Monday, December 31, 2012

GSMRR 1st Anniversary Competition result!!!!

Way, way back at the beginning of the year, on January the 5th to be precise I announced details of a competition to be drawn at the end of the first year of Global Surf Mat Rider Forum's existence. The winner would receive a twice used Greenough specification 4GF UDT surf mat shipped anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, with the advent of more sophisticated networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter the idea of the forum failed miserably. So I changed the name to the Global Surf Mat Rider Resource as it works reasonably well as an on-line information resource instead. When I first set up this competition the rules for entry included joining the forum as a member and then posting or commenting on a post a minimum of 6 times. However, in view of the fact that it was unsuccessful as a forum, I have rescinded the minimum of 6 posts/comments and put the 21 people who joined and took the time to introduce themselves into the draw. I hope everybody considers that this is probably a fair amendment to make.

Mr Mike
Nico SB
eric bridges

I have sorted this list on the date you joined in ascending order thereby allotting each of you a number.
I have used a random number generator to pick the winner and the number generated was 7! So the winner of a near new 4GF UDT is dustjf!
Here is how he introduced himself.

"hi i'm dustin been riding mats for 2 years now, I live in lennox head nsw and get to see some good mat riding by mark thomson and george greenough both those guys inspired me to give it a go and now i'm obsessed."

So a worthy winner me thinks for a self confessed mat obsessive!
So Dustin you need to let me know what your address is so as I can get the UDT off to you asap. When you receive it I would love to get a pic of you with it to post at a later date.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thanks for dropping by in 2012!

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas where ever you may be.
Thanks again for taking the time to visit ASMR and making 2012 such an incredible year for the seemingly humble but oh so enchanting surf mat!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Surf Today WA

This is one for the local wave riders here in Western Australia. I have spent the last month or so developing my first IOS app for iPhone and it is now available on the app store here. Rather than a providing a forecast, this very simple but useful app provides near real-time swell, sea and interval data from off shore buoys situated around the coastline and within the half hour wind direction, gust and speed data.
It is designed for those times when you get off work early, feel like you need a session and need to check what the essential conditions are right then. Well, now you can do just that!
Michelle is part of this app development enterprise helping out with design and colour selection for the graphical elements of the application. I am intending to port it to the Android platform soon.
This first version is free for the moment so no reason not to check it out. You will need to have IOS 6 installed but there is an update waiting for review providing support for IOS 5 devices. Anyway, if it does it for you, do tell your mates!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Krypt International 2012 Tube Ride of the Year winner is..........?

Mr Chad Stickney! Chad (381 votes) got huge support for his entry, in a battle royale there for awhile with second place getter Eva Darcy (195 votes), before pulling a way in the end. So as both the rider and the photog, Chad wins another 2 MT5s for his fast growing quiver!
Just in case you missed it here is the winning footage again for your viewing pleasure!

I think everybody will agree that Eva Darcy, also riding a Krypt MT5, did really well to get so many votes. As the only female to put an entry in the comp, MT has very generously decided that she deserves a reward too and so there is brand spanking new MT5 for her as well!
Here, again for your further viewing pleasure, is that perfect Nias wave Eva got tubed on !

Thanks to everybody who got an entry in. It was just a sensational first time effort with 11 varied and classy contributions.
Krypt International will be running the competition again in 2013 starting on the 1st of January. MT assures me there will be much more in the way of prizes up for grabs so start planning your entry now. Teahupoo anyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Tube Riding Masterclass with MT!

Entries for the 2012 Krypt International Tube Ride of the Year Competition have now closed. A poll is set up in the right panel of the blog so as you can vote for the tube ride you consider was the best this year. You can only vote once and the poll will only be available for 7 days, so get your vote in asap.

You can review all 11 entries at this *link* on GSMRR.

