A change of pace this month as we interview an extreme sports enthusiast and kiting champion from his home in Raglan, New Zealand.
1. What is your name?
Matthew Taggart…most people call me Matt!
2. What is your occupation?
Director/Co-Founder Ozone Kites
3. Do you have a “green” memory growing up?
To be honest nothing specific of “being green” like we think of it in this day and age! But my father was very handy in everything he did. We had a huge vegetable garden and I remember him hating waste or being wasteful with anything, including his personal time. He died when I was 12, and my main memory of him was that he was well ahead of his time.
4. What’s your favorite meal?
Heading to an Agriturismo in Sardinia, Italy. If you don’t know what that is search online and book a flight to Sardinia.
5. Where on the “green scale” do you fall?
Well in my mind I’m green but in reality I know that’s far from the truth! I fly far too much globally, co-own a brand that produces “stuff” and I really enjoy life! But I am conscious of my responsibility to leave a better world for my two girls.
6. What are the most rewarding and most challenging
parts of your job?
Test flying a new kite design fresh from our design team on the ocean or the snow is an incredible feeling that will never get boring. The challenge, like everyone I guess, far too many emails and that nightmare world of admin that can suck you down!
7. Where do you turn for your news?
I flick around various sites online. I’ve given up on watching TV news, it’s dull and predictable/depressing. Although, I have been loving SNL with Alec Baldwin, about the only real news!
8. What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next
Start to make time to grow vegetables as well as my father did. I always have the intent but have yet to follow through fully. Lack of time is the excuse I’m always making but I’m always energized once I do put the effort in
9. What’s your favorite book?
Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance
10. What inspired you to do what you do?
My father and his excessive appetite for adrenaline! My earliest memories are of us heading off to some hill or mountain every weekend so that he could throw himself off on his dodgy looking hang-glider, we are talking 1973 onwards. The wings were beyond crude; the Wright brothers were flying safer wings 😉
His passion and energy for the sports he was addicted to is what I became. You can probably tell I loved my father lot!
11. How can readers get into kiting?
Check out www.ozonekites.com and click on contact, we have a school finder. But before that the fastest way is to buy a simple trainer foilkite like our IGNITION kite design.
Put some hours into flying it in a park or a beach, any open area and get so good that you can fly the kite without crashing it into the ground with your eyes shut. Once you are at that stage it means you have learnt how to feel where the kite is in the sky through the control bar. Then book a lesson and your instructor will be extremely happy you already have kite skills which means you’ll progress to the water or the snow (if snowkiting) straight away. Most beginners end up rushing into the water, if you put some time into flying a kite with skill and finesse you will be a far better kiter once you graduate to the water or snow. Oh and if you have children they will love you for it, an Ignition is a seriously fun product
12. Where do you manufacture and how “green” are your products?
Well not very green like most products us humans use! But, we do take immense pride in everything we create. We do not mass produce, we make to order with a flexible production and we care for our amazing factory team in Vietnam. We don’t add shit for shits sake to our products and we run an efficient company in every way and limit packaging.
13. Where in the world would you like to be right now?
Baja….and I fly there tomorrow!
14. How do you relax?
That’s my problem, I’m not very good at relaxing, but I am at my most content after a multi sport day enjoying time with friends and family with a nice glass of vino and good food.
15. You travel and compete all around the world, how do you
keep up with everything?
I don’t! Who told you that, they must be mad! 😉
I work long hours that’s all there is to it. Here I am writing this at 11pm with my beautiful wife long gone to bed and I fly to San Fran then onto Baja in the morning. Not ideal really but I’m blessed with where I am so I’ll just keep putting the hours in.
16. What’s next for you and Ozone?
To get more flexible is my wish, to go into my 47th year fitter and stronger and for Ozone to keep making kiters and paraglider pilots smile and achieve their goals all over the world.
17. If there were one industry/product that you could make more eco-
friendly, what would it be?
Packaging is a serious issue for the world, it’s so out of control and if only every brand would take true responsibility for what they sell and how they package it, the difference could be astounding. The governments of the world won’t do anything, so it’s down to leaders in each industry to make a difference.
I’d love to see hemp kite fabric and hemp used as widely as it should be!
18. What do you want Ozone Kites and your personal legacy
Innovating, pushing boundaries and creating mischief and mayhem, that works for Ozone and myself! As a dad of two amazingly cool and beautiful daughters, I would love for them to remember me like I remember my dad.