Apr 1, 2021

From The Art Collection Of Mister Dirk

Originally launched in the late 1940's, The Maturday Evening Post was tagged by The New York Times as, “The thinking man's mat surfing publication." The Post raised the bar with family-friendly matting content...countering the sleazy, mat-centric scandal sheets of the day...


The Post represented a significant step towards the decriminalization of mat surfing. Up 'til then, the sport had been relegated to outlaw status in most coastal communities... 



By the 1948 U.S. election cycle, a national ban on mat surfing was on the ballot...but it was voted down, thanks to the positive influence of The Maturday Evening Post.


The whereabouts of this priceless issue of The Post has been the fodder of speculation for decades...numerous of learned volumes have been written on the subject. But, in an exclusive Zoom interview with Surfmatters, our own Mr. Dirk reveals that he has been, in fact, the long time owner of the crown jewel of the surfmat publishing world!


 “Dirk, back in the day, how could you -- a committed surfmat bum -- afford this pristine copy of The Post?"

“In the mid-1970's I made a bundle licensing my patent on the Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device."

 "So what exactly is this, uh..."

"Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device? It's basically a way to produce clean neutrinos...it opened up a lot of the technology used in Smart Washer-Dryers today."


"So you were the cat who came up with that shit...cool! How did you develop it?"

"I had that idea when I was camping on the beach in Sidi Kaouki in Morocco in '75. We were, you might say, fond of the hookah, and it just came to me one evening. When I woke up two days later, I knew was sitting on something big. I secured a world-wide patent, then hired an intellectual property agent in Tangier...Buchra Garbhi.

"Buchra Garbhi...the notorious international arms dealer?"



"The same. But Buchra didn't become famous --  or infamous -- until the mid-90's, when she sold a metric ton of rock debris to The Reagan Library. She convinced them it was rubble from the Berlin Wall. They fell for it, and a legend was born.

"I read about that scam in Vanity Fair...classic! So how did she handle the sale of your patent, Dirk?"

"She cultivated a bidding war between the Bavarian Illuminati in Vienna, the Soviets, OPEC and Disney."

"Shrewd move...pit the 'four points of evil' against each other."

"The Bavarians blinked first. The next day, my pockets were deeper than low tide El Cap!"


“The cover theme is interesting. It seems the gang is knocking down some brews before a go out maybe?”


“It has more of an apres-surf sort of feel to it," Dirk pointed out in his cogent, professorial manner. "I've done some research on that point, and from what I've learned, people back in the day would often enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two after mat surfing...then engage in a little amorous congress.”

“Sex and drinking after a surf...holy shit, imagine trying that now, in today's PC environment!"

"Unless you're Charlie Sheen, fuggetboutit!" Dirk laughed.

"And Norman Rockwell did the cover art?"

“Yeah...but it was no big thing at the time. Rockwell was a regular contributor to The Maturday Evening Post.

“Was he actually a mat surfer, or was he just jumping onto the post-war mat riding bandwagon?”

“Underneath that pipe-smoking, puppy-petting exterior, Norman was a hardcore matster...dawn patrols in Santa Cruz in boardshorts, duck diving Sunset on closed-out days, the whole nine yards! He even double-dutied his Converse mat as a beach towel on flat days...a style that's still in vogue today."


"Was Rockwell known throughout the beach culture?"

"Legend! They called him '22 Breaths'.”

"Not 23 Breaths, the universally accepted metric for the number of breaths required to inflate a high performance surfmat?"

"His lung capacity was enormous. Fucker could fill a surf raft with only 22 puffs! Joseph Heller knew Rockwell from their days carousing in the Hamptons...that's why Joe used '22' for Catch 22. Most people don't know it, but in fact, the original title was Catch 23."


"Why Catch 23?" 

"23 was an inside reference to matting...having to catch your breath after inflating a mat with the standard 23 breaths."

"So Heller was a mat surfer?"

"Yeah. Then right after the first print run started of Catch 23, he decided to go with '22' as a tip of the cap to his buddy Rockwell."

 "Awesome inside intel, Dirk! How many copies of Catch 23 shipped?" 

"1500. Most got recalled, but a dozen or so are still out there. I've got a local hacker on the spy for a signed first edition."

"Great acquisition, that. Keep us in the loop. Any other 'must haves?' "

 "Obviously, any one of the 3 remaining misprints of the Gatsby cover are on my bucket list."

"Fitzgerald wasn't a matter, was he?"

"Nah, it was just a screw up at the publishing house."

"Bummer. I thought he might be into it...what with Jay Gatsby dying on a mat at the end and all. So anyway, how did you acquire this issue of The Post?" 

“Interesting story. After I cashed in on my patent, I made a pilgrimage throughout Europe and the Mediterranean...looking for surf, artistic inspiration, and investment opportunities." 


"Nice. How did you come across this issue of Maturday Evening Post?"

"There used to be a tunnel from Algeciras to Ceuta, and like all great European underground stations, it boasted newsstands and coffee shops. I was waiting for my train in Ceuta --  I'll never forget the sweet aroma of the mint tea you could get there -- when I stepped over to say hi to my friend Saghir, the street vendor. I asked to see the latest mat surf magazines, and he grinned and pointed to a pristine copy of The Maturday Evening Post..."




"He saw me stiffen up -- speaking metaphorically -- and we started haggling. When they announced my train departure over the PA, I felt the time squeeze. I coughed up the dirhams and got the hell out of there. The next trick was getting it into the US."

"Why was that a challenge?" 

