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!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Surf mats and their riders 3

A pair of Duck Feet........

........the correct size have arrived but without any waves to try them out in buggar it. Also arriving were some more pics of MT doing his thing on a rather terrific looking wave and ending with a righteously satisfied smile. Incidentally, MT advises, in his own quaintly Australian way, that he has been thrashing the friggen guts out of that particular mat for nearly 18 months. This also included a trip stateside for a session at Cottons to test the mats suitability for international travel.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A comment, by the man himself, on the ......... last Musica Surfica mat riding footage generated from my last post led me back to XxmattitudexX's (James Sowell) YouTube channel. I have visited it before but had not realised that there was so much more mat footage on there and it is well worth trolling through the 120 or so uploads to find it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It was a long wait and..........

.....I had to paddle around the bay and back before I eventually got a few nice rides as the swell started to pick up a little more ahead of the incoming front. Today I added to my mat riding technique and had a philosophical realisation about riding a mat. I have often been told that keeping the chin down is a big part of mat riding technique and for the most part I had thought that I have definitely improved this aspect of my mat riding technique. Interestingly, I heard this piece of advice again very recently from MT who said that it is his secret to achieving the incredible speed he manages to extract from a wave. In the image above MT provides a great demonstration of how to do that. It takes a little while for these things to sink in but finally today I think I get it. It is odd, when learning to do something new, how suddenly one starts to do things differently and today for some reason I started to get my chin right down on the mat's deck. The stunning result was I got through a couple of sections and back on to the face that I don't think I would have got through in the past. Hooked by this new sensation I experimented further with the technique with more positive results. I remember now when I first viewed the Musica Surfica mat riding footage how intrigued I was by Warren Pfeiffer bobbing his head up and down so much and now I understand why.
Of course, a fundamental change at the physical level usual results in a change in the head also and I think it was the subtle change in the relationship that occurred between myself and the mat out there in the water today that led me to it. Now everybody else in the matting world has probably already realised this or thinks I am completely nuts (Yeh, ok I already proved that one to you all) but I think that mimicking the way a dolphin moves through the water as one mat rides might be a really useful thing to do. I know Daniel Thomson has thought this also as he used it here in a post after he had started riding a mat so perhaps it is not so far fetched a thought?
I know how intrigued GG was by the way dolphins moved so efficiently through the water and I am suspecting that his choice to ride a mat and the mats evolution into a thing that is malleable in shape may have been driven by the quest to mimic the dolphins movement through the water.
Anyway, my new mantra? "Ride like a dolphin!"