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By Andrea Swayne
Rare is the day when you won’t see Bryce Mattox, 14, carving a path down the face of a wave at Salt Creek Beach. This stoked grom is an eighth-grader and surf team member at Niguel Hills Middle School. Although he’s been surfing since his dad taught him how at the age of 5, this season is his first in competition. He is primarily a shortboarder but competes in longboard as well.
Bryce has been surfing, with his team, in the Scholastic Surf Series and on his own in Soul Surf Series events.
“I decided to start competing because I’ve been surfing a lot this year and feel like I have really progressed,” Bryce said. “I wanted to start out with SSS and Soul Surf events to see how it would go and then maybe start doing NSSA or WSA next season.”
At the Soul Surf Series on Feb. 28 at T Street in San Clemente, Bryce was a double finalist, taking sixth-place in Boys U16 Shortboard and fourth in Open Men Longboard.
“I didn’t get the best results but I beat my friend who is a really good surfer, in the repechage, so I was really stoked,” he said.
Bryce is looking forward to trying out for the Dana Hills High School surf team next year and continuing to improve his wave riding skills.
“I definitely would like to be a pro surfer but I don’t want it to be my only option,” Bryce said. “I like the challenge of contests but mostly I like surfing because it’s fun.”
An ‘A’ and ‘B’ student, Bryce wants to go to college to study business management and is thinking about maybe joining his dad’s cellular phone technology business. Although he knows it is a lot of work, being an entrepreneur appeals to him for the flexibility in scheduling that comes with being a business owner.
Bryce also enjoys skateboarding, riding motorcycles and surf travel.
“I went to Costa Rica recently and it was like 16-foot faces at Pavones,” he said. “I got some of the best waves I’ve ever ridden in my life.”
When asked for a recent example of an experience that raised his stoke level for the sport, Bryce said, “I ended up in a session with Tom Carroll at Creek on Sunday and that was really cool. He had the gnarliest board I’ve ever seen in my whole life. It was a totally white, carbon fiber, and it was super sick. He was ripping.”