Friday, December 31, 2010

It hasn't been raining quite so much over here and......

..................unlike other unfortunates our water would be clean in any case, so I've been out on a mat for the last 4 days in varying onshore conditions as there have been decent sized waves due to days of SE winds pushing up an easterly sea which in cohort with the actual swell provides the goods.
I cannot quite believe how excited I get when I see that the conditions are onshore and there is a bit of a swell. That is such a turnaround from the last 9 summers when I dreaded the SE winds as it would stop me getting in the water as I insisted on only riding waves standing up!
Now that I am riding the mat with softer inflation levels and finally understanding the degree to which one can change the shape of the mat, and more importantly how and when to do so, I am enjoying even more satisfying and often longer rides. This is particularly so on the take off and when gliding along in front of a broken wave that still has a little push. A big squeeze to drive the air to the back of the mat to give the wave plenty of mat to push on works wonders and is probably what Deb needs to be doing in the pic should she ever get a bit more air out of her mat.
I am appreciating more than ever a craft that allows you to change it's shape in real-time to suit the immediate conditions. Brilliant and so much more to look forward to learning.
For instance, I am still a little confused as to why the Roundtail sometimes drifts and yet, in what seems a more critical situation, sticks to the face like it is on rails.
Looking forward to working out why!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Uh Oh! Those mat riders are up to their tricks again!

Three teenagers from Ipswich in Queensland have been arrested after trying to use inflatable mattresses to ride floodwaters to central Brisbane more than 30 kilometres away.
Two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were caught jumping into the swollen Bremer River this afternoon and attempting to ride the current downstream to Southbank in Brisbane's CBD.
The teenagers entered the fast-flowing river around noon (AEST) at the entrance with Ironpot Creek on Gregory and Sydney streets.
Police received 10 triple-0 calls reporting the teenagers, who made it 15 kilometres downstream on single bed blow-up air mattresses.
After extensive police and SES patrols, the trio was found about 500 metres south of the Warrego Highway bridge.
They were rescued from the river around 2:30pm. Police later described their behaviour as "foolish and dangerous".
The teenagers, from West Ipswich and Redbank Plains, have been issued with a notice to appear in court for public nuisance.
Meanwhile, a rescue helicopter was used to rescue two adults and two toddlers who were forced to cling to trees after their car washed away in floodwaters at Leyburn south-west of Toowoomba.
SES crews on the ground were unable to reach the stranded family.
Earlier, a 16-year-old girl and her 17-year-old brother were rescued at Proston north-west of Brisbane when they were swept from the flooded Stuart River bridge.
The incidents add to the growing frustration of authorities who say people continue to ignore warnings to stay out of floodwaters.
Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart today issued a further warning to motorists.
"We've been putting these warnings out time and time again - don't take the risk, consider your personal safety - turn back. It's better to arrive alive than what the alternative is," he said.
"My message is very, very plain - you don't have to take the risk. A couple of hours' delay can save your life."
There has been more than 20 people rescued by swift water teams in the past few days.
This morning police charged a 28-year-old man for driving into floodwaters at Tanah Merah on Brisbane's southside.
They say the exercise tied up numerous police and rescue personnel.
The State Emergency Service has received more than 1,000 calls for help in the past 24 hours, mainly in the state's south-east.

Damn good to be on the mat again today!

Sick of stand up surfing, I was determined to take out a mat today and after a frustrating start and a move a little further around the bay I was well rewarded.
The wave was actually going right rather than left and similarly full initially but if you could get through to the inside a playground awaited with reforms aplenty walling up. The last wave was the best with a great take off generating plenty of speed to catch a couple of really great reforms with plenty of quite vertical face to aim for before a long glide all the way in to the shallows. Bloody good fun and damn I am stoked to be a mat rider!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Look! Who the hell is that!

F^*k me it's Santa!
On his horseless open mat!
All the best for the festive season to all you mat riders out there. You help to make my life so much richer.
I hope you all have a great day on the 25th and manage to get a few waves too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nomad's article on mat surfing

A slightly unexpected read to say the least. You will have to sign up here for a free trial to Wave Lines if you want to read it though!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Back on the 4GF Tracker Roundtail

There were very blowy onshore conditions yesterday and a pretty abysmal swell so I decided it was time to revisit a 4GF mat again having been on the Neumatic for some time now. The Tracker Roundtail is the go to mat for these conditions and it was that mat that I blew into action.
The Roundtail felt quite a bit smaller after the Neumatic and I have to confirm that I really like the nylon canvas decking as it allows quite adequate grip but still plenty of scope for adjusting position.
I started off at my usual soft 90 degree inflation before deciding that the conditions were so uninspiring that a little experimentation was in order to remain interested.
Clearly I have learnt a fair bit from riding the Neumatic as I was quite easily able to ride the Roundtail at super low, almost 180 degree inflation (perhaps deflation is a more accurate term?).
Even at this level of inflation, the canvas topped 4GF mat provides a stable platform on which to still to move around on the deck and still provide enough pliability to squeeze hard as required.
I didn't get any stellar waves but it was a most informative session in any case and "Heh, I got wet!".
The other upside of the session was that it is a bit warmer now so only boardies and a rashie required which is most enjoyable when riding a mat as there is an even greater feeling of freedom.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ah ha!

