Tuesday, December 27, 2011

100 posts!

I have just finished reading PG's "year in review" post and I am thinking well that is not a bad idea so I might do something similar. Embarking on that very task, I discovered that so far this year, I have posted 99 times. It is cricket season here in Oz and, as I write this post, I am keeping an eye on the test match that the Aussies are playing against the Indians at the MCG. 99 is every batsman's nightmare score so I'll be buggared if I will allow this year to go by without scoring a ton especially as I did not get the opportunity to bat yesterday at the annual social Boxing Day Test Match I have been attending for nearly twenty years.
Yes, I have played a bit of cricket as a result of nine years captive in an Australian boarding school where there is little else to do but engage in some sporting activity!! In my case that meant playing tennis (many hours trying to perfect McEnroe's wonderful looping kick serve action), bowling at somebody in the cricket nets (they didn't call me Thomo for nothing), kicking a footy around (started that game too late at the age of 10 and only ever made the 2nd XVIII), swim team training (yep butterfly included) and finally and possibly most surprisingly shot put (which included dragging sections of bloody heavy ship's chain across the oval to gain more leg strength). I still have those legs too!
Anyway back to the central theme of this post.

 The year started off with a bang as I pulled together a couple of videos of GG on Maui and made a slo-mo version also. Then it was discovered that Mark Thomson was trying to break a world speed record and that 4th Gear Flyer were experimenting with a mega-mat that allowed you to surf with a buddy! I had recently received a Neumatic from Dale Solomonson and he had provided some insights into mat riding in response to an email from me and I posted more of his comments on mat riding that I researched from Swaylocks here.

 In February I bought a Surfoplane and discovered that you could ride them standing up!

In March I posted a pic of a painting of GG and discussed why I had decided to sell my boards.

 In April, I turned 58, was disappointed with the DaFins that I had purchased and MT locked in!

 In May I pulled a groin muscle as my front foot slipped forward popping up on a longboard. I created the first of the "Surf mats and their riders" slideshows and another of ET, the only other West Aussie mat rider I have come across to date, enjoying a session at a break nearby. I also uploaded some footage of a session at Shipsterns in Tasmania featuring the iconic Aussie Blues band Bondi Cigar's Howlin' at the Moon as a soundtrack that has garnered nearly 26,000 views. 

 June was Mat Meet month with both the US and UK mat riders organising meets. I purchased a pair of webbed Darkfin gloves to protect my finger tips, did a photo fin comparison and had a stellar session at the same break ET had enjoyed in the slideshow from the month before

In July, I went absolutely berserk and posted 14 times although that is a paltry effort in comparison to Prana's usual efforts. Anyway, one of the most compelling images of mat riding I had seen to date appeared, the sandbar at my usual haunt was breached providing a great wave for 2 weeks. I gave both the MT5 and the Standard a run, reviewed the Darkfin gloves, ordered a pair of Duck Feet fins in the wrong size and created the 2nd "Surf mats and their riders" slideshow. Whew!

In comparison to July, August was a poor posting month with my resorting to posting an image of a strawberry mat and some poor bastard with malleable eyes performing his favourite party trick. This was all because 2 weeks after the little A-frame that produced the great waves appeared, it went and disappeared leaving us with the ugly sight chosen as this month's image. I did get one unexpectedly good session though which was the highlight of the month.

 September started interestingly with a post that ended with me espousing a new mantra "Ride like a dolphin!" Ummmm! Oh well. I created the 3rd "Surf riders and their mats" slideshow, another slideshow of MT on a very fine looking wave and a little off blog topic, posted a video of Ramsnake playing at a great outdoor venue. I was finally able to review the Duck Feet fins as they were the correct size and in a later post pronounced them the hands down best all round fin for mat riding that I had discovered to date. I also added a link to some interesting out of date mat related articles mat and showed off my quiver!

 October saw the release of the best mat riding footage I have ever seen in Mark Thomson's Turbo Time II, a review of the Vespa Roundtail, my revelation about mat size and a generous donation from Tom Threinen for the out of print library.

In November I turn inventor designing and manufacturing a mat strap to carry my quiver. I finally find some green water again, MT's grandson learns to ride a jellyfish and I bag the 4th Gear Flyer UDT. Erik Schmahl demonstrates how to ride a mat without fins and off blog topic I post pics of the new veggie garden.

