Saturday, December 8, 2012
4GF Blue Streak Omni Review
Fortunately, on Sunday, there was a reasonably favourable wind and a good sized but slightly overpopulated right to be had around the bay. After the appalling night he had to suffer through, I was rapt to be able to enjoy sharing some pretty reasonable waves with Matt. It was especially so for him as he had brought down his brand spanking new Blue Streak Omni. Knowing he was going to be caught up with a heavy week of work, he incredibly generously left it with me for the week, so as I could get a few sessions on it for a review before posting it back up to him in Perth.
Firstly, I would like to commend G on the grip he has applied to the mat. The craftsmanship is Solomonson like! The front corners of the Omni look remarkably similar to the rear ones. Has PG produced the first egg mat? Matt mentioned that he thought there was something very right looking about the general physical dimensions of the Omni and I think I agree.
The first session on the Omni was in rubbish small, howling onshore conditions which are a great way to test the possibilities of a surf mat. Now this is the first time I have got my sticky mitts on a Blue Streak and it has been sometime since I rode one of Dale's mats. Unfortunately, I had forgotten just how grippy Vulkem is and I made the added mistake of wearing just a rashie and board shorts. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the rashie seems to provide more grip than a nylon wetsuit, so I had a hell of a time taking off on the Omni and pulling myself on to the very small weak wind waves that were coming through. It felt to me like I was having to make gross movements in the manner of a copulating elephant seal in order to position myself. Despite my difficulties, I did manage to get a couple of short faces with the odd reform so I was able to get some idea of the potential of this new mat.
It felt smooth, very smooth. It was a pleasure to move out to and around the line up, even in the very choppy conditions. I think this is a lot to do with the thin deck as much as anything as the MT5 has a similar feel. However, it did feel like the Omni glided very easily straight on to the wave with a negligible amount of the transition action that I have experienced on other mats. It is also highly responsive, turning easily with just a small depression of the front corners of the mat. Now I cannot remember steering a surf mat in this manner before but for some reason the nature of the Omni found me choosing to do so. This came as a bit of a surprise as I am sure I am a from the hips steering kinda mat rider. My red raw nipples and chafed elbows confirm that a Vulkem gripped surf mat and a thin rash shirt are not a good combination!
My second session on the Omni was on bigger waves well around the bay in rather too strong a side shore conditions. This time I made sure to wear a wetsuit and the issues I experienced during the first session during the take off were pretty well non-existent. Although the waves had good size they were a little straight and it was not until some time into the session that I was able to really get on to a couple of waves of any quality to unleash the Omni on. The ease with which it transitions on to a wave from the take off was again apparent and this assists the rider to gain good position. The Omni has definitely got a bit of straight line speed and again I found myself able to make lightning quick changes of direction by just depressing the front corners of the mat a little in the direction I wanted to go. I still remain a little astounded at how riding this particular mat finds me choosing to steer in this fashion.
It also occurred to me during this session that the Omni seems to have a great balance to it. So much so, that at one point during the session, I turned it around and paddled around on it backwards for awhile but the comfortable feeling of balance was lost. The waves during this session were not very critical and although pleased with the performance of the mat it left me keen to try it out in waves with a more vertical face to just see how it handles those conditions also.
Yesterday's third session on the Omni, was in tiny but clean little waves that were a challenge to get on. Again the Omni performed well proving that it certainly seems to be a bit of an all-rounder as the name of the mat implies. I have to say that I think PG has invented a great mat that rivals the status of the Standard as my personal favourite 4GF. It had been great to get some time on a Blue Streak and I really like the ride it provides. I would still have liked to have got the chance to get it on to waves that were sitting up more on the take off to test it's ability to set a rail but that will have to wait for another time as this fun mat needs to be returned to it's owner.
And it is nice to see that the Omni has featured on Liquid Salt.