Oxbow Surf Team rider Matt Meola went from an underground Maui surfer to one of the world’s most recognized names in the sport today by winning the inaugural Innersection free surf video contest. The 21-year-old from Haiku, Maui was awarded $100,000 for garnering the most votes for his segment in the Innersection Blue DVD. Those who purchased the DVD were given a card and code, which allowed them to vote for the most popular section.
“I’m pretty baffled,” said Meola who was at the Innersection award banquet last night in Australia. “It was more of a relief. I got called on stage. It was between me and Craig Anderson. I knew it was going to be one of us and my heart was just pounding. When they finally said my name it was more of a relief than anything. It felt so good.”
This is the way Innersection free surf contest worked: surfers/filmers put their sections on the Innersection.TV site (week prior to first of the month). Members view, rate and comment on sections (first week of the month) – the most active members were made Judges and submit their personal Top 10 lists, which narrowed the field down to Top 10 finalists. The next week Members rank the Top 10 in order of preference: 1 thru 10 (second week of month). After that, (third week) the winners of that round are announced. The five highest rated surf sections become part of the Innersection surf movie. They had the rest of the year to improve their section before it went on the final DVD. Innersection Blue DVD featured the year’s top 20 sections – five qualifiers from four seasonal rounds of competition. From those 20, Matt Meola emerged as the grand prize winner of $100,000.
“This whole experience has been pretty great,” said Meola who made the section with Elliot Leboe. “Before Innersection I wasn’t really out there. I just felt like I was just some surfer from Maui. This whole project turned me into somebody. Now my name is a lot bigger in the whole industry so that’s been huge. “My life goal is to own a house and property in Haiku so I’ll probably save some and start working on that,” said Meola about how he plans to spend the prize money. “I’m thinking about buying a jet ski because my tow partner’s ski is pretty trashed right now and not really working. Other than that, throw a couple of pretty good parties.”