Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Riding the Freight Train!!!

Freight trains is a super fast break on Maui that legendary lensman Jason Hall likes to visit and often there are very few others around when he chooses to do so. This is because most surfers don't bother with it unless it's 2x overhead as the video depicts.
Before his recent move to Maui, Jason lived in Newport Beach in California and was responsible for posting thousands of images of surfers from that area on his blog. They included this epic shot of Prana that I am sure all of you have admired at one time or another.

As far as I know the first time Jason ever rode a mat was on one that he borrowed on the day he shot this footage at the now legendary August 2010 Cottons Mat Meet.

This experience must have sowed a seed as Jason recently added one of PG's mats to his quiver. Here is his description of riding it at Freight Trains on one of those smaller, less crowded days. If you are at all interested in knowing how to ride barrels on a mat, then the following description is a must read. Apart from being most instructive, it also makes you feel like you are in there with him!

"The reef at Freights has a couple sections, but for now I'm just talking about the end section that starts just after the "tombstone" (large rock usually poking up in the impact zone). 
The end section needs a wide swinger for a good wall that will ultimately run off into deep water.  
So in order to be able to outrun the lip, setting up the takeoff is critical. 
You don't drop straight in and bottom turn. You have to start at an angle, already pointing down the line. 
I usually use the takeoff method with the mat out infront of me, the only part of my body on the mat are my hands to my elbows. 
I'm laid out flat behind the mat kicking. This allows you to get on the wave sooner than if you were on the mat with all your body. 
Once you catch the wave, you pull yourself onto the mat, you're already finessing the twisting of the nose, using the ribs in the tail to assist with holding the line combined with the right fin slightly in the water..not dragging too much. 
Now you've made it to the bottom, holding on to as much speed as possible, maintaining projection, and lining back up into the hook. 
This is where it gets tricky, cause now you're really hauling ass and one small screwup will cost you the wave, there's really no time to correct. 
The wave will blow you by. 
Now is where the hand-fin is used. 
Right hand into the face along right hip, left hand pulling up the left front of the mat, right hip pressure down on tail, and right fin engaged. 
I use the Viper MS models that don't have the pronounced ribs like the regular Vipers, and I've learned to lean the body alittle which will put the fin into the wave at an angle creating better control.
At this point, you're locked in, absorbing the small chop created by the howling offshore winds that are blowing from the valley. 
You're probably hooting at the top of your lungs, taking in the speed sensation and the view of the finely chiseled wave face bending down the reef. 
Now the wave fades off into the deep water and the end of the reef. You're pulsing from the adrenaline, out of breath from the excitement, and kicking back out around the shoulder for the next one."

Jason reckons this spot would make an epic "mat meet" wave.
Hands up any takers!