 December is another eventful month where I again go berserk with 12 posts with one of them creating an unusual amount of vitriol! It started off fairly tamely with a couple of revelations although one of them did display an image of a mat rider who seemed to have attained a similar status to Hannibal Lecter by mid month in the eyes of some! No, no, no. The rider in the 2nd image. A very pleasant post showing a couple of the fairer gender delightedly enjoying sharing a wave on their mats in Hawaii did not provide any clue to what was about to erupt. I then created a 4th "Surf Mat riders and their mats" slideshow before offering you mostly fine people the opportunity to download a  slo-mo version of Turbo Time II I had created before biting the bullet and splitting it here and here so as it could go on YouTube. It was then that Tremor Temchin alerted to me to the existence of 3 most informative videos that MT had made for the Wet Sand Surf Shop which I spliced together, uploaded to YouTube and embedded in a post. Clearly this was just to much for some. Neumatics-R-Us erupted, GG rang Paul, suddenly there was a flurry of interesting and informative posts on Surfmatters and Magic Carpet Ride was blogona non gratis! After the dust settled, there was a complaint in relation to having to pop up and a thumbs up for habit learning before we finished off the year on a high with Chad's beautifully edited little video!

I wish you all, yes everyone of you, a Happy, Productive and Magnanimous New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011


It appears I have been completely and utterly excommunicated by the founding fathers of the mat riding community. Magic Carpet Ride no longer appears as a link on SURFMATTERS and none of my comments on any posts are approved. I think God has spoken!
Fortunately, it is no longer the middle ages, and the internet allows shunned folk such as myself to continue to do what we do. In my case, that is to record my mat riding journey and how what is happening in the whole global mat riding community, rather than the filtered depiction some would prefer, impacts on that journey.
Anyway, PG has been posting like mad lately and as I can't get any of my comments approved I thought I may as well comment here instead and not even God can stop me doing that!

The latest post relates to night mat riding and that certainly sounds like it would be terrific fun but a little disconcerting at the same time. I would sure as hell like plenty of moonlight to quell my quivering nerves and I am not confident that would help much!

I am particularly taken with this image for a couple of reasons. One, I would love to have been one of those riders as that wave looks like it is setting up to be a great party wave with plenty of opportunities for passing and bumping. Secondly, it kinda reminds me of dolphins too, who are mad to share waves, but just underneath the surface, of course, rather than on top as these three very lucky gentlemen are doing.

Oh and I was wondering if anybody has sighted, purchased or ridden a surf mat that has actually been made by GG?
No? Oh ok then. Here is something to ponder, assuming I am correct in thinking that I must have been banished from SURFMATTERS as GG still has a financial interest in Fourth Gear Flyer as he was one of the founding partners along with Dale Solomonson. What is the difference between GG assisting with research and testing for a mat maker in the US and Mark Thomson doing the same but having his mats manufactured in Taiwan?
Now for those of you who seem to have had a problem gauging this in the past, I am actually stirring the pot this time! Tsk, Tsk! Heathen, get thee from my church!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A big "Yay!" for habit learning!

Finally got out on a mat again yesterday at a less populated peak but with pretty poorly shaped waves. Basically a take off, drop in, bit of a bottom turn and that was it. But hey it was nice to feel the aliveness of a mat underneath me again. I was interested to note as I was going right and performing a bottom turn how automatically I squeezed the left corner of the mat and pulled it up to commence the turn and how instantaneously the inner fin kicked in to steady my line when it was needed. Now nobody has instructed me to do that it has come about through repetition and trial-and-error.
Having been a teacher for over 30 years this still fascinates me so I did a little research here.
Humans have a particularly capacity to learn and retain information unconsciously retaining so-called habit memory even when conscious or declarative learning is absent. Because our temporal based declarative memory based, the one that is used for active learning and memorisation, is so dominant, there is actually not a great deal of understanding about habit learning in humans which is believed to be retained in an area of the brain known as the basal ganglia.
Testing on patients with temporal lobe damage has shown that they can learn to do something correctly through a process of repetition even as they are expressing aloud "How am I doing this?". This helps to explain why a patient with amnesia can still navigate their way around their neighbourhood using their habit memory.
The habit learning system is working all the time behind the scenes, in addition to my conscious learning system, independently shaping who I am and how I behave, and so adeptly assisting me to learn to ride a mat 'cos there ain't no teachers around here!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Having to pop up before .......

