Friday, October 22, 2010

I need a bigger swell.................. as I can get a session in on the new mat to test it's capability.
Ok, ok, I will admit that I have already been on the Standard in less than ideal conditions, but I was straight out of the water and breathing in to the Tracker Roundtail as the swell was just not arced up enough.
Interestingly, before I ventured out that day, I had laid the Standard on top of the Roundtail to compare deflated dimensions and there was remarkably little difference apart from the pulled in tail and a little length. But put a few breaths in and, My God, the Standard is definitely a smaller mat! I managed to get on to a couple of faces and got some feel of it's potential and I could tell that it was going to hold in well on a more critical wave. Most of the time however, I was getting caught behind that beautiful place that the right size mat for the conditions on the day puts us. Looking forward to trying the Standard again but I don't think it is going to happen too soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The saga around the repair of the World Famous 4GF Fatty Surf Mat!

Just to reiterate, the pic shows the result of an extremely rare incident that damaged the now World Famous Fatty. A rip almost the length of the mat that fortunately did not cause any damage to the i-beams but at this end is all the way to the edge join.

Following this appalling event, I ordered a replacement mat from 4th Gear Flyer in case the fix was not successful and PG very kindly agreed to include a long piece of fabric so as the repair could be carried out without resorting to joining 2 shorter pieces. The new mat is a Standard, as I am most happy with my Roundtail Tracker as the go to all conditions mat.
I have followed PG repair guide that every new matter receives with his mat.

Step 1

I ask Michelle if I can use her masking tape and she kindly agrees.
As this is a long tear, I follow PG's recommendation and start work inserting strips of tape under the fabric in an effort to join the tear up as perfectly as possible

I decide to start at the ends and work my way in towards the middle

This is as good as I can get it and I am happy to work with this join.

Step 2
The next task is to trim the patch to cover the gap. PG has provided me with a piece of material a 3rd of the width of the mat so I go with this as it will easily cover the gap with at least a 3" overlap as recommended in the guide.  Except, of course, at the end of the mat where the tear meets the edge join so I take a template of the curve of the mat at that point so get as much coverage past the tear as possible, which only amounts to a mere 1cm or 2. I do the same at the other end of the mat but only need to take the patch to the inside edge of the join. I use a standard pair of scissors to trim the patch and then check I am happy with the fit. Umm, I think to myself, it is going to be interesting to see how close I can get the patch to the edge with basically a one off chance to place it because tacky contact cement is used to fix it.

Step 3
The next recommendation is to cover the back of the patch with masking tape to minimise it curling up on itself after the contact cement is applied. Important note: This is the shiny side of the material not the rough side as one would initially presume.

Step 4
Now for the messy, tricky bit. The guide recommends two applications of contact cement and I am using Selley's Kwik Grip and as this stuff smells pretty powerfully I go outside on to the deck amongst the tall Karris. To make sure I cover all the area I need to I mark the around the patch with a permanent marker then and apply a 1st layer of cement to each surface and leave them to dry until tacky. I just used the little plastic spreader that came with the cement although PG recommends a brush. For the 2nd coat I decided to use a brush and it was of course much easier to get a smoother layer of cement and I again wait impatiently for the cement to go tacky.

So now the cement is tacky and it is time to drop this patch exactly where it needs to go in one delicate and efficient operation! Suffice to say it turned out to be a bloody wrestling match as the patch attached itself to parts of the mat and itself before eventually ending fairly close to where I intended and with only one little crease. Important word of warning: Do try not to let the contact cement drop between the join resulting in the top of the mat sticking to the bottom of the mat.
"What was that?" you ask.
"Oh, did that happen to me?"
"Oh no, not to me!" mumbled the wide mouthed frog through tightly clenched lips.

I take the now repaired mat down under the house to dry off and ready for a blow up and test the next day!

I wake up the next morning and I am up and out of bed in a flash and down under the house and whacking big breaths in to the mat as I bring it back in and..............?
voila! the mat fills up beautifully and I take this pic to show you that the Fatty has returned from the dead! Confident the job is done, I leave it blown up just to check there are no leaks.

Uh Oh! I come back later and it's drooping - Buggar!

Stricken I start my investigations by squeezing the mat as I hold it to my ear. Ah ha! I hear the sound of air escaping and trace it to a part of the repair where there is an inward crease in the mat over which the patch passes allowing an escape route.
Fortunately, it is near a corner of the patch and with considerable effort, accompanied by much grunting and groaning, I manage to lift the patch back far enough so as I believe that I can effect a repair. I use Enamel thinners to remove as much of the original cement as possible, apply 2 new coats and allow them to dry until tacky and then reposition the corner making sure there are absolutely no creases this time.

The mat gets taken back down under the house until the next morning when again I am up out of bed like a flash to inspect the second repair which looks really good. I whack breaths in to the mat to see if finally the World Famous Fatty is resurrected from the dead mat place.

Success, as half an hour later it still standing proudly erect. Deed done!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

#4 of a planned 5 mat quiver arrives

Following the, hopefully temporary, demise of the World Famous Fatty, a Standard has arrived from 4th Gear Flyer to accompany it, the Roundtail Tracker and the Krypt MT5. I am really looking forward to a session on the Standard, mainly to compare it to the MT5. Hopefully, there will be some decent swell this weekend so as I can do so.
The 5th mat you ask? Well, that is a Neumatic Advanced 200/70 which is in progress according to Dale and on it's way soon maybe???

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A new mat riding move?

Inspired by Prana at the Cottons Mat Meet, I have been practising a new move lately and have dubbed it "The Superman". There are two flying positions. The first as shown in the pic with both arms tucked into the sides and the second with both arms straight out in front of the rider.
I equate the feeling to the hang ten as practised by longboarders.
Anyone else discovered and/or named any other mat riding moves lately?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mini mat meet!

It appears Michelle has a painful case of Plantar Fasciitis! This means riding waves standing up is not a good idea for awhile. So yesterday we both kicked out the back on mats for Michelle's 2nd mat session as she thought using fins might be ok and she could still get some exercise and have some fun. Normally, she would take out a bodyboard but this can cause her some back pain to lie on due to it's lack of flexibility and I had mentioned that I thought the mat might be better in this regard also. She was on the Tracker Roundtail this time as the Fatty was recently put out of action temporarily, I hope, as I intend to have a go at fixing it with PGs assistance.
I took out the MT5 having decided to experiment with applying some wax to the deck which is still causing some issues with it's lack of grip. It is not so much an issue when taking off, but more so in the turbulence after the wave has broken.
There were some good sized sets coming through but pretty straight and neither of us would have bothered taking a board out in those conditions.
It was not long before Michelle rediscovered that a mat does not like to take off on a broken wave and that they are buggars of things to get back on.
In the end she got a few cracking rides on good sized waves and returned back out each time for more with the famous mat riders grin etched into her face! The session did not appear to make her foot any worse or cause her back any issues either so I think we might soon see her out there again on a mat.
The MT5 was much improved with a little wax on the deck and I will be more confident about taking it out when there is a more critical wave on offer.
I finished off the session on the Roundtail, after Michelle had gone in, with an effortless perfect little right that walled up for a nice long ride that seemed to go on and on.
It was terrific being able to share the stoke with another mat rider for a change as punters on "normal" wave craft cannot quite seem to understand the source of all the merriment.