212: Matt George/Last of the Surf Romantics

Matt’s classic pic of Occy at home

When legendary surf writer Matt George got in touch asking if he could come on the show to chat about his new book In Deep, I was all in.

In Deep is a hand-picked collection of Matt’s era-defining surf writing that spans well over 30 years.

But, as I discovered during our conversation, for Matt it symbolises much more than this. It’s a flag-in-the-ground moment to memorialise a passing moment in surf culture, as the analogue age represented by Matt himself and the culture he so venerates is superseded by a new primarily artificial and digital culture defined by clicks, views and, latterly, AI.

No wonder at one point in our conversation he refers to the collection as his ‘cave paintings’, in what I assume is a very deliberate image.

Matt lives in Bali, and in early August 2023 we hopped online to record this conversation. The resulting chat encompasses many favourite Looking Sideways themes: creativity, working processes, literary influences, and the importance of the recognising your place in the environment when it comes to the surfing experience.

Above all, Matt is a consummate story-teller and a shameless surf romantic. He’s lived life on a vast scale, has sought out equally big experiences, and has documented the lot during one of THE essential surf writing careers.

It makes In Deep a real time capsule, and this conversation is a wonderfully digressive, occasionally self-aggrandising and always entertaining rove through Matt’s life and times and the modern history of surfing itself.

Buckle up!

Listen to the episode below:

Connect with Matt

*Order Matt’s book here.