............ you can really get going on the wave? When one is used to  the immediacy of riding a mat this is more than slightly annoying hindrance to be frank! Now I know I have spoken about this before but it has reared it's head again as there has been very little swell around lately and so not conducive to mat riding. In these circumstance I revert to the stand up form of wave craft such as my "Already standing up and a bloody useful thing too" SUP or one of my 2 "Slightly annoying need to pop up first before I ride a wave" longboards.
I have had both of these types of craft out in the last couple of sessions which have been necessarily been around the bay. Getting to where the waves are on a SUP is just a pleasure and a great workout getting one nicely loosened up and ready to enjoy riding the waves when you get there. The beauty of a SUP of course is that one is already standing up and there is only a need to move the feet in to a lateral position just as the waves picks up the board and off you go. Brilliant and you get about the best complete body workout possible for every muscle particularly those important core ones!
Yesterday, I decided to take a 10' longboard around the bay. I could and have paddled around the bay but it takes a very, very longtime and although I am well loosened up when I get there, it reduces the time I can actually surf as my arms get knackered too quickly. So I choose to walk and this is not much fun as I generally end up dragging the bloody thing along the sand as my arms can no longer suffer carrying it. Then when I finally get there and out to the line up, I find, especially if the waves are not that flash, that I end up missing or being badly placed on the first few as I get used to going through the rigamarole of negotiating the pop up before I can enjoy a ride. Now I know, if this is your normal wave riding scenario it does not seem so, but if you ride a SUP and even more so a mat or any other form of prone craft it feels like a rigmarole when one is suddenly confronted with having to do so again.
So summarising, the SUP is a joy to get a round the bay on, then it is terribly easy to get on to the waves as one just paddles hard in to them and off one goes with a total body workout as a bonus. Jolly good show!
The 10' longboard is a hassle to get around the bay, hard to paddle in to the waves in comparison to a SUP and requires having to deal with the complexities of getting oneself standing and hopefully well placed on the wave before one is able to enjoy it. Then you have to drag the buggar back around the bay rather than enjoy a gentile paddle back like the SUP provides. Pain in the ass!
Obviously being a mat rider has similar advantages to a SUP as hiking around the bay with mat and fins in hand is a pleasure it matters little what the waves are like and one can enjoy a gentile walk back around the bay with mat and fins in hand.
I have been riding the SUP, a 10' 10" Walden, on and off for about 3 years and have been toying with the idea of getting a smaller one now that I have well and truly got the hang of it. I think this would result in my taking it out more often as I am thinking a Naish 9' 6" Mana which is shorter than my longboard. This may result in my forsaking the now rather antiquated need to pop up first mode of wave riding vehicle and restricting my wave riding practise to either the only prone or either already standing versions!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And you thought George Greenough was passionate about surf mats!

Do put any preconceived notions you may have aside and take the time to watch this video. MT demonstrates his obvious passion for surf mats providing a great explanation of how and why his work the way they do along with some great practical mat riding tips! Thanks to Wet Sand Surf Shop for putting together the 3 separate videos which I have edited together in to a single video for your further edification. Another big thanks to Tremor Temchin for putting me on to this.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Turbo TIme II in Slo-Mo - Part 2

Turbo Time II in Slo-Mo - Part 1

As I think the widest possible audience should get the opportunity to see this footage, I have split the original 22 minutes plus movie and created a couple of shorter versions that fit within YouTube's 15 minute time limit. Here is Part I and Part II is coming soon.
I have to strip the audio to make these so feel free to choose your own soundtrack and then sit back and enjoy!
If you would like a better quality copy of the original full length version to download for yourself email me at ramsnake53@gmail.com and I will share the DropBox folder containing it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Turbo Time II in Slo-Mo!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have created a slo-mo version of Turbo Time II as I have done for a number of other mat riding movies that can be viewed at my YouTube site here. If you want to view this movie however, you are going to have to download it from my Dropbox. Bear in mind though, that it is 20 minutes long and around 850mb so you will need a decent broadband connection. Email me at ramsnake53@gmail.com and I will send you an invite to share the folder the movie is in.
Many thanks to MT for allowing permission to do so.

