ELC Surfing: Interview with surf instructor Matt Coleman
Every week English students at ELC Santa Barbara take surf lessons with ELC teacher and surf instructor Matt Coleman. After hearing about students’ amazing experiences learning to surf, we decided to hear more about what inspires Matt’s own love of surfing.
ELC: How did you first learn to surf?
Matt: From age eight to twelve my parents would drop me off at Hendry’s beach where I would spend pretty much the whole summer bodysurfing, boogie boarding and spear fishing with my friends. After my older brother started surfing, I couldn’t help but want to abandon my life as a boogie boarder and start riding waves on my feet. When I was twelve I finally got the chance when this old guy with a potbelly set me on his longboard and pushed me into my first wave. One ride and I was hooked.
ELC: What do you love about surfing?
Matt: I love how surfing allows you to experience the beauty of God’s creation with no rules, fees, or limitations. While most sports have start and end times, referees, and rulebooks, surfing simply has a board and a wave. I feel like this freedom helps inspire style, creativity and innovation. I also love how surfing is such a community sport. It allows people from all ages and backgrounds a chance to connect and enjoy the ocean together. Just last Sunday I paddled out at my local surf spot and was able to catch up with a handful of friends that I hadn’t seen for months.
ELC: Why do so many students love surfing?
Matt: I think students love surfing for the same reasons I do. It’s a blissful experience to be in the ocean with a bunch of your friends while being surrounded by coastal mountains and pods of dolphins jumping around you. For students that live in land locked countries, this is usually a completely new experience that leaves a smile on their face for the rest of the day.
ELC: What is the hardest part about learning how to surf?
Matt: Usually the hardest part is just getting your balance. People take a while getting used to all the moving elements in surfing. While snowboarding and skateboarding both have stationary surfaces, surfing has a constantly moving surface. This is why balance is such a needed skill in surfing.
ELC: What countries have you surfed in and which one was your favorite?
Matt: Wow, that’s a hard one. I’ve surfed in Hawaii, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Ireland, England, France, Spain, the Basque Country, Portugal, Morocco, South Africa, Australia and Bali. My favorite would probably have to be the Basque Country and the long left point break called Mundaka.