Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never before experienced!

I realised following a session on the Neumatic the other day that a large part of the appeal of mat riding is the new and never before experienced sensations that it provides whilst riding a wave.
This pic is a classic example as the mat is about to take off along the wave at great speed on a highline and the sensation of that, with one's face inches away from the towering wall reeling out ahead, is totally exhilarating!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Like a fine whisky!

Dale distilled.
  • Improved speed, sensitivity, manoeuvrability, durability and very light weight.
  • Unique high speed, adaptable cornering and surprising auto-acceleration.
  • Outstanding performance in ideal waves and excellent in choppy, flatter surf.
  • Uniquely capable of rapidly pulling in to and through critical sections with little rider input.
  • Fastest and most fun means of riding waves on "unsurfable" twisted days when no one else is out.
  • It's like having an independent suspension system for your body and will often go faster over bumps and chop!
  • The least rider effort yields the highest degree of performance.

Friday, November 26, 2010


1. I assess the conditions with a different eye.
2. I don't mind if conditions are big, lumpy and onshore.
3. I can be disappointed if conditions are such that I have to ride my longboard rather than a mat. 
4. I now own 5 extra wave craft.
5. I also now own a second, huge, pair of fins.
6. I store my body board under the house.
7. I have slimmed down a little in the body but now have massive legs.
8. I get wet and am stoked far more often than I used to be.
9. I have made lots of great new friends all around the world.
10. I am more contented and am starting to stop wearing any footwear at all?
What are your 10?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am so chuffed............

.....'cos that's me there riding that wave!

Observations after 3 sessions on the Neumatic

I love this pic so no apologies for using it again here at the beginning of this post as Prana's cranking bottom turn provides further evidence of the level of performance that a Neumatic is capable of providing given a decent wave on which to perform.
This is not an easy mat to ride and I hold in high regard those who ride a Neumatic with such grace and ease.
I think one can get a bit caught up in the magic towel ride thing and as a consequence I have probably been running the Neumatic with too little air in it initially. As I have already discovered with the MT5, and stupidly had not applied to the Neumatic which has even lighter weight deck, the thinner the material in the mat the more air needs to be in it to work for me. In the end we have to find a level of inflation that works for each of us individually and my new and I think far more logical method is to inflate the mat to a firm rather than soft 90 degrees in my case, where it feels like it is gliding through the water efficiently as I am paddling and kicking around. That does make a lot of sense but it amazes me how it sometimes takes so long to get to such a point.
I have already talked about the 1st session and I can report that the 2nd session was a bit of a fizzog as the waves were just a little small apart from one ride, which was wonderful. This was especially so as I had not really sorted out inflation levels and I had Michelle hanging around taking some video which due to technical difficulties did not eventuate in any usable footage which mattered little in the end. In the main it was very frustrating session as I just could not get on to the waves apart from the one mentioned which had a bit of oomph.
Today I took the mat for a technical session basically, in a bit of a close out but at least it had some size. My primary purpose was to experiment with a range of inflation levels eventually coming to the conclusion I have spoken about above.
Even though the waves were crap really, I managed to get a couple of ripping drops that felt a lot like Prana might have been feeling in the pic above. Blazingly fast and all keeled over in a super fun carving turn. My final wave was the one though. The conditions were clearly starting to get a little better with a right holding up on occasion but after a couple of hours of grappling with the Neumatic at all sorts of levels of inflation in conditions where there was no channel and it was an exercise in constant duckdiving, and we know how much fun that is on a mat, I was knackered. Anyway, I got on to one that held up for at least a reasonable amount of time and that stood up nicely with quite a steep face. I could see an opportunity to move from the bottom of the wave up to a higher line and buggar me that Neumatic did it easily displaying incredible grip.
I feel like I have a much better understanding of the Neumatic now and I am really looking forward to scoring a session in decent waves so as I can explore the potential of this challenging and exciting wave craft further.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More on the Neumatic Advanced 200/70 Surf Mat

So here is a pic of the current quiver. Starting from the left:
Neumatic Advanced 200/70
4GF Standard
Krypt MT5
4GF Fatty
4GF Roundtail Tracker
The Neumatic is the longest mat just pipping the Roundtail Tracker in length and and it is also the thickest mat by quite some margin as it is designed to hold up 100 kilograms of bronzed Aussie!
Here are some other pics for your edification.

The top of the Neumatic and it is a fantastic looking mat!

