Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Surf Mat Images

My ever growing collection of hundreds of images of surf mats, their riders and related paraphernalia! As I add more images this slideshow will automatically update so you can bookmark this post and check back every now and then if your fetish suddenly over takes you and you need a fix!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lost bedtime story found!

As I trolled through the Surfmatz forum this morning I was delighted to rediscover this story that I am sure that Dale sent me at some point but had lost.
One of the most evocative descriptions of mat riding that I have come across!
"It`s nearing dusk, and you're airborne on takeoff, drifting down the face
of a newly discovered secret wave. As your craft finally touches the surface and begins to find its line, you roll into a long, smooth fade to the left, toward the strange, angled base of this thickening maul. At the outer edge of your vision you see the peak thrusting itself skyward. As the shadow of the lip passes overhead, you quickly straighten and aim deep for the bottom. There is silence in the moment before impact, and then heavy thunder lands close to your left.
But looking away, your focus is on the oddly swirling water just ahead. The surface pulls tight, pouring off the shelf to meet the incoming wave. At the last possible second you twist completely over on the inside rail, banking so far to the right that you can`t see much of anything, straining to raise your head as a powerful unseen force drives you firmly into the deck, and the tightening arc of your turn throws you over the watery glaze of the reef and back up across the face.
Your grip relaxes as you level out, skimming across the vertical upper third of the inward-bending wall. Far ahead, the inside bowl rises ominously, stretching out, the wave growing larger and thicker than it was when you first caught it. Now is the time to let go, pressing down, unwinding at full power, the soft chattering of your craft changes to a whispering hiss, as you strain into the highest possible line.
You wonder if this might be what a seabird feels as it soars across
a wave sensing invisible pathways to maximum speed.
Fast approaching the inside section, turbid boils and broken kelp hint the end is near. Without prompting, your vehicle accelerates, descending toward the surging base, falling deeper into the coiling hole. Lightly textured backlit bluegreen hues become dark oily slick and hard. As if trapped in a slow motion dream, you watch the massive roof of the tube heave itself outward and far ahead. Racing higher again you flatten and lean closer, nearly pulled off by the uprushing wall.
Surprised and amazed by the mysterious draw of the building momentum your grip tightens instinctively. You've never ridden anything, anywhere, this fast. Streaking toward your wave's last escape portal time finally slows to a single moment. And just before the opening winks shut you look back at your spiralling, shimmering track, swallowed by the swirling darkness, and surrender to the unnerving suspicion that this mat of yours is somehow... surfing itself!"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some people like to walk on water!

Michelle has often mentioned that she prefers the idea of riding waves standing up because it is kinda like walking on water! Although, I never have learnt to fly anything particularly I am very into the notion of flight and remain constantly fascinated and very, very envious of birds. Occasionally, I find myself contemplating existence and the meaning of life etc and recently I had what many might consider a really pretty silly thought. That the notion of angels may have derived from the ancients observing birds and like me envying their escape from the shackles of gravity here on our earth. Maybe when we die all our hard work to raise our consciousness in an effort to attain nirvana pays off and we become a bird! For someone like me that is rather a pleasant thought.
"What's that you ask?"
"Oh ok. What sort of bird would I like to come back as?"
"As a Pelican of course. The fighter bomber of the bird world!"
So what does all this have to do with mat riding? Well let me tell you. Some may like to walk on water, but I like to fly!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Surf Sister!

Is there any more larger that life character on the current global mat riding scene? Although it is full of characters, as you need to be a bit of free thinker to ride a mat, I am having trouble thinking of anyone. Although, not a full time mat rider Mary has definitely been bitten hard by the bug. I first came across her blog about three years ago and was particularly drawn to her as she described her recovery and eventual return to surfing following a knee reconstruction. I was pretty blown away by her persistence and tenacity to get back in the water to be honest. So you would think that would be enough to deal with but life does continue to throw up challenges and now Mary has bust her ankle! The mat riding community, and many others from outside of it too, has shown it's own special character and donated thousands of dollars to ensure Mary gets the best treatment possible. A pretty amazing response but understandable considering the pretty amazing woman Mary is!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No session today and I hear from Mike