Yep, that's what riding a mat is all about!

Fun! Simple unadulterated fun!
Lauren and Crystal having a fat time on a death defying day at Backdoor in Hawaii!
Pic by Aussie camera guy Duncan McFarlane

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mat riding revelations!

Scored a session on the Tracker yesterday, in crap waves unfortunately but it was nice to be back in the water. But I had a little breakthrough, that I would like to share with you, that has further improved my duck diving. My routine up to this point has been to:
1. Make sure I am well forward on the mat
2. Grab the front corners
3. Squeeze hard
4. Bring my elbows in to concave the mat to reduce it's profile
5. Kick hard down and under the wave and finally
6. Move the mat forward in front of me so as to use it's buoyancy to pull me back up on the other side.
What I discovered yesterday, and these things are tending to happen without any forethought now, was that I was pulling the mat even further underneath myself than usual as I concaved it. This resulted in my effectively going through the wave head and shoulders first, reducing the impact of the mat's drag even more so before completing the manoeuvre as described above just as if I was a dolphin too? Not!
I have also been studying Mark Thomson's Turbo Time II video more closely and I have been particularly intrigued by how he appears to have his right hand resting in quite a relaxed fashion on the top of the mat while his left hand grabs huge chunks of mat material as he carves back up the face. I just had another quick look to make sure I wasn't imagining things and I also noted that on the less vigorous cutbacks he places his left hand in a similarly relaxed position seemingly to just maintain the shape of the front of the mat. It is the speed he gains that I find so fascinating and although I know that less is more on a mat, MT provides further compelling evidence of it's value as he gently assists the mat to retain its optimum shape without running the risk of overriding what it naturally wants to do. Ironically, he has mentioned recently that one needs to dominate the mat to get to the next level but clearly there is a fine line to tread. Perhaps assert is a better term than dominate?
This line of enquiry also led to my revisiting the marvellous riding guide that Paul Gross provides for all of you who have bought a mat from him. Accompanying all the useful information are some wonderful photos of GG, many of which are probably of the Lennox Head wave too, pulling off similar cutbacks, carves, drifts, lip bounces and speed runs.
Anyway, there is much to learn from watching this video as it shows clearly how these moves are achieved. I am in the process of creating a half speed slo-mo version to enhance further the details of what is going on as MT rides and, provided permission is given, I am keen to allow others access to it too. The quality is never as good as the original but I do have the HD version of the YouTube video so it will be the best I can make it. Access will be via my DropBox as it is nearly 900mbs in weight and too long to upload to YouTube!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Versatile, very versatile!

I was reflecting on the recent post relating to MT's grandson enjoying a session in ankle high waves in incredibly shallow water. As I reflected it occurred to me just how incredibly versatile a wave craft surf mats really are.

As a different rider on that very same mat can pull a move like this!

I'm trying to think of another wave craft that is capable of that same wide degree of performance! Can you?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On a completely out of context topic!

Inspired by Prana and a couple of other mat riders, Michelle and I have been working on a vegetable growing project. We have pretty acid soil here up amongst the Karri trees so we have opted for garden beds which work just fine. I help with the heavy stuff and Michelle is the one who gets her hands dirty planting, weeding etc. All sorts of stuff in and coming along nicely. Feels a very good thing to do. Like mat riding!

It helps if you start learning to mat ride early!

One day my Grand Pa said lets go to the beach.
It was a sunny day and the water was warm
My POP gave me a funny looking thing to play with.
Here you go Jakey here is a Jelly Fish for you.
The Jelly Fish was all soft and wobbly
I played with the Jelly Fish in the water and it was fun.
Then Grand Pa said hop on that Jelly Fish and ride a wave with him.
But I was scared.
The big tube is coming to get me POP….. the big tube is coming to get me.
But POP just laughed and said its ok Jakey its only baby bubbles in here there’s no big tubes today.
Pop gave me a little push and I was zooming across the water
It was so much fun
I had the best day ever with my Grand Pa  and now I have a new best friend
My Jelly Fish
Thanks Grand Pa for teaching me to Surf

Thanks to Mark Thomson for the words and the wonderful photos of a little guy having a great time!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

4GF Standard locks in!