So, you like the idea of getting a Tube Ride but lack a little confidence in your ability to do so on a mat.
Well this post is for you as MT provides a detailed break down of the technique he uses to catch those great tubes rides he gets.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to put an entry into the 2012 Surf Mat Tube of the Year Competition. It's not always easy to get a good shot and especially so on the good days. Someone always has to make the sacrifice to sit it out and get the shot hence the prize is shared with the photographer. There have been some amazing entries and I look forward to seeing how the voting goes. Happy Christmas everyone and I look forward to running the competition again next year.
Hopefully the banks here at Lennox Head will recover in 2013 and provide opportunities to get a good tube ride after the massive 30ft 18 second period swell on the 5th of June which coincided with the transit of Venus wiped out all our good sand banks this year!

Here are a few tips for riding deep tubes that I have learnt over the years.

Riding good tubes and making it on a mat is one of the most difficult things to do in the surfing world.
Inflation is critical! Too hard and the mat will get sucked up and over the falls. Too soft and the mat tends to slide to the bottom of the wave and you get a flogging from the lip!
Everything has to be just right.
Your inflation, your body position on the mat, everything!

Taking off is a high speed flutter kick and hurry hurry hurry quick quick quick step on the gas and kick kick kick.  Drive straight down the wave into the bowl and hit a hard bottom turn. I find this set up turn gives me the whip and acceleration I need to project down the line.

Stalling to get in to the tube and slowing the mat down can be a challenge as you can break from that perfect line you need to hold the rail in the tube.
I like to hit the section from behind accelerating from the bottom turn to get in to the tube.
Once inside maintaining your position in the tube is like all things with mat riding.  Intuitive.
As soon as I park it inside, I find the best results come from setting the outside rail!
This allows the water to drain around and under the mat and the mat will intuitively hold the perfect line.

To achieve this as soon as I get the inner vision I throw my inside arm back and release my inside rail, put my head down and fire all my energy at the escape route. 
Left arm holding and setting the outside rail and again letting go of the mat in a critical tube is not exactly a natural thing to do but you have to trust the mat knows where to go and you know what to do.
This the part where time stands still. Deep behind the curtain enveloped in a whirlwind of  electrical vortex energy
This is the worm hole where the time space continuum gets bent to your will
I believe you can and do control the wave and what is happening around you at this critical moment and it’s a very zen and spiritual experience to get rinsed by all that energy.

Getting out of the tube is a matter of experience and being comfortable with your mat and your ability to make changes and corrections to your flight path at the speed of light as the barrel unwinds itself.
Nothing feels better than getting shot out of the barrel at warp drive knowing you just banked a drainer.
Like any wave though, sometimes you make it and some time you get a flogging!
Sensational MT. Thanks for putting that excellent masterclass together!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chris Chen goes prone!

I discovered this footage by accident and though I am not a huge fan of POV video, unless it is combined with the view from the beach, I think mounting the camera on the outside of the helmet does makes it more effective. Thanks to Chris Chen for the footage.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

4GF Blue Streak Omni Review

Last weekend MattJ finally made it down for a mini mat meet and it was quite an eventful visit. There was nothing to surf on the Saturday so we filled the day up with coffee and conversation. Matt had bought his very natty camping hammock complete with insect netting and fly sheet. We happen to have a couple of perfectly spaced trees at the bottom of our block so he set it all up there and looked forward to a comfortable night asleep swinging gently between the trees. Unfortunately, the neighbours directly behind us were celebrating a 50th birthday and apparently partied on until 3am in the morning!
Fortunately, on Sunday, there was a reasonably favourable wind and a good sized but slightly overpopulated right to be had around the bay. After the appalling night he had to suffer through, I was rapt to be able to enjoy sharing some pretty reasonable waves with Matt. It was especially so for him as he had brought down his brand spanking new Blue Streak Omni. Knowing he was going to be caught up with a heavy week of work, he incredibly generously left it with me for the week, so as I could get a few sessions on it for a review before posting it back up to him in Perth.

