Jan 31, 2015

From Eric ...


 
 


Hi Paul
 
Well, our xmas tourist crowds have "Nearly" all gone home. So it has been hard to find a little slide on my own. I get so used to surfing with very few people that I find it hard to get used to surf in crowds above 5 people.
 
So sometimes I have to settle for a lesser wave just to keep my sanity. Adam took these couple of shots of me on my DRP Omni. 
 
Regards eric da bolt 

Jan 30, 2015

First Batch of 2015 Testimonials ....

 

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Hi Paul!

Thanks for getting back to me. I was able to convince Hubby last night that this is a pregnancy-necessity and so would like to put in my order please!
Damian measured my height last night just to make sure I had it right, and I am actually 170cm.

Fabulous, can't wait!

Thanks,
Kate


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Excellent service! Thanks for being so flexible.

And, the reasons I ordered from you are:

1) you were so responsive and helpful today
2) your collaboration w/ George Greenough
3) want to support USA business
4) your web site provided ample info to help reach decision that was supplemented w/ your personal input today

I'm stoked!

...Bill


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Hi Paul,

Thanks, so nice of you to get back to me . Not sure yet if we are going but expect to leave around Dec 15. Visiting friends there and have never been to Costa Rica. Last rode a mat in the early 70's when I lived in Hermosa Beach. They seemed to have lost popularity but I love them. I am 73 now and not a super strong swimmer so I like a mat for support if I get out of breath. I am 5' 10", 160 lb.

Jon H
Portland, Oregon


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Hi Paul
 
            Lowered the Vespa down to 90 degree inflation in good small waves today. Had some skimboard like speed runs on a few! Plenty of barrels. Need to get my grip right on front corner when squeezing up the rail on a steep bottom turn. No real negatives.Will explore further. Thanks for the tip!!
 
           Jeff
 
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Thanks Paul,

I can't wait to get it. I borrowed one from a friend last week and I haven't stopped riding it since. I've been surfing for 25+ years and honestly  pretty over the crowds and shitty waves. I've been surfing less and less and getting fatter and fatter over the last year and your matt has got me pumped up to get up at 5:30 everyday so I can get out and get a couple of waves before work. Thanks again,

Jared
 
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HI Paul,

Went out on Saturday and LOVED it!!! I was yahooing on every wave.
I played a bit with the inflation, and how far forward my body was on the mat, and can't wait to get out again to give it another go. I bought shorter fins but I think my next purchase will be longer ones.
I would kick and paddle to get on the wave, and would pull myself up till my head was forward of the mat if it was a smaller wave to make sure I got on it - is this ok?

I got a bit hammered getting out the back but was sure to hold on to the mat tightly!

The mat was perfectly comfortable with my ever growing bump, and I am stoked to have something fun to do in the water during my pregnancy! I'm sure I will use it afterwards as well! There was a bit of interest in what I was riding while I was out there so I have passed on your name.

Cheers
Kate 
 
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Rode the Omni today at Rincon. 300+ vacationers in the lineup for a total cluster f#%@. Swell was building to overhead sets. Switched to a surfboard for a bit then got on the UDT. The UDT is not so great for duck diving big waves! But I got some epic rides on it. My last wave in the cove was about 1 foot overhead and ran all the way down the freeway at full speed. Got 3 tubes on that wave, the last one lasting at least 5 seconds. The UDT held on to the face despite being such a huge mat. Stoked!

Aaron
 
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Hi Paul,
 
             Been running the Vespa at a softish 90 inflation. Definitely getting more speed where it flies beyond trim speed. Running beyond the shoulder having to turn inside to keep going! Lifting the legs clear on the drop and when angled nose down gives a big rush as well. Rode the standard the other night and got it to fly unbelievably fast on a fading south swell. That mat loves the power.
 
Jeff
 
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Waves down here have been good but super crowded.
Rode Hobson last night with Gary and his son Scott. Scott went out on the Fatty and got his first real mat slides. He is totally stoked about mats now! Waves were up to a foot overhead and well shaped. I rode the UDT and was amazed at how the large mat extracts power out of the waves out there. It just blasts across open water to connect peaks that otherwise would not be connectable.
 
Rode some waves on my back today on the Fatty. Not only does it feel hilarious, but my abs are still burning 8 hours later!

