Monday, August 30, 2010

Most enjoyable!

I have been waveriding everyday for the last 3 days, including a 2nd session on one of those days. And..........? There is the possibility of another session today also if the swell has not come up as far as it has been predicted to do so.
I have been alternating between my newly acquired Warren Thompson longboard (10' of unadulterated bliss!), upon which yesterday I rode the biggest most perfect wave I have ever had the pleasure of on it so far, and my surf mats, riding both the Tracker Roundtail and the MT5 having decided it was time to give it another outing.
The MT5 is certainly a challenge in comparison to the canvas topped 4GFs. I haven't had it out for sometime and it does take me a half an hour or so to get it sorted.
I think part of this has quite a lot to do with the deck which seems quite slippery at first but after half an hour or so magically gets better and I was able to feel more secure and confident. I read on the UK forum that MT has mentioned that the deck gets grippier the more the mat is used and my experience seems to confirm that so I am going to make it my go to mat for the next little while to see if I can get it a little more run in so to speak.
As I am riding my 4GFs at soft inflations now, the other part of the difficulty is inflation level, so I spent a considerable amount of time experimenting from hard inflation all the way back through to a 180 degrees bend and finally settled on what I can only describe as a stiff 90 degrees! So it is now feeling a little less like a body board and more like a mat to ride which is terrific and of course an already quick mat now goes even quicker!
Michelle has lately attempted to describe the basically  indescribable!
I though I might have a crack at it also but from a mat riders point of view. But that will be another post on another day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I have the wallpaper on my 24" iMac set up to a folder of mat riding pics that changes every 30 minutes.
This morning I just happened to go to the desktop to be confronted by this classic shot of Pranaglider by Jason which looked all the more impressive blown up on my screen (Double click on it to get the full effect. Yeh, I know, I know! I need to clean up my desktop!).
So glad my working week is over and I start my 5 day weekend today with waveriding conditions looking good for most of them as now I am amped to get the Tracker out and go carve a little too!
Oh, and check this mat riding footage out!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

GG in oils!

With thanks to Wardiew at Swaylocks wife!

Rasta on a Surf Mat in Slo-Mo!

The silent look and learn slowed down version.

Rasta on a surf mat!

Here is the footage from Thomas Campbell's brilliant movie "Sprout" of Rasta riding his Dale Solomonson Neumatic with one of his mates during a trip to the Mentawai islands. As fas as I know both of the mats are the 200/70 advanced model. One has both rocker and concave and the other concave only. The opening ride from 0:22 to 0:33 shows brilliantly the frictionless slide a well designed mat can achieve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I reckon I can finally claim............. have come of age as a mat rider.
For today, I successfully rode my Tracker Roundtail at a soft inflation (90 degree bend) for the first time.

I just got a few rides before I had to return to shore but I discovered:
1. Why Kendog does those big porpoising movements to get into a wave because I did it too without thinking about it and I have never done that before.
2. The mat is definitely even quicker.
3. It provides more opportunity to change the shape of the mat and it responds more readily.
4. It's a hell of a lot easier to hang on too.
5. It's a hell of a lot easier to duckdive.
6. It's a hell of a lot more fun!
Yeh, yeh I know, you told me so. Just took a few weeks to get there!

Bob McTavish rode a surf mat once.........

............for a month!

Here he is pictured with one of the last longboards he made in 1965. He had laid the fin panel with alternating layers of black and white pigmented resin so as he could follow the foil shape as he was grinding it.

This photo is from a back issue of The Australian Surfer's Journal that I recently received containing George Greenough's scrapbook article which I am intending to scan soon and upload to Issuu where all the other GG articles I have discovered lately reside.

Anyway there is a letter from Bob to George, who were pretty close buddies, as you may well know having basically inspired the shortboard revolution together, and it contains the most interesting information in the following excerpt.

"I have been riding the mattress for a month solid. Sore foot and no board. It is great. Had a few 8 - 10 foot days on it. Up at Seal Rocks it was 10 -12 foot capping on a reef then pushing through a bay and curling for 100 yards. I'd start the drift right at the bottom of the first drop, and hold it for 50 yards. Sometimes right through. Sometimes I'd ride the whole ride backwards for some terrible wipe-outs, though get horribly eaten after getting bounced off in a hairy cross-up. I was riding the mattress soft, and it even pearled sometimes in bouncing stuff. Just clinging on. I wish you'd been there. It was perfect mattress surf. We would have got each other stoked. Went to another place that afternoon and I got one wave from way the hell out in this big rip. Solid 12 foot only one out. The mattress was just flying. Hissing. You know that fantastic sound and feeling. It went for at least a quarter of a mile. Wish you'd been there.
Hope the islands, movie and go-cart are in good shape.
See you sometime. Bob"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Always out!

Of late, I have been trying my best to contain my excitement and enthusiasm for mat riding so as not to piss people off but buggar it today I am letting fly as, like many others, I am so stoked to be a mat rider.
I have been riding my mats pretty well every time I go out which is up to 4 times a week as the conditions are pretty reasonable for the mat at this time and this is why.
It is just stunning how a mat can turn seemingly poor waves in to great rides.
Recently I had the point to myself, as it was a week day, the waves appeared a little small, and were probably a bit quick for the stand up surfers in any case as the tide was a bit low.
But a mat find ways to get on to the face even if there does not appear to be much in the way of one to get on before closing out and I had some terrific fast high line rides.
In contrast, on another occasion, it was quite big at the point and there were quite a few crew out. In the past my strategy has been to use a bodyboard to successfully poach waves off the masses. But now that I am more experienced and confident on a mat I decided to take the Tracker Roundtail out as the waves were not particularly quick but had some size.
I was subject to the usual array of surprised looks and the odd outright derisory one also.
I have the pleasure of announcing that we did well together. Very well! On one occasion, I had the pleasure of calling 3 other riders off a wave, a shortboarder and a couple of bodyboarders, yelling "Get off my wave, those things are too slow!" as I sped straight across underneath them. The bodyboarders just couldn't believe their eyes and from then on watched everything I took off on.
On another wave which had a fair bit of size, I took off across the face so fast that the momentum shot me straight across into the rip running alongside the rocks that normally I would have to kick and paddle across to after going left at the point. As I made my way back out I just couldn't quite believe what had just occurred.
How is it that I can go so fast on something I blow up before I enter the water and deflate to a rag on the way out? Amazing!
I am also getting the hang of lightening fast changes of direction too and it is such a buzz!
The mat and I seem to be functioning as one unit together as I find myself manipulating it almost by remote control only having to think about it and it happens.
Magic Towel is right!
Nowadays, when I go to check out the conditions, I am able to consider a far broader range of conditions than I have been able to in the past as mainly a stand up board rider.
So while others don't go in I choose to and am always rewarded and this is why I am usually always out!