Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The mat riding artist!

I was checking Twitter out this morning and noticed this tweet from a guy named Ron Croci.
"A while back, I created this image of George Greenough, the great inventor of various surf craft and innovator". 
"Ok" I said to myself, "I have to have a look at that" Lo and behold Ron had painted the image of GG on a Converse Hodgman with camera gear that you can see heading this post. It is a 24" X 30" oil painting that is for sale for $400US plus shipping. If you are interested email Ron at
It just so happens that, amongst other craft, Ron rides an MT5 himself and that is why he had also painted this image of MT that you would have seen in the sidebar advertising the 2013 Tube of the Year Comp.
So who is Ron Croci? Well, Ron is an accomplished multi-media artist with 30 years of commercial and fine art experience. He continuously searches for new and different ways of expressing his love for the ocean. As a water sports enthusiasts, surfer and diver, his paintings and prints depict joyful scenes of woman in water sports, ocean landscapes and beachscapes.
Ron's artistic history began in the 1970's with a unique surrealistic style reflecting the tumultuous events of current society. As time progressed and after numerous showings in prominent galleries and museums throughout the United States, his artistic themes evolved into more landscapes and expressive figurative art.
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's, Ron's passion for bringing life to a canvas took on new and different forms, as he became a well-known illustrative artist in feature films, commercials, corporate and public murals and print illustrations.
At heart, Ron is first and foremost a fine artist, continuously perfecting his nationally-recognized vibrant figurative art and beachscape themes. He currently resides in Palos Verdes, California where he dedicates his full creative time producing luscious beachscapes and figurative art, as well as designing feature films for major motion picture studios. Ron's love for the ocean, vitality and water sports is clearly seen in all his rich and beautiful designs.
You can also keep up with what Ron is up to on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Being the time of year it is, there have been very long waits for ridable sets as there is too much swell for the banks around the bay but not quite enough to make the point work consistently. So I have been in the habit of just sitting as patiently as an Aries is able to, which is not very, for those waves and let the groms and beginners take the scraps in between further on the inside. Anyway, a couple of days ago, a visitor on a plastic soft top board paddled out and hung around on the inside for awhile before joining myself and a local stand up, the most aptly named, Hughie. So a set wave comes, a big very juicy looking one, and Hughie and I exchange direction indications which I then communicate very clearly to the newcomer. "I am going left mate, I'm going left". Now remember, this is a guy who has recently joined the line up that have clearly been waiting for sometime out the back for the bigger waves. So I take off and, unbelievably, so does he trying to go right across me. So having avoided a dangerous collision with a hardish board inches from my face I rounded on him hard.
"Mate, I clearly called to you that I was going left! What the *^@# were you thinking?"
His reply "It's was a right and anyway you are just lying on a inflatable"

WTF!!!!!! Ok I am not ashamed to admit it but that really, really angry ugly guy in me came out. Oh my God did I give it to him and the whole beach heard every syllable and nuance of my condemnation!!!!!!!!!
What a bloody disrespectful +#^*wit!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More raillery, the Groms freak out and why I wear a Gath hat!

Since this post, although the waves of late haven't been fantastic for doing so, I have been exploring setting the outside rail in various situations. I think I am getting a bit more of a handle on it now and making the decision to do so or not seems to be dependent on the steepness of the wave. I have been experimenting with setting the inner rail on flattish waves, setting the outer rail on steeper waves and that grey area in-between..........? I am letting the mat decide or move up or down the face of the wave to try to find a flatter or steeper section. I have found that if I am in a bit of a slide down a steeper wave face setting the outer rail assists to limit it and gain control again. You will note that is exactly what Warren Pfieffer is doing in the image heading this post as he sizes up the barrel and puts a little weight on that outside front right corner of the mat. This is a more than slightly uncomfortable thing to make yourself do as it contravenes that very natural inclination to keep your weight on the inside rail? I look forward to better waves in order to explore this fascinating facet of mat riding further.
So I got in for a session today and was looking forward to it as the winds were off-shore and there was a decent swell in although it was looking like it was going to be too westerly. It was and the waves were not really hitting the banks in the corner very well and it was a patient wait for the half hour Hmax waves before anything sat up well enough to consider taking.
Three groms came out to join me and after quite a wait I got my first wave. I took off and whipped round to go left and ran straight over the top of one of them as he frantically took evasive action. As I came back out I laughingly told him that he was lucky the mat was soft and to watch out next time I took off as the mat were very fast and would come up on them before they knew it. The next wave was even better and I had a ripper of a left noticing the groms watching a little opened mouthed. As I came back out, the older one said
"That thing is so fast!" "What is it?"
I replied.
"A high performance surf mat"
The final wave was tremendous fun and I pulled one of my favourite moves on the youngest of the three grooms. Taking off just inside without him noticing, I whipped directly underneath the front of his board and off across the face as he was slow to get going. It would have seemed like I appeared out of nowhere. Such a lot of fun and highlighted again the speed of a surf mat.
I have found myself performing this manoeuvre quite often now so it is a good thing I am in the habit of wearing a Gath hat just in case it goes wrong.