Aaron
 
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Paul, I received my Omni. Shocked at the light weight and compactness of the mat. What a great little surf vehical for traveling! It will be awhile before I can get out on it but will let you know how it goes. I'm stoked just looking at it.

Thanks for the great service.
Alex
PS The tips sheet is so well done!
 
 
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Hi Paul,  Got it today.  Didn't know the US Postal sevice was so efficent.  Thanks for your prompt service.

                                  Don
 
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Hey Paul,
 
Had great riding yesterday, 3-5 with sets of 6-8. I took the UDT out you made me. Had waves as fast as I ever ridden, truly amazing. Always learning. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, hope family is well, the best,
 
Michael
 
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Hi Paul,
 
Thanks so much for your response. I had been thinking of the Tracker for my friend Tim, and a Vespa for myself. However, I am more then happy to go with your recommendations.
 
I was an avid stand-up surfer for over 40 years until I had an aneurysm in Jan. of 2012. Now I am unable to get to my feet quickly enough. I started riding a boogie once I was able to get back in the water. My friend Tim is an incredible surfer/knee boarder and even though he is 62-63 years old, he still charges any size surf.
 
Tim has been responsible for getting me back in the ocean and he keeps an eye on me, much to the relief of my wife. We have been talking about getting a couple of mats and my plan is to give him one to say "thank you". 
 
Cheers,
Steve
 
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Paul,

 

Thanks very much for all your input as well as having these mats here before Christmas.

This will be a great surprise for my dear friend Tim. I will print out the Rider's Guide and put a copy in with his new mat. We look forward to riding them real soon !

 

Cheers, and a Very Merry Christmas to you and yours,

Steve 

 

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Hello Paul,
                   hope you are well,
         Just wondering if you have read the latest Surfers Journal on G.G. and Pink Floyd no mention it was all filmed from surf mat . Good to read though .
   The Lotus is going great just having a few months lay off (2nd Knee replacement) Next year with retirement hope to get a lot more water time.
 
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you & your family .
 
Regards
Eric
 
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Thanks so much for the heads up and accommodating us at shot notice at a busy time. Jen's is very exited for her new wave craft. 
 
Thanks again and happy holidays to you and yours.
Alon and Jen
 
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Paul,
 
I have been riding all my different mats in various conditions but lately have been dialing in the UDT in hollow waves. It takes a small adjustment to my technique but the UDT DRP will hold to the face through even the meanest sections! I love all the mats and especially the UDT for its small wave ability and ample performance envelope.

Aaron
 
P.S. Do you know anything about that D-bag who goes to art shows down in LA and claims he's a mat rider?

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Hey Paul
 
Just received my classic for Christmas today.  It looks great.  I'm very excited as this is my first real mat (I've been blowing through china mats at a rate of 1 every three or four sessions).  I run my mat at 90 degree bend for firm as per George Greenhough (sic).  I lived in Santa Barbara for a couple of years and am very aware of the glide and speed of a mat. I can't wait to feel the difference you talk about. Anyways, thank you for the great product and I can't wait to ride some of our points out here on it in bombing winter surf.  
Merry Christmas,
 
Brian
 
My wife Whitney bought the mat as a surprise for me.
 
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Hi Paul,
 
we got the mat a day earlier then expected, just in time for our winter break Santa Cruz trip. It does have her name between the flanges, which we thought was a very nice touch! she had yet to try it in the water, but she's very exited to do so.
 
Thanks again for all your help, much appreciated! Happy holiday and happy new year to you and yours.
 
Alon and Jen
 
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G’Day Paul,

I’ve had my “Omni” for nearly a year now and thought I’d drop you a line. Still very much enjoying the mat. Always… just as I think I am getting the hang of it, I learn something new. I had intended to send you an image or two over that time, of it being put to use but I am nearly always on it and my cameras and housing in my bus.

I use it mainly at Cabarita Beach in Northern NSW, a sort of “crumbling” rather than barrelling beach break with a few flat spots especially when small. Yesterday was a slick rain effected surface late in the day at 3-4 foot. I arrived quite late near dusk after a couple of hours drive after work. Near to no one in the water for a change. Heaven! A crumbling outer break, managing to ride out a flat spot into a barreling little beach thumper..pull up before bottoming out on the sand. The mat works a treat.