The bottom of the Neumatic

The side of the Neumatic

The 4Gf Standard in front of the Neumatic
The 4Gf Standard next to the Neumatic
The Krypt MT5 in front of the Neumatic
The 4GF Tracker Roundtail in front of the Neumatic
Comparing the depth of the 4GF Roundtail Tracker and the Neumatic
Even though the Neumatic is the biggest mat it  rolls up really small compared the to 4GF Standard because of the lightweight of the materials used. Amazing!

Ok, ok! So you would like to know what it is like to ride. Well, after this mornings session in lumpy offshore conditions you will be pleased to know that I can tell you.
My first observation is that the Neumatic feels like one hell of a lot of mat. As I have mentioned above, it is the thickest of all the mats and as a consequence really does feel like one is riding on a bubble of air due to the use of very light material on the top and the bottom. It is only because I have quite some experience now on 4Gf and the Krypt MT5 surf mats that I was able to come to terms with the Neumatic within this session.
The MT5 also has a deck made from light material which was a bit of a problem when I first rode it but after a few sessions I became more comfortable and this prior experience really helped when I first hopped on the Neumatic this morning. The 4GF mats with the nylon canvas deck are far more accessible so are certainly the best option for a first time mat rider and the MT5 or a Neumatic are the next step up.
The deck of the Neumatic has terrific grip and initially this was a problem for me, particularly on the take off, as I am used to being able to slide forward with a big dolphin kick on the 4GFs quite easily. This was not so easy on the Neumatic and I eventually realised that, because the Neumatic is quite long and buoyant, I could get on to waves in more or less a normal riding position precluding the need to slip off the back of the mat and then pull forward as I am accustomed to doing on the 4GF and the MT5.
Now this wonderful degree of grip comes in very handy when you are in the midst of turbulent whitewater. I have recently discovered that gripping the mat really hard to get as much stiffness in to it as possible allows one to ride through whitewater and into clear wall. There were some good sized sets coming through and every now and then a bomb and a couple of times I got caught out too far inside. On one occasion however, I decided to make an attempt to get on the wave just after it had broken as I suspected there was enough size in it to get a quite reasonable ride if I could get through the whitewater. Boy did I find myself in a white out, thrown all over the place and completely disappearing from view I am sure, but with the secure grip provided by the Neumatic I eventually shot through the front of the whitewater and away across the now reforming wave.
As I mentioned it took me just a little time to get the take off sorted but then the Neumatic began to show me what it was capable of as I got a couple of reasonable waves. It is definitely quick, holds the highline well, somewhat similarly to the 4GF Roundtail Tracker, slips into reforms easily and glides along on the barest whimper of a wave. It is so sensitive and I seemed to be feeling every little adjustment the mat was making during the ride.
Eventually, I managed to position myself to get on of the bigger sets that were occasionally coming through and I got the ride of the day screaming along the face at high speed, through a flat section, back on to a nice steep face before straightening up and riding the reform almost all the way to the shoreline leaving myself with a lengthy trip back out to the peak. Fantastic!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Neumatic arrived today............

......and for your viewing pleasure the first ever public unboxing of a Dale Solomonson Advanced 200/70 Neumatic Surf Mat!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not a lot in it!

Following a recent conversation on UKMatSurfers, I decided to do a little physical comparison between the Kpypt MT5 and the 4GF Standard as, on my recent couple of sessions on the Standard, it felt quite small and narrow compared to all my other mats and that I needed a much pushier wave to ride it just as Paul has advised me.  The results surprised me as I was under the impression that the MT5 was a slightly bigger mat as I cannot remember it feeling quite as narrow and needing a pushier wave quite so much. I have an inkling this might have to do with the thinner fabric used on the top which is also available by special request on a 4GF Standard. IE blue material top and bottom. I intend to do some more testing in this regard but in the meantime some pics comparing the dimensions of them both.                                        
Somewhere under there is a 4GF Standard!

But not as large a difference as it looks. You can just see the square tail of the MT5 poking out from underneath the 4GF Standard.

Both are blown up to a reasonably firm 90 degree bend and if anything the 4GF Standard looks a little deeper.

Side by side the MT5 is definitely a squarer mat and looks like it has more surface area.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Closest Thing to being a Dolphin!

"Your tapping into the source at a higher level than surfing and that is something very rewarding and exciting because it is an egoless experience, just you and the ocean and frictionless speed. the closest thing to being a dolphin."
Hell yeh! I hadn't considered that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spreading the Gospel according to Paul!

Fresh from a fun session in big and messy onshore conditions on the Tracker, I arrived home to find my new t-shirt had arrived!
Are you spreading the gospel too!