Ive known Marti for many years now, back in the mid to late nineties when we would often be a couple of the only groms out in the water at Rebounds playing in the wedges. Our folks would shoot us down there, often wetsuits put on at home all 45 mimuntes away in pure anticipation and excitement. I remember Marti on this old lime green Rehopaipo board and pair of manta blades, curly hair in his eyes and grinning from ear to ear with grom froth.
15 years or so later times have certainly changed for Marti, now a household name in the surfing world for riding some of the heaviest, biggest and scariest waves to have ever been ridden, his career is surely flourishing. I caught up with him freshly back in the water from a painful injury which left him sitting in the boat filming and not riding the oceans mountains for a change.
(S) So for those who don’t know, you grew up on the outskirts of Hobart and started riding a bodyboard from what i can remember?
(M) Yeah, i grew up an hour so away from the beach, in the burbs (suburbs) of Hobart hanging with the rednecks and petrols heads, i bodyboarded till i was 14 then took to the surfboard.
I have some funny memories of your old man back in the day down at the beach, i know that Jim has always been a really big influence on you and your surfing, how has he helped you along the way?
He and mum moved the family to the beach specifically for me and my sister when i was 15. They knew how passionate we were about the beach and as the years went on i started getting really down about being so far away, something didnt feel right. So it was an amazing feeling once we made the move. Dad had a really hard life and worked his arse off since he was 6 years old and his body is riddled with arthritis and other problems. So for me to be living my dream and having a career based on my passion i couldn’t be more grateful for the things he did for his kids, he is super supportive and stoked for me
That is really great hey, your old man must be your biggest inspiration. Is it true he has a black belt in karate?
Yeah he definitely is and my sister is as well. She is currently battling addiction and has come so far in the last year. For the past decade theres been some really tough years. He is a kung fu master.
So where are you living currently? Tassie? Vico? Bali? seems you have been all over the place!
Yeah i been living the last 3 years in Victoria on the Mornington Peninsula but i now living in a pad in Bali. Ive been in Tassie the last 2 months due to a knee injury but luckily im all better now and have had some fun days at Shippies lately.
How did you injure yourself? was it your knee?
Yeah was in a bike accident in bali… couldnt walk for a month, then a month of rehab
That must have been hard for someone like you who is always travelling and chasing the waves. I know stern pumped a few days and you had to hang back and watch from the boat. Now your back on your feet and word on the street is you just got your best stern paddler yet?
That was one of the hardest things i ever done haha. It was either hang at home on the couch eating painkillers and wonder how the boys went or eat more pain killers, jump on a boat and go film them. Ended up shooting some cool clips of my mates, but watching it pumping and not being able to surf hurt me mentally so much haha. Yeah with my time spent out of the water all i had been thinking bout was getting a really good paddle barrell out there. So i was just trying to be patient and wait for the right one…. It wasn’t the biggest wave off take off, but it grew into the best paddle pit ive had out there! I was stoked!
Yeah that thing was legit. The let in looked perfect and set you up nicely. When your jumping on a plane somewhere who do you like to travel with? do you have ‘a crew’?
ive done a lot of trips with gibbo (Stuart Gibson) and mooney (Andrew Mooney), there good lads to travel with… But i also enjoy meeting new people..
Your one of the only established riders to have done some trips with bodyboarders.
I like surfing with boogs (as long as its only a couple ha), they surf waves which i like and i guess having that booger background i can relate to them.
Are you looking at chasing waves like Cloudbreak and Chopes? or isnt there enough steps and is the water to warm for ya?
Man id love to hit those joints. I’m sure i will one day soon. They are both amazing and unique waves in there own way…. i hate crowds so it really puts me off going to places when i hear theres a heap of crew chasing it. I like to do things a bit differently and do more searching and exploring.
Basically your just hanging in tassie waiting for big red blob to appear on the weather maps somewhere and go from there? How about ireland? not to many crowds there and plenty of the waves you like to surf.
Yeah im planning on Europe this season and I think im back to Bali next week, looks like things have slowed down a bit here so time to see what is happening up north.
Ahhh epic times ahead for you. Hope you keep doing what your doing down the track and stay on those motor bikes.
Interview and words by Geoff Swan
Portrait of Marti taken by Ash Bradley from http://www.sundrenchedphotography.com
Check out Marti’s big paddler wave from Stern here. Filmed by Danny O’Donnell