I hope to get some images shortly.


Kim
 
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Hi Paul & Gloria,

All the best for 2015 in health and selling a lot of mats!
There is gonna be a small fire at our beach on newyearseve...
Both of us can't take a look, both nightshift...
Small winters overhere, not to cold.
At the moment small waves, but two weeks ago was very nice.
We keep in touch!

Marc & Esther


 


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Hi Gloria and PG, Happy New Year!
 
How are ya, mates? All good in 1770/Agnes Water. Daniela’s mat arrived 23 December. She’s stoked. Thanks.
 
 
Only wind waves here so far due to a narrow window between Frasier Island to the southeast and Great Barrier Reef just northeast. This place requires cyclone swells to produce real surf, but that’s okay. Am still on Lotus, and Steve is riding the Lotus as well, which suits him well... Hopefully 2015 will be a breakthrough year for everyone!
 
Go Well,
 
Pahl
 

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Hi Paul

Pulled out my classic other day and been having a whale of a time on it.Its the mat I ride the least but if this keeps up maybe that will change.No rhyme or reason I suppose just all smiles �� Go figure ?  but mainly thank you for the hours of stoke !! My wife and I are off to New Zealand in a few weeks, I've decided to leave my boards at home and it's just fins and mats this time.
Thanks again

Dan

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Thank you for the promptness.  I am so stoked to try this out! 

Mike


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Paul-

Thanks for your delivery to me office.


My son and I enjoyed the Surf Mat tremendously while in Nicaragua.

Happy New Year.

Chris


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O many thanks paul, my mat arrived today-- supa good service, i'll let
boyd, george and wardy know how stoked i am. i surf wategos most
mornings with them. this is my 3rd. fatty from you & they surf great,

kind regards, david.n


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Hey Paul,

I'm stoke man, wanted to step up my quiver and get a flyer from you. Thank you!! Can't wait to get her in the water

-Nolan


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Hi Paul,

Just about to turn in for the night. Stoked to hear the mats are on their way. I'll certainly let you know how things go. 
On a side note, got a sneaky session in this evening. Offshore, flawless and less than a foot on the sets. Man, I was still catching and riding unbroken waves that were half a foot high. Freakish. Is there anything these things can't do?
 
Cheers again Paul,
 
Ian
 
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Hi Paul,Thanks for the Standard and Lotus. The Standard goes really nicely in the hollower waves! 
 
I'd like to order two new mats. One for me and one for my wife.Chris & Lily
 
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Hi PaulAm enquiring how to order a "Classic" air mat- Chris Brock makes my surf boards and I surf  quite a lot with Chris and Joy.Many thanksMark
 
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i got a small slot wave on a inconsequential day in summer that kept opening after a slingshot wedgy take off. still stoked on it.

so happy matting
 
Steiny
 
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Thanks Paul had the new mat at Makaha during Bodysurf contest yesterday and it worked great
Had old one out at pipe with all the Hawaiian bodysurfers will use the old one to let them get some mat time

Pat

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Paul,
 
I just got out of the water from a little surf session on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island. Walking back to my car, I saw a Liddle hull  leaned against a tree. I talked to the guy (Mike from Washington) about hulls and what not. The conversation got around to riding mats.  He rides your mats. All over the Big Island I guess. He told a story about riding the mat down at a very remote spot in South Kona and at Honl's in Kona town.  Anyway, small world.
 
--jay
 
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Hi Paul,
 
I got to ride some of your mats via Peter St.Pierre and we just about had the best time ever :)  Thanks for building such amazing craft.
 
Please put "Manny" on the Standard, and "Christine" on the Omni.
 
So stoked to get these!!!
 
Happy New Year from Leucadia,
 
Manny + Christine
 
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Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for confirming the mailing address and sending the mats out so efficiently. Outstanding service!

I'll let you know when the mats arrive safe to the Nursery.

Stoked to follow up and let you know how it goes. Can't wait to slide around on the mats!

Warmly,

J
 
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I rode the standard (old bottom) for the first time in a while yesterday. The wind was heavy side shore with massive chop. The old bottom excels in chop and the standard worked fantastic in the awful conditions. It was a blast!

