Import/ Export: Matheus Lobato.
Quick introduction on who you are and where you began boogin’?
My name is Matheus Lobato and I began bodyboarding at around the age of 14 in my homebreak at Itacoatiara, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up as a kid back in Brazil it’s very easy to fall in that stereotype where every second kid wanted to be a professional soccer player, and I did play at a high level for quite a few years, but I was blessed enough to come from a family that had a few generations of surfers and always enjoyed that beachy lifestyle!
Bodyboarding was introduced to me by my older brother, who was also a bodyboarder at the time, thanks to him and his old creased BZ board, I not only got hooked into the best sport in the world, but also discovered a completely new lifestyle and a community like no other!
What prompted you to move countries?
My brother had been living in Australia for about 6 years. My parents and I came over to visit him in Coolangatta for the first time, when I was 15, and I instantly fell in love with the place. A few months after I had been back in Brazil, my brother raised the idea of me coming over to do a year of high school here and see how I liked it. To me that was such a no brainer kind of decision – lucky enough my parents were completely on board, and now that “year” has turned into a decade… and counting haha.
Before arriving in your new country what did you think it would be like?
To be completely honest, as a 15 year old kid, I had no idea what to expect, and I did not really care that much, I was all in for the adventure and all I could really think about was how epic the waves looked from what I had seen in magazines and videos. My expectation of Australia was that it was a smaller, first world version of back home; somewhat less violent and more developed. I was expecting laid back beach towns where everyone knows everyone and wildlife roam free.
Have these expectations been confirmed or altered?
They have been confirmed in the sense Australia is a very developed and systematic country. They were altered in the sense that these “small beach towns” are actually very big and it’s uncommon to have wallabies, kangaroos and koalas in your backyard.
What do you love about your new home?
I love everything about Australia. I love how success is so achievable here – I was able to save enough to buy a car being a teenage dishy for a year, back in brazil the same success would see you as a mature aged man in the thick of your career. I love the culture, I love how easy going people are, I love how safe it is, I love its beauty and uniqueness, and last but not least I love its waves! Australia is indeed a very unique country.
What do you miss about your old home country?
What I miss the most would definitely have to be my family and my childhood friends! And of course some of the food too.
Any funny cross cultural misunderstandings you’d like to share?
Oh there’s too many to choose from! Mostly all to do with miscommunication in the learning process of the language, but there’s one in particular that was quite funny and stayed with me. My mate Blayney and I were at the surf club smashing a few beers, and this live band was playing so the environment was quite noisy. We went over to the bar and Blayney asked if we should get something else instead of a jug of beer and I responded “Nah bro I’ll stay on the beers, I am broken”, Blayney turns back to me and says: “You’re what?” and I yell back ‘I am broken”. He started cracking up and I noticed some people giggling around me so I knew something was up. We ended up getting a jug of beer and later on, I found out the expression I was looking for was ‘I am broke’ and not ‘broken’ hahaha.
Key advice you would give for anyone visiting?
My main advice would be to forget about surfing left handers! On a serious note, my main advice for people visiting would be to come over with an open mind and a positive attitude and they’ll fall in love with this beautiful country. And also, do not forget to bring some bug spray!
How are the Boogin’ Community similar and different in the two countries?
The Boogin’ communities are very similar in both countries, which was something that took me by surprise. I think generally speaking, bodyboarding has created such a tight frothing community where the love for the sport is so present, that it somewhat bonds every bodyboarder together.
What do you hope the future holds for you?
I hope the future is filled with pits and ramps! Haha. I hope to continue on bodyboarding for the rest of my life, get to surf many more different waves and get to meet some more legends from this amazing community this sport has created. After all, I am the person that I am and I have got where I am in life mostly all thanks to bodyboarding (and maybe owe my parents a solid shout out).