Watch the trailer of this recently rereleased movie for a nice little surprise fellow matters. Definitely going to be getting my grubby little mitts on this!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ummm interesting!

Michelle, who is still recovering from her plantar fasciitis injury, has been riding prone of late either on her body board or a mat.
Well, I am pleased to report that today she got her first real sense of what mat riding can be on a left that I could just sense she was really enjoying even though I could not actually see her from out the back. Not one to normally exclaim out aloud after a wave, unlike me, she did so on this occasion with some gusto. "Woo!" A little later on I overheard her mentioning to a stand up wave rider that the mat was "So fast!"
It certainly does seem true that there is always something new to learn for those of us who choose to ride mats. It was quite a bit smaller today than what I normally choose to take a mat out in but I was hanging for a session on the Neumatic as I have been on the longboard mostly of late. So after catching a couple of nice little peelers I decided I would experiment again with super low inflation so I let breath out of the mat until it could be folded completely in half. I can report that I managed to catch a couple of waves and that the bloody thing goes even faster. Yeh yeh I know, you told me so. You can see in this pic of Kendog how little breath there is in the mat and that what there is has been transferred to the back.
So once you are actually on the wave at that level of inflation there is not too much of a problem but it is positioning oneself in between times and actually getting oneself on to the wave that is the difficulty. It is in these two areas that I made some progress today as I figured out a little more about how to handle a super low inflation mat.
So at 90 degree inflation I am now pretty adept at grabbing the bottom right corner of the mat, giving it a good squeeze and pulling myself in to position. Now this method does not work at at super low inflations as the mat just does not get hard enough, following the big squeeze and so it is only after a lot of squirming and wriggling around that one manages to get get where one wants on the mat. Umm, what to do? I remember, having finally managed to get on the mat somewhere near to where I would like, reaching down to feel the bottom of the mat and discovering that there was not a scrap of breath there and that it was just dangling limply downwards. I realise that I am now effectively I am now lying on top of a much shorter mat. It occurs to me that rather than unsuccessfully squeezing the mat in the corner to harden it up I need to squeeze it further along the side as if it was a shorter mat. I do so and immediately I have a more stable deck on which to manoeuvre myself. Following this sudden discovery, without thinking, I grab on to the front corners of the mat with both hands and drawing my elbows together apply a huge squeeze resulting in all the breath in the mat moving down underneath me resulting in my lower body and legs being easily supported rather than hanging down in the ocean and that I and the mat are effectively tipped forward. A Eureka moment as I realise to what degree the shape of the mat can be changed and that this maybe exactly what I need to do on the take off. Squeeze hard so as all the air moves to the back of the mat giving the wave something to push on whilst tipping my weight forward and pulling down the face of the wave. So now of course I get the point of the use of thin material on the deck also as this allows one greater opportunity to really squeeze the hell out of the front of the mat to transfer breath where ever it is required.
Wow! Where is a wave so as I can try that theory out? I think it facilitates the take off as I seemed to be able to get on to the wave by just kicking and then squeezing hard to transfer the air and pull the front of the mat down the face of the wave.
Does that ring a bell with you experienced matters out there?

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am............

............feeling a lot more comfortable on the Neumatic now and starting to ride it without thinking about the process at all which is a relief.
In fact I am going to be bold and state that I am starting to feel at home on it as I now seem to have come to terms with feeling like I am riding a big bubble of air having got the level of inflation sorted.
It has taken me awhile to work out where I need to position myself on it and that seems to be further back than on my other mats as there is quite a bit of length to deal with. Just like WP in the pic above, who I have often thought seemed to ride his mats further back than I considered ideal, but now that I have ridden a Neumatic I understand why.
I think that the grip has also become a little less unpredictable in it's hold and this has further contributed to my sense of ease and I feel I am struggling a little less when needing to adjust my position, which interestingly seems to be less neccesary?
I think it is going to be an interesting experience to ride a 4GF again!