Friday, November 30, 2012

The 11th Tube of the Year entry makes it back in to the comp!

So here again is that incredible footage of Chad Barba at the Wedge. It has been beautifully re-edited by the owner of the footage, a Wedge institution himself, John Minar. Make sure you do yourself a big favour and watch it in HD! My apologies to John for initially infringing his copyright. My sincere thanks to both MT and John for negotiating the footage extraction and re-edit.  It would have been a great shame if this footage had not been a part of the competition this year. The closing date has been extended another two weeks until the 14th of December so get those last minute entries in and then we can get down to the voting!
Just in case the video was not enough for you, John has also very kindly contributed another couple of stills from the same day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I ride surf mats too!

A response to Prana’s October post.
I wish I could remember why I happened to visit the Surfmatters blog around the beginning of 2010. Whatever it was, that first fleeting visit was the catalyst for a slowly rising awareness of the surf mat and it’s potential as an alternative for riding waves. Although I did not act upon that first visit initially, clearly it sowed a seed in my mind, because, sometime later, I did revisit PG’s blog and read a few of the more recent posts. This time round though, what I read must have had quite an impact as I remember plunging head first into it and reading every single post from the beginning. The very first of which was posted by MatMax at 6.43pm on September the 18th 2008 when 4GF surf mats looked like this!

It was a combination of what I had read about on Surfmatters, the contents of this post with a link to this first stunning video of Mark Thomson, that meant I was able to report that I had lashed out and bought a surf mat. Mainly because it seems that they are the fastest wave riding craft of all!!!

Unlike Prana, I seem to have lost my love of surfboards as I have little interest in looking at them anymore and the thought of actually standing up on a wave now really seems an odd thing to contemplate doing at all. Even after 10 years of fanatically riding boards, I can state now that I have had even more fun riding a surf mat because it is rare I have ever had a dud session. So I can only heartily agree with Prana that a surf mat must be the most advanced and adaptive craft for riding waves.
Talking about Prana, his blog 23 Breaths, was also a great influence in those early days as he wrote so eloquently about mat riding. Whilst researching the earlier posts on Surfmatters, I was interested to discover that Prana had posted on there also. Of course that led me to explore when he had decided that he had enough to say about mat riding to start his own blog. Well, it transpires that 23 Breaths kicked off in February the 11th 2008 at 12:21 pm well before Surfmatters so he was way ahead of the game but was obviously welcomed as a guest poster there too.
Prana has explained the practicalities of surfing a mat brilliantly so I will concentrate on what is it about this way of riding waves that has me so addicted to the experience. I do love the portability of mats though. No lugging bloody great boards up the beach in a high wind and even more challenging getting them back on the roof of the car safely without damaging them, myself or anybody else in the vicinity. So easy to get your gear to the beach and then back home again.
After thinking about this for some weeks since I first started this response, I finally feel like I have nailed what it is about mat riding that is particularly special for me.
Even though I have ridden pretty well every other craft that you can use to ride a wave, it is the feeling of oneness with the wave that is particularly special for me about riding a surf mat. It is like there is a seamless connection between the rider of the surf mat and the wave itself. So why is this so? I think there are a number of reasons.

1. The pliability of the mat that allows the rider to feel every nuance of a wave’s motion.

2. The feeling of being encompassed by the wave with one's head so close to the surface. On a big wave this can translate in to the slightly unnerving feeling that you are on the open hand of King Kong ready to have the life crushed out of you in an instant. Very moment focussing!!

3. The mat’s ability to match and move beyond the speed of the wave without apparent input from the rider. An extraordinary sensation that feels like one has tapped in to some hidden force.

4. That sensation only amplifies the feeling of oneness as the speed provides the rider with a beyond human experience as he or she feels like they are actually flying just above the surface of the ocean like a pelicans do so brilliantly.

5. That accomplishing a great ride on a surf mat depends upon letting go and allowing the mat to take charge. The rider only interfering in a very minimal way with dabs of the fins and touch up squeezes to make subtle changes to the shape of the mat.

6. If you are not a mat rider, it seems that observing a mat rider on a wave does not seem to be a very inspiring. I have often completed what I felt was just an extraordinary ride and looked to see if there were any reaction from others coming back out to the line up that might have observed it only to find there was no bubble of excitement. Clearly, there is something going within the confines of the mat rider’s world that seemingly magnifies that experience well beyond what the casual observer might see.

Prana quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
I love that but never having been a believer in the notion of perfection, I am bold enough to change one word, as I prefer it this way.
“Oneness is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Deets Tube of the Year entry!

Fittingly, considering the recent news that Voit swim fins will finally be available in Australia, the saviour of this great product, and one of the world's great body surfers, shows his form on a surf mat! The photog was Jeff Bell and the location.................? Shitpipes in LA!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pretty impressive Tube of the Year Competition entry

I know most of you will have seen this terrific footage and it certainly deserves a place in this years competition. The rider of course is the irrepressible Chad Stickney and so of course is the photog!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Warren Pfieffer & a couple of mates at Gnaraloo!

You may remember that I posted about "The Reef" here and that there is a pretty cool pic of Warren in it. Well, here is the clip the image was taken from with a very quick cameo. The other two hanging out the back with Warren are fin-free fanatic Derek Hynd and the equally adept Ryan Birch. The Reef was televised last night and the footage is not that flash as it was recorded hand held using my iPhone. Short but sweet and still hoping to get the original footage and more that apparently exists  of Warren's exploits during the project.

Monday, November 19, 2012

So what have I been up to lately!

