Landlocked Froth- Matty Weiler
When I first met Matty at The Golden Mean, I had just popped in for what I thought was going to be a quick second... An hour later I had to pull myself away because I could have talked to him forever! This guy has had such an incredibly interesting life yet is so kind and humble that you could talk to him about anything. Although I'm not much of a surfer, his passion for the sport and ability to bring it local captivated me. I'm going to be heading out for a lake surf this summer and after you read his story below, you'll probably want to join me!
From Matty Weiler (@landlockedfroth):
Growing up pre-internet in Kitchener’s North Ward, surfing wasn’t exactly on my radar. I never really strayed from the classics: road hockey, hockey in a league and on the local outdoor rinks like the legendary Guelph park and Prueter school, tobogganing, kick the can and hitting golf balls in good ol’ Breithaupt park. I wouldn’t change it if I could. I’m super nostalgic about these landmarks and activities to this day and hold the memories close to my heart.
Scratching the itch to travel as many do after college, I left for Australia at age 24 with a close friend. That’s when surfing took a hold of my life. Giving myself a year to travel--or a year free of responsibility, depending how you look at it--allowed for a lot of time getting familiar with the ocean. Kitchener has a lot of things, but no ocean! Sure, we are within a reasonable distance to three of the Great Lakes but the ocean is a whole different beast.
My third day in Australia I went to the famous Bondi beach and I’ve been hooked ever since. Surfing provided me with so much more than hockey and other local sports could even come close to doing. The crew I met played a just as crucial of role in my newfound obsession as the surfing itself. The comradery was electric and I truly felt part of something for the first time in my life.
Fast forward a few years, the Australia trip led to a trip to surf in New Zealand, teaching surf for two summers in Spain, surfing in France, Morocco for two months and trips to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The growth of social media led to finding out about surfing on our very own Great Lakes. Toronto and Hamilton have a wide spectrum of surf breaks that are some of the best ways to stay in shape for those ocean visits.
Currently I work with Surf the Greats out of Toronto’s east end. We teach surfing on the lakes and on trips to countries like Costa Rica, Peru and Nicaragua (this May). We promote lake surfing, sustainability, general Great Lakes awareness and so much more. The retail space and cafe on Carlaw Avenue is a rad pad that not only has some amazing boards, wetsuits, gear, books and apparel, but hosts amazing events, yoga and movie screenings.
My memories of what Kitchener once was are still fresh in my mind and hope its history is preserved as things move forward. I won’t forget how a building that I once played paintball in is now a major tech hub and a new transit system will soon run past my old high school (that’s now a community centre). I love bouncing around to different countries in the world to surf and travel but Kitchener is proudly my home and I’m always happy to return.