Friday, June 29, 2012

A 5th 2012 Tube Ride of the Year entry

Rider Andrew Stephen Buck and photog Seth De Roulet.
Keep them coming folks.
It is going to be really interesting which ride gets voted as the best by you guys and gals at the end of this year. Don't forget there is a Series III Krypt MT5 surf mat for both the rider and the photographer for the winning shot. Here is a link so as you can view all the rides that have been submitted so far.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Justin Spittle

Second off the rank after mattj in the who are you, where are you, why do you etc Aussie mat rider series is:

1. Justin Spittle.
2. Krypt MT5
3. The Bra in Sydney. 
4. Beach break and reef (when it works).
5. Normally surf (5,2 Simmons, 5,6 short board, I'm 6ft) and Paipo. Of late I hurt my back (14 weeks bad) so no stand up, so lots of bodysurfing bit of Paipo . Only been matting for 6 weeks.
7. No other mat riders, no other body surfers and no one on a Paipo. Four ski riders and a couple of longboards. Rest shortboards. Bodyboards not many, and not loved. 
8. The challenge, fun, speed and to get my back right. 
9. While on the mat it has alway been positive in the waves, even with crew that you wouldn't want to drop in on. How could any one get angry with a mat rider. Had some hoots and smiles after waves but.
10. Keep up the work on the blog it's looking great and about to hit Vanuatu in two weeks with the mat so will try a get a pic for ya.

Thanks for that great response and great images Justin. Looking forward to pics of and hearing how the Vanuatu trip went. I am particularly keen to hear from you younger guys that have taken up mat riding if you can spare a few minutes to answer these questions and tell us about yourself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mat Meet with mattj

Yes finally I get to surf with another mat rider!
Matt Jessup sent me a txt a little while back to say he was planning to come down south to catch some waves. Last week I received a txt saying he was on his way down on the weekend so finally my lone mat rider syndrome was going to be temporarily redressed! Rapt barely describes my feeling and I could only cross my fingers and hope for conditions that might improve on the fairly poor ones we have had of late since a storm passed through and deluged our fair town.
Matt is from the Central Coast of NSW originally and has surfed all sorts of wave craft for more than 20 years. He had developed an interest in finless craft, and being a fan of Derek Hynd, he happened across Musica Surfica. He noticed that Warren Pfieffer was doing as well if not better than everybody else so he just had to get himself a surf mat.
Matt's quiver contains a Roundtail Tracker, a Blue Streak Standard and he also bought a beautiful looking Tom Wegener alaia with him too.
The alaia didn't get any wave time but we managed two sessions over the weekend on mats. The waves were not that flash but compared to what Matt has been served up with in Perth of late I think for him they were a dream come true. From what I could see he got heaps of take offs, cover ups and even some rides with a bit of length to them on the Blue Streak. We also had the pleasure of sharing a wave together which was a lot of fun and it was really such a buzz to have another mat rider in the pretty crowded line up. Overall I think Matt had a good time and having discovered he could also get a great coffee at Ravens has decided he will be back again soon. Fantastic and I hope we manage to serve you up some better waves next time.
So if you are out at Scarborough or Triggs in Perth and you see a guy on a mat or alaia it will probably be Matt so go say hi!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ironman Daniel Thomson

Back in August 2010, Prana posted about Krypt surf mat designer Mark Thomson's son Daniel finally getting around to exploring his old man's obsession with surf mats. I can only imagine how Daniel might have really resisted doing so as a young guy as the last thing you want to do at that age is something your parents are in to. Anyway, having established his own identity as a shaper he obviously now felt comfortable about trying out a mat and indeed may have done so to inform his board shaping I suspect. As the original post mentioned, Dan was stoked at the mat riding experience and spent the next few days exploring it further. Interestingly, in the comments on that original post, Mattitude commented on how inflated Dan has the mat as he enters the water in the first pic above. I suggest there are two reasons for this. One, it is his first time on a mat and riding a thin decked mat at low inflations immediately is a challenge. Two, I remember MT commenting that he is in the habit of adding air to his mat when coming in at Lennox across the rocks and I imagine Dan has taken MT's advice to do something similar on the way out! It certainly looks like he has dropped the inflation level in next pic.
Now based in Southern California, Dan has continued to ride mats whilst shaping the most extraordinary looking boards. He has enjoying great success there as he has won 2 prestigious Scared Craft best of show awards for a 5'3" freestyle planning hull and a 4ft 11 inch diamond nose diamond tail with a very parallel outline. He has also became increasingly interested in whether a board could be as fast as a surf mat having been inspired by the seemingly limitless top end speed potential that surf mats possesses. Incidentally, he is not the only notable board rider to take up mat riding as the list now also includes Chris Delmoro, Rob Machado, Tom Curren, Joel Parkinson, Wayne Lynch, Wade Goodall, Mick Fanning, Dean Morrison and of course Dave Rastovich.