Aaron
 
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Hey Paul,

Just letting you know the surf mat arrived here last weekend. Haven't had anything to play with since it came but, stoked nonetheless!
 
Mike
 
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This guide is awesome thanks, I'm stoked to try it out!
 
Andrei
 
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Hope all is well. Been getting some blistering speed occasionally on the Vespa in small swell at super low inflation. Just can't go too low or the wave catching suffers and the tail pushes out from under me.But so fast!!
                                     Thanks
                                        Jeff  
 
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I'm a huge fan of your work and my mat will have a special place next to my spoon! If you ever swing by let me know:)
God Bless

Max
 
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The epic Rincon barrel from a few weeks ago caused a lot of stoke. I
told you the story that Gary's son Scott was at Little Rincon when a
kneeboarder paddled over and told him about this insane tube some guy on
a boogie board or raft got when he was driving by.

Roll the clock forward to today: I did a short evening session at the
top of Rincon today when a kneeboarder paddles over to me and asks if I
am the one who got the epic tube a few weeks back. I said yes and he
went ahead and shared the details of how he was driving by and happened
to be passing the cove when I took off. He didn't think it was a
bodyboard but he saw the whole wave and mentioned how it was the most
incredible tube ride. He then shared how went out at Little Rincon and
met Scott and told him all about the ride. I told him I know Scott and
heard about it from him that day. He was happy to have met me and said
that "now the circle is complete!". The kneeboarder is Tom Simmons. Stoked!!

Aaron
 
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Thanks Paul. I will place the order in a few weeks. You've been very helpful. 
 
All the best,
 
G.
 
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Jan 26, 2015

Big Mike ...


Just how big is Big Mike?  That's a UDT he's holding...

:)

Jan 25, 2015

From Jay ...


Hi Paul,

This is a story about a day that was awhile back...
 
The forecast wasn't for a big day, just a medium day.  It's a 1 1/4 hour drive from Hilo to on of the spots on the Kona side.  It's a pretty drive over the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea but tedious as I don't really like driving.  I got up early to make the drive over before the usual bad wind ramped up as it does almost every day.  Life happened in the morning so I wasn't able to hit the road until 8am.  That wasn't great but not horrible as the wind sometimes doesn't get really bad until noon.  I'd still have some time to surf before the surf got too junky
 
I left the house and drove up the highway and made it to the top of the saddle when I realized that I don't have my wallet or any money.  Ugh.  I have to drive all the way back home, 45 minutes, and then back again if I want to surf.   So, an hour and a half to just get back to the spot where I realized that I didn't have my wallet.  This has soured me on surfing for the day, but I go ahead a get back on the road.  This means that I won't get to the other side until just before noon.  Ugh, again. 
 
Drive, drive, drive for a long time.  I finally get to the spot and, somehow, the wind has not started blowing yet.  There are only 8 or so people out at the spot.  This can still be a lot, though, as it's a reef that has only one tight take off spot.  I go to paddle out and cut the bottom of my foot in ankle deep water.  I actually don't really even notice the cut because the rocks are razor sharp and I only just grazed a rock on the way out. 
 
This will be an issue later, though. 
 
I get out to the top of the point and sit at the end of the line.  Little waves come in and people ride them.  I don't even move.  I just sat there waiting.  People paddle past me like I'm a potted plant.  Even though I've lived in Hawaii for a few years, I realize that I'm still just a visitor so I understand. One twenty or so year old guy literally paddles round me and sits with arm's length just above me in line.  I'm not a super small guy and, at this point, I probably have a grimace on my face from all the driving and watching this impolite surfing behavior, so I thought that was particularly haphazard on his part.  It was definitely an aggressive move, but, whatever, I'm trying to be respectful so I just sit quietly.  In my time here, I've learned that Hawaiians really value courtesy and can be quite vocal if it's not followed or quite giving when it is, so I try to be as respectful as I can. 
 
He catches an in-betweener and I overhear people telling his friend that he ought to talk to his "frothing" friend about his overeagerness and that it's going to get them both in trouble eventually.  21st century surfing.  It's more about the people than the surf a lot of the time.  At this point, eight or so kids paddle out and the vibe of the spot gets way, way worse.  They're kids, though, so I want them to get waves.  I've caught plenty of waves in my life already.  I decide that I'm going to catch one in and wait for the kids to get done surfing before coming back out. 

