2012 Tube of the Year contender Eric "Da Bolt" Bridges contacted me last week for advice as he was having some difficulty with the MT5 he bought recently as he is used to riding a RedBack surf mat which is a fair bit bigger as you can see from the pic.
Eric loves RedBacks but he keeps popping them. I recommended he take on my Vespa Roundtail, as I never use it anymore, and it has plenty of size and being a 4GF is pretty indestructible. With a little negotiation on price, a deal was struck and the Vespa was on it's way arriving today apparently.
I think the Vespa might be a perfect option for Eric as it is considerably larger than an MT5 but smaller than the RedBack.
So what have I been up to recently matwise? Well, not too much to be honest as I have been ill, and as you already know, recently visited Perth, the city with little chance of catching a wave, for the last few days. When I have been out on a mat, it has been either of my 2 MT5s that I have chosen for a number of weeks now. As a consequence, I have become so used to a thin decked mat that the nylon decked 4GFs now feel a little stiff and unfamiliar which is a real surprise considering the amount of time I have spent on one or other of them. With the UDT on it's way to whoever wins the Global Surf Mat Rider Resource competition at the end of the year and the Vespa sold, the only 4GFs I have in the quiver now are a Standard and Tracker Roundtail. Postscript I meant to add a couple of other things to this post but forgot to do so. The first related to when MattJ came down for our mini mat meet recently. I noticed he was using reef booties under his swim fins. I have always used a couple of pairs of fin socks but I have to keep replacing them as they fall apart under the strain. I remembered that I had purchased a pair of booties for our trip to the Cocos-Keeling islands a few years ago, so I rummaged around in the unused surfing paraphernalia draw and managed to find them so as I could give them a go at the next session. Well, buggar me, they work brilliantly so I have been using them ever since. Absolutely, no foot issues and I reckon they will cope with the wear and tear far better than the fin socks. The second issue related to the MT5 and the difficulty of deflating them after a session using the little black valve cap. Basically, up until now, I haven't bothered deflating them more than to get enough air out so as I can fold them in half. It happened that I was fiddling around with one of them the other day checking to see if the valve had dirt in it which was allowing the mat to lose inflation over a period of time. I happened to use my car key to push the little spring and blow me down if the mat didn't start to deflate in record time! So now after a session, I use a little piece of twig to depress the spring and easily deflate my MT5s.