I think I really prefer to ride a small surf mat. I am starting to entertain the theory that the smaller a mat one can get away with the better. Maybe it is the waves we have around here but I don't think so after yesterdays experience. I initially took the Standard out to a fast right hander in front of the inlet that looked reasonably steep so assessed that the Standard's squarer back end would be more appropriate than a roundtail mat. Anyway, my strategy was unsuccesful as the low tide was on the way and the current pushing out through mouth of the inlet made it impossible to get on to anything as it came through. So I moved across to the point where Michelle and another longboarding friend of ours were hunting down some very small waves. I didn't hold out much hope of getting anything there either but I was sick of my own company by this stage and felt the need for some conversation. It turned out that there was the odd catchable wave coming through and the Standard really showed it's pedigree locking straight into the pocket like a magnet and affording me three most satisfying rides on what were micro waves much smaller than that depicted in the image above. I have given the repaired Fatty to my good friend Jay who lives further to the east in my previous hometown leaving the Standard and the MT5 as the only two mats I own that do not have a roundtail. So I am thinking that a quiver of 4 mats including the Tracker Roundtail, of which the biggest is the Vespa Roundtail providing more than enough mats for my needs, is more than adequate.  Incidentally, I have been meaning to mention for sometime now how well the new wax job on the deck of the 4GF's works. I only realised how effective it was when I got back on the Tracker Roundtail, that has not had this particular treatment, and I started sliding around all over it. So what are we gonna call this new wax job? A "Reverse Brazilian" maybe, as it effectively puts the hair back on so to speak!?
Anyway, to get back on track, I am offering my twice used 4GF UDT for sale and am happy to post it anywhere around the world. Make an offer and I will consider it!
PS Had a very interesting email from a mat riding legend recently and you can look forward to more on that soon I hope! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Got a quiver?

Well, meet "The Mat Strap!" You can easily make yourself one of these.

This is a Pilates mat strap with the elastic mat holders replaced by a couple of heavy duty adjustable snap lock dog collars that I have sewn on to the shoulder strap.

I decided to look for something like this as 5 mats actually constitutes quite a heavy and cumbersome bundle.
Works a treat! Just need some bloody waves now as another weekend goes by without getting wet!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Well, I am not convinced that there is any advantage to using a mat of this size. I have had two sessions on the UDT and for me it is just too bloody big. It is difficult to get into a wave because there is definitely more resistance and made me wish I had my UDT fins on. There is too much mat to handle once I am on a wave and though it glides well I am not sure that I would choose it over the Vespa which is also a great glider. I did much experimentation with inflations during those sessions to no avail. I got a UDT as I thought it would be a great mat in small conditions but I can't get on to small waves on it and it is too much of a handful on a bigger wave.
Now I know some of you are UDT fan boys and that this post is likely to spawn a barrage of invective and complaint but in-between your ranting let me know in what sort of conditions you are riding a UDT, what inflation level and what size and weight you are!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yes it was small but it was also.............

.........off shore and the ocean was green and Michelle and I finally got wet again! This joyous event after two weeks out of the water, due to raging on shores, copious amount of rain and foul dirty brown water spreading hundred of metres across the bay such as you can see in the bottom of the above image and which had spread way out in to the bay further even than in the following image. Ugly, ugly ugly!
Knowing there was likely to be little swell, I had a board ready to put on the car but a combination of rain and having to take Michelle's off before I could get mine on led me to cast it aside. When we got there, I immediately started to regret my decision and had the keys in hand ready to return home to get a SUP but in a day seemingly filled with indecision changed my mind again and headed off round the bay with the Vespa where I could see a few crew getting on to something.  Finally, I seemed to have made a good decision as I got three very commendable little waves in the session. As I headed back around and across the inlet opening I reflected on how dramatically being back in the ocean had lifted my spirits and sense of well being. Not that they had particularly gone missing beforehand, but the experience of being in the beautiful clear water in sunny off shore conditions was most pleasurable. Wanting to prolong the pleasure, I dumped the mat on the beach, whacked the Duck Feet back on and joined Michelle for a little body surfing to finish off the session. It is looking like we will get out there again for the next couple of days too. A damn good thing that is too!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I have some new moves to try!

