Interview: Matt Macduff

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Matt has been popping so much lately that there was no better time to finally do an interview with him. I’ve known Matt for about 5 years now, and no need to say he’s one of the best people to have around. Not only do I have a lot of respect for his riding, but especially for his attitude towards life in general. He is the most motivated, open-minded and optimistic person I know and I am extremely happy to see him succeed in what he loves because he absolutely deserves it. Hit the Read More link to find out more about his roots in biking, his accident, dyslexia, his thoughts on the sport and much more. A true inspiration!

Name: Matt Macduff
D.O.B: April 11th, 1991
Hometown: Claremont, Ontario
Current Location: Barcelona, Spain
Years riding: About 7
Sponsors: Octane One, The Rise, Fox Suspensions, Ns Bikes, GoPro & The Mountain.

Q: Let’s start this with the typical questions. How did you get into biking?

A: I used to skate way back in the day, then my mom sent me out west to go visit my uncle, I guess thats when everything changed. He lived on the Island and there wasn’t too many spots to skate, so I started going with my uncle on All mountain rides, and I guess thats where it started. I Fell in love right away and almost instantly found myself biking in the driveway instead of skating. When I got home I decided that I needed a bike, so I saved up all my money for a year and on my 15th Birthday I bought my first bike. One of the best days of my life.

Q: Who did you look up to as a kid that just got into riding and why?(I bet this will have to do with NWD)

A: At first I looked up to my uncle Rob, he was a destroyer and always kept things fun. Haha to tell you the truth it took me a while to discover NWD, At first a good friend of mine gave me a bootlegged copy of Cranked 5 (if you haven’t seen it check it out) and thats when I first discovered ‘Super T’ and ‘The Claw’. Later I discovered Cam Mccaul, Aaron Chase, Jeff L, Dangerous Dan, all theses guys where my heroes, many of wich still are to this day.

Q: Since you were riding 24’’ wheels back in the day, what made you switch to 26’’ wheels?

A: I think for me it was my size, when I was young I wasn’t so big and I found it really tough to throw my bike around. Also at the time I saw a lot of street guys riding 24s and even Darren Berrecloth had a 24 in the back so it was pretty cool. Then as I got older and bigger I started to feel almost cramped on my bike, a switch went off in my head and next set of wheels I got where 26s. A lot of people hate on 24s but I’m still a supporter. I mean, hows a 14 year old supposed to hop 360 a 30 pound 26 inch mountain bike…

Q: What motivates you to ride your bike everyday?

A: I’m really not sure man, there’s just so many little things and I guess when I add them all up, thats what makes me wanna get out and shred. I Mean right now when I look at each day and I try to make it the best I can, that just doesn’t seem possible without my bike.

Q: Who are your regular riding buddies?

A: Its always changing up, but I’m pretty fortunate to have such good dudes around me most of the time. Right now my top riding buddy is Pavel Alekhin (@vishnieviy) he’s a wild animal and one of the best humans I’ve ever been around. Back home I’m Always chilling @joyride150 ridding with kids and dudes like Brayden Barret-hay and Brett Rheeder. And when I can I’m escaping to Beautiful Montreal to hang out at @therisedotcom HQ and ride bikes with some of my best bros Louis, Michel Plonka, Stephan B, Samuel Croteau, Etc… I got 99 problems but riding buddies an’t one!

Q: What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

A: I’ve for sure done my share of stupid things, life is always teaching me little lessons haha… Like just last week I was cleaning my flat, and I was getting really into, I was cleaning everything. Then about 2 days later my roommate Pavel asked me If I had seen this drawing that he had put 650 euros inside, turns out I’d seen the drawing alright, in fact I threw it in the garbage!!!! So yah thats at the top of the list right now… Shit happens but at least I can say I always learn from my mistakes… I won’t be throwing out silly drawings anymore haha.

Q: Most people out there don’t know that you had a really bad accident as a teenager. Can you tell us a little more about this? How was your recovery and how did this incident affect your life?

A: Yah, When I was about 16 I was hit by a drunk driver… I was on my way to a friends house, just biking on the side of the road when this lady hit me head on about 60km/h. I was thrown on the hood of the car for about 200 feet until she ran off the road and hit a lamp post with me on the hood!!! Lucky I was on my bike and it took most of the impact. Amazingly I only broke my leg in 4 places, I was told I might not walk, never mind ride again… But after surgery, hard work and a 6 to 7 month recovery I found myself back on my bike once again!

Theres no question, this accident changed me. I really feel like I never truly appreciated my life and the people in it until this happened… Its truly unbelievable how everything you’ve ever known can change in just a second, I’m sure anyone who’s been in a similar situations can agree. Thats why with the short time you got, you have to really make the most of it.

Q: How was it to compete at Claymore Challenge with no brakes? Did you have a hard time slowing down and how did people react when they see you ride the course like that?