So what do I think about PG's latest creation.
Firstly, I would like to commend G on the grip he has applied to the mat. The craftsmanship is Solomonson like! The front corners of the Omni look remarkably similar to the rear ones. Has PG produced the first egg mat? Matt mentioned that he thought there was something very right looking about the general physical dimensions of the Omni and I think I agree.
The first session on the Omni was in rubbish small, howling onshore conditions which are a great way to test the possibilities of a surf mat. Now this is the first time I have got my sticky mitts on a Blue Streak and it has been sometime since I rode one of Dale's mats. Unfortunately, I had forgotten just how grippy Vulkem is and I made the added mistake of wearing just a rashie and board shorts. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the rashie seems to provide more grip than a nylon wetsuit, so I had a hell of a time taking off on the Omni and pulling myself on to the very small weak wind waves that were coming through. It felt to me like I was having to make gross movements in the manner of a copulating elephant seal in order to position myself.  Despite my difficulties, I did manage to get a couple of short faces with the odd reform so I was able to get some idea of the potential of this new mat.
It felt smooth, very smooth. It was a pleasure to move out to and around the line up, even in the very choppy conditions. I think this is a lot to do with the thin deck as much as anything as the MT5 has a similar feel.  However, it did feel like the Omni glided very easily straight on to the wave with a negligible amount of the transition action that I have experienced on other mats. It is also highly responsive, turning easily with just a small depression of the front corners of the mat. Now I cannot remember steering a surf mat in this manner before but for some reason the nature of the Omni found me choosing to do so. This came as a bit of a surprise as I am sure I am a from the hips steering kinda mat rider. My red raw nipples and chafed elbows confirm that a Vulkem gripped surf mat and a thin rash shirt are not a good combination!
My second session on the Omni was on bigger waves well around the bay in rather too strong a side shore conditions. This time I made sure to wear a wetsuit and the issues I experienced during the first session during the take off were pretty well non-existent. Although the waves had good size they were a little straight and it was not until some time into the session that I was able to really get on to a couple of waves of any quality to unleash the Omni on. The ease with which it transitions on to a wave from the take off was again apparent and this assists the rider to gain good position. The Omni has definitely got a bit of straight line speed and again I found myself able to make lightning quick changes of direction by just depressing the front corners of the mat a little in the direction I wanted to go. I still remain a little astounded at how riding this particular mat finds me choosing to steer in this fashion.
It also occurred to me during this session that the Omni seems to have a great balance to it. So much so, that at one point during the session, I turned it around and paddled around on it backwards for awhile but the comfortable feeling of balance was lost. The waves during this session were not very critical and although pleased with the performance of the mat it left me keen to try it out in waves with a more vertical face to just see how it handles those conditions also.
Yesterday's third session on the Omni, was in tiny but clean little waves that were a challenge to get on. Again the Omni performed well proving that it certainly seems to be a bit of an all-rounder as the name of the mat implies. I have to say that I think PG has invented a great mat that rivals the status of the Standard as my personal favourite 4GF. It had been great to get some time on a Blue Streak and I really like the ride it provides. I would still have liked to have got the chance to get it on to waves that were sitting up more on the take off to test it's ability to set a rail but that will have to wait for another time as this fun mat needs to be returned to it's owner.
And it is nice to see that the Omni has featured on Liquid Salt.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Da Bolt hits the North Shore and Oily joins the club!

East Coast mat rider Da Bolt and his Missus have been in Hawaii recently. Here is the man himself about to enter the water with his Vespa at Velzyland on the North shore of Oahu. Apparently, some dude was taking pics on that day and Da Bolt is hoping that some copies end up in his inbox.

The other interesting news is that fellow kneeboarder Paul "Oily" Newman, behind the camera for many of the pics you have seen of these mad Aussie mat riding kneeboarders, has succumbed and bought himself an MT5 too. The club just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Out of my way!