There are two reasons for my not indulging in my passion in most agreeable offshore conditions today. The first of which the video may very well provide you with a clue. (Yeh, yeh, I know. Check the lense is clean!) Just in case this is typical in your area, for here, it is just a little busy with metropolitan surf lifesaving clubs having descended on us for a carnival!
The second is because the band have a gig later on this afternoon and I make it a rule not to go for a session for yet another two reasons. One I run the risk of getting a head full of water and being completely and utterly unable to sing and two because I need to conserve energy otherwise I am not able to give my best at the gig.
It is always a pleasure when I get an email out of the blue from a mat rider or in this case a soon to be mat rider who has discovered Magic Carpet Ride. Landlocked Mike, 'cos he lives in Dallas, mailed me to ask advise on which mat he ought to get taking in to consideration his experience, weight, height and likely surfing conditions. A healthy and good vibes email exchange later, (yes, I know a little unusual) I discover journalist Mike has had the pleasure of visiting the Great Land Down Under during the 2000 Sydney Olympics no less.

 Lucky man, Sydney is a fantastic place to visit but I could not afford and indeed do not have any particular wish to live there.
I am looking forward to hearing about Mike's future mat riding exploits.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Forum news and you are invited to help create...........

........the most comprehensive central resource of mat riding information on the internet. The forum now has 40 forums, sub-forums and sub-sub-forums that are steadily growing in number as I think of more aspects of mat riding to add. There are nearly 20 members already (and there plenty of others visiting and having a look around), we have had a good discussion about the take off, identified Rasta's Neumatics and assisted to sell a Neumatic which has now gone to a good home. Apart from providing people with the opportunity to indulge in some discussion, I have decided that the forum provides a wonderful platform for bringing together disparate mat riding information in to a searchable central resource. Now I am inviting you to start helping to fill in the gaps adding to the body of information kind of like a wiki. If there is an area that you are specifically interested in, that a forum does not exist for, then let me know and I will create it for you. So if you have any stories about the legends or mat makers for example then please do add them yourself. We do need more conversation starters so please feel free to post on any subject controversial or not and I at least will certainly be responding in some way if I feel I am able to. I would also like someone in the Northern hemisphere to volunteer to be a moderator so there is an eye on the forum when I am getting my well deserved shut eye! So there you have it an invitation to get involved as if you didn't already have plenty to do!

Great session and I find out how fit riding mats is making me!

It is those sessions that start out with little expectation and turn out to far exceed them that can often be the most rewarding. I know you know what I mean! Keeping in mind my new found wisdom that the smaller the mat you can take out the better, it was the Standard I chose for the moderate onshore conditions that were prevailing. I toddled off around the bay to what I thought was a reasonable left but on the way out to it thought that I saw a better looking right so headed there instead. A few waves came through providing rather less than notable straights in the main before I suddenly started to find a left that reoccurred 6 times. This is the best result I have had for a session for sometime. I would count 5 of them as most reasonable with the last being a throbbing winding blast of a ride through a myriad of wave formations that the mat seemed to enjoy just as much as I did resulting in a loud exclamation of delight from both of us! Ok.......? That sounds a little weird doesn't it? But it really felt like the mat and I had become one! Can mats have a soul too? Anyway, that is a good place to have got too isn't it? What do they call that? Nirvana! For a moment, for a moment!
I have thought for sometime now that riding a mat has greatly increased my fitness, particularly aerobically, as it is such a good work out for much of the old bod! I got proof of that today having decided that the conditions were just too blown out to bother going out. I decided instead to go for a swim at the less populated end of the Prawn Rock Channel. This is a beautiful blue still waterway that runs around an islet at the inlet mouth that is very popular place for families to frolic in. With the intention of just cooling down really, as it was quite a hot day here, I started swimming up to the first of the two bridges that span the channel. Now some years ago, in my previous home town, I  used to swim a kilometre at the local swimming pool on those blown out summer days instead of going for a surf exactly as I had chosen to do today. So I was not confident about how I would go but found I was swimming most comfortably (good old Australian Crawl) and so much so that I went on to the 2nd bridge and back resulting in a swim of close to a kilometre that was surprisingly easy to accomplish. I knew my arms were strong and I suppose that I should not have been surprised the legs were too and but I barely raised a breath as I made my way out of the water to a slightly pissed off Michelle and the dogs wondering where the hell I had got to! So there you have it. Another great reason to go mat surfing. It takes your fitness to another level!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I actually look forward to and enjoy conditions that are crap and I meet a gal..........

