Editor’s Note: Quinn Matthews is a talented young photographer. And we like him a lot. He brought creative angles to the North Shore. And hung with the boys in West OZ. That’s step one and two of success in this game. But there are more steps which are a bit trickier to explain. Last week, Quinn faced the ultimate test when he was called upon for a last minute trip to Mexico with Jack Freestone and Dillon Perillo. Only problem: Quinn was already in Mexico with his family for his sister’s wedding. With no camera gear. Below is Quinn’s A+ handling of the situation — no matter what came at him. To make matter’s even better, we’re taking him to Indo next week. Basic training continues. —Travis
2:00 a.m. Sunday morning: After a good number of shots, Jack with Coke, and eventually some Jim Beam with Coke, and once I cleaned out the temporary bar of Jack Daniels minis) I returned to the hotel in Cabo San Lucas where I was for my sister’s wedding. Earlier that night I stumbled on the rooftop porch and dropped my iPhone 5, without a case, seven stories ’til it crashed into the sidewalk. As my luck would have it my screen didn’t even crack. And a good thing it didn’t because once I got back to my room’s wifi I got a text from Dillon Perillo and Michael Cukr asking if I wanted to join them in Mexico the day after next for a 3 day strike mission with Jack Freestone. I stayed up for another hour trying to look into changing flights to meet up with them in Mexico City, but didn’t get far in my drunken state and called it a night. I woke the next morning (did I mention my sister was getting married that afternoon?) and in-between photo shoots and Jet Skiing with the extended family, I tried to book flights and figure out how to get all my camera stuff — which was locked in my house, to Mexico with me. At 3:00 p.m. I finally got all the flight numbers and tried to book the tickets only to have my credit cards blocked because the bank suspected fraud. I passed the torch to Dillon and asked him to book the flights the next morning for me, because my cards weren’t working and I had to leave for the wedding in 15 minutes. Dillon was driving back to Santa Monica and convinced me that I was in good hands and he would get everything worked out in a few hours when he got home. I was done, or so I thought.
As the groom was reading his vows from a hotel notepad, I got a text from Dil: “The flights are fully booked now, looking for other flights, but not finding much, can you leave tonight?” For the next 15 minutes as the wedding finished we texted back and forth, me trying to hide my phone while sitting in the front row (not easy), until finally the flights were all booked. Later that night I called my house cleaner (only person with a key in California) to have him unlock my house and walked him through packing my camera gear and water housing equipment into my two camera bags. Then he gave the bags to a taxi who then drove them from Laguna Beach to Dillon’s house in Santa Monica at 11:00p.m. at night. Finally everything was done. I could let loose. The next several hours were full of Jack and Cokes until 4 in the morning.
The wake up call came at 6 and I was in a shuttle on my way to the airport. I tried to check into my flight and they said I wasn’t booked for any tickets. Dillon had never sent me my flight confirmation, but eventually we got it worked out and they found me in the system. The rest of the day was spent navigating hangovers, layovers and Mexico City airport until I arrived at Huatulco at sundown. Dillon said they had booked a taxi for the 2 hour ride to the camp for me and the driver would be waiting at the airport. I looked and looked but there was no sign waiting that said: “Quinn Matthews.”
The BIG problem though was I had no idea what address I was going to. So the next 30 minutes was spent using my spanish skills (thanks Prof. Ortiz) to convince a local taxi to drive 2 hours out of the way to Salina Cruz and then go surf camp to surf camp until we found where I was supposed to be staying at. I had finally found someone and got to the taxi counter to pay for the ride. As they were converting the money I glanced behind the counter and saw a sign reading “Kin Mathwes.” I just started laughing and explained the mix up and that I was the “Kin Mathwes” that they couldn’t find earlier.
The next two hours were spent listening to Mr. Worldwide (PitBull), who was Alejandro, my taxi driver’s favorite musician, even though he couldn’t speak a word of English. The next two hours were spent trying to sleep, but Alejandro had “pimped” his ride and added a blinding blue LED light which turned on at my feet every time he braked, so instead the next two hours were spent scared to death as Alejandro sped past and dodged semi trucks on the blind corners which were about a 120 degree direction change every 200 yards.
Then I finally got to the camp and it was heaven. I jumped into the pool and waited on a hammock for Dillon, Jack and Michael to show up a few minutes later and eat a feast the chefs had prepared. I would have slept well that night had I not needed to stay up all night submitting my slideshow and essay questions for the Follow the Light Grant, a surf photography contest, due the next day.