Oct 15, 2014
Oct 14, 2014
Sending you greetings after 5 days of fair weather matsliding bliss on long and clean shoulders at a grand location. Stuffed the mat into my wetsuit to get out on the bigger day.
And, some circus was setting up their tents down the road and a few of their performers camped in our place. Super nice guys, up for a pic anytime.
The 'whimpy kid' with the mini mat was stoked out of his mind.
Good times and good vibes around Peniche.
Hope you're well!
Oct 12, 2014
Recent mat converts Chris and AJ just took their first surf adventure out of Tokyo. Check out what they went through to get to the beach. ;^)
There’s a bit of a backstory, and — oh, dear — it runs a little long. Bear with me. For the next post, I promise I’ll just send a short fart joke or something.
Our pals Chris and AJ recently quit their corporate jobs; sold their house in Miami, along with most of their stuff; and set off on an open-ended adventure. They just did a lap around the U.S., making a two-week stop at our place in San Diego before flying to Vancouver then shipping out for Japan. Next stop: Taiwan. From there: “south.” They might get a sailboat.
When they arrived at our house, we’d recently returned from a family vacation to Australia. With clear-water pointbreaks and a period of pretty good health fresh on my mind, I was having a tough time transitioning back to CT scans, MRIs, oncologist visits and the medical reality back home. We learned that my primary tumor had been misbehaving and that I wasn’t eligible for what looked to be the most promising treatment, in Germany. It felt like one of the last doors had been slammed in our faces.
We were down. I'd pretty much stopped surfing — or doing much of anything. Chris and AJ were looking for ways to help and lift our spirits, so my wife told them about all the house projects we’d put on hold when the sickness took hold. They got right to work, jackhammering out a concrete slab, cleaning out the garage, laying flagstones, painting, cooking, whatever. Their energy was contagious. It took awhile, but I finally caught it, too. One day I picked up a shovel and rejoined the living.
In an attempt to repay them, my wife and I took them mat riding. Straight off they loved it! Although they're both new to any kind of surfing, they're experienced sailors and divers. Real ocean savvy. They even knew to walk backward through the water while wearing fins. And when I told them to put on their fins in the parking lot and duck-walk down the trail “to get used to them,” they knew NOT to do that. A good start, right?
That first outing, they both kicked straight out the back and started snagging waves. Sensing their potential, the next day I took them to Blacks with a rising south swell. They were catching sets. AJ took off upside-down on a super-hollow left and got smashed! I tried to stay close for a possible rescue but ended up doing underwater cartwheels right along with her. We both came up gasping for air. It was great! AJ’s a tough bird. As a journalist, she once had a grenade lobbed into her Humvee (they threw it back out — what else is there to do?), and she’s been shot at in Iraq. So of course she kicked back out for more, making some good ones.
Chris stuck a ridiculous drop on the biggest set of the day. One of the locals — a real local, a kneeboarder — paddled over just to compliment him. The kneelo couldn’t believe when I told him it was Chris's third time ever surfing.
For the next week, as the swell filled in, we mat-surfed solid waves at a bunch of beaches and reefs. At first we'd go down as a rinse-off after a day of labor. But they were having so much fun, we started going BEFORE work. The Marie swell had washed out the sand, causing waves to crash against the cliffs at many spots, even at mid tide. Access was tricky. Normally mellow hikes along sandy pocket beaches had become sketchy creeps and crawls across slippery rocks and shelves. AJ’s so tiny that stomach-deep water to us is up to her neck. She often admitted she was at the “far upper range” of her comfort zone.
We finally crossed that line at a remote out-to-sea reef. As I watched AJ frantically try to kick over the first wave of a big set, the situation, while certainly not optimal, still looked manageable. Ahhh, but she’s so light, and McKnight’s loaner mat is so comically big for her that she could probably catch the wake from a jumping mackerel. She stalled at the precipice for just a second before reversing direction and going over the falls backward with the lip. Oh, dear. More underwater cartwheels. When she finally made it to the surface, the second wave rolled her before she could get a good breath. When I rushed in to get her, she said “enough” and started kicking toward shore. With her focus completely on land during the escort in, I kept looking over my shoulder. Sure enough, a nice insider came our way. So, without her knowledge or consent, I shoved her into it. She ended up riding this great little left with panache all the way to the beach, drawing a big hoot from one of our saltiest sea dogs.
None too bright, it wasn’t until the end of their stay that I realized I needed to get mats into their hands as soon as possible. After suffering a surprise twinge of conscience at the prospect of giving away McKnight’s loaners, I contacted Paul. He said it could be done. I was a little skeptical about the logistics, but he turned the order around in less than three days, shipping an Omni and a Custom Standard to their crash pad in L.A. just before they flew out. Man, were they surprised and stoked by the package! Thanks, Paul! And thanks, Chris and AJ!
One more thing: The latest scans showed no new tumor growth, and I've started a promising new treatment.
Oct 11, 2014
Oct 9, 2014
Oct 8, 2014
Oct 2, 2014
I hope this email finds you well.
Its springtime here at the moment, so the conditions can be a bit hit or miss. I've been doing a lot of body surfing in preparation for my annual family/mat surfing trip to bali. I find body surfing complements mat surfing so well. Even in marginal conditions like this video shows it is still fun.
My last email I commented on spring conditions being a bit hit or miss. This morning was in the "hit" category. Standard model.
Sep 29, 2014
(Images courtesy of the Oily Scumm Photo Agency)
Sorry for late response just got my emails back on line.
I am using Adam's old Omni and also my drp Omni...both are going FINE.
I am using Adam's old Omni and also my drp Omni...both are going FINE.
Johnny is happy with his Standard and keeps his bigger mat for learners.
Terry is sticking with the Lotus and he caught his best wave ever on it last week.
