La Jolla’s Larson: The geek god of wet suits
It started when he was in high school drawing wet suit designs in journals. And now as one of the co-founders of Matuse wet suits he makes one of the most technologically advanced, eco-friendly, premium surf wet suits in the world.
Matt’s journey started in third grade reading surfing magazines. The images of surfers and surfing got stuck in his brain and he told his mom he wanted to surf. She bought him a board and off to the beach he went. He alternated between surfing and body surfing.
His fascination with design led him to offer surfboard makers Gordon & Smith tips on how to improve their surfboard designs when he was 10.
In high school that design passion was expressed in journals of designs and ideas. He also worked at Katin, the swim trunk company, designing and sewing surf trunks.
His interest included designing wet suits. Instead of going to design school Matt chose psychology and philosophy because he didn’t want school numbing his passion for design.
After graduating from college he started working at Mitch’s surf shop in La Jolla because he enjoyed the retail experience and the psychology of buying. And still he designed wet suits in his journals.
When a wet suit designer for Hurley saw some of his designs, Matt got a call back saying they wanted to use one of his ideas. That was when Matt knew he had something and led him to work as a consultant with all the major wet suit companies.
In 2005, Matt met John Campbell and they discovered a simpatico for life and business and Matuse was born. John handled business, Matt the design, and in 2006 the first Matuse wet suits showed up in Mitch’s surf shop.
To demonstrate their commitment to making something different, the pair came up with a brilliant marketing idea. Because the wet suits were made from Yamomoto limestone rubber, they crushed up real limestone, packaged it in a bag with a fortune cookie scroll that said, “These rocks will change your life.”
That first year they sold 550 wet suits; this year they say they expect to sell thousands and are set to start international distribution.
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