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!

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