Justin uses a standard only
Neal has a tracker which flies for him...he did not know there were different models.
Attached are some pictures from another scumm mat sliding session at Gilligan's island.
Justin on his Standard...Neal on a Tracker...Terry has his Lotus...Me original Omni...Johnny also a Standard.
The water shots were taken by helmet mounted Go-Pro cameras.
The only minor prob with go-pros is they make even good sized waves appear flat.
Also it's great to hear the locals hooting us when they see us doing crossovers and having FUN.
Regards eric dabolt
Sep 28, 2014
Up the coast at a picnic for the staff of Island Conservation one of the biologists, Tommy Hall, asked to try my mat. He paddled out and proceeded to get a legit barrel. Thanks for making tool for joy!
Sep 24, 2014
Here's the pic of the mat-action; hope you dig it! The groovy thing about mat surfing: a three-foot wave is double overhead! ;)
Decided to add a couple of me carving on my fish from that day.
As you know, Shauna surprised me with a FGF Standard, and thanks to your suggestion, I'm definitely digging it, brother!
I'm originally from the Oregon coast (3rd gen Oregonian, if I may add!) and Shauna and I were visiting my ex-hometown, Charleston, OR, when we ran into my old friend Greg (and Polly) Barber; that's where the inspiration came to get Shauna a mat. (She ordered an Omni from you and is completely stoked!) I've always been a stand up surfer, and Shauna insisted I try her mat, and found it to be mind-blowing and amazing - hence, her surprising me with the Standard!
The past couple weeks I've been up at my mom's house in Washington state, and surfing Westport (where I learned to surf in the mid '80's). After my stand up session, I took the mat out and caught some FUN waves.
Shauna has excelled with the mat, she's so stoked, and has surfed on Santa Cruz Island (we keep our sailboat in Channel Islands harbor and cruise out there frequently), the Strand (yes, Oxnard!), C Street, and the south jetty in Newport, OR.
Anyway, thanks for making a GREAT and FUN vehicle for surfing, Paul, and hope to cross paths sometime!
Have a groovy day, and pray for rain!
Sep 23, 2014
Oz is amazing. It has rivers that aren’t made of concrete! NSW is full of wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, huge lizards and all sorts of weird-ass birds. Pandanus, eucalyptus and bottle brush trees grow right down to the shoreline.
And out in the ocean is ever better. We spotted sea turtles, dolphins and humpbacks, sometimes from the water. I did all of my power rafting in GG country. What I’m told is his main spot, at the very eastern edge of the continent, is a little spooky. During my one surf out there, bait fish were jumping over my mat and shadows darting under me as I tried to dodge these open-ocean surges. Three or four waves and I was glad to be back on the beach.
The marine life is too much.
And the surf? Oi! It freaked my beans. So many headlands and back beaches — squeaky-clean sandbar setups everywhere. At many of the beaches the water is so clear that if you lose your lineup, you simply look down to relocate the well-defined bar. Once an ocean-going folk has experienced Oz, I reckon it’s hard to not be there. And judging from the, ummm, popularity of some of the points, many, many, many surfers seem to feel the same way. ;^)
Sep 22, 2014
Adam calls my 4GF standard ..”rubbish bin”...cause I have hammered it so hard and patched it so much it is nearly ready for retirement... BUT air is free and so I just keep blowing it up and it’s still got a few more sets in it yet....GUESS we all know what I am getting for xmas.
Sep 21, 2014
I hope this finds you well and plenty of orders for the air mats.
Here is an update on where I am at with the book you contributed to...
I would be stoked if you could tell 'your people' that if they pre-order here they get a good discount.
Thanks, and I look forward to talking to you further down the line to show you some content and make sure you are stoked on it.
Sep 18, 2014
I really love the UDT. I am a larger rider so the extra surface area and float has opened up so many possible surf spots for me. I have found a “honey hole” that is only rideable on a huge SUP or mega-log, but on the UDT is a 200 yard screaming E-ticket ride! Even the logs and sups slow down and sink out right where the mat kicks into 3rd gear and gets another 100 yards out of the wave. Super stoked!
Was going through some video from a week ago and found this clip of the UDT absolutely gliding over a dead spot on a wave. The clip shows how well the mat can get over dead zones with ease and speed!
Sep 15, 2014
All the best !
Wanted to let you know that our bike trip (Florence, OR to San Diego) went great and I used the mat the whole way down. It was my first time in Cali and biking the coast was an amazing way to experience it. Have to say that all the surfers I met were stoked on the mat and our trip, never a bad vibe the entire time.
But since you probably see more than enough mat photos from OR and Cali, here's one of me hitting a spot back home this past weekend ;) Working on a video so you can see how these waves work and perhaps recommend a model to move up to from the Fatty.
All the best !
Had a fun day at our local reef break with Adam, who took this piccie with his helmet mounted
Go-Pro. He takes of deep then I drop in so he can have some foreground contrast to his down the line wave shots.
I was riding his original OMNI as I have put another hole in my standard by taking on Cunji covered ledges and coming off second best. It is all glued up again BUT I will probably need a replacement soon. I like the standard the best, even though this Omni went great.
Regard Eric Dabolt
Sep 8, 2014
Here is a video of the best wave we got. Gary on the Fatty and myself on the UDT. The wave broke way outside of us, and we rode it from the outer reef to the beach. The waves this day were unsurfable on a hard board, but were epic on a mat!
A longer video with many waves is in the works!
Sep 7, 2014
Lisa has taken over my beloved Omni!
We have been having alot of fun on our mats this summer in small waves. Now that I am back on the Vespa I really love it in tiny surf blown up pretty firm. It's like a longboard for me. Thanks again for the great mats.
Jeff and Lisa Thomas