The Manic Team

Rene Vaz - Managing Director

The Big Boss Rene, since the age of 19 has been highly involved (obsessed!?) in the NZ fly fishing and tackle industry. Rene is a past New Zealand Fly Fishing Champion and NZ team member, he is an FFF and STANIC Fly Casting Instructor, holds an Masters Degree with Honours in Fisheries Biology and Management and has worked for and advised a number of tackle companies throughout the globe. Basically Rene lives and breathes fly fishing.

Along with his wife Susan, Rene started Manic Tackle Project in 2008 from their garage at home and after a few years of hard work, late nights, large glasses of wine and some great customers they have successfully grown the company into Australasias largest and most respected fly fishing distributor.  

On working in this industry " Who would have thought a misspent youth of playing with fishing gear in your room as a kid could turn into a career....."

Matt Wilson – Sales Manager

Matt Wilson aka the Rainman, due to his freakish ability to recollect products, stock numbers and backorders (yet struggles to remember his own name and age) is our Sales Manager.  Matt has a huge passion for fly fishing and has a work history of managing fishing shops, repping and consulting for fishing brands, and media sales.  

His role as Sales Manager involves him getting out and about to meet the various store owners and getting to know our customers and sharing info and recommendations about our products. When he is not in the office or meeting with our customers, Matt loves nothing better than to go camping with a solid days fishing followed by good music and a cool drink.

On working for Manic, Matt says "I get to help the masses strengthen their flyfishing sport by creating awesome flyfishing ranges in stores.  Im pretty much a guide who doesnt have to walk or spot fish....."

Cameron Forsman - Account Manager

Cameron worked as retail staff at Fish City in Hamilton while he was at Uni. He learned many things from some great people and his fly fishing passion truly kicked into gear while he was working there. This is also where he first became indoctrin…. introduced to Manic product and philosophy.

Cameron has a Bachelor of Laws with a Second Major in Political Science from the University of Waikato. He claims it is nowhere near as fancy as it sounds and that he learned far more about fly fishing during this time than he did about the legal profession.

Outside fly fishing, Cameron enjoys outdoor activities such as conventional Fishing, Hunting and Camping. Cameron is also avid sports follower with cricket being his main game of choice. If he is found in the office in a zombie-like state, it is probably because the Black Caps played on the other side of the world the previous evening.

Cameron has proclaimed himself Manic’s video game and computer expert as well as resident amateur astronomer. The office needs at least one nerd!

Cameron loves working in an industry that he is passionate about, with product that excites him and with people that make him laugh.

Chris Dore - South Island Account Manager

"Chris Dore is a Queenstown based fly fishing guide and well known New Zealand fly fishing personality. He is a member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association and in 2005 became one of the first New Zealanders to successfully pass the internationally recognised, Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructors examination." He's also our South Island sales guy which is pretty awesome having a fisherman of his calibre on the team. When he's not on the river guiding clients onto fish against all odds he's instore spreading the Manic gospel and generally being the face of our business in the South Island, what a guy!

On working for Manic, Chris says "I work for Manic? Ah ok, sounds good! I need to keep better track of the amount of jobs I have."

Matty MacDonald - Operations Manager

Born in São Sebastião, São Paulo, and raised in the city's district of Maresias, is the son of Simone Pinto Medina and Claudio de Jesus Ferreira. Matty began surfing at age 9; at 11 he won his first national championship, the Rip Curl Grom Search in the category Sub-12, held in Búzios, Rio de Janeiro. He was the youngest athlete to win the World Junior Tour (ASP), aged 15, and is currently the youngest Brazilian to join the ASP World Champions Tour (WCT), among the top 34 best on the planet.

Matty won many Brazilian amateur championships, becoming champion at the Volcom Sub-14, Quicksilver King of Groms, Rip Curl Grom Search, besides conquering the state championship three times. In California, he was second at the Volcom Internacional Sub-14, and in Ecuador, vice-champion of the Amateur World Sub-16 Championship. At 14 years old, Matty was already at the finals of the Paulista Championship, and surfing the World Championship in Ubatuba, where he managed to defeat his idol Adriano De Souza, aka Mineirinho.

In July 2009, Matty won a contract with Rip Curl, and thereafter endeavored to pursue a professional surfing career. 10 days later, he won a stage of the World Championship. From then on until 2011 came the sequence of championships that took him to share the waves with the top 10 best, surfing the WQS 6 Star Prime in Imbituba,[10] and the two WQS 6 Star in France and Spain. He was also victorious in the Pro Junior World Championship, held in French waves.[11] He was the first Brazilian to win the Australian Backside (Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia).

By winning the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Matty became the top ranked surfer on the list of the 36 best surfers in the world. He dropped to 5th after losing the Billabong Rio Pro 2014, but re-assumed the pole after winning the Fiji Pro. Later in the year, Matty went on to become the first ever Brazilian ASP World Champion by the age of 20 (the youngest since Kelly Slater did also in age 20 in 1992).

On working for Manic, Matty just looks at the judges and pumps two fists in the air, laying a major claim to just how awesome it is.

Gus Lapin - Warehouse Manager

Gus Lapin is our Manic Warehouse Extraordinaire / Landscape Gardener on the Death Star / Obnoxious Aussie tourist.

He graduated from Brookville Kindergarten 1995 and since then has developed a love for backcountry camping / fishing, drinking Fosters and paying rent. Even though he’s from Australia he can dress himself which is a bonus. Gus fell in love with fly fishing in Colorado and since then he would rather spend his money on fly fishing gear over feeding himself. He likes working at Manic because it’s close to his house in Birkenhead. He also loves that the company is based in Auckland, because it never rains in Auckland but he especially enjoys the close, nourishing relationships he has forged with our courier companies! And he love playing with boxes…

On a serious note: “The team at Manic are a great group of people to work with, it’s a relaxed atmosphere and I get my own chair.” 

Chris Sharland – Marketing Manager

Chris Sharland is the guy that sits in the corner of the office, bare foot with his crayons.  Or officially he is our Marketing Manager. Coming from a background in the magazine publishing world and having worked in sales and marketing in the outdoor industry, Chris joined us mid 2013.  Chris loves all things outdoors including fly fishing (obviously), hunting, landbased saltwater fishing, snowboarding, mounting biking, surfing and golf as well as undergoing further acquisitions of additional hobbies.......hence why he is broke but the perfect guy to focus his passion and energy into marketing our products.

On working at Manic " I love working with this team.  Sometimes I get to have a good fish on work time and if I’m able to catch a fish (one of) then it is all part of the fun. Chatting to retailers and guides everyday keeps me frothing to get out there, so no one should ever be sorry to bother us or drop in".

Sherry Zhang – Financial Accounts Executive

Sherry is all things finance here at Manic and is our Financial Accounts Executive.  Originally from China, Sherry immigrated to NZ and studied to achieve her Bachelor of Business and has worked in various accounting positions.  As per above Sherry is all things finance and loves numbers, reconcillations and basically everything that we all cant get our heads around.  Hence she is perfect for the job.

Sherry enjoys travel, si-fi movies and karaoke and loves spending time with her family.  She enjoys working for Manic as “ I feel valued and the flexible working environment allows me to have enough time to take care of my family”