I am often asked why I wear one when I am riding prone on a soft wave craft. The main reason of course is to dodge the effects of the sun on an already sun damaged face. The integrated visor, which I don't set all the way down as I cannot see clearly enough through it, does a great job of assisting with this. I also mention it is because the mat is so fast and I am often having to dodge board riders. For instance, I recently had a grom land on my head as I shot past him and he freaked out and fell on top of me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1st 2013 Tube Riding Competition entry

When the irrepressible east coast mat rider Adam Williams posted this great POV image of an early morning barrel on ASMR's Facebook page recently it occurred to me it deserved to be entered in this year's competition. When I approached him about it, he sent me the rest of them!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The new UDTs and some raillery?

Finally got my hands on a pair of the new compound UDTs and my tootsies in to them for a slightly unsatisfactory session. I was hoping the swell would be pushing through nicely in the corner as the wind direction was making it a bit blown out further around the bay. I persevered there for about 45 minutes with a bunch of longboarders, who were doing a lot of sitting around too, before surrendering and paddling around the bay where there was considerably more swell getting in even though it was not that far away. Exactly like the new compound DuckFeet, the UDTs feel more forgiving and comfortable on the feet and have much more tip flex. This makes them a great deal easier on the legs. So the set waves were a solid head high breaking in to a good sized hole so even though they were closing out pretty quickly I was able to get some face time and give these new UDTs a good test. If there is less power than the older and much stiffer UDTs it is negligible as it feels like there is a more efficient transfer of the power generated from the movement of the legs to the tip of the fins as having that much more flip seems to be pretty effective. I even found myself changing my kicking style from using the quads at the front of my thighs to the hamstrings at the rear. Is kicking hard upwards actually a more efficient use of the legs to create drive than driving downwards? Harder work on the legs but it seemed to be working using these new UDTs. The foot pocket of the UDTs is more pliable and I was not experiencing quite the usual secure feeling of the fin on my foot wearing just a pair of 2mm fin socks. So I am going to drag out my reef booties again next time I get a chance for a session.
"What's that you ask?"
"Oh, how did I get my hands on a pair of UDTs?"
Well, the good news is that MT's first shipment has landed in OZ and he has them in stock right now. Apparently, there will be a website up soon for on-line purchases but in the meantime you can email him on for details on pricing and shipping etc.
So on to raillery and not the usual good natured teasing or ridicule you might have been expecting. Anytime one who is learning a new and complex skill will have experienced periods when nothing much changes and it has been this way of late for me in the way of mat riding discoveries. I believe the term for it is "To have plateaued!" Today, however, I felt something new and it relates to the revelation from MT in his masterclass on tube riding that he had learnt that setting the outer rail is the most effective way of maintaining position in a tube.

Whilst endeavouring to stay high on the rapidly disappearing faces I must have unconsciously adjusted my position on the mat and I felt the outer rail lock in so solidly, in a way that I have never felt before, that it shocked me for an instant. Long time mat riders have long proclaimed that everything you thought you knew about surfing a board you need to forget about when you ride a mat. Well, this is a biggie and one I will be investigating every time that I go out from now on!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Understanding wave data

Developing the Surf Today IOS apps had led me on a merry chase around the internet in search of off shore buoys providing near real-time data for the various states of Australia. Here in WA, we are very fortunate that the marine section of the Department of Planning's website translates the standard wave data in to a most immediately readable form using the top graphic and the lower chart. The top graphic displays the height, direction and interval of the swell and the local sea which can make a huge difference to whether or not there is a ridable wave. If you know the effect a specific direction of local sea has on your breaks then you will have an excellent set of data on which to base your decision to go surfing. The bottom chart, only available on the larger screen of the iPhone 5, provides a great visual representation of the movement of the swell and sea over 5 days with the useful addition of the yellow line providing an overall wave height figure. You maybe wondering how it is derived especially if you have managed to decipher the swell and sea heights in the top graphic which are 0.96 for the swell and 1.80 for the sea. Ummm, that adds up to nearly 3 metres but the overall wave height has been set at 2 metres.

I am now going to explain how that figure is derived using the wave charts that are produced in NSW.
Oceanographers use 6 labels to describe wave height but we only really need to know about 3 of them. H, Hsig and Hmax.
In the chart to the left, the green Hsig line shows the average of the highest one third of the waves recorded.
The suitably chosen red Hmax line shows the highest wave you should be alert for and that is two times the height of Hsig!!
Now you need to do a quick calculation as the figure that provides the average of all the waves recorded is H, which is not displayed in this style of chart.
H equals 2/3 of Hsig and is the wave height you are most likely to encounter during your session.
So this explains why the yellow line displaying the overall wave height in the 1st chart is 2 metres and not 3 metres.
To summarise:
Hsig = 3 metres
H (2/3 of Hsig) = 2 metres the most likely average wave height
Hmax ( 2 X Hsig) = A 6 metre wave is possible so watch out!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Close Call Lost Mat Swim Thing!!!


