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?"
"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!