A: It was tough man, no question. Its unfortunate that Slopestyle courses are just not built to ride without brakes… The first year I tried was the hardest, I was only riding street and park at the time, and needless to say I was way over my head! On top of that nobody really believed in me and there was loads of hate, it was rough on my mental for sure. But hey I can’t hate I still had a blast, and at the end of it all it was amazing to see some of my heroes kill it live!

Slopestyle is a different world, another level, I know the course designers and builders do their best and you are going down a mountain side after all!

Q: Let’s talk about your latest Dirt Jumping video filmed in Nova Scotia. What’s the story behind you spending months there to build your own jumps on some dudes land, and are you stoked on how everything turned out?

A: Oh man Nova Scotia! Well it all started when a good friend of mine Drew Bazeanson let me know about a little project that a good friend of his and now of mine, Jason Liel was starting up. Jason has this awesome dream of bringing a top knoch bike park (similar to Joyride150) to the East Coast of Canada, so look out for the SOF!

My original plan was to stay for 7 days and help kick start some jumps, but then I saw the location, resources and freedom… I instantly canceled everything, changed my flight and got to work. Its not everyday you get an opportunity to have a place to make your wildest dreams a reality. I knew right away I had to take advantage of It.

Anyways 7 days turned to 14, then to 30, and next thing I knew I spent about 4 months digging (most of the time alone), but no stress because when you find something you love to do time really flies!

When I look back at it now sure it seems a little crazy, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I met some amazing new friends and made some of my dreams a reality, and to me theses feeling are priceless.

Q:It was announced recently that you’re no longer riding for Dobermann Bikes, and you’re now getting hooked up by Octane one. How did that happen, and are you stoked on the way things are going so far?

A: Yah this is true, This year I’ll be shredding on a Octane One Void. The timing was just right… and to tell you the truth I needed a change, I’d been on the same bike for almost 4 years, and with most of my friends not being involved in the company anymore, it just didn’t make sense for me to stick around longer.

But I’m stoked on my new whip, I mean come on man its GOLD! I feel like a gangster rolling throught the streets. The other day this G’d out black dude even stopped in his tracks to snap a pic! Thats when you know you got a fresh whip!

Q: Beside Octane One, you’re now also getting help from GoPro and The Mountain. Tell us a little more about all this.

A: Yah I got couple of GoPros now, and some crazy wolf shirts, it feels pretty good. The cameras are just amazing I mean I can takes theses things anywhere, perfect for when I’m in the streets and wanna get a quick clip. The shirts are just out of control, I got this one shirt with a bear, moose, eagle, and wolf… I think I’ve been wearing it for 2 weeks or something..

Q: As far as I can remember, you are one of the first MTBers that managed to build a worldwide audience while barely entering any contests or feature in any major videos. This kind of thing would be impossible without the internet and all the videos that you’ve released over the years. What do you think about the way the internet influences the sport and what do you have in mind when you’re filming for a video?

A: I like to think the internet has a big influence on the sport, sure you always win some and lose some… But I like it man, the internet really mixes stuff up, anybody anywhere can just upload an amazing video, really keeps you on your toes, and on the lookout for the latest and greatest. Plus you have a direct plug to all the kids around the whole world, how cool is that! for me the internet is everything, thats my #1.

When I’m shooting most of the time its pretty chill, where just out with friends doing our thing and having fun, don’t really have much in mind, I try to just let everything flow and keep an open mind, and for sure do my best not to crash and keep the kids stoked on my clips.

Q: Let’s talk about Ontario’s number one training facility, Joyride 150. From riding there almost everyday during the winter to having the opportunity to ride with amazing riders like Mike Gray, Brett Rheeder and Drew Bezanson, how did Joyride influence your progression and did it open any new doors for you?

A: Joyride is honestly the best indoor park I’ve ever had the opportunity to ride, and when your riding at the best park with some of the best riders in the world, for sure thats going to have a huge impact on your profession… I thank the world everyday for joyride because without having the opportunity to ride there everyday with my friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today…. thats for sure, big up to joyride 150 and the great people that make it happen everyday in that badass bike park!

Q: I remember just a few years back when Brandon Webster used to ride a Mountain Bike and you were more than stoked to show him new tricks and help him out. How is it for you to see a kid you took as your “protégé” get so good at BMX and go compete in events like Simple Session?

A: It’s so good man, I can’t believe that kid sometimes, everytime I see him he’s got something new up his sleeve! I mean just to see him growing from a little ‘Punk’ to a real bad ass makes me feel so good and inspires me so much.

Ones thing is for sure Brandon Webster got a bright future, and is no longer my protege hahaha, I mean that kid is straight showing me moves now, and thats the way it should be!

Q: What do you think of the whole FMB tour, and are any riders out there that people should watch out for this year?

