The following interview of Matt Manzari was submitted three weeks late. I suppose that’s what happens when you let Reed Hansen interview his best friend. Reed also failed to write an intro, so this is my miserable excuse for one. So how about: Matt Manzari speaks for himself. He really needs no introduction anyway. —Brooke Geery
Reed Hansen: First off what is your purpose?
Matt Manzari: Good question. If you’re talking about life then my purpose would be to glorify God. If you’re talking about purpose in wakeskating, then it’s to push the sport in the right direction and help it grow.
RH: What is the right direction?
MM: First of all to give back to wakeskating and the people who get involved along the way as much as possible. I mean, for example, when we travel and meet so many new people, there’s random people that open their lives and homes to us, and so many times we take it for granted. These are opportunities to show them how grateful we are and to make an impact in their lives and try to give them experiences that they will never forget. This way, when they talk about us, they’re so pumped that we rode with them and helped them with their riding, that they just want to be more involved and bring more of there friends into it. Which in turn makes the lifestyle grow in a positive way. Second of all, to make the wakeskating look as good as possible to everyone that sees it including wakeboarders, skateboarders, snowboarders, and random people ect. You get the point. Basically wakeskating is still coming up and has a lot of time to grow. So we shouldn’t rush things. There’s still lots to do and respect to gain, but we’re getting there.
RH: Boat riding, winching or PWC?
MM: I prefer wakeskating. That’s like saying which would you prefer, peanut butter, jelly or bread. Separately they’re ok but together they’re a scrumptious treat.
RH: How do you feel about finless riding?
MM: Honestly, when you first start riding you should ride without fins, it makes learning your tricks easier to land, easier to throw and in the end it gives you a good start on board control. I know because I rode two years finless before I switched. It was really hard to change but once I did, I was really glad.
RH: What’s your favorite kind of knife and gun?
MM: My Mossberg 12 gauge because they’re the only gun company that still assembles in the USA and for a knife it would be my assist open Kershaw Ken Onion Edition.
RH: You’ve done a good bit traveling in your years. Where was your favorite place to travel (other than America)?
MM: Me and the Gator Team went to Bali to film for Transgression. It was some of the sickest scenery I have ever seen and I just had some crazy experiences. It was everything from the best surfing place of my life and me and Lechworth being the only two out there, all the way to being in some crazy tiki on a mountain with no road access, locals cruising with huge machetes and me and Vandall teamed up against an army of rats.
RH: Should boat companies be worried about Kyle Walton’s winch attacks?
MM: Well I personally have winched a lot and have never been attacked by a winch, so I seriously doubt all the winches will form a gang and attack a bunch of salesmen. Actually Ben Horan’s winch went after him but it only made it twenty feet into the water before Ben saw him coming and dropped the handle, so it never caught him.
RH: Everyone is wondering what new tricks Mafia Matt is doing. You want to let us in on a few?
MM: Well just trying to do some new flip tricks on gaps, some darkslides and that’s about all I’m saying on that subject.
RH: Do you know the muffin man?
MM: Yeah actually, he reminds me a lot of Aaron Reed. They both have amazing mustaches and are great cooks.
RH: If you had something to say to kids out there trying to get better at wakeskating, what would it be?
MM: I think that a person’s wakeskating is a personal and individual art, and a way to express your own passion for riding and fun however you want. So I would never want to tell anybody how they should or shouldn’t ride. However I do have my opinions of tricks I think are or aren’t cool and styles I like or not like. But I would say, don’t push too fast to land tricks just to land them. Go out and shred and get a good solid foundation first. Its no fun riding with a guy that does a shuvit and kickflip and that’s it, it just feels like he’s just trying tricks to say he can do it. And without all the basics it hurts style tremendously. So just have fun and only ride against yourself.
RH: Do you think wakeskating is run by team managers?
MM: Yes it is and I’m glad. Without team managers to do the budget it would be a mess. They sit there and have to figure out how to distribute the money between what events to sponsor, trips, rider pay, where to do clinics, demos, and not to mention deal with all the riders when they need stuff done. The sad part is that they don’t usually get the credit that they deserve. One example, I know that our GB manager not only does all that stuff, but he also organizes the whole GB grass roots tour that gives upcoming riders a chance to start riding in comps, not to mention all the crap he takes from us. It’s really a 24 hour job. Thanks Troy.
RH: How did you and the Vandall hit it off so well? You know, he’s a wakeboarder , you’re a wakeskater, you live in Florida he lives in Cali ect. There are some differences.
MM: Well, pretty much the first time we hung out and realized that we both had a love for ice cream and movies that’s second to none. We started talking and found out through ancient hidden diagrams made by putting 100 pints of Haggen Das “Caramel Cone” in an iceberg that we are actually long lost brothers separated at birth by a pine cone fight with the black ninja or as you all would know him as “Harrison Ford”.
RH: How amusing…. For any girls out there that want to know, what is the best way to your heart?
MM: A nice little southern bell could always get to my heart.
RH: You grew up in New York. Why are you such a country boy?
MM: Well I grew up in upstate New York on a farm, about four hours from the city. That’s like me saying why don’t you act like you’re from Miami? It’s totally different. So I guess I was just born country and that’s what I’ll always be.
RH: Speaking of Garth Brooks, who has the best voice ever?
MM: Well hands down, the vocalist of the last 6000 years goes to Garth brooks and Celine Dion.
RH: Why do we know that the bi-level design is the best?
MM: Haha. Well it’s kind of like taking a skate deck on the ground and doing tricks. You can do them but it feels light and like the tail didn’t pop low enough. Then try putting trucks on it, it pops deeper and there is swing weight which makes it flip at a more consistent looking speed and just feels good on your feet. I’m not going to lie, when I first switched from a concave I thought I couldn’t do anything. It took me a month to relearn some tricks on it. But once I did it was insane. I mean I feel like I’m skateboarding. It’s the best thing since the toothpick.
RH: What is the best book you have ever read?
MM: Umm Clifford the Big Red…. Wait no, umm, The Puppy Who Lost his Wa…. Wait, I remember The Bible! I don’t know, something about the fact that no matter where you are in life you can always find what you’re looking for in there. Now, I’m not trying to push that on anyone or preach here, but my personal experience is that I wouldn’t be even close to who I am today or anywhere close to where I am at in life and wakeskating if it wasn’t for God. I owe it all to him. And if there is anyone out there who is skeptical, I challenge you to just start talking and getting a relationship with Him. And accept Jesus into your heart. Then just wait and see what he does in your life.
RH: Any sponsors or best friends you want to thank?
MM: Yes Reed, thank you for not making me have to interview myself, and get all confused and backwards. Thanks to my parents, the best in the world. My brothers Darren and Randall…., Ronn and Eric L thank you guys so much for just life., Josh Lechworth, I love you buddy, Silas Thurman, you would say golf over sleep. Scotty B, sorry about spray painting your lawn it seemed like a good idea. Troy Flick respect, Arian you the man, Curtis Graham thank you for dating Kelly Clarkson, my hamster Steve, Ricky G., Kevco, Corey Marotta, Brooke, Garret Cortese, Tony Smith, big Spence, go shackit. Ben Horan for inventing the skateboard, Nicky T for being a male model. Aaron Reed for his mustache. And Thomas Horrell. And I know I forgot people. So I’m sorry. Sponsors I want to thank Gatorboards, Nike6.0, Malibu boats, Performance Ski and Surf, Arnette, & Straightline. And most of all I want to thank God. PS. I love Brandon Rau