Sunday, November 21, 2010

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.

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