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Matt Chojnacki aka 'waxhead'. Photo: Mike Ito.

Who is WSL commentator Matt Chojnacki?

An excerpt from Issue 595 where we profiled the experimental Northern Beaches surfer.

If you have been tuning into the Margaret River Pro, you may have noticed another voice in the commentary booth and a different shiny head to that of Vaughan Blakey’s.

The team have been joined by commentator and surf historian Matt Chojnacki who has been wondering around the contest site offering insights into the types of boards the competitors have been using.

But, who is Matt Chojnacki?

Matt Chojnacki grew up surfing in the storied lineups of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, in the 90s and early 2000s. They were heady times, when a clutch of northside surfers were still a force on the World Tour, Layne Beachley was winning World Titles, Ozzie Wright, was launching in multiple creative directions and the echoes of past legends and pioneers could still be heard.

Like his mates and contemporaries Matt rode shortboards and drunk in the cocktail of surrounding surfing influences. However, from an early age he developed an interest in the rich surfing history of the Northern Beaches. Soon he was experimenting with different craft, honing a distinctive style and driving up and down the coast to longboard contests with his dad in their fully restored orange Combi.

All this was long before the renaissance of the log and the mid-length had kicked in or Combis were cool again. It was a bold path for a teenager to take, but Matt was already accustomed to being the outsider as the smallest kid on the football field with the long, Polish name no one could pronounce.

Since then, Matt’s approach to understanding the evolution of surfing and surf craft has become fully immersive – he picks the brains of shapers and legends, reads voraciously on surfing history, hosts retreats and talking story nights, commentates at longboard events and most importantly, he is highly proficient on an eclectic range of surf craft. Matt doesn’t just know his surfing history, he connects to the past with every bottom turn, trim-line and take-off.

While Matt has been able to make money from various surf industry streams – contest prize money amongst them – he always figured he needed more than a good cut-back to hang his hat on. Not long after leaving school he joined his dad’s car restoration business. Bringing classic vehicles back to life has become as much of an addiction as getting barrelled for the 33-year-old, who once won a drag race driving his ’66 Valiant wagon with a loose fin from the morning’s surf rattling around in the back.

In the following interview Matt discusses the forces that have shaped his surfing philosophy, and why restoring cars is the perfect complement to his brinier ambitions

To read the full interview from Issue 595, subscribe and access our premium features here.

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