I met Matt Luttrell by chance at my favourite coffee shop near our Tokyo office one fine winters day last week. Chance meetings like these are what keep my life so fresh, and more often than not, open my eyes to much diversity and newness – and that’s what we try to capture here at the journal. Matt is the editor of Trim, a beautiful surf publication that comes out three times a year in sunny Hawaii, so between Japan and the Pacific paradise, he has latched onto a wonderful way of being. In his magazine, you’ll find great archival imagery of early indigenous surfing all the way to some superb boards shaped by water spirits who have found passion in craft. If you’re a surfer, or someone who finds themselves happiest in the water, you’ll dive into Trim without hesitation.
So, I thought it would be fitting to ask Matt himself what floats his boat and keeps him so tightly linked with the water over a good cuppa Joe.
1. What first brought you to the water?
The Endless Summer. I watched Bruce Brown’s classic surf film when I was 12. Instantly, I knew that I wanted to surf because it looked like it was the funnest thing to do in this world.
2. When you’re on a wave, do you catch yourself in thoughts or totally living the moment?
There are no thoughts when you are trimming along on a wave. That is ultimate appeal to surfing I feel; living for that one moment in time and not being distracted by all the peripheral bullshit that typically surrounds us in life.
3. The surfer’s vocabulary can be cryptic at best. Do you have your own words for different kinds of wave-y, surf-y things?
A good wave I would typically call a nug, or nugget. I certainly didn’t invent that term. Pretty sure that one came from a “mellow” surfer.
4. Where was the most unlikely place you’ve ever caught waves?
5. Curry or cake?
6. When you travel, what are some other things you hunt for aside from waves?
Good coffee, interesting bookshops, and of course great restaurants.
7. Describe your favorite sea creature (fictional or non fictional).
It would be a toss up between manta rays and dolphins. Dolphins are the best surfers, but there is something ethereal about seeing a manta ray glide along like a spaceship underwater.
8. Left or right?
Left. God is a goofyfooter.
9. What makes a break special to you?
There are so many variables to this one. Sometimes it is just one session that you share with a friend that makes a break special. Besides for the quality of surf a break produces, I would say it is simply the memories you’ve collected that makes a particular surf break special.
10. What do you bring in your suitcase when you go on the road?
Toothbrush, Levi’s, boardshorts, Patagonia jacket, 4 t-shirts, 2 button ups, a pair of Vans and a pair of Alden’s.
11. What are you riding at the moment? How does it feel?
A 5’6 Mini-Simmons twin fin shaped by Todd Pinder. It feels like a magic carpet ride on acid. The board is incredibly fast down the line and is the perfect board for the wave I primarily surf here in Honolulu.
12. If you could make your own surf wax, what would it smell like?
Plumeria. To me, the smell I always associate with Hawaii is the plumeria flower. What is interesting though is that the Plumeria flower and tree is not endemic to Hawaii. It’s actually from Spain.
13. What does a typical weekend look like in your household?
With a 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, the first order of business on a weekend is making chai and cooking a big breakfast. Afterwards we like to take the kids to the beach or the park. Most Saturday’s I give a tour at Shangri La, Doris Duke’s house on Diamond Head that is filled with Islamic art. Sunday morning I typically go for a surf, then I take care of the kids so my wife can go for a hike or to the gym. Then we head back to the park or beach to let Lennox and Lucy enjoy the outdoors since we are typically blessed with really nice weather.
14. Is there a surf film that gives you goosebumps?
Besides The Endless Summer, I would have to say Glass Love by Andrew Kidman.
15. Tell us what makes you really really happy in life.
Seeing the sunrise from the water. Seeing the sunset from the water. Taking a great photograph in the water. Traveling to a new country or city with my wife. Seeing the joy on my children’s face when they discover how to do something they’ve never done before. Making a delicious cup of chai. Reading a great book. Seeing a beautiful film. Listening to an epic album for the first time. Getting a new custom shaped surfboard. Getting a new issue from the printer and paging through the magazine for the first time, seeing all the work you put in and how it translates from a PDF to a printed object is pretty magical. And of course, sharing some uncrowded waves with my friends.