January 30, 2013

Matt Pagan Talks with ASP North America

Sandwiched between Orange and Ventura Counties, sometimes Los Angeles can be overlooked. Often known for its hardcore scene in the 90s, the iconic urban surf city waxes and wanes in the media spotlight with moments of brilliant photos of undisclosed locations. Matt Pagan, one of the South Bay’s hottest talents, has recently launched a new blog with his brother appropriately named, showcasing the waves, sights and sounds that make LA unique.

Aside from being a California standout, Pagan is amidst the transition from the Junior ranks to a career on the ASP Qualifying Series. The ASP recently caught up with Pagan to get the breakdown on his new website, and talk about the growing pains that come along with transitioning on to the global qualifying circuit. This… is his story…

LA’s surf scene can often be overlooked by the media with Orange County and Santa Barbara as a constant focus, but it also allows LA to have its own flavor. How would you describe surfing in LA?
That’s a very true statement. There is so much surf history and culture here from guys like Greg Knoll and Tyler Hazikien, to the surfshops- Dive N’ Surf, Spyder, ET Surf, etc and with Body Glove starting in 1953. In a way we have an industry of our own, where its very family based and everyone knows each other. It used to be gnarly back in the day, because every break had their own crew and they battled and scrapped each other when the waves were on. There’s definitely still a crew at each zone but its gotten more mellow and depending on the spot, you can grab some fun ones with the boys! At the same time, we have been getting some more media love with video and photos, which is nice to see and be a part of.

Your blog, really showcases the surf/urban LA culture, how did it you and your brother decide to create it?
My younger brother (Mike Pagan) and I are passionate about what we do. He’s a freak and taught himself how to use Final Cut Pro on YouTube. It’s awesome to see how passionate he is about filming and editing. is our hub to display what we’re passionate about. It’s a place where we want people to see what’s happening with videos, photos, stories, etc that incorporate the Los Angeles/South Bay surf vibe. Our goal is to use the site mainly as a place for our webisodes, as well as promoting up and coming young kids, LA photographers, videographers, events, shapers, charity organizations, etc. 

There are lots of underground surfers that rip in LA, who else stands out in the South Bay?

There are tons of local guys that surf so well. Matty Mohagen is one of my best friends and a guy that I look up to and have so much respect for in barrels and big waves. The team manager of Body Glove, Matt Chernega can throw down some massive punts, and the younger kids like Noah Collins and Conor Beatty are always out charging when there’s swell. Yeah there are tons of guys that I look up to here at home that have full on jobs and are pushing it when we have swell.

As far as competition goes, you had a good junior career and are now transitioning on to the qualifying scene. It seems like it can take years to really get comfortable competing in the new locations against a new field. How has that transition been for you?
Yeah, I had some great moments in the Pro Juniors and even in the past few years on the WQS. There are definitely ups and downs and traveling on the qualifying tour I had some tough times. This past year has been a big learning year for me. I’ve been concentrating a lot on my surfing and enjoying the process. Surfing in Hawaii and working a lot with Austin Ware has helped with confidence and I’m excited for a new season.

There are lots of ‘blue collar’ type competitors on all levels, that work hard, are super talented, but don’t often get tons of media hype, but still get big results. You seem to be one of the hardest workers of your generation, to make a professional career happen for yourself. How does that motivate you to succeed?
I’m extremely passionate about surfing. That’s rad to hear that! I enjoy surfing and the challenges it can bring. The successes, whether they’re big or small are so rewarding and I want to do the best surfing I can whether it be in events, videos, working worth the mags etc. and that’s what keeps me going. I enjoy working hard especially with my brother for videos, guys like Tom Carey when it’s on at home for photos and before events with Austin and in events around the world.

Any closing thoughts going in to 2013?

Thanks to all my sponsors, family, and friends. I have an awesome support system and feel blessed to do what I’m doing. Thanks ASP and I’m looking forward to a new year and be sure to stay in tune on One4LA for updates!