....who used to ride a Hodgman! Ah summer surfing. Not sure what it is like where you are but for us here on the south coast of Western Australia it is blustering on shore south easterlies pushing up an often quite sizable chunky wind swell that a surf mat justs loves and everybody else avoids like the plague! A Swaylocks thread on that very subject for your further edification.
I have mentioned it many times before but here we go again mats "Turn junk into gold!". Do take your mat out in these conditions as apart from being a great physical workout they provide an intense workshop in all areas of mat riding technique. Constant duck diving, lots of take off practise, constant position adjustment as you endeavour to actually stay on your mat and every sort of wave imaginable as the ocean can deal up just about anything from big sloping double ups to racing little barrels closer in to shore. Bloody good fun! So I have been out in these sort of conditions for the last two sessions with the first on the Tracker as I know it will go well in these conditions and it did. After that session, as I made my way back to to the where I leave my gear, I was stopped by a couple who were most intrigued that I had been out there riding a mat. They were even more so when I showed them the limp bit of fabric I was carrying as the woman exclaimed to her kneeboarding partner and I how different it was to the Hodgman she used to ride. I encouraged them to Google Turbo Time II if they wanted to view state of the art current day mat riding.
Yesterday however, I chose the MT5 which I have not done before when conditions are like this but I wanted to see how it would perform. One of the things I love about this mat is those big square corners at the back provide a very secure feeling under the thighs in comparison to a round tail mat so it actually feels like a bigger mat than what it actually is. I tend to ride the MT5 at a firm 90 degrees because of the thin deck and, being a series I model, it needs a little wax on the deck especially in these rowdy sort of conditions. Anyway, I was  pretty impressed with how it went as the conditions were particularly fractious initially and it was hard to get out to the wildly moving peak as there was so much current moving around. Michelle could not even negotiate her way out there at all giving up and moving further round the bay. Considering the conditions, the MT5 did a good job of getting me on to the waves. Because it is so fast with plenty of holding ability I got a couple of very reasonable rights that I may not have been able to enjoy on another mat. Anyway, I still reckon it likes a nice clean wave best as I cannot get it to glide that well in the whitewater but that could be because it is a touch small for me at my weight and height. So I will be considering it in similar crazy onshore conditions again but also looking forward to MT releasing a slightly bigger mat one day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I tried but failed to get my dirty mitts on a 5GF..........

.................. to test and review for all you loverly mat riders out there.
To be honest, I didn't think I would have much luck and I am wondering whether I will ever be able to buy a 4GF in my own right ever again! Oh well.
Anyway, there are other options if you want a super quick and grippy mat as MT is running out his MT5 Series II Black Beauties for a measly $150.00 for a limited time only. That price is with free shipping anywhere in the world so be quick about it!
Personally, I am holding out for MT's new mat, the Series III Grey Dolphin with dolphin skin on the bottom, providing improved surface traction and control, as well as the deck which will be available soon.

You were spotted!

Ok! Who was out there on a mat at my local break on Monday and didn't let me know they were in town?
We could have had a mini mat meet together!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2 email exchanges!

The first exchange January 2011

Name supplied but I choose not to publish it.