Just need these waves and rather more mat riding skill to in order to do so! Absolutely stunning and hours of rerunning to watch and learn!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Big mat? Hmmm, no a small mat!

In a period when I am looking to try out bigger mats, yesterday's conditions were such that I assessed it would be best to take out my smallest mat, the 4GF Standard. As I was suiting up to go in, a grizzled older surfer, from a West Coast surf town it turned out, expressed surprise that I was entertaining the thought of going out at all as the conditions were not that flash but occasionally a good wave would come through. He was even more taken aback when he discovered I was going out on a surf mat and looked in disbelief when I said I would blow it up as I walked backwards in the shallow water to the rip that very usefully transports us out to the break. Well, he said, "I will be hanging around to watch this!" and I left him with Michelle explaining the finer points of why on earth anyone in their right mind would take out a surf mat. Anyway, I managed to put on a bit of a show, as I got the wave of the day, as it turned out, for my first ride. A ripplingly quick, long right allowing a nice carving cut back and in to a perfect little diagonal reform that took me almost all the way back to the rip. A local short boarder was on his way out as I kicked the rest of the way towards the rip, and most unusually for that breed of wave rider, was clearly impelled against his better judgement to comment that it was a good one alright. I am used to being ignored by those guys as they paddle away from me in the hope that they are not in anyway associated with the old guy on the blow up. I have a bit of a chuckle in the end though as it transpires I often get more successful rides than they do and they start to get a little inquisitive.
Grizzled surfer dude did hang around to watch as he was still sitting at the look out when I finished the session.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

4GF Vespa Roundtail review

I have managed to score two sessions on the Vespa so far. My first very immediate impression was that it was very similar to the Tracker to ride with a bit more of an ability to glide being a slightly bigger mat obviously. The waves were not very powerful so after that first session I am thinking yes I can use this mat for sure. Interestingly, I felt a bit more buggared than usual and I think that has to do with having to man handle a bigger mat. It certainly felt like I was having to push a bit more mat through the water so clearly there is a happy medium between flotation and size in terms of moving around the line up. For my height and weight, at this point in time, I think the Roundtail Tracker is probably the best compromise.
Today, the swell had a bit more push and some additional differences have come to light also. I have always ridden smaller mats than the Vespa and I have become accustomed, when necessary, to holding back the take off, to generate a steeper drop into a face to get a bit more speed up. Love doing that! Anyway, I think that riding the Vespa, I was actually getting on to the wave a little earlier and not always aware of it so my timing was just a little off. So I started to try to keep this in mind and felt a little happier with my resulting placement on the face. The other issue is that the Vespa starts to drift earlier and is harder to correct that. In one instance, so much so, that I ended up going backwards on one wave. It has been a very long time since that has happened to me. Although the Tracker is a roundtail too, it seems to be small enough to control the drift more easily with a bit of a rail squeeze and the fins whereas the Vespa is just a little too much mat to be able to control in the same way. One of the great features I love about the Tracker is it's ability to hold a high line and I have a feeling that it does that better than the Vespa too but this is mainly an intuitive feeling as I have yet to really test that theory. All in all though, a satisfying mat to ride and well worth considering adding to your quiver.
I have had one session on the UDT in really foul conditions so I am unprepared to say atop much about it until I get a chance to try it when the set up is more amenable.  Except to say that there is an awful lot of mat to deal with and it is a big bloody thing to push through the water!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Greenough article - thanks Tom!

Hi Ramsnake!

Here's another out of print magazine article about George Greenough you can add to your collection.
This is an interview with GG written by Drew Kampion and  published in the August 1978 issue of Surfing Magazine.
I worked at Surfing Mag then, and had a hand in putting this article together.
I was a kneeboarder back then and a follower of all things George. Hope you enjoy the story.

Tom Threinen

Friday, September 30, 2011

A stack of mats?

