Pagan USA

Shaped & Designed by Matt Pagan

“Are you more concerned with creating a story or selling a product?”


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.

Pagan USA Aesthetic

Our brand is highly influenced by the construction world. My Dad is a building contractor and has been working in construction for over 40 years. He’s a finish carpenter by trade and we grew up having a high value for craftsmanship, so we’re always implementing different ideas from building construction.

The Pagan USA brand is pretty special though. It’s built by 2 of my best friends and myself. We all share a love for Jesus and for creating a healthy community. We’re always coming up with ways to create product, boards, events, hangs that bring people from all different backgrounds together. Because that’s how we became friends. The irony is that Pagan means “country dweller” and historically they were those that left the city when the churches came in. We’re always finding ways to reconstruct the name to bring people together in the city in a healthy and creative ways.


I love the “Modern Twin” we’ve been making. I have it on file now and was able to make some adjustments. It works in proper waves which was the goal. Michael Ciaramella from Stab just got one for the Stab Magazine Joy Ride project. He texted me the other day letting me know that his first session on it was great! Those are always the best texts and I geek out asking people on the waves they rode it in, fins used, etc.


I love surfing home when it’s good and Hawaii. My Dad got property on the North Shore of Oahu about 15-20 years ago. I consistently went every year for about 10 years in a row which was awesome. Even though I love Hawaii, there’s nothing like getting barreled at home with all your friends and crew you grew up with.

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