So I “Nearly “had a BIG swim  on Sunday. I was way out the back at Mowbray St and a set wave lip landed right on my hands and taw Matty out of my hands which went sailing towards shore…man overboard I yelled and started the long swim in, found I was in a channel and going nowhere. So I started to swim across to the sand bar …then Matty called out..Hey stupid where are you ?? Matty was now happily sitting in the channel and with the aid of the wind and rip was coming BACK out to me..So I yelled Matty stay right there I ama comin ..So swung around and swum back across the channel …Matty I yelled slow down mate …Matty yells back well hurry up stupid or its new Caledonia for me..luckily Matty stopped and with no wind or rip we reached for each other…Mates …a very touching moment as I held matty and said…don’t ever do that again…so I did the smart thing and grabbed the next wave in.

Da Bolt

Yo Dude

Ha exactly the same thing happened to me a few months ago and I was only just reacquainted with the mat before my air supply completely expired! A close run thing. It wasn't a particularly big and gnarly day and my own fault as I let the mat go to fix some other part of my gear up and off it went in the wind with me having to try to negotiate a rip to get it. 
So I have now purchased a 1.5 litre hydro-backpack which fits a rolled up MT5 or Blue Streak quite nicely. It is really quite small and unobtrusive and sits high enough on the back to reach up and behind, undo the zip and rip out the mat if required. I will be wearing it next time I go out in big gnarly conditions and it looks like there is a chance of losing the mat and that I might have some difficulty if it occurs. This has been the best solution to date I have been able to think of to address this issue.

Thanks for the great pics and keep 'em rolling in.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First mat gripped up

Finally got around to gripping up my Series I MT5. Vulkem 116 is not available here in OZ so, on fellow NSW mat rider Adam Williams recommendation, I purchased a tube of the very similar Sikaflex FC.
Armed with Diggers Acetone to remove the wax, a Farmers Union Light Greek yoghurt container to squeeze a gob of Sikaflex FC into, an applicator cut from a Paul's vanilla ice-cream container to apply the Sikaflex FC, a brand spanking new roll of masking tape and a bag of Black & Gold kitty litter in a quest to add some texture to the grip, I headed to the big table under the trees at the bottom of our block. One hour later I had finally managed to get all the wax off the mat!!! Jeezus what a mission that was with the Paul's vanilla ice cream container applicator working very well as a scraper. It only took a minute or two to mask up the mat ready for the application of the Sikaflex FC and Black & Gold kitty litter. I whacked a gob of Sikaflex FC in to the Farmer Union yoghurt container and poured in a generous portion of Black & Gold kitty litter. I mixed it altogether with a nearby karri tree twig noticing that some of the Black & Gold kitty litter was of an unexpectedly large size. Although a little concerned, I thought I would persevere and applied it carefully, with the Paul's vanilla ice-cream container applicator, between a portion of the first two lengths of masking tape. Umm, I thought to myself "This is not really working as the granules of Black & Gold kitty litter just too large!". So I scraped off the mixture of Sikaflex FC and Black & Gold kitty litter with the incredibly versatile Paul's vanilla ice-cream container applicator and started again. Had I not succumbed to the seductive and beguiling thought of lying on a bed of kitty litter as I rode waves, it would have taken only 10 minutes to actually place the masking tape and apply the Sikaflex FC with the Paul's vanilla ice-cream container applicator/scraper. Piece of piss to do really! Today, now that it is set enough to touch, it looks like the Sikaflex FC is going to add a good measure of grip even without any texture added and I will be confirming that or otherwise today.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

ASMR is on Facebook!!!

The yanks have one and now all of us Aussie mat riders have one too. Yep, I finally got around to setting up an ASMR Facebook page which you can join by liking here. See you there!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Surf Today NSW

A version of the Surf Today WA app specifically for all you surfers in New South Wales is now available on the app store here.  Rather than  providing a forecast, this very simple but useful app provides near real-time swell and interval data from off shore buoys situated along the NSW coastline and within the half hour wind direction, gust and speed data.
It is designed for those times when you get off work early, feel like you would like a session and need to check what the conditions are right then. Well, now you can do just that and it also includes a sharing facility so as you can let your mates know too.
This version is free for the moment so no reason not to check it out. It supports iPhones from IOS 5 up and can be used on an iPad but it is really designed for the surfer on the move. Anyway, if it does it for you, do tell your mates!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A frame grab of the Bolt and.....?

Hey Robin

Just sending you this one frame grab from this mornings mat
surf....Eric getting a small tube....I will send you the whole
sequence on video ( its funny) over the weekend as I am still going thru some video I took during the week!......

The new mat with the hipgrip works a treat but I still like to add wax as well.

This is from a few weeks ago

Keep on sliding!