While I'm waiting for a wave in, I notice that there is a huge patch of skin hanging off the bottom of my foot from the little cut earlier.  This took a while as the kids were catching every scrap of wave that came in.  Finally, one of the Hawaiian kids paddles around me and turns for a wave upstream of me.  I paddle for it because I need to go in.  He looks sheepish and stops paddling and I catch the wave and go in. My foot has a huge cut in it.  Morning session complete.  As a friend of mine says when the going is bad, "Good times."  

I've driven over three hours and caught one little wave and now have a good cut on my foot.  The cut on my foot is pretty bad so I can't just ignore it.  It's actively bleeding and there's some skin hanging off.  There's only one store in the area of this surf spot and it's one of those Hawaii tourist markets with souvenirs and snacks.  I need some scissors and liquid bandage to get the cut fixed.  The only scissors the store carried were Hello Kitty scissors.   I bought them.  I fixed my cut in the parking lot with spring water, Hello Kitty scissors and liquid bandage.  It bled and bled for quite a while until I finally got it repaired.  Ugh. 

 
I look up, though, and notice that the palm trees aren't swaying.  They're super still.  It's still glassy.  I decide to go check the spot again, get there and I hobble down the path.  The pack of kids pass me on my way back down the path.  They're leaving.  I watched the surf for a little bit and eat a tuna salad musubi that I bought with the Hello Kitty scissors.   At some point, I noticed a Liddle hull leaning against a tree.  I went over and asked the guy about it.  He was holding a little baby in diapers and standing in the shade of the tree.  We chatted about different types of hulls and eventually got talking about surf mats and I found out that he rides Fourth Gear Flyers.  He's an interesting guy who's lived all over and rides the mats at some obscure spots all over the island. 
 
While we were talking, quite a few people come in and the spot only has three people out.  I figure I'll risk the cut foot on a second attempt at surfing for the day.  I paddle out the key hole in the reef and make it out relatively unscathed.  With the glassy conditions and being a clear mid day, the water is super, super clear.  While paddling, I can clearly see the coral and little tropical reef fishes.  Shockingly beautiful.  Mesmerizing.  It's like snorkeling from above the water.  I slow paddle to watch the fishies for a while.  I paddled over a pack of about fifty yellow tangs drifting back and forth over the coral and black lava rock. 
 
I get to the takeoff spot and sit at the end again.  The other guys catch waves and then get back in line.  After a few waves, I'm at the top and I catch a set wave.  This rotation goes on for two hours.  We talk about the big swell that's coming.  One of the guys calls the big wave surfers "gladiators."   A couple of guys go in and then are replaced by a few more people.  All maintain the courteous vibe and it's a very enjoyable afternoon of surfing.  The spot is just beautiful.  The fish are underneath.  A few super glassy sets come in.  We trade off on them and/or get smashed trying to duck under the semi-bombs.  All friendly and chatting.
 
Anyway, sorry for the long story.  I guess my point is that surfing can still be great, but it's not always when you think it will be.
 
Jay

Jan 17, 2015

From Greg ...



Hello from the PNW

This is my vw rabbit diesel, very economical to drive (40+ miles per gallon). The mat is a UDT-xl that you made for me a few years ago (40+ miles per Gross), its the mat I ride most. I'm not to sure its any better than a stock UDT, ( It's really hard for me to tell any difference) and the orange paint is to make it more visable when I loose it.  I ride my XL when the waves are  powerful enough to warrant, and the faster response is great. The fins are stock xxl udt's, there the only fins I wear (I'm a big guy) and I like the extra power for the dolphin kick during backed off takeoffs.
        
I have noticed a strange thing about mat waxing. After hot waxing with paraffin and surfboard wax the deck gets stiffer and  the next 4 or five go outs are magic, then the feeling and control seam to lessen. I've tried this cycle twice and it really seams to work better with the fresh hot wax, and I don't think its just about traction. Just rubbing on surfboard wax  doesn't seam to work.  ( or maybe its old age? or are newly legalised weed?)
 
