I was born on 22nd of september 1989 in Savona, a small city in the North-West of Italy, close to France. I always loved being in the water and I was competing in swimming until I was 11 years old. But in that moment another passion broke through and I just couldn’t handle it, windsurfing. My first step on a windsurf board has been at the age of 8, in Hurgada, Egypt. My dad was already windsurfing since 20 years and he wanted to let me try this incredible experience. But I was the only kid windsurfing when I came back in Italy and only after 3 years I started seriously and the passion started. We were a group of friends in Albisola, my home spot, sharing every afternoon in search of some action. We were windsurfing, but we started surfing, skateboarding, skim boarding, snowboarding in winter time….. It was crazy, we were spending every afternoon together watching videos and doing crazy stuff. My first love was still windsurfing but I didn’t really want to start competing as I was enjoying too much freesailing, some free ride, some basic freestyle, some wave and a lot of other sports… At the age of 17, I decided to try some slalom racing after I competed in an amateur race organized by my sailing club, Lega Navale Italiana Albisola. Thanks to my dad again, I went to Cagliari to try some proper slalom with Cucchi, at that time the Italian Slalom Champion and who had just found Point-7. I loved slalom since my first session and I knew I wanted to do it. But I didn’t know how it could progress my passion. i finished the secondary school and I joined the University in Genova. In the meanwhile I was training and getting better and better but not enough… In 2012 I decided I wanted to try to create a job out of my passion and I decided to put apart the university for a while slowing down with the exams and focusing more on training and racing. In 2012 I won the IFCA European Championship in Spain and I ended up the PWA season in 23rd position. Between 2012 and 2013 I spent 3 months in Tenerife training and I met India, my girlfriend. I still remember the first elimination of PWA Korea 2013. I was in my first winners final ever, I nailed the start from the boat and I went full speed downwind expecting the big guys would go out soon from the bottom of my board, but nobody came out except of Alberto, and we got to the first mark 1st and 2nd… It was a crazy feeling. I ended up that final in 3rd place and I knew from that moment that I could be good if I wanted. Alberto won the event an I got a top 20 result but that final made me dream. I pushed hard, I won the Italian Championships and I finished the year in 10th position after my first PWA podium in Costa Brava. On 2014 I did every single PWA event in top 10 and I went 8th at the end of the season. In 2015 I trained more and better. We all had a shitty year full of losses and losing an inspiration and a friend it’s never a good way to start a new season. I managed to win my first PWA winners final in Korea, I won my first PWA event in Costa Brava, I got 2nd in PWA Fuerte, then 3rd in PWA Turkey, and I won again in Sylt. After that I was leading the World Cup ranking but we still had one event to go. I couldn’t hold the pressure and I did mistakes dropping in 3rd place at the end of 2015. By the way I’m still stoked to get a podium as my goal was to try to enter the top 5. And now here we are, a new season in front of us, I have new boards, new sails and I’m ready to do my best.
Matteo, you had a great year in 2015. First places at the PWA events and a final top 3 finish. Were you expecting that at the beginning of the year?
Not really! My goal was to be Top 5 at the end of the year but I wouldn’t expect to fight for the title and to end up the PWA world cup in 3rd position.
We have been following you from your start, and we saw you improving every year in the ranking. A constant climb. What was the key point to this climb? Experience, or working harder?
I think both of them. Working harder gives you experience and experience gives you good results. I’m a rider who needs to be in the water every day and to train a lot to get confidence. I needed to grow and to get better in trimming my stuff, in racing, and in the past years I have put all the effort. I had to get better and better in what I love.
Alberto Menegatti was one of the first younger riders which could attack the unbeatable Antoine Albeau. He was proving that hard work could pay off. We saw you having the sticker on your sail Riding 4 Albi. Was Alberto positive influence to your success, how do you feel?
Yes, he definitely was. He showed me working hard pays you back and he told me 1000 times that everybody can make it, you just need to be focused and to believe in in 100000%. He was and he still is a light to follow to get better and better.
You were leading the tour till last event, but then in New Caledonia, you let the door open to Antoine and to Pierre. What went wrong? How does it feel to enter the last event of the year, being first from the overall ranking?
I had a lot of stress on me and I did a lot of mistakes because of that. Even with no mistakes I doubt I could have won… I could have been 2nd but to win is another story. It was not my moment and I was not ready for it, but I’ll try to be ready soon, and now I know the feeling you have while you are sitting on the highest spot ?
Are you happy about the third position?
Yes, as I just said it’s more than what I was expecting and I had a great season. I won the event in Costa Brava and in Sylt. Goals I was not expecting so quick.
You had a very stressing year with no break. We saw you training in Tenerife last winter, photo shooting in Maui, racing all summer, then straight into photo shooting and testing for the new sponsors. What is the plan for the year now?
I’ll try to relax a bit more and take a bit more time for me because that’s one of the key to get success in any kind of thing in your life. I’ll go to Tenerife for training and testing but I’m trying to plan my season better to be strong and focused all the way until the end.
How does it feel to have a black sail again in your hands?
I’m stoked about it. I love being in this team again surrounded by friends and I’m super confident in the potential of the AC-1.
We have been visiting your home spot for testing. Offshore and very gusty. Tell us about it. Are these your favourite conditions on tour?
Not really, I love constant winds and wavy conditions, but that’s what my place offers and it’s actually a really good training and testing place as it’s not easy at all even if is dead flat.
What does Matteo do and enjoy in his free time?
I love traveling and I visited a lot of places with my girlfriend and when I have time I jump in the water for a relaxing surf session!!
2016, What are the goals on top of the PWA word title?
I’ll try not to put any goal. I’m where I wanted to be and now I just need to put everything together and do my best in every single race I’ll compete in… then we will see…