Well, riding every mat that I currently own in a sort of rotation in various combinations with the Duck Feet and UDT fins. This ranges from when the waves are a little fat and taking out the Tracker with a pair of UDTs to using the 5GF and the Duck Feet if the waves are cranking. For conditions inbetween those two extremes I will alternate between the MT5 and Standard with fin choice depending on what the waves are like. I have really enjoyed this process of experimenting with matching the equipment I choose to use with the prevailing conditions on the day.
I am also slightly surprised at how readily I am able to switch from one style of mat to another without really thinking about it. For instance, not so long ago I needed half a session or so before I felt comfortable riding the MT5 if I had been riding canvas deck mats for awhile. Not anymore!
I have given up using the Shark Shield and have resigned myself to the possibility of getting torn asunder by a Great White Shark. Mat riding is such a finely nuanced activity that I started to get pissed off with it hanging off my ankle as I felt like it upset the overall balance of the ride. Especially so lately, as I have been particularly trying to get further up on the face. The balance issue further exacerbated by a bit of drag and a little more effort required to get my fin out of the face when I wanted to. So that is that.
Interestingly, in view of this recent excellent post of PG's, I have been thinking of experimenting by applying some Vulkem stripping to the deck of one of my MT5s ala the Blue Streaks. I have been using wax quite happily but, when wearing a standard nylon wetsuit, the MT5 can still get away from me unexpectedly. Ironically, yesterday I took to the water in a rashie and board shorts and the waxed deck was so sticky I could barely pull myself on to the mat on the take off. So now I am thinking that I will just put a rashie over my current wetsuit until I can get one with a rubber chest section and I think that will resolve the MT5 grip issue for both summer and winter.
It has been a far better Spring surfing season for me this year than it was last year as I have had quite a few great sessions. This is a relief as summer is just around the corner and the conditions for surfing are about to go to shit!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When you're on the brink of winning a first World Championship.....

....what can you do to keep your head in the right place and obtain the benefit of some cross-training at the same time?
If you are Joel Parkinson, the current leader of the ASP's World Championship Tour, you get out a Krypt MT5 surf mat, for some exceptional fun to help take your mind off things and keep your body in shape. Could this revolutionary addition to his training regime be the key to Parko finally getting over the line this year?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mystery rider!

Interesting set of pics on Prana's recent post entitled incognito
revolving around the identity of a mystery mat rider on that great looking wave.
I still reckon I picked exactly who it is but it might have been anyone of these three reprobates who were seen hanging around the Cardiff area in recent weeks. Was it that man Machado, young Daniel or the Speed Freak himself! Here are those pics again just in case you happened to miss them and a big thanks to the mystery photog too!
Who do you think the mystery rider was?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Always Overhead!


ANOTHER great thing about MAT riding…”It is always over head high” when ya ride a mat.
 Wednesday 07.11.2012 arrived at “black rabbit” …OK its small BUT no one out…offshore…cute little bumps all on my own & the vespa screaming in the boot to get out with NO hesitation I got wet for an hour.
 Found that on small waves that lotsa air inflation is the key to picking them up and making the most of the suckers.

Da bolt

Friday, November 9, 2012

Finally, an Australian Distributor of Voit Swim Fins!

Mark Thomson emailed me recently with the sensational news that Krypt International has secured the distribution rights for the legendary Voit UDT, Duck Feet and V Duck swim fins here in Australia. Mark is very proud to have secured this deal as Voit swim fins have never before been available in Australia as longtime surf gear retailer Gail Austen from Goodtime Surf & Sail in Brisbane confirms.

Biomimetically designed, these sensational fins mimic nature and possess a perfect flex pattern for striking speed with instant response and thrust providing greater propulsion with minimum effort. They are made from Dual Durometer 100% gum rubber with no plastic additives or other impurities added.

Mark has used and recommended the Duck Feet model for over 25 years and along with the UDT's they are the fin of choice of the majority of the world's most experienced mat riders.
Available Early New Year 2013, this is a huge plus for all Australians who use swim fins for their water based activities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daniel Thomson on how to ride a surf mat!

"Developed in 1933, the surf mat has been one of the more undercover alternative surf crafts providing surfers with an exhilarating, fast ride for years, turning seemingly bad waves into a more than worthwhile session.
What most people don't realize is that while they may not be designed for high-flying aerial antics like a body board, they are however, high performance wave riding vehicles, allowing for super fast speed runs along the perfect trim spot that each ridden wave offers.
In this episode of Surf Sufficient, shaper/surfer Daniel Thomson shares some tips on how to optimize your ride. Changing the internal pressure of the mat by squeezing and gripping the fabric, the rider can alter the thickness, buoyancy and rocker, therefore changing speed and control of the mat. The air pressure is the key. A surf mat requires less air in smaller, flatter waves and a bit more air in larger more powerful waves. However, experienced mat riders prefer to ride a softer inflation as doing this allows the mat to run faster over the water. A mat rider can experience many different levels of riding performance by simply adjusting the mats air pressure between rides."

Good on Cyrus and the crew at Korduroy.TV for putting this vid together!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Less a wrangler than he once was!

Hi R

Here are some piccies from Adam of the waves we had at Monties last
Saturday. Adam sent me out as test pilot AGAIN which was fine by me.
We had to surf these waves all on our own as there was no one around
except a couple of fishermen.
They stood spellbound at our antics..OR.. maybe their waving arms were not so much congratulating us on the rides but trying to tell us to get out of the channel which they were fishing into.
Not sure, but yeah we were there first.

So on his way out he yells at me, STOP wrangling that poor I let go and put my arms out in front...woo I took off, lucky I had the mat pressure just right and my balance. I changed from second gear straight into 4th gear and let out a whoop of joy.
Did it on a couple of others, Adam saw one and cracked up. So again I learn more and the fun just keeps on getting better.
Our two mates Oily and Butters are interested in having a go so that should be good for some more laughs.

Catcha inda green room...da bolt