A: I think all in all it’s a great thing for MTB, its really helped our sport take it to the next level as far as events, and I really feel like people are starting to take our sport much more seriously, But… I do have a problem with the word Freeride… Seeing as most of the events really don’t have anything to do with ‘freeride’, thats just one of the many categories of our wonderful sport, and by making it such a large focus, part of me feels like other categories like park and street are really losing here…

As far as anybody you should be looking out for this year, Pavel Vishnevy is my #1. I’m not saying he’s going to win the cup or whatever, but you know he’s going to drop a web video thats going to make us all shit our pants and start skateboarding haha!! On the tour look out for Pilgrim and Brett those two got my votes, and we can’t forget about Reynolds he’s really grown into his own, all in all it should be a wild crazy year, I can’t wait to watch the show!

Q: Do you think riding and hanging out with Pavel a lot has an influence on the way you ride?

A: For sure, when I’m shredding or just hanging with him nothing is perfect and it can always be bigger and better, more dialled or more styled, which always keeps me on my toes and ready to go. That guy is so Rock’N’Roll and so freestyle that it just can’t help but rub off on you! The way he’s putting his lines together and the new tricks he’s coming up with is down right inspiring and has a huge influence on my riding for sure.

Q: Is there a trick that you’ve always wanted to figure out but somehow never worked for you?

A: Yah I think everyones got that one trick, for me its decades, I would love to just send one right off a roof drop of something!!! But I just can’t seem to figure them out…. whatever maybe one day it will click in my head….. but until then thats the one trick that got away…

Q: One thing I’ve learned about you during the years is that you are 110% dyslexic. How is it to live with this difficulty, and did it ever play against you?

A: Haha, what are you talking about??? Yah I’m not going to lie to you man it’s terrible…. and it plays against me every time I step in front of a computer…. It makes social networking and emailing a little more difficult or even just communicating haha but at the end of the day it could be way worse….. so I try not to even sweat it, just deal with it and do my thing. I got some pretty funny stories though!

Q: Where do you ride most of the time, and what’s the best place you’ve ever ridden?

A: This is a tough one, as of late I’ve had so many opportunities to travel that having a local spot is just out of the question, but I guess when I get down to it and think, probably where I ride the most throughout the year would have to be Joyride 150, Canada’s best bike park.

My favourite place now…. I don’t even know where to begin…. Let me start by telling you that for me its not so much about the spot, the culture, or the location, but more about the people that il be shredding with… An that brings me to two places: The beautiful city of Montreal where I can ride and chill with some of my best men at The Rise HQ, and sunny Barcelona were I’ve been lucky to meet some unreal dudes and have some amazing sessions!

Q: What was the craziest party you ever attended because of biking?

A: Oh shit man…. I don’t even know where to begin… but I have for sure been to some crazy ones, to getting down with some of my idols, to letting it rip with models and TV stars, I’ll tell you right now theres no telling where your bike can take you, and who you’ll meet. I found the craziest nights always happen when you least expect them to, now I can’t put my finger on one party nor can I really tell you about one haha, but I’ll let you now they don’t call me the Partymaster for nothing!

Q: What advice would you give to younger kids riding bikes?

A: Dream Big!

Q: While chilling at The Rise HQ last year, you filmed a sequel to the first KD video with seasoning chef Louis Lhomel. What do you think of the fact that a funny cooking video that has nothing to do with biking gets 33k views on pinkbike?

A: haha, I don’t know what to think about it man… We just did it for fun and didn’t really expect anybody to watch it, then next thing I knew its a huge hit and we got kids making the KD and writing me all about it! Its awesome man, I think its so cool, and I can’t wait to make the next one!

Q: What are your plans for 2013?

A: 2013 is a Big year for me, thats for sure. I got loads of stuff on the go! For the most part, 2013 for me consists of filming and traveling but… Looking after my web series “Off The Hook” and trying to get couple banger videos out. Also this year I will be working on a special project, at the SOF to raise money for CF (cystic fibrosis). The Idea is to create a wild zone, have a couple friends come shred, and make an incredible video that I can sell on iTunes and then use the money for CF (cystic fibrosis), all in all should be a great year!

Q: In this 21st century filled with social media networks and all that stuff, how can people get in touch with you?

A: Its never been so easy! Anybody can write to me at anytime, hit me up on my Facebook or @Matt_Macduff on Instagram and Twitter!

I really look forward to people writing to me, sometimes it might take me a while to get back, but I always make sure I take the time to write back to anybody who’s taken the time to write to me.

Q: Any Shout outs?

A:Yah! Big Shout out to The Rise, and all the boys at the HQ, my homies in the beautiful city of BCN, one love to my Man Pavel, my parents because they’re the best, all my sponsors for the support and anyone who’s hurt Stay strong! Thanks for reading!

Make sure you check out Matt’s current project which consists of making a video to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, get all the infos HERE.

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