I grew up in Westchester, CA. Growing up it was a small blue-collar town right next to LAX but is now growing into more of a desirable living destination for people. I started competing when I was 15 and got to travel from it until I was about 25. At 25 I got a twin fin from Tyler Hatzikian and a couple asymmetricals from Donald Brink. Those boards were really the starting point and they helped make surfing around Los Angeles fun again. A few years later I was talking with my good friend and now business partner, Aaron and his Dad. His Dad is the Pastor of Mosaic Church and incredibly creative. Ironically, he’s like “you guys gotta start a surf brand with Matt’s last name Pagan Surfboards and tell the story that there’s always more to the name”. It took a little while for me to adopt but when I got out of my own way, I called up the guys at Chilli Surfboards. I was getting some great boards for trade-ins from them and they’re such a great crew but I knew I had to take a chance.
Those first two years of not getting boards anymore, still surfing for RVCA and riding my hand shapes was the worst learning curve ever. Wanting to film and progress but feeling like you’re moving backwards. Jon Mangiagli helped me shape my first 3 which came out great actually. The next 10-20 were pretty rough. The boards were super thick, the noses and tails weren’t foiled correctly. Most of the boards had really flat rocker too.
The guys that really motivated me and helped me were Jon (which his company glasses all of our boards now), Ryan Burch, Ryan Lovelace, Matt Parker and all the guys on youtube that uploaded “how to” videos. I learned a lot actually just watching hours and hours of youtube videos.