Method To The Mayhem

Inside the mind of Lost shaper Matt Biolos.

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Matt Biolos is the man behind Mayhem – surfboards built for cutting edge performance and the best surfers in the world. He’s shaped for everyone from Andy and Bruce Irons to Kolohe Andino, Julian Wilson, Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright. As thoughtful as he is talented, we invited this heavyweight of the shaping game to share some of the wisdom he’s gleaned from a lifetime devoted to surfing.

Growing up in San Clemente… I was just a smart assed punk. I really didn’t grow up in the surfing scene of brands and sponsored surfers. I grew up going to punk shows. I even had my own shitty band. None of my friends were sponsored surfers. We didn’t rip or give a shit. We just wanted to have fun.

Shaping… The first board I came up with was called the “Ratz Ass” for obvious reasons. Once I realised I could turn it into a job and make a living, I went a little less ridiculous and decided to use the first part of the name from my high school punk band, Mayhem Ordnance, and from there the brand …lost evolved.

The …lost team… They were everything to me. I mean, after shaping for Strider and a couple of boards here and there for the Fletcher brothers, things started to pick up. Chris Ward and Cory Lopez were really the first guys on the team. They were the guinea pigs. They lived on my couch and would ride any piece of shit I made them. They were young and wild and not picky at all. It was easy. They really put me on the map and made it possible for me to create a global brand. Then Shea (Cory’s older brother, who spent more than a decade on the CT) came around and started getting boards. He was the first articulate guy with world class skill that I worked with. He helped me so much. Shea was the guy who said, “Hey, if you’re gonna shape for guys like us, you need to work on your surfing.” I started focusing on my own surfing because of him. Shea doesn’t get much credit, but he was a major guy in my career. Shane Beschen was the first to win a CT (in 98) on my boards. He was the guy who pushed me the hardest and really took the gloves off and made me step up. I went to tour events with him and learned the whole world of competitive pro surfing. They all had good runs on the CT, and everything after that in my career sprung from those four guys.

Not a straight edge in sight. (Reposar)

5’5” X 19 ¼”… For a revolution or a movement to take place, there is always more than one story and multiple things happening simultaneously. From my perspective, Chris Ward inspired me. He saw Curren riding a Tommy Peterson Fireball at Log Cabins. I think it was the winter of 93/94. He called me and said, “Curren’s on a fish and he’s ripping. This thing is tiny! Can you make me one?” I had no idea what he meant by “fish”. I had no idea that Tom was actually on a pointy nosed thruster. I assumed he meant something like a twin fin with a swallow tail. So I went and studied a bunch of old wall hanger twin fins at a local surf shop (BC Surf) here in San Clemente. Went in and shaped a 5’5” x 19 1/4” stubby little swallow tail with a nose sort of like a late 70s MR. It had concave under the front foot and flat into the nose, then vee starting from the front of the fins and progressing to a double concaved deep vee out of the tail. I made some twin fins and glassed them on. Wardo took it back to Hawaii and then Cory “had to have one” and then the Rip Curl videos of Tom on the Fireball and also a Lis Fish, in NY, came out. We had already made a few more fishes for the boys by the next spring and accumulated some clips. When we were editing What’s Really Goin’ On we met up with Hal Jepson. He was selling VHS copies of his old films out of his trunk. We bought a bunch and ended up splicing together his footage from the 1972 World Champs where Larry Blair and David Nuuhiwa were ripping on Lis type fishes, together with our clips of Ward, Cory, and Casey Curtis on our “Round Nose Fish”. At the same time, Al Merrick was already onto it, building their “Twin Finner”. Casey had one… I rode it and it worked well. What’s Really Goin’ On was the first surf movie of the VHS era to have a fish specific segment, and the boys just kept riding them. We ended up with so much footage that we ended up making the 5’5” film a year or two later. From there it just went like wildfire.

Going big business… It’s hard to stay anti-everything as you move on in life. I do like to think that I still carry some of my edge though. It’s hard when you have a wife and four kids and lots of employees and people depending on you. You almost have to give a rat’s ass in order to survive. I’m still a grouchy punk though.

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