1st email 6/1/20112:15 PM

Hello Robin,

Its rare that I comment on subjects that are dear to my heart and passion, but I must in this instance. It is of great regret you are facilitating by inadvertently promoting a character of some ill repute, who may I add, has for those that have had dealing with him only been less than favourable. No doubt you are swept up in all the hullaballo and hype about today's mat surfing, which is your right, however some are using this as a vehicle for their own self serving ends and aggrandizement.While I am an advocate of '' free speech'', the internet has become license to make all the outrageous claims under the sun, as in the case of Mr Thompson.
I strongly recommend you make some discreet inquires before advertising this persons very egocentric drive for notoriety.

I have been surfing for over 45 years, and have a strong affinity with those who cherish the ''pure fun'' and intimacy you get from mat surfing.

Kind Regards,

My reply 6/1/2011 4:56:12 PM 


I am so honoured to hear from a legend of the mat riding world. 
I am very aware of all the controversy surrounding MT and I have chosen to ignore the politics and tension that appears to have surfaced following his entry into the mat production arena. 
I am in no way promoting any one maker on my blog as I own all three makers mats and whatever the history that may exist I am unprepared to excise MTs activities from it at this point.

I have made all the parties concerned aware of my position on this including MT. PG has even admitted that in fact it is really their problem rather than mine or any other mat riders who are new to the scene.

Indeed, I am caught up in my own journey with surf mats to the point I have practically given up surfing boards anymore.

I hope you may still continue to communicate with me as I would love to know more of your experiences with the mat.

One day I hope to get over to Wategoes for a session with you guys as it would be an awesome experience for me to do so.

Kind regards


2nd email 18/1/2011 8:34:06 PM AWST

Hello Robin,

Thank you for your considered reply.

As you have discovered, the world of mat surfing has its own unique and varied history, especially the personalities.

What concerns me is certain individuals will use their influence to promote, and in some cases falsify matters, to raise their own profile.

PG & DS are the exceptions, and have their own difficulties with each other, as  the only true mat  pioneers of hand made mats today  that I know of in the world.

Today's  mainstream surfing culture, is full of commercial opportunists, trying to exploit any way possible, as a means to make a quick $.
Mats are no exception.

However on balance, the few mat surfers I have met, are largely decent , unpretentious people.

I am pleased you are reveling in this exciting adventure...

Best Regards,

My reply 19/1/2011 9:42:14 AM AWST


Lovely to hear from you again.

Yes I think any surfer who has been around since the beginning and experienced what surfing was must be shaking their head in disbelief at how everything has changed and certainly will change more no doubt.

PG and DS are true legends and I am sure all of us who ride mats feel deeply in debt to them and indeed all of you who have been involved in the development of the modern mat. I am stoked to have 3 of PG's mats and 1 of DS's.

I am a bit of a geek so when something new comes along in an area of interest I just have to try it hence my buying one of MT's mats.

I think anybody that entertains and perseveres with riding a surfmat, particularly in the face of the current surfing culture, just has to be a special type of person and probably pretty decent and delighted about their chosen medium for catching waves.

Please do keep in touch.

All the best for the New Year.



PS I am really pleased with the new title image on Magic Carpet Ride as I think it it a terrific pic that embodies much of what mat riding is all about still as well as being a salute to the past!


The 2nd exchange January 2012 

1st email 9/1/2012 12:07 PM

Dear Mr Ramsnake,

I find it incredibly petty of you to delete my contribution from your blog.

Because I made some critical comments  about yourself and that ''person'', you have taken offence and not had the decency to engage constructively in replying to me.

May I suggest you climb down from your privileged ivory tower of middle class academic indulgences, and take a realistic look at the surf mat history [ask the right people, not that person..] and you will find a rich and colourful history of those individuals paving the way in mat surfing and design. However, I now understand you have had some falling out, with one of those persons, and for this reason may be reluctant to seriously take up my offer...?

Your suggestion in making mat surfing  ''mainstream'', is just ludicrous, when surfing is becoming ridiculously crowded, and commercial  now.

It appears you  have been duped by your pal, who only wishes to use your forum, blog as a vehicle for his own self aggrandisement and profit making.
I seriously suggest you make independent inquires about what I saying, and I can guarantee you the majority of responses will be negative. 
Until then you  are quite happy to go along with this nonsense, until things go awry, and you will experience a very different person to what you are now witnessing.

