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!

1 comment:

  1. I was delighted to note that MT confirmed my duck diving discoveries in the following video I posted.