The opportunity for sessions have been a litle meager of late but I usually manage to get a couple in each week. Last Sunday there was a small but quite shapely little wave at the point in the afternoon. I was sharing the left with one of the young short board guns Austin whose Dad, Paul, I often get the opportunity to surf with also. Paul rides pretty well everything and a few years ago contested the national longboard championships. Also sharing the line up, and going right mostly, were a Nameless Dreadlocked Shortboarder, I have often seen in the lineup, and his girlfriend. A great matting moment occurred for me on the one right I chose to to ride that day. Both the girlfriend of the NDS and I went to take off with yours truly on the inside. I called her off it, which she either chose to ignore, or was unable to respond to, as she was a little slow to pop up and consequently, we both found ourselves on the wave. As she was basically still heading on down the face, without really thinking about it, I whipped up above and around behind her and on down the line enjoying a very pleasant little ride. The speed differential between us was quite extraordinary but even more so was the mat's ability to instantly turn on the speed in order to complete the maneuver without my being aware of quite how it occurred. It was almost like I merely used some sort of thought control? Eerie, but yet another mat riding peak moment nonetheless!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The 11th Tube of the Year entry makes it back in to the comp!

So here again is that incredible footage of Chad Barba at the Wedge. It has been beautifully re-edited by the owner of the footage, a Wedge institution himself, John Minar. Make sure you do yourself a big favour and watch it in HD! My apologies to John for initially infringing his copyright. My sincere thanks to both MT and John for negotiating the footage extraction and re-edit.  It would have been a great shame if this footage had not been a part of the competition this year. The closing date has been extended another two weeks until the 14th of December so get those last minute entries in and then we can get down to the voting!
Just in case the video was not enough for you, John has also very kindly contributed another couple of stills from the same day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I ride surf mats too!

A response to Prana’s October post.
I wish I could remember why I happened to visit the Surfmatters blog around the beginning of 2010. Whatever it was, that first fleeting visit was the catalyst for a slowly rising awareness of the surf mat and it’s potential as an alternative for riding waves. Although I did not act upon that first visit initially, clearly it sowed a seed in my mind, because, sometime later, I did revisit PG’s blog and read a few of the more recent posts. This time round though, what I read must have had quite an impact as I remember plunging head first into it and reading every single post from the beginning. The very first of which was posted by MatMax at 6.43pm on September the 18th 2008 when 4GF surf mats looked like this!

It was a combination of what I had read about on Surfmatters, the contents of this post with a link to this first stunning video of Mark Thomson, that meant I was able to report that I had lashed out and bought a surf mat. Mainly because it seems that they are the fastest wave riding craft of all!!!

Unlike Prana, I seem to have lost my love of surfboards as I have little interest in looking at them anymore and the thought of actually standing up on a wave now really seems an odd thing to contemplate doing at all. Even after 10 years of fanatically riding boards, I can state now that I have had even more fun riding a surf mat because it is rare I have ever had a dud session. So I can only heartily agree with Prana that a surf mat must be the most advanced and adaptive craft for riding waves.
Talking about Prana, his blog 23 Breaths, was also a great influence in those early days as he wrote so eloquently about mat riding. Whilst researching the earlier posts on Surfmatters, I was interested to discover that Prana had posted on there also. Of course that led me to explore when he had decided that he had enough to say about mat riding to start his own blog. Well, it transpires that 23 Breaths kicked off in February the 11th 2008 at 12:21 pm well before Surfmatters so he was way ahead of the game but was obviously welcomed as a guest poster there too.
Prana has explained the practicalities of surfing a mat brilliantly so I will concentrate on what is it about this way of riding waves that has me so addicted to the experience. I do love the portability of mats though. No lugging bloody great boards up the beach in a high wind and even more challenging getting them back on the roof of the car safely without damaging them, myself or anybody else in the vicinity. So easy to get your gear to the beach and then back home again.
After thinking about this for some weeks since I first started this response, I finally feel like I have nailed what it is about mat riding that is particularly special for me.
Even though I have ridden pretty well every other craft that you can use to ride a wave, it is the feeling of oneness with the wave that is particularly special for me about riding a surf mat. It is like there is a seamless connection between the rider of the surf mat and the wave itself. So why is this so? I think there are a number of reasons.

1. The pliability of the mat that allows the rider to feel every nuance of a wave’s motion.

2. The feeling of being encompassed by the wave with one's head so close to the surface. On a big wave this can translate in to the slightly unnerving feeling that you are on the open hand of King Kong ready to have the life crushed out of you in an instant. Very moment focussing!!