Images by Hilton Dawe

As I mentioned in this post, Dan had apparently developed his own unique style of mat riding using a unique minimal use of hands technique. Dubbed the Ironman, it utilises riding way forward, head down for maximum speed potential and squeezing the rear corners of the mat to provide some degree of control.
On a recent trip back home Daniel got to go head to head with his father and a few mates for some serious speed trials showing off how effective the Ironman is.
The following images provide a great insight into what went down, how much fun was had by all and that Daniel is certainly no slouch when it comes to riding mats.

Images by Janet Planet

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ride mats in Australia?

Well, I would like to hear from you.
The main reason for changing the name of this blog was to give it a wider but more localised Australian focus. So with your cooperation, I hope it will also feature the people who choose to ride surf mats in this region as well as stuff about myself and what is going on in the mat riding world.
If you would like to participate, send an email to It would be great if you provided answers to some or all of the following questions and a pic or two of course is most important. This way we can build up a bit of a picture of the extent of mat riding in this region of the world and the characters who choose to ride them. The more of you who are willing to take the time to do so, the richer, more interesting and relevant the blog becomes.

1. Who you are (real name and mat riding nickname if applicable)
2. What mat/s you ride
3. What area you ride waves in
4. Wave type in your area
5. If you rode surfboards before you took up mat riding or not
6. How often you are choosing to ride your mat/s
7. Are there any other mat riders where you surf or are you on your own in the main
8. What it is about mats that makes you want to ride them
9. A description of any particularly interesting interaction you have had with riders of other surf craft
10. Anything else you would like to say

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Australian Surf Mat Rider!

Yep, I have changed the name of this blog to a title that is probably more usefully descriptive.
"What's that you ask?"
"Um, yes I do feel a little like various events in the last year have contributed to that decision"
Don't worry though, it will still remain everything you have come to expect from the Magic Carpet Ride no matter where you may happen to ride surf mats on this wonderful world of ours!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"A perfect canvas.........

.........and I was just along for the ride!" The incredibly talented Kelly Slater's comment on a 10 point ride during the semi-final of the Pro event held in Fiji this week that he eventually won. As soon as I heard this comment I knew there was a post in it and started a draft ready to complete on another day. So here we go. My first thought on hearing that comment was "And a surf mat is the perfect brush for me!" Let me tell you a story.
My longtime partner Michelle is an artist and has been so all her life. I am talking the real deal here, not just someone who paints pretty pictures, but one who produces deep and meaningful images based on her lifelong quest for a greater consciousness.

Like all true creative artists, she has struggled big time with her art and particularly so in the last 6 years as she works towards completing a Doctor of Creative Arts. This involves creating a written thesis (the easy bit!) and a body of work, consisting in this case of 4 huge 2.4 X 2.4 metre paintings of which 3 look like they will be submitted. Although she has painted all her life, Michelle has always considered that her main talent is in drawing and the exploration of form (she is also a talented sculptress) rather than painting and colour. Even though she has produced many, many paintings she has always struggled with using brushes and a wide range of colour. Recently, (after 35 years!) she suddenly had a breakthrough, discarding her brushes. She started using the palette knife exclusively and a more drawing like way to apply the paint using only enough colour to allow her to portray the forms she required.
So in the end it is all about finding the right tool for any given situation. For riding waves, a surf mat is the best tool for me as I don't feel a need to dominate them but more to immerse myself completely and utterly allowing them to dictate the experience of the moment. It's a feeling thing, and as I grow older, I seem to be seeking out experiences that allow me to experience greater depths of it.

I am heading this way musically too as I start to immerse myself heavily in to the world of jazz played on the piano about as intense a musical experience of emotion and feeling as it is possible to attain. Today, a superb previously unreleased double cd of the Bill Evans Trio live at the Top of the Gate venue in 1968 was released. Do get your hands on it if you are in to jazz at all!
The perfect wave painting by Eve Thompson.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weird swell, 3 waves sessions and the urge to ride bigger waves!

This is one of the most valuable sites I visit to check out the conditions for surfing. It provides the swell and sea data from a buoy off West Cape Howe about 35 kms to the east. I think most who surf here would agree that the most favourable situation is when both the swell and the sea line up south westerly and wrap nicely around the point or push straight through around the bay.