So Donna, Polly and I are headed to southern California again next week, Santa Cruz, Cayucos,  Santa Barbara, Doheny's, and San Diego. We are meeting up with friends from San Diego at Doheny to camp and surf then heading down to San Elijo for more of the same, about three weeks total. There will be six of us, all riding your mats, the same group as last year.  With everyone having  so much fun on the mats its hard  to take the time for surf photos but I will try to get some good photos to you this year.    Then its off to England to jam with the Stones. (just kidding)

The photo is mine, taken at sunset bay. You can use it if you want.

And I would like to thank you again on behalf of all the mat riders of southern Oregon for making are life more enjoyable.

   Greg Barber

Jan 15, 2015

From Proneman ...


Paul.....

Rincon was so good today......3-7+ and really very good shape...lotta sand still....Aaron was out...jen got some photos....
 


 

Jan 14, 2015

Planing Bicycles ???


Bicycle Quarterly is a publication dedicated to the joys of recreation cycling. Masterminded by Jan Heine, BQ's support home page is called Off The Beaten Path.

Along with an appreciation of cycling history and the experience of simply being out on a bike, one of the primary underpinnings of both Bicycle Quarterly and Off The Beaten Path is the desire to pierce the technical veil presented by the bike racing world. Much like pro contest surfing, pro cycling generates a number of misconceptions about equipment and performance. And, much like numerous counter-culture surfing blogs, Off The Beaten Path acknowledges what is great about professional sports, while bringing down to earth some of the BS that goes along with it.

One of the areas of conflict between pro cycling and soul cycling is the degree a "good" bike should flex. The pro perspective, in the past 20 years or so, is that the lightest, stiffest frame will transfer the energy of the peddling rider into the most forward motion. That makes sense...on a superficial level. But, cyclists who ride many thousands of miles a year tend to think that a bit of flex in a frame not only makes the bike more comfortable, it also makes it faster.

Jan Heine and his staff are inclined to objectively test various "old wives tales," and try to either put them to rest, or give them credence. In recent years, Jan has given a name to the phenomenon when a bike flexes as a rider peddles in a manner that actually helps propel the bike forward. He calls it "planing." There have been several excellent, albeit hard to comprehend, articles in Off The Beaten Path on that subject. The links are here and here.


So what's the relevance of "bicycle planing" to mat surfing?

As any mat rider can tell you, when a mat flexes on the face of a wave, it will often times accelerate. This is counter-intuitive for most surfers (and board builders) who feel that a rigid, edgey, flat bottomed board will always go faster. Since surfing is largely subjective, it's virtually impossible to test something like the effects of flex in a manner that can be presented to someone who is skeptical.

In any case, "bicycle planing" is a concept well worth studying for mat riders!




Jan 11, 2015

Julian Lennon: A Childhoood In Pictures...

Coolest Mum, ever...
 

Coolest Pop, ever...

 
Coolest Backup Mum, ever.
 
 
 Hangin' out with Uncle George...
 
 
...and Uncle Paul...
 
 
...and Uncle Eric...
 
 
Laying down grooves with Uncle Richie's old drum kit...
 
 
Scoring a recording contract before a driver's license...

 
Wait...what ???!!!
 
 
(Bottom photo courtesy of Jonathan H. Original source is here...about 2/3s down the page.)

Dec 31, 2014

2014, The Year In Review ...


2014 was the 30th anniversary of 4th Gear Flyer Surf Mats...so on those grounds alone, it was a banner year for us. But there was a lot more happening than that!
 
4GF splurged on a new computer system...
 
 
 
Mister Dirk filmed mat riding while wearing the Andy Warhol t-shirt he bought on Ebay...
 


Elvis was spotted on Maui...still alive, and pursuing his passion for inflatable water sports...

 
 
Self confessed mat addict Kendog trimmed his non-matting budget and became a regular at Walmart...

 
 
The Italians really got into the whole surf school thing, as only they can...



Miss Lube Rack and Miss Polish Job finally received their well deserved crowns...

 
 
Surfline topped the charts with the quote of the year...
 



A 4GF rider (name withheld by request) proved once-and-for-all his mat was tougher than he was...




Inflatable aqua solar panels finally caught up with air mat design...

 
 
Bretto continued his quest for duck diving excellence by studying the techniques of local board riders...



Wacky beach images flooded the internet...

 
 
And Sophia Loren was voted "Best Mat Rider, Still Water Category" for the 48th year running...




4GF wishes you a great 2015!