Matt Manzari is a name you might recognize from this website and other wakeskating news outlets. If you don’t, remember it, because you will be hearing it more and more in the near future. Last time we spoke with Matt was back in September, before Surf Expo, and the 16-year-old ripper has been pretty busy since then. He’s got a new board sponsor, has been playing host at his kick-ass house to tons of other wake people, and he’s been riding all the time learning crazy stupid tricks. During a little excursion out to his place in the middle of nowhere, we sat down with Matt and picked his brain for some more info.
Alliance: What’d you have for lunch today, Matt?
MM: Reheated baked ziti and it was amazing.
A: Sounds delicious, especially if it’s reheated ziti that your mom originally cooked, she’s quite the chef. How long have you been wakeskating?
MM: Two-and-a-half years, I think.
A: You’re riding the GB Deuce Pop these days, how’s that working out?
MM: Awesome. We’ve been working on the new design a lot, it’s gonna be sick. I’ve just been tweaking the concave on the top deck some.
A: The Gator deal seems to be working out pretty well already, aren’t you off on some crazy trip soon?
MM: Yeah, I’m going off to Bali. I’m pretty pumped on that. It will be electric. Ten days of me and the Vandall, it’s gonna be sick (laughs).
A: What’s it like having Randall Harris crash at your place and riding with him?
MM: There’s a sarcastic way to answer that and a truthful way to answer that (laughing). It’s awesome. Randy’s one of the coolest guys I know, I love hanging out with him. He’s good motivation, for sure, definitely makes me want to take my stuff bigger.
Randall (who’s sitting across the table): That’s right (laughs).
A: Driving to your house from Orlando there are a couple yellow signs that say, “Bear Crossing.” Have you ever seen a bear?
MM: It’s a wildlife preserve out there, you gotta watch out for the bears in Eustis. I haven’t seen one, though. But I did shoot a raccoon from 52 yards away with my bow and arrow the other day.
A: Did you play a lot of “cowboys and Indians” as a kid or something?
MM: Oh yeah, I had my fair share of cowboys and Indians.
Mr. Manzari: He used to walk around in full cowboy gear as a kid.
A: Your house has been blowing up the past month or two hosting all kinds of wakeskaters and wakeboarders, what’s that been like?
MM: It’s been awesome, but crazy, too. Everyday I feel like, “Alright, nobody’s here there’s nothing to do,” but ten minutes later somebody calls and something goes down. Recently Silas, Kyle Walton, Nick Taylor have been here. We did a Nike shoot recently with the riders. Reed Hansen is here a lot. Kyle Walton, Ben Horan and Chase Gregory have been here recently. The Gator Team was here doing a shoot a while back, too.
A: And Nick Taylor is moving in soon, right?
MM: Yeah, he’s moving in here in May. This summer will be fun, we’ll be wakeskating like three times a day.
A: You put on a little show behind the boat this afternoon, have you been riding behind the wake a lot recently?
MM: Yeah, I’m definitely trying to learn some new wake-to-wake tricks. I’m loving the boat recently. And I also have a new incline rail out in my backyard, it’s a lot of fun.
A: Those Nike’s seem to work pretty good for barefooting, too.
MM: Oh yeah, I’m working on the next Nike barefoot shoe.
A: What are some of the tricks you’re working on?
MM: Backside heelflip. That’s the only trick I’ve been working on recently, I really want to get it. Oh, and a wake-to-wake varial flip, I really want to land that.
A: Any New Year’s resolutions for you?
MM: I had some, but I forgot them already.
A: Thats sounds about right for resolutions. What are you looking forward to most about 2007?
MM: Warmth. I’m looking forward to summer rolling around. And my goal is to buy my dad’s Corvette (laughs). I’m also looking forward to trying to land some tricks that haven’t been done on a wakeskate before.
A: What are you gonna do tonight?
MM: Watch the season premiere of American Idol with Randall…