ll be trying to do as many QS events as finances and time allows. Unfortunately for us South Africans with the way the Rand is, travelling overseas is very expensive. I’ll be starting off my year by competing at the WSL Junior Worlds in Portugal on 04 January. I’m then planning to do a couple of QS events in Australia in February. After that I’ll have to see how far up the rankings I have gotten and that will determine which events I could get into after the Australian leg.
You’ve been working on your boards and technique with legend shaper Spider Murphy in Durbs recently, tell us a bit about your recent preparation and training while you were in KZN?
Ya I spent a lot of time with Spider while I was in Durban, trying to work on boards together for Portugal and Australia. I was privileged to stay with Spider for a couple days and we’d wake up at 4:00am every morning and go into town for a surf. During the sessions he would watch me and give me some good advice. I was also privileged to be included on two surf adventures down the coast with Jason Ribbink. I got to surf some spots which I didn’t even know about and we got some great waves with only a few of us in the water.
What’s some of the advice and information, positive or negative, that you’ve heard about going into the QS from fellow competitors/coaches/friends and family?
I’ve been given some advice from fellow South Africans who have been doing the QS and I think the best advice is that it’s really important to always be enjoying your surfing and not just be surfing for scores. You have to remember why you love surfing and keep that passion for it when you are in a contest. It’s always really disappointing when you don’t get the results that you want, but it’s also crucial not to let it get you down. It’s better to rather let it motivate you and make you even hungrier for a good result. Your attitude is absolutely crucial when competing.
What are your goals for 2016?
My goal for 2016 would be to work towards getting into the top 100 by the end of the year. I know it’s a big goal and will require a lot of hard work, but I would really like to be able to get into the Prime events in 2017. It’s a long ladder to climb and there are many hungry competitors, but I am going to give it my best shot.
What do you consider the biggest hurdle for getting the best results possible on the QS this coming season?
The biggest hurdle that I can think of is trying to stay in top physical and mental condition while traveling to the different destinations which also involves trying to sort out food, transport and accommodation in countries with different cultures and languages. This can be tricky and time-consuming and can be quite an effort when in unfamiliar settings. But you can’t let these things affect your mindset. Keeping healthy and having a positive mindset is vital to doing well on the QS.
Lastly, any thanks you’d like to give?
I am grateful to so many people; sponsors as well as coaches who have helped me to get to where I am today, but the main two thanks I would like to give are to the Lord for His goodness to me and to my parents for the huge support they have shown me.