Cape Town Big Wave Surfer Matt Bromley Leads A Charmed Life
Imagine cruising the world looking for big waves, scary waves, shallow reefs, and dangerous situations. Imagine having your own cooking program. Imagine being a movie star. Dream world, sure, but it is Matt Bromley’s world right now.
I’ve surfed the biggest waves of my life at Dungeons in Hout Bay. It’s in my backyard. I can see it across the bay when it’s massive! It’s the most terrifying piece of ocean in the whole of South Africa. You can only get there by boat, unless you’re feeling super courageous, and decide to climb down the massive cliff at the Sentinel of Hout Bay. If you do this, you’ll still have to navigate big waves smashing up the rocks and then paddle 600m across a channel, where you could certainly meet a Great White or two.
The line up is around the size of two rugby fields, meaning a wave can break anywhere in a radius of about two hundred meters. This has serious implications for a surfer out there when its big because when a set approaches that is 30 foot high, it could either break on your inside, or your outside or unload tons of water straight over your head and send you to the darkest depths of the ocean. And when you look around, it looks like Jurassic park as you are surrounded by 1000-foot cliffs and massive waves. This is raw nature. Then in all this madness you still have to catch a wave. Paddling into a wave out there is really scary because the wave face has huge boils and ridges as you drop down the face. Dungeons is a hairy experience but can definitely give you the ride of your career and a moment that will change your life.
I’ve surfed a few other big wave spots. In Hawaii I’ve had the privilege of surfing Jaws, Sunset and the famous Waimea Bay. In Cape Town, in front of my house is an epic big wave spot called Sunset Reef.
My favourite overseas wave location is Tahiti. There’s a wave there called Teahupoo that breaks over sharp, growing coral reef and delivers ‘rides of your life’ on regular occasions. It’s known as the most life-threatening, intimidating wave in the world because of the immense power and speed of the wave. I have had the best barrels of my life here and it keeps me coming back every year.
In order to keep going as a traveling surfer in the current economic struggle, I’m constantly looking for ways to give my sponsors something extra. You can’t just be a good surfer and receive the finances to travel the world. I do a lot of inspirational talks at schools, commentate events and am always working on new projects to keep my sponsors interested so that they can give me what I need to live out my passion. Billabong, Monster Energy and Acer have been a great support to me the last two years.
To keep surfing at a top level, I stick to a balanced diet and I give my body the food it needs in different circumstances. If I have just completed a work out, then I’ll eat more protein for muscle repair, if I am training hard then I’ll make sure to eat more food at more regular intervals, and if I’m feeling a little under the weather, I’ll make sure I get the energy and vitamins I need to push through. I don’t take part in diet plans, but rather make sure I have protein, good fats, carbs, and veggies in every meal throughout the day.
In order to keep fit for surfing I do a lot of spearfishing to expand my breath-hold under water (and also to eat fresh fish of course). This really helps me to be comfortable under the water for long periods of time. I also compete in an old boys water polo league and I enjoy a bit of tennis and cricket,
I recently played the role of Mark, a happy, chilled surfer who travels the world, along side Scott Eastwood and Cheryl Ladd in the film The Perfect Wave. The movie is based on a true story about a rebellious son who searches the globe, trying to find fulfillment in riding the perfect wave. He travels head-on into an incident that will change his life forever. The film was one of the best times of my life! I got to coach Scott on his surfing while he helped me in my acting. Beside that, we got flown out to Bali surf incredible waves!
I also have a cooking program in the pipeline called Surf’s Cooking. The main theme behind Surf’s Cooking is these two young surfers who travel to the most exotic surf locations around the world, connect with the local people, surf the waves and cook the local cuisine. Ollie Swart is an energized, innovative chef that has worked in the top restaurants in South Africa and loves surfing, and I’m a professional surfer, spear fisherman and coastal “hunter gatherer” and foodie. We connect as best mates and teach each other our craft. Surf’s Cooking portrays a dream lifestyle and allows viewers to feel apart of the fun, positive, youthful and happy way of living as we search for a shortcut to happiness.
We are in the contracts process with a well-known production company, so God willing, it’ll be on TV next year.
– by Craig Jarvis
Photo credit: Alan Van Gysen