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!!


  1. Good review, thanks. Just wait till you drift on the GREENOUGH SPEC UDT and try and bring it back. I've had some wild rides.

  2. Ha, yeh! Exactly the way my thoughts were headed!

  3. At a broad-shouldered 6' / 200lbs, I've found the Greenough Spec UDT to be a hoot... Even though it's a larger mat, I think it might be faster than my Fatty because I can get my knees out of the water and skim along drag-free.

    Transitioning from the Fatty, I noticed a tendency to spin out too. Again, I attribute it to the lack of knee/fin drag (as well as the roundtail). I'm still getting the hang of it (more aggressive rail squeezes, more intentional use of fin dips, and wearing fins with longer blades) , but when it all comes together, it's a blast!

  4. Thanks TT. Looking forward to getting another session on the UDT.