Face to face – an audience with Nuno Matta.
Hidden on the hillside above the Costa da Caparica, you can still find a little kingdom. A Kingdom whose ruler put all his heart and soul in it. Not for wealth, but for happiness. Not only for his own happiness, but for the peoples, who come to him and ask for it. Happiness in the form of a well shaped surfboard. The ruler is called Nuno Matta. His kingdom is named Matta Shapes. It took 20 years in the making – from his grandmother’s backyard to his own shaping factory. He gave us an insightful tour through his realm.
Started with the gallery, that reminds one a bit of a Jeff Koons Exhibition, with all its pop culture reproductions – a gold sprayed television, colorful surfboards, vinyls that decorate the walls. Here he displays boards in all sizes, shapes and forms – including some crazy variations and hand-signed boards from his pro-customers. It´s a place where you get a notion about how little you need to get satisfied.
Pieces of Art are decorating the gallery, also this like a “batwing”-looking fish.
Pieces of Art are decorating the gallery, also this kind of “batwing”-looking fish.
Offers everything you need to be happy – the showroom.
When asked what the most brilliant invention in the last 20 years since he started shaping was, he showed us his 3D shaping machine. “Now we can operate so much more precisely”, he stated. “90% of the cutting is already done by this machine. We design the boards with SHAPE 3D, put the pattern inside the machine, add the blank and the machine does the rest.”
After that we went to the finishing room, which looked just amazing, almost like a modern crypt: The board is hosted in the center of the room, as if it is floating. Light from all sides gives it an almost mystical appearance. “It is here, where each board is given its soul”. Here the details are cut by hand.
“It is here, where each board is given its soul.”
From the “crypt” we followed him to the glassing room, where a strong smell lies in the air due to the resin that is put on the boards together with the fiber. „It depends on the fin system if you need to put resin before or after. For example, in case of the FCS II and Future you put it before glassing“ Nuno added.
Big rolls of fiber are hanging at the walls, ready to cover the whole surfaces of the boards. „At first we put the layers on the board, then the resin“ the king explains. „After drying we switch the side of the board and add another layer.“ All the boards that arise in those chambers are shipped worldwide. Lots of orders come online. But no matter if clients order face to face or online – Nuno always speaks with them personally, because every board is a personal masterpiece, shaped to the specific needs of the surfer.
Layer by layer: rolls of fiber hanging on the walls – ready to cover the new boards.
„I ask them, what kind of model they are riding right now, to help them to get the best board matching their abilities. To make sure they have the perfect board, that delivers the most fun for them in the water.“
Regarding the way to happiness in the ocean, some people still don’t get it – a big problem that Nuno also criticizes: „Sometimes people just choose their board for the look at the beach, or their surrounding, a „cool“ board that isn’t made for their skills. A board they won’t be happy with in the water.“
And he adds a nice comparison: „Its like at the doctor. You need to give him the right information about yourself – only then the doctor can decide, what you really need to get better.“
“You need to give the doctor the right information
about yourself – only then he can decide,
what you need to get better.”
Already gave shape to thousands of surfboards: Nuno Matta.
His most impressive memory in his history as a shaper is the shaping machine, he says. „We can build better boards now more precisely. At the beginning, people thought the machine would be for mass-production, but it´s not. It’s about precision. Its easier to duplicate your board.“
When it comes to his personally most impressive experience, even a legend like Nuno Matta becomes small again: „Back when I shaped boards for Travis Logie and saw him surfing them at the screen, I felt very proud.“
Every board comes with some cool artwork, done by a friend of Matta.
The little sweet designs all boards from Matta offer, are done by a friend of his. In the end of the whole process every board is checked on the logo, the fins, if the finishing is smooth etc. If people want their own design, they can send a pdf, which will be printed directly on the fiber so it covers the whole board, which is pretty awesome. And only costs 40 € extra.
Every client can add an own design to his new board, due to the printable fiber. How cool is that?
Asking him, what the ocean does mean to him, Nuno Matta answers: „My office is the ocean! I’m always around. I can’t imagine a life away from the ocean.“
The little Kingdom of Matta Shapes – it is only 5 years old now. Before that, they had a shaping room in the backyard of his grandmothers house. „I had the room, the machine, and a little office and had another room for the glassing near the fabric here. So everyday I needed to take the boards on the car to the glassing. It was not easy.“
Good to see his little kingdom growing, spreading happiness in different forms and shapes!
“My office is the ocean! I’m always around.
I can’t imagine a life away from the ocean.”
Behind those doors, happiness arises.