I had a lengthy session on the MT5 this morning in less than ideal but reasonable off shore conditions.
It certainly is different to what I am used to. I have been riding Paul Gross' Fatty and Tracker Roundtail mats to date. Although I have not been mat riding that long I do get out a couple of times a week at least and in reasonable sized waves so I am pretty confident and have a fair handle on it now. Love it in fact!
I reckon it took me 40 minutes to get the MT5 worked out trying different volumes of air etc. I am 5' 10" and weigh a touch under 100kg and found that it needed a fair amount of stiffness. It also took me a little time to come to terms with the material on the mats top which provides remarkable adhesion and I found if the mat had too little air in it I could barely move around on it at all. Once I got a bit more air in, I could move around as I wished so having got that all sorted...........?
Well, it's a thoroughbred isn't it! A bloody Ferrari is how I would describe it. Very fast, turns so easily, hangs in like hell and just screams at you to get your fins out of the water so as it can go faster. I have never been so compelled to do this on any of my other mats. Brilliant!
But like a Ferrari it works best on a racetrack so I also discovered that once the wave had lost it's power it was best just to pull straight out, return to the take off area to find another face to throw it at, rather than chasing the reforms as I normally would.
I am assuming this has something to do with the slight rocker that enables it to track and perform so powerfully whilst the wave is moving it along easily but not to trim so readily through the whitewater sections and on to the little reforms so easily as an unrockered mat does.
I accidentally ended up going backwards a couple of times and the mat just took that in it's stride. I was so impressed that I turned it around and took a couple of waves with the rounded corners at the rear which tamed the prancing beast somewhat. A sort of mini roundtail adding another element of versatility and in fact the way I might choose to ride it in sloppy conditions if it was my only mat.
I am so looking forward to taking it out on a day with a better quality and more critical wave as I am certain it will be a complete blast.
Further to the above.
If the waves you normally surf are crumbly rather than powerful with a nice clean face then the MT5 is probably not for you especially if it is the only mat you own.
The 'Tracker Roundtail' will still be my go to mat for it's smooth and versatile go anywhere luxury Range Rover like ability and ride in comparison to the MT5, which is a more demanding and skittish ride that works best in more critical waves.
I am very pleased to own an MT5 as I now have a far more versatile quiver of mats!