George, Matt


Drama-loving California-based surf journalist, screenwriter, photographer and actor; a longtime contributor to both Surfer and Surfing magazines; coauthor and costar in the 1998 big-wave movie In God's Hands.

George was born (1959) in Bath, Maine, the son of a navy fighter pilot, and raised on military bases in France, Hawaii, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He began surfing in Waikiki in 1967, competed professionally in the late '70s and early '80s, and was first published in 1983 in Surfer magazine. Matt and older brother Sam (another hyperbolic surfer-writer) were often presented in tandem: "The Brothers George: Vocal Talent," was the title of their 1981 Surfing profile.

Although George wrote for Surfing from late 1995 to mid-1997, most of his best-known work has was published in Surfer during the '80s and early '90s, when he specialized in dramatically rendered profiles on such heavyweights as Tom Curren, Mark Occhilupo, Cheyne Horan, and Kelly Slater. He also turned in a number of "think" pieces, including a 1987 column in which he pondered the human origins of wave riding. "It just may be that through surfing, deep in the elemental magma of our souls, we have tapped into one of those rare acts on earth that allows man a true atavism; an opportunity to return and touch—if just for a euphoric moment—the primal relationship man shares with the living mass of his origin." George's own high-quality portraiture photography often accompanied his articles. He also hosted Surfer's ESPN television series in 1986 and 1987, and narrated more than a half-dozen surf movies and videos, including Amazing Surf Stories (1986) and Gone Surfin' (1987). George has written articles for Surfer's Journal and Stab, and a half-dozen other surf magazines.

In God's Hands, produced by TriStar, cost $10 million and featured some riveting surf sequences, but got lambasted by critics and surfers alike, and was pulled from its limited- theater run after two weeks. George was also creator, cowriter, and supporting actor for NBC's Wind on Water, a one-hour drama series starring Bo Derek as the matriarch of a Big Island ranch and the mother of two surfing sons; Water debuted in 1998 and was canceled after just two episodes; "dreadful, tedious and humorless" was the Primetime.com online review summary.

George's nonsurfing life has been just as dramatic as his scripts and articles: he worked as a Karl Lagerfeld model, trained as a Navy SEAL, fought in Golden Gloves boxing tournaments, and twice climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Working freelance, he was a first-responder after the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

As of 2013, George was living in Kuta Beach, Bali, and editing Surftime magazine.