Wilkinson, Matt

Free-spirited professional surfer and hedonist from Copacabana, NSW, Australia; world-ranked #18 in 2011. Wilkinson was born (1988) and raised in Sydney and taught by his dad to surf at age 8. He collected an ISA World Junior Surfing championship in the under-16 division in 2004, then a few years later blitzed the pro tour qualifying series to earn a slot on the 2010 World Championship Tour.

After a lackluster rookie season, his sophomore year on tour was a year-long coming out party. Wilkinson permed his hair and rollerbladed to the contest site each day at the 2011 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. He wore a series of custom-printed wetsuits covered in site-specific images at the tour’s cold water events: dollar bills at the Quiksilver Pro New York, a collage of female breasts for the Quiksilver Pro France, and tie dye for the Rip Curl San Francisco event.

A naturally-gifted surfer who blends smooth low-centered power turns with creative airs and fin-free blasts, Wilkinson has nevertheless built his fame less on his surfing and more on his unabashed pursuit of off-kilter fashion, heavy-duty partying, and female tour followers. Nobody was suprised when Wilkinson got arrested for public drunkenness in 2011 after blacking out on the streets of Newport Beach, California.

Wilkinson's style put him at odds—refreshingly so, many thought—with most of his regimented, hard-training pro tour peefs. “God bless surfing,” as journalist Lewis Samuels noted of Wilkinson’s ribald charm. “In few other sports can a beer-bellied, hairy man of average looks strap on rollerblades, get a perm and proceed to bed beautiful women from Rio to Biarritz.”

In 2011, Wilkinson debuted his occasionally bawdy website Out2Brunch.