So in the interests of free speech, and surf democracy don't be such a pathetic human being , and to quote you allow some ''robust'' debate.

You have opened a pandora's box, hope you know what you are letting yourself in for?

In Disgust,

My reply 9/1/2012 12:43:12 PM AWST


I am not aware that I have done so. Which post did you comment on as it is very rare I delete a comment?

I have not had a falling out with any one in the mat world as far as I know. There are some who appear to have fallen out with me but I haven't taken steps to do so with them.

Do let me know which post you commented on as I cannot remember deletng a comment for some months now.



My second reply 9/1/2012 12:57:28 PM AWST

Hi again

I think I have just worked out what has happened. You are talking about the forum rather than the blog? When I first created the forum I could not get it to work as I wanted so I had to recreate it with a different provider. You were not the only one that was caught out as Matador was too. If you return to the post here http://magictowelride.blogspot.com/2012/01/global-surf-mat-riders-forum.html and click on the link to the forum you can reregister and reiterate your post.



2nd email 9/1/2012 12:55 PM

Dear Mr Ramsnake,

How disingenuous of you to pretend you did not get my posting, when others send theirs in ,most cute of course, and get published.

As I would expect you have not answered, or debated any of my comments, so this confirms my suspicions about your sincerity.

I find, and others find all this hilarious and pathetic to say the least.

I hope your satisfying your puerile mind in this self indulgent crap.

9/1/2012 1:52:23 PM AWST


I am starting to lose my patience here a little. I am trying to establish what occurred and provide a solution. I reiterate, I have not intentionally stopped you having your say but the same situation may have occurred to you as it did for Matador as I explained in the comments of the blog post introducing the forum. See the pic attached.

Firstly, please confirm whether it is actually the forum you are talking about and secondly if it was then please take up my invitation to reregister and post again.



PS I would request that you stop using a manner of language that insinuates that I have actually been in error.

3rd email 9/1/2012 1:39:08 PM AWST

Nice bit of obfuscation,,,

Keep up the duplicity, as I am sure you will.


Who needs friends like that????????

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Passing the baton?

I have had an interesting discussion with new forum member Dustin who lives at Lennox which not only provides him with a venue for great waves but the opportunity to view some fairly reasonable mat riders doing their thing also.
He and a few of his mates have been turned on to mat riding using MT5s, quite obviously, as Lennox is where they emerged from. What particularly interested me was that he mentioned that he had bought himself a 4GF Tracker for Christmas and was enjoying the delights that mat can offer also. I think that to do that was quite a logical and obvious decision to make on his part.
So here is the thing. Although there has been a resistance and some degree of concern over the emergence of a mass produced mat in MT's Krypt MT5, in my mind it is surely only going to create opportunities for more sales for the custom mat makers for 2 reasons.

1. There will be more mat riders out there showing just how much fun and how adept a wave riding vehicle surf mats are.
2. Once people become hooked they will naturally search out new ways to enjoy what they like to do and will look to what else is available.

So Dustin is part of the new wave of mat riders who will ensure that mat surfing no longer remains shrouded in mystery and intrigue as it becomes more mainstream. Personally I think that is a good thing as I would prefer to surf with a bunch of mat riders than stand up surfers as it is safer for a start and there is more likelihood that waves can be shared occasionally too, as they were at the beginning of the longboard era, before surfers started going left and right demanding the wave for themselves alone.
So those of you hanging on for dear life to that baton? It's time to let it go!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Using the forum and a little session on the Standard

The first time you visit a forum it can be a little overwhelming.
Initially, it is probably just worth browsing the various topics raised to get a feel for what sort of things are being discussed.
The next time you visit the best way to find any new discussions is to make sure you are logged in and this will activate the "View posts since last visit" link which will provide a list of all the topics that have had some activity. You will find it right above the list of forums as I have indicated in the image above which you can click on to view in full size.
The next step is probably to reply to a topic if you feel so disposed and become a part of a discussion.
Once you have a handle on the sort of things that are raised and discussed you can start creating topics that you might be interested in and hey presto before you know it you are a forum junkie!