Or maybe a deck of mats followed by a spread of mats followed closely by a troop of mats! Anyway, today a 4GF Vespa Roundtail and a Greenough spec UDT arrived. And my God that last is a huge mat and will be great for a summer of smaller wind driven waves hopefully. Here are some pics to show you the comparison between all 5 mats currently in my possession.
In order from the smallest to the largest: 4GF Standard, 4GF Tracker Roundtail, Krypt MT5, 4GF Vespa Roundtail, 4GF Greenough spec UDT. The Krypt is in the middle as it is a little shorter, but a little wider, a little thinner but a lot more at the back end with that big square tail that you can observe in the 2nd and 3rd images. In the 4th and 5th images you can see the Vespa has a fair bit of size over the Tracker and what a monster the UDT actually is in length, width and thickness! The 10' single fin of the matting world - awesome!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rubber Duck and 4 other out of print articles

I have added a link on the right to my Issuu library surf mat riding folder. I have just created and added a pdf compilation of the recent Rubber Duck post here. PGs Inflatable Dreams article is in the library also along with 3 others by or about George Greenough. Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Speedy, speedy mat!

I have scored three sessions over the last 4 days and 2 of them have been on a mat. Today was notable for a particularly rewarding incident involving my neighbour, a lovely young guy called Carl. I had been enjoying an intermittent little right at the point by myself when suddenly Carl and a few other hooded (a bit cold out today) stand up board riders invaded the scene. All people I know and get on with so that was cool. Lots of chatter and laughter while we waited for the sets, as the rip through the point was making it impossible to get on to anything smaller. A set looms and a nice looking wave it was too and I am on the inside with Carl to my right. Now he knows about mats, as I have talked to him about them, particularly in relation to the speed. Being young and a Leo, he of course has been most sceptical about the whole mat thing, but today he got a first hand demonstration. As the wave was a bit quick, I took off at an angle across the face just as Carl was getting to his feet. (Mats are so good at this and the reason I take one out if it looks at all like it will be a challenge to get on to the wave with a board) Before he had time to pull out, I had shot across right under the nose of his board (with perfectly judged timing, I have to say) and off across the face leaving him stranded amongst the white water whilst I enjoyed one of the best rides of the day. Carl said he barely glimpsed me out of the corner of his eye before I had shot past him. A mighty good feeling that! A similar situation to the pic but Carl was much more on to the wave and we were way closer together.
Oh, and I am rating the Voit Duck Feet as the best all-round mat riding fin by a country mile. I don't even think about what I have got on my feet they do such a bloody good job and no fin socks required. Get yourself a pair!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Voit Duck Feet Fin review

Hmmm! These are great fins. No wonder so many mat riders choose to use them. Plenty of power and light enough to create that often needed final acceleration that is a bit difficult to achieve with UDTs. Due to their length, the UDTs can also put a bit of strain on the ankles whilst navigating a more extreme section of a wave or when one gets dumped at the end of it. The Duck Feet are less likely to do so without sacrificing too much power wise. The waves were a good size with plenty of push so I will be interested to see how they go on a smaller day but I think probably ok from what I experienced to day. Note that MT has modified his improving their performance even further. They are a fair bit easier on the old tootsies too with only one pair of low cut fin socks needed and I probably could have got away without using fin socks at all. But it was a long trek around the bay for a wave today, so I didn't want to walk all the way back to get a pair of fin socks because the Duck Feet were eroding my toes a way? Unlike the UDTs, which are from the thigh kickers, the Duck Fins involve the calf much more, and not being used to that, both of mine were starting to cramp up good and proper. This was not helpful as a mega set came through, almost twice the size of anything in the hour or so before, and I got mercilessly trashed by the pounding lip just managing to hang on to the mat but getting a lot of air knocked out of myself and completely out of the mat. So I am left with this limp useless thing that I am frantically trying to get air back in to before the next wave took me out. Got a bit in before I finally lost my mat on the third but it popped up next to me. Thank bloody God, as my calves were cramping up so badly, by this stage, that I could barely keep my head above the copious amounts of white water. Anyway, I managed to get a decent amount of air back in the mat and made my way painfully back to shore. Ten minutes walking back around the beach and I am feeling weirdly good after having had the shit scared out of me. That's adrenalin for you I guess and why people put themselves back in those sort of situations time and time again. Me? Nuh, not me! The guy I walked back around the beach with was a lovely fellow known as Simmo. I know him from the pub where my band plays fairly regularly and he likes what we do. Anyway, he was out in the water with a camera and taking pics. So finally, when he gets around to emailing them, some pics of me at my own solo mat meet where you can see the waves were pretty reasonable before that bloody set came through and sent both Simmo and myself running for cover!