Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GSMRF change!

Accepting that forums are actually old hat in this day and age of social media, I have changed the emphasis and indeed the name of the Global Surf Mat Riders Forum. Instead of being a venue for discussion, which Facebook and Twitter etc probably provide a better environment for, I have rejigged it to be an information resource which is kinda how it has turned out anyway. So it is now known as the "Global Surf Mat Rider Resource"and it is designed to be a top of the mind, one stop shop for anything and everything to do with surf mats, their makers, riders and required paraphernalia! Of course you can still start a discussion, and the UDT is still up for grabs at the end of this year to those of you who have taken the time to indulge yourselves, but really I am inviting you to post information that you believe might be relevant or let me know if you think anything is missing and I will get something up.
I had a couple of good sessions last weekend both of which were in quite different conditions from each other. The first was one of those days when it was onshore but there was plenty of swell but it didn't actually look like there was any face to ride but you know what mats are like; natural face seekers. I ended up getting a couple of long and most pleasurably interesting lefts. One ride was particularly notable. It started off with a big sloping take off to go down before it started to sit up on the inside. As I carved hard to get on to the building section the Tracker seemed to release the outside pontoon and just took off like a scalded cat as the degree of drag must have plummeted as Kendog demonstrates beautifully in the pic. It is incredible how almost every time I take out a mat there seems to be something new to learn. I will be looking for that release again when the opportunity arises.
The second session was in much more typical conditions with good sized but quick clean waves coming through in perfect offshore conditions. I was sharing the peak with a surfing acquaintance, from my previous wave hunting grounds, who had made the trip to the west with his two bodyboarding sons who were trying out their new Go Pro. Not all the waves would hold up but every now and then they would do so and a long ride with plenty of face to play on was made available. The notable wave in this session was not the best of the bunch but a shared wave at the end of which my acquaintance expressed utter disbelief that at the end of the ride I was still so easily maintaining pace behind him even though he was on a board. Yes he dropped in on me. Had the wave been a little better I might have been able to get past him but was content just to sit on his tail in order to enjoy the look of on his face that would undoubtably appear.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A pop-up free future to look forward to and..............

........"How the hell are those Darkfin gloves of yours going?"
I know, I know it's been awhile. Yes, I am still inhabiting this planet but I have been back teaching again and the first week or so is always mayhem so my head and thoughts have been elsewhere. I have still managed a few sessions in the meantime of course, two of which have been on hard boards. Unfortunately, I have to report that it is just not a pleasurable experience anymore as I just don't get out on them often enough and at my age that just does not work as I cannot slip back in to it like I use to. As I have mentioned before, after 18 months now of riding mats, boards just feel hard and inflexible to lie on and frustratingly awkward to manoeuvre around. As I am rarely out on one, it is also a struggle to pop up as I used to and it seems such a pointless thing to do anyway as the board is going just fine lying down on it. As the muscles required to achieve the pop up are not toned up, I also really feel it in my lower back after a session. So, before I do any actual damage, I have made a decision to rid myself of my remaining boards apart from keeping a SUP in the quiver for those days when it is too small for a mat. Having finally made the decision, I feel relieved really as I won't have them hanging around anymore and feeling like I ought to take them out and ride them.

On another topic, my Darkfin gloves are looking a little tatty after 7 months of use. You'll notice that the left one is particularly wrecked with some of the wrist missing, the thumb split and the index finger completely topped. This is surprising as it is the right glove that I use to hang on to the mat most of the time. You may also note that the fingers of the right glove are sticking together. My fault for leaving the gloves out to dry in the sun and having the rubber perish to some degree. Every time I go for a surf now I have to peel the fingers and the webbing apart. So yes, you are correct I will not be putting the next pair I get out in the sun to dry. "Another pair!" I hear you cry out in disbelief. Yep, they are terrific providing heaps more paddle power for getting around in to position as a wave approaches and more so for their protection of my delicate instrument playing finger tips. Love 'em!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm getting my head down........

........and my shoulders closer to the mat nowadays than I was when I first started mat riding as PG is so ably demonstrating in the pic.
The advantages of starting to habitually do this are many fold.
1. Just arm paddling around you can tell that the mat moves through the water more easily. I can paddle for hundreds of metres back around the bay far more easily than I ever could on a solid board especially if it is a little choppy!
2. The flatter postion of the body naturally inclines and assists one in getting the fins out of the wave and more easily drop the chin on to the deck to get that amazing boost of speed to get through a section or further out on the face so as you can perform that carving cutback you so love to do!
3. Adopting this position means I am starting to naturally rest the palms of my hands on the deck of the mat to just assist it to maintain it's form and instantly be able to squeeze and release as required!
I had a great session yesterday mainly because I had the point to myself as all the bloody terrorists have gone home, the kids were getting ready to go back to school today and it was onshore and a bit chunky and messy. You know those conditions a surf mat absolutely thrives in! The inlet has finally closed up and there is a very reasonable banking forming at the point now. I got a couple of very reasonable rights that, for the first time for awhile, allowed me to hold a high line which is always a good sign. I got into 4th gear briefly on one of them and, as usual when this occurs, I don't quite know how it happened and am happy to just let it remain that extra element of magic that shows itself occasionally when riding a surf mat!