I got a slightly frustrating session on the Standard today. Probably should have taken the Tracker out but from where I observed it looked like the waves might be standing up and a little quick around the bay.
Anyway, it was offshore, if a little too gale like, the water was a beautiful green and looked particularly smart against the grey clouds and patches of blue sky that poked through. So, I am happy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

GSMRF 1st anniversary competition!

I have been putting a lot of work in to getting heaps of content in to the Global Surf Mat Riders Forum. There are 23 different forums and sub forums covering every conceivable possibility I can think of and I am sure I will come up with more.

There are also:
  1. 35 mat related videos
  2. A link to the hundreds of images in my surf mat image collection
  3. Links to 10 must read articles including both PG's and DS's manuals that accompany their mats when they post them to you. 
  4. Links to all the mat makers websites and mat related blogs and forums. 
There are two competitions to keep in mind that will be running through this year.
  • Mark Thomson's tube ride of the year competition that you know the details of from my previous post.
  • GSMRF's 1st anniversary competition. Join the forum and make at least 6 posts through the year and you could be in the running to win an only very slightly used (twice in fact) 4GF UDT surf mat delivered free to your door anywhere in the world!
So come on in, check it all out, register and start participating.
Looking forward to meeting and getting to know you and your mat story!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Inaugural Krypt Surf Technology Surf Mat Tube of the Year Challenge!

Attention all Mat Riders and Photo/videographers.
You are invited to send in a series of images or video footage of any great surf mat tube rides that you have captured already or may capture through 2012. 
Entries close on the 1st of December 2012 and all contrbutions will be posted up on YouTube to a specially created playlist on my channel. 
At the end of the year I will run a poll here on Magic Carpet Ride from the closing date until the 31st of December to give as many people as possible a reasonable amount of time to vote for the tube ride that they like the best.
The winning video will be announced on the 1st of January 2013.
Mark Thomson has generously offered 2 Krypt MT5 surf mats for the winning entry. One each for the rider and the photo/videographer. 
Send your series of images (preferably as a slideshow as I have done above) or a URL to your video footage to me at ramsnake53@gmail.com and I will get it on to YouTube for everybody to check out.
So start getting yourselves organised and pray for the best surf ever in 2012 where ever you may choose to ride waves.
Email either myself or Mark at info@kryptsurf.com if you would like more information.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Global Surf Mat Riders Forum

After a good deal of thought I have decided to create a new surf mat related forum. You are welcome to become a member no matter where you live and ride surf mats on this wonderful planet of ours. You can discuss whatever you like provided you maintain some level of common courtesy which I and other invited moderators will monitor.  I have started things off with a post in the "Introduce Yourself" forum which is where you should head to first too. I look forward to meeting more of you, hearing your mat riding story and the opportunity to engage in plenty of robust discussion!

A question?

JohnnyDMay made the following comment on the GG at Maui video I have uploaded.

"That little bog-down at 0:16, that's one thing that irks me on a mat. Often difficult to regain speed and susceptible to the wave's will. Good to see I'm not the only one."

My reply was that I thought it had more to do with the mat outrunning the power spot on the wave and the mat waits for the wave to catch up.

NathanOJ then commented also with the following.

"Regarding those odd stalls, running a soft mat which buckles on hitting a chop might also momentarily apply the brakes? Or when you get a bounce on...oof!...mat bends (perhaps through rider's reaction to the impact), ploughs water and stalls. Just to play devil's advocate, outrunning the power spot kind of contradicts the mats supposed ability to skim flat spots?? Though there's 'skinny weak as sh*t flat' and 'flat' but with power drawing from down deep...those we fly on. I'm on my second Neumatic after 6 yrs matting. Currently on the Sunshine Coast QLD."

So I am calling for more opinions on this. Have a look at the footage and then let us know what you think.