Two years ago, Matt Meola landed the second-ever frontside 540, or Spindle Flip, as he called it. While Kelly Slater had pulled the first, a few months before Matt during a freesurf in Portugal, Matt’s was bigger, more corked, and generally regarded as the best air ever done on a surfboard when it went viral online. Somewhat surprisingly, the frontside 540 hasn’t, well, taken off. In fact, nobody has landed one since (his friend Albee Layer landed the backside 540, but he hasn’t landed the rotation frontside…yet). Until today, in Numb, in which Matt one-ups himself with his second successful Spindle, exactly 24 months later.
So, why did it take so long?
“For the past two years, I’ve basically fallen off the map,” Matt told us when we profiled him last month. “I had back-to-back injuries: I blew my back out in West Oz and couldn’t surf for 6 months, which I thought was the worst thing ever, and then I started surfing again, did my knee, and didn’t surf for 10 more months, so that was pretty rough. But I’m finally back in the water and feeling as good as I was before my injuries.
“And it’s strange in surfing, because you don’t get the same section twice. You’re so lucky if you get a big-enough section with the right wind, and it might only happen once every ten times you surf, so progression in surfing takes longer. There’s no foam pit. There’s no repetition. You’re relying on Mother Nature, and she’s never gonna feed you that same section over and over again.
“After I landed that Spindle Flip thing, I just really wanted to land another one, to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke. So it feels pretty good to be back to where I was. Now, I guess I’ll just try to spin more, or go higher.”