Since the hero days of Trevor Hendy, Grant Kenny and the Mercer brothers, professional surf lifesaving has worn a 10 year hangover of shrinking dollars and audiences. But thankfully, one of Australia’s most iconic sports has been revived. Pooley has risen through the nursery of surf lifesaving to the podium of the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series to frontier a new era. Born just up the hill from the lapping shores at Manly Hospital, Philippa and Ian Poole took home their first child on May 20th 1988, all quiet and contained, but not for long. In what began as a way to contain a fiery live wire, an early introduction to the ocean on Sydney’s Northern Beaches has bred a 6’4’’ athletic frame that’s never stopped moving.
About the time of his enrollment at North Curl Curl Primary School, Matt’s folks took him to Nippers. His talent on a board was without par but swimming was his Achilles’ heel. “I couldn’t swim to save my life, I was less than average,” he quips.
After big victories through the junior ranks, Matt very nearly left the sport when his competitors all had huge growth spurts. “There was a year or two where I came really close to throwing it all away,” he concedes. “I was so little and weedy and I was barely in the top 15 in the state.” Thankfully, a timely spring in size and an under 17s Australian Ironman Title kick started the prospects of a professional career. However, after moving to the Gold Coast and failing to secure solid results, Matt’s last chance at a career came with a move to The Sunshine Coast with gun coach Michael King, at Mooloolaba SLSC. His 17th result in 2008 was transformed into a second place in 2010. “That was it, that’s when this whole world became real”, Matt remembers.
2011 and 2012 were both productive years on the series and between the 50km Molokai to Oahu board paddle and endurance adventures with Red Bull, Matt’s athleticism and ability is hard to fault. And, beautifully so, he’s still doing it all with the same stoke he had as a young nipper.Read more