3. The mat’s ability to match and move beyond the speed of the wave without apparent input from the rider. An extraordinary sensation that feels like one has tapped in to some hidden force.

4. That sensation only amplifies the feeling of oneness as the speed provides the rider with a beyond human experience as he or she feels like they are actually flying just above the surface of the ocean like a pelicans do so brilliantly.

5. That accomplishing a great ride on a surf mat depends upon letting go and allowing the mat to take charge. The rider only interfering in a very minimal way with dabs of the fins and touch up squeezes to make subtle changes to the shape of the mat.

6. If you are not a mat rider, it seems that observing a mat rider on a wave does not seem to be a very inspiring. I have often completed what I felt was just an extraordinary ride and looked to see if there were any reaction from others coming back out to the line up that might have observed it only to find there was no bubble of excitement. Clearly, there is something going within the confines of the mat rider’s world that seemingly magnifies that experience well beyond what the casual observer might see.

Prana quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
I love that but never having been a believer in the notion of perfection, I am bold enough to change one word, as I prefer it this way.
“Oneness is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deets Tube of the Year entry!

Fittingly, considering the recent news that Voit swim fins will finally be available in Australia, the saviour of this great product, and one of the world's great body surfers, shows his form on a surf mat! The photog was Jeff Bell and the location.................? Shitpipes in LA!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pretty impressive Tube of the Year Competition entry

I know most of you will have seen this terrific footage and it certainly deserves a place in this years competition. The rider of course is the irrepressible Chad Stickney and so of course is the photog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Warren Pfieffer & a couple of mates at Gnaraloo!

You may remember that I posted about "The Reef" here and that there is a pretty cool pic of Warren in it. Well, here is the clip the image was taken from with a very quick cameo. The other two hanging out the back with Warren are fin-free fanatic Derek Hynd and the equally adept Ryan Birch. The Reef was televised last night and the footage is not that flash as it was recorded hand held using my iPhone. Short but sweet and still hoping to get the original footage and more that apparently exists  of Warren's exploits during the project.

Monday, November 19, 2012

So what have I been up to lately!

Well, riding every mat that I currently own in a sort of rotation in various combinations with the Duck Feet and UDT fins. This ranges from when the waves are a little fat and taking out the Tracker with a pair of UDTs to using the 5GF and the Duck Feet if the waves are cranking. For conditions inbetween those two extremes I will alternate between the MT5 and Standard with fin choice depending on what the waves are like. I have really enjoyed this process of experimenting with matching the equipment I choose to use with the prevailing conditions on the day.
I am also slightly surprised at how readily I am able to switch from one style of mat to another without really thinking about it. For instance, not so long ago I needed half a session or so before I felt comfortable riding the MT5 if I had been riding canvas deck mats for awhile. Not anymore!
I have given up using the Shark Shield and have resigned myself to the possibility of getting torn asunder by a Great White Shark. Mat riding is such a finely nuanced activity that I started to get pissed off with it hanging off my ankle as I felt like it upset the overall balance of the ride. Especially so lately, as I have been particularly trying to get further up on the face. The balance issue further exacerbated by a bit of drag and a little more effort required to get my fin out of the face when I wanted to. So that is that.
Interestingly, in view of this recent excellent post of PG's, I have been thinking of experimenting by applying some Vulkem stripping to the deck of one of my MT5s ala the Blue Streaks. I have been using wax quite happily but, when wearing a standard nylon wetsuit, the MT5 can still get away from me unexpectedly. Ironically, yesterday I took to the water in a rashie and board shorts and the waxed deck was so sticky I could barely pull myself on to the mat on the take off. So now I am thinking that I will just put a rashie over my current wetsuit until I can get one with a rubber chest section and I think that will resolve the MT5 grip issue for both summer and winter.
It has been a far better Spring surfing season for me this year than it was last year as I have had quite a few great sessions. This is a relief as summer is just around the corner and the conditions for surfing are about to go to shit!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When you're on the brink of winning a first World Championship.....

