From The Bleachers: Matt Meyers and John McKinney.

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“This guys shreddin” was DM that popped up in the message box from Infoamed talent spotter Dallas Singer.

Matt Meyer is Californian local from Ventura County in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Thirty three years and sponsored by Alternative Surf. For those of us raised during the heyday of Cali-for-ni-a featuring heavily, sometimes exclusively, in early bodyboarding films, the above clip rang some pretty cool nostalgia bells.

The filmer John McKinney is a name that should be familiar to many older gen riders as the mastermind behind cult classic films like Boogie Knights and Smorgasboard.

Cadet reporter Dallas Singer recently lined the pair up for a D.M. chin wag on the background behind the making of the edit, and delved into a little history of the Ventura bodyboarding scene.

Dallas: I guess first of all good work on the new clip. As an Australian bodyboarder it’s always awesome to see stuff coming out of your part of the world.

mattmeyer86
Thanks!

Where exactly is your part of the world?

mckinneymovies
Big thanks man!
We’re in Ventura County.About a 90 minute drive north of Los Angeles

Ok right. Yeah I notice there are clear crews that surf that area and then there’s the Newport/San Diego guys. Which would be south. Is it common for you guys to surf north and south of LA? Why I ask is because we don’t get to see a lot of that Ventura wedge beachie now days.

mckinneymovies
I think I can speak for both of us and say that we tend to stay in our area these days. We get waves here year round. I used to travel up and down the coast more for comps and filming back when bodyboarding was more of a full time activity for me.

Yeah right. Quite common here also, if the waves pump you don’t need to move around to find surf. Watching Matt at that spot bought back a lot of cool memories of the Cali guys in that late 90s.

Hey John, Matt mentioned to me that you shot/directed ‘Boogie Knights’. That film had a massive impact of myself and I’m sure a lot of other guys in Australia at the time. Who were the big dogs in bodyboarding back then when you shot that film? Seemed like the local crew in Ventura were sort of dominating back then.

mckinneymovies
That’s epic to hear! In my hometown the two biggest were Jacob Reeve and Ross McBride. Other than Stewart, those two were my idols growing up.

Man Jacob Reeve was the man when I was growing up. The Californian boog scene seemed like an untouchable world for a 13 year old bodyboarder in Australia like myself.

mckinneymovies
Yeah, there was a huge crew back then in this area. All over California as well. Brian Wise was a few years ahead and leading the charge for California.

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Matt, Did you watch Boogie Knights in your early stages? Do you see any of these guys still kicking around the line up when that beachie is on?

mattmeyer86
Yes for sure! When we were kids my buddy’s and I always watched it before a session. It was special to us because the video took place in our backyard. It was actually rare to see Jacob and Ross when I started bodyboarding which was kind of a trip. So it was special to see them when the waves were good. Now a days, I see Jacob maybe once or twice a year. But other than Jacob, I don’t see any of those guys now.

Ah nice, yeah I can imagine that would have been cool see those films knowing those places were your local.

Hey Matt,Did you find yourself moving toward watching Australians Ryan/Mitch in the 00s for inspiration in your surfing? Why I ask is you style looks like a perfect blend between the Cali crew of the 90’s and more modern Australian approach. That loop was classic McBride.

mattmeyer86
100%. Obviously starting bodyboarding Ross and Jacob were THE GUYS for me to watch. As I got more in to bodyboarding the local scene died down and then I discovered hardy and other Aussie riders and that changed my world. It was amazing to see such critical/technical riding at that time. So ya, I definitely feel like I feed off both styles of riding.

Nice. Yeah I think your in a really cool era where you’ve had the benefit of being in-between the shift from US to Aus guys kind of dominating the sport.

mattmeyer86
Yes for sure

Question for John, The intro of Boogie Knights is iconic. Did this lead to more spaghetti western style films post boogie knights? It actually looked like a lot of fun the shoot – I think that’s the style of film it comes under. 70s tv.

mckinneymovies
Haha, it was fun to shoot that scene but makes me cringe to watch because of my lack of editing experience at the time – it was literally the first thing I had ever edited.

Ah sick! Had me fooled. I miss that type of skit stuff the surf films

mckinneymovies
I just straight up ripped off PTA’s Boogie Nights for that scene.

Haha no way. I’ll have to watch that,
I haven’t actually seen it, I know it’s a classic though.

mckinneymovies
Oh man, it should be a fun watch for ya when you get around to it.

How many sessions did you shoot for the ‘from the bleachers’ clip? Do you still enjoying shooting booging now as much as you did in the 90s?

mckinneymovies
I think it was about 4 sessions – but we never really scored the quality of swell we hoped for.

Yeah I think that typical for most clips now days. A few good sessions does the trick.

mckinneymovies
It was rad to connect with Matt for this clip. I would like to make something a bit more ambitious and focused like what I see Todd Barnes and James Kates doing. I’m not that into shooting just to shoot these days, I’d rather just surf.

I understand. I think Katesy is much the same. It takes a lot of patience and self control to film those pumpin sessions.

mckinneymovies
In the 90’s I filmed intensely for four years to make two vids after I was sidelined from a boog back injury.

Ah right on so the film gig was kinda brought on by an injury?

mckinneymovies
Totally. Up until then I was frothing on bodyboarding all day everyday.

That’s kinda awesome. Considering those vids ended up being classics!

mckinneymovies
I was lucky to already be surfing with Jacob so once I was out of the water I started filming

Cool. I could probably go deep into some of the sessions filmed in the vids but I’ll be here all day!

mckinneymovies
Definitely. It was a great time for California, with Bodyboarding mag setting up trips and stuff. I was lucky to be around some of those legends.

I suppose I should mention Toobs and custom x also. Those boards seemed to be synonymous with California bodyboarding at the time.

mckinneymovies
We’ll have to do that sometime! I think I can speak for Matt on this too, we both really dig your riding and have been inspired by and amped on your skills!

Ah thanks guys. Matt, it was awesome seeing some fresh footage coming out of your part of the woods, really unique style. And thanks John for bringing it together, would love to see more.

mattmeyer86
Thanks Dallas that means a lot.

I hope to see the Ventura crew grow, this kind of stuff I’m sure will spur in some younger guys on the west coast! Keep it up guys. I’ll have dan post the interview/clip this week. And I’ll stay in touch. Hopefully get to surf that beachie with you both some day!

mattmeyer86
You’re invited any time!

mckinneymovies
Thanks so much Dallas! Truly an honour!

Thanks guys. Speak soon.

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