The chart from today shows the sea coming from the east creating a cross swell which is not optimum but will result in some wave movement in the corner. I am really just waiting for the overall swell to come up more before I go for a physical surf check today to get a session in before all hell breaks loose next week and more on that shortly. For the last few days, however, we have had uncharacteristic, for this time of year, strong north easterly winds which have resulted in both the swell and the sea being lined up from the east. Although there has been plenty of size, this has resulted in pretty frustrating sessions of late as the waves have not been hitting the current bank set up correctly at all. I have spent a lot of time during the last couple of sessions paddling around all over the place trying to find something that was sitting up nicely and actually peeling off with a bit of wall rather than phaffing out as the wave moves across the bank incorrectly. In both sessions I have struck it lucky just in exactly the same spot front of the inlet, when a rip has pushed out for awhile creating a really great A-frame peak and peeling off beautifully in a nice tight V where in normal circumstances a wave would not exist. Unfortunately, this situation only lasted about twenty minutes on each occasion but resulting in two or three really great rides mainly to the left. I remember one in particular that had a wall that towered over me and I kick myself for not trying to carve up the face and give that lip a good thrashing but I was just enjoying the view and sensation of the movement across the face that I just didn't think to do it. Bliss really and next time for sure!
The prediction for the overall wave height in the middle of the coming week is 11 metres!!!!!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have found that as my mat riding experience grows I am seeking out bigger and bigger waves to ride.  (I can assure you I will not be going out in that 11 metre swell should it eventuate). Now I realise this is a pretty typical whatever surf craft you ride but one is able to partake of waves on a mat that one may very well think twice about before doing so on a board. So I am now becoming a little concerned that I might get in over my head one day and engineer my own demise. It is this inclination that led me to more than usually appreciate a recent repost on SurfMatters of one of Peter Bowes offerings in relation to GG. Peter is one of the great writers on surf related matters so I make no apology for quoting a large chunk of it that particularly appealed to me.

"He goes out to the bombies around the Cape and links them all up on his …. craft, says Al. It looks like a mat but the thing is only half full of air and can be used as a kind of bodysheath so GG can plane it out and accelerate when the wave starts to get steep and throw, and then he can shift its function to something similar to a hull-cut and carry on through the fat bits – still at full speed and no slap-bumps because he’s changed the in-water configuration of the thing somehow – until the next shallow section shows its boils." 

This threw us. Greenough has invented something new to ride waves on has he? – and on the bombies out behind the Cape where all the local White-pointers meet for lunch.

" – and if anyone reckons he needs company he just buggers off and goes further out and further back around the Cape."

I wonder where the old bloke is out today – there’s about a 10′ swell jacking up into the north coast and he won’t be looking for company.

Clearly, the same inclination to ride bigger and bigger waves occurred for GG too. It is with some relief that I am able to note that he no longer seems to do this and is content to surf Wategoes in the company of his many good mates. Hopefully, in my case, a degree of common sense and self-preservation will prevail and I will find myself doing the same at 70+ and onwards!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Surf mats and their riders in action 8

Another 100 mat related photos amassed in record time. Definitely more mat action happening on this planet in 2012. The soundtrack, from EST's final and possibly greatest album 301, is especially picked for Surfsister in view of her finally getting around to learning to play the drums. Sorry SS, not much cowbell but EST's drummer Magnus Ostrom starts off Three Falling Free II in fine style.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Small mats and rocker!

The development of the MT series
Following this post, MT has generously taken the time to take images and provide informative additional material in relation to the smaller mats he designed and the role of rocker in surf mats. The first pic shows the MT2 and MT3 he had made by Dale Solomonson to his very specific instructions. It also shows the 15 4GF surf mats that MT has demolished over many years as he evolved his own ideas on surf mat design. I think I wouldn't mind living where MT does too, as the view is pretty spectacular.

The 2nd two pics provide further visual detail of the MT2 and MT3 and a sweet looking pair of mats they are too! Both are restricted breathers with the MT2 a round nose/round tail and the MT3 with a round nose/square tail. MT states that the early 4GFs were 3' 8" or 71/2" and the 5GFs of the day were 3' 8" and narrower. The MT2 and MT3 were a big step down into uncharted territory at 3' 51/2"  X 19" X 4". Both these mats were concaved with a flat rocker and it wasn't until the MT4 that rocker was introduced in to the design. The prototype MT5 went back to a flat rocker before the production MT5 design was settled and included a further tweaked concave and reintroduced the rocker. The MT5 was the break through design that found the perfect aspect ratio of a mat that was 2 inches shorter than those original 4GFs and 20" wide for the most efficient planing surface. You will also have noted that the MT5 has very square rear corners. MT comments that this design is the best for his style of fast speed runs and carving turns as it releases the laminar flow for the least amount of drag. On that note, he states that the MT5 is designed very specifically to suit his style of riding and the conditions that he generally rides in and that it may not suit everyone. But I have found that, like board riding, experiencing a range of mat types can only add to your mat riding knowledge and skill set.

The role of rocker in a surf mat

The  Bernoulli formula of ( L=CL  P/2  SV2)  states:
As the (V) Velocity of the fluid  increases, (P) Pressure of the fluid decreases, therefore creating (L) Lift and is the reason a jumbo jet can stay in the air carrying 500 tonnes.
Rocker is based on this principle in that it amplifies the fluid and creates lift by decreasing the pressure of that fluid. In the pic you can see MT flexing up the rocker so as he can attack the lip. I guess if a subtle curve already exists in the bottom of the mat then it is only going to enhance being able to carry out a move like this. To my question as to when rocker is at it's most effective MT replied "It"s always working to lift ya fat ass up and out of the water to get planing and up to speed!"