....what can you do to keep your head in the right place and obtain the benefit of some cross-training at the same time?
If you are Joel Parkinson, the current leader of the ASP's World Championship Tour, you get out a Krypt MT5 surf mat, for some exceptional fun to help take your mind off things and keep your body in shape. Could this revolutionary addition to his training regime be the key to Parko finally getting over the line this year?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mystery rider!

Interesting set of pics on Prana's recent post entitled incognito
revolving around the identity of a mystery mat rider on that great looking wave.
I still reckon I picked exactly who it is but it might have been anyone of these three reprobates who were seen hanging around the Cardiff area in recent weeks. Was it that man Machado, young Daniel or the Speed Freak himself! Here are those pics again just in case you happened to miss them and a big thanks to the mystery photog too!
Who do you think the mystery rider was?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Always Overhead!


ANOTHER great thing about MAT riding…”It is always over head high” when ya ride a mat.
 Wednesday 07.11.2012 arrived at “black rabbit” …OK its small BUT no one out…offshore…cute little bumps all on my own & the vespa screaming in the boot to get out with NO hesitation I got wet for an hour.
 Found that on small waves that lotsa air inflation is the key to picking them up and making the most of the suckers.

Da bolt

Friday, November 9, 2012

Finally, an Australian Distributor of Voit Swim Fins!

Mark Thomson emailed me recently with the sensational news that Krypt International has secured the distribution rights for the legendary Voit UDT, Duck Feet and V Duck swim fins here in Australia. Mark is very proud to have secured this deal as Voit swim fins have never before been available in Australia as longtime surf gear retailer Gail Austen from Goodtime Surf & Sail in Brisbane confirms.

Biomimetically designed, these sensational fins mimic nature and possess a perfect flex pattern for striking speed with instant response and thrust providing greater propulsion with minimum effort. They are made from Dual Durometer 100% gum rubber with no plastic additives or other impurities added.

Mark has used and recommended the Duck Feet model for over 25 years and along with the UDT's they are the fin of choice of the majority of the world's most experienced mat riders.
Available Early New Year 2013, this is a huge plus for all Australians who use swim fins for their water based activities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daniel Thomson on how to ride a surf mat!

"Developed in 1933, the surf mat has been one of the more undercover alternative surf crafts providing surfers with an exhilarating, fast ride for years, turning seemingly bad waves into a more than worthwhile session.
What most people don't realize is that while they may not be designed for high-flying aerial antics like a body board, they are however, high performance wave riding vehicles, allowing for super fast speed runs along the perfect trim spot that each ridden wave offers.
In this episode of Surf Sufficient, shaper/surfer Daniel Thomson shares some tips on how to optimize your ride. Changing the internal pressure of the mat by squeezing and gripping the fabric, the rider can alter the thickness, buoyancy and rocker, therefore changing speed and control of the mat. The air pressure is the key. A surf mat requires less air in smaller, flatter waves and a bit more air in larger more powerful waves. However, experienced mat riders prefer to ride a softer inflation as doing this allows the mat to run faster over the water. A mat rider can experience many different levels of riding performance by simply adjusting the mats air pressure between rides."

Good on Cyrus and the crew at Korduroy.TV for putting this vid together!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Less a wrangler than he once was!

Hi R

Here are some piccies from Adam of the waves we had at Monties last
Saturday. Adam sent me out as test pilot AGAIN which was fine by me.
We had to surf these waves all on our own as there was no one around
except a couple of fishermen.
They stood spellbound at our antics..OR.. maybe their waving arms were not so much congratulating us on the rides but trying to tell us to get out of the channel which they were fishing into.
Not sure, but yeah we were there first.

So on his way out he yells at me, STOP wrangling that poor I let go and put my arms out in front...woo I took off, lucky I had the mat pressure just right and my balance. I changed from second gear straight into 4th gear and let out a whoop of joy.
Did it on a couple of others, Adam saw one and cracked up. So again I learn more and the fun just keeps on getting better.
Our two mates Oily and Butters are interested in having a go so that should be good for some more laughs.

Catcha inda green room...da bolt