"The authorities seemed to think it had been stolen at some point. My sources in Zurich informed me that Interpol had posted a BOLO for the mag just days before I bought it. I wasn't going to take any chances getting it back home. I made my way to Paris, flew to Montreal, bought an old Renault, donned a suit and tie, then drove across the border...masquerading as a Quebec separatist posing as a Canadian businessman. The border patrol fell for my ruse. They were so busy confiscating my trunk full of separatist propaganda, they missed the magazine in my bag!"


"That's an incredible action adventure story, Dirk! You have to make a feature length, streaming version!"

"I'm polishing the screenplay now." 

"I see Matt Damon in the lead."

"Already on board. In fact, that's why he moved to Byron Bay...portraying a mat surfer immersed in international intrigue is the role of a lifetime!"  

"Who's directing?"

"The Coen Brothers. Spielberg producing. They were all over here earlier, raiding the fridge and going through my latest draft."

"Are they as committed to the objective truth as you are, Dirk?"

"You know how those Coen guys are...obsessed with nihilism. They want my collection of surfmats to endure some kind of surreal, unexplained, 'Kafkaesque Air Leak Syndrome,' never to be inflated again."

"I guess you could always order replacement mats from me...generating a happy ending for the film at a reasonable cost."

"I'll suggest that!" Dirk laughed.

"Let's talk about the Russian oligarch, Sergei Belitnikov. Until now, this issue of The Maturday Evening Post was thought to be in the his possession. How does he figure in?" 

"Serg is a kook. He floats around on a lilo on his private lake in Switzerland and thinks he's a Hanalei charger." 


"Totally! He wouldn't know a Churchill swim fin from a Russian Orthodox Church bell."

"Is he sucking up to Putin, with all the mat posturing? 

"No doubt. Vlad has been into matting for a good while now."


"So how did Belitnikov come to be known as the owner of that issue of The Maturday Evening Post?

"I had a PR firm in London plant the rumor he had it stored in a Kremlin gym locker."

"To take the heat off you and your family?" 

(Dirk nods solemnly.)

"Was he torqued you fingered him? He's not the kind of prestupnaya you mess with."

"You kidding? He loved it! Dude was an incel loser until I framed him. He had to swat away the mat groupies with old issues of Bodyboarder!"



"So he's cool with it?"

"He still sends us a Christmas card every year."

“Mind if we ask...what did you pay for that issue?”

“Hella dough, hella dough. Saghir's nobody's fool, he made a bundle off me.”

“Did he have you pegged as nouveau riche when you stopped by his newsstand that fateful day?”

“How could he miss? I was rocking a Rubber Duck Riders t-shirt I scored from a black marketeer in Marrakesh.”

"That's a pricey piece of history. It wouldn't take long for a Ceuto local to figure out you were flush...strutting around town wearing that thing. So c'mon, Dirk, give us a ball park figure for the mag.”

“In today's money, it would be 7 figures...plus I sweetened the deal with 10% interest of any future movie projects involving our transaction.”

“Brilliant! If the Coen project bombs, Saghir will end up owing you money!”

“Exactly! I laughed like a lunatic all the way to Algeciras, and half the way home! Truth be told, we still stay in contact, Saghir and me. He's done well. He took his profits and opened up an invitation-only mat surfing resort situated on the windward side of a tropical island. Warm water, blown out junk...it's a matter's paradise!!!"


"Sounds great! Where is it located?"

"When you get an invite, you'll find out..."

Mar 29, 2021

From Paul P.


Hey Paul, 
My wife and I both teach, so we have been home the last year. Our son is in college, so has been home the last year. Surfing is my ONLY alone time.  
I drive alone usually before the sun is up, surf alone, drive home alone. No friends, no family, no cameras. Just me, seeking out Grade D waves to avoid any crowds or people...in the dark and fog of early morning.
It's glorious.

Conditions that would be marginal on a surfboard are often fantastic on the mat. It has saved my mental health this past year.
I have had my moments of that hum, that grab-the-outside-rail-and-lock-into-the-face moments.  But few.  Still, I have made progress, and have had a number of super fun sessions.

I have been running it with a 90 degree angle.  Which I check, frequently. Today, there were lulls.  At one point, I clipped the valve with my gloved hand (water temp is 49 right now) , and in the ensuing moments, I lost a ton of air. I saw a set coming in, but I was low...like fold-over-on-itself low. I went for it, caught a set wave, and could not believe that I made the drop, but kept going....with more control than usual.

So much to learn.

I keep bringing my surfboard...but it stays dry in the back of my truck.

Have had major insomnia this last year.  Stress is awesome.  I find visualizing riding a mat calms my brain and puts me right to sleep.
Thanks for opening my perspective to what's possible on a wave.

Mar 25, 2021

From Ramy and Werner


My friend Ramy gave me the painting he did of me (aka "Werner Rabbit") riding my mat!


Mar 21, 2021

From The Tusked Beast


"Get your 4th Gear Flyer sticker today!"

Mar 15, 2021

From Ty


Stoked!!! Thank you!!

Best, Tyson

Mar 14, 2021

More From Jared


Follow Jared's wonderful work on Instagram here!

Mar 5, 2021

From Spence



Jamie O’Brien Claims, ‘These Are the Biggest Waves Ever Rafted’ 


I don't think tow-in counts, or if indeed these are the biggest waves "rafted." 

This is a pretty big wave, and the rider kicked in with swim fins.



Mar 2, 2021

“Other than that, we had a pretty good time.”




Stranded day-drinkers discover that beer, air mattresses, and the Indian Ocean don’t mix. 

On the other side of the world is a land where 22,000 miles of coastline kisses a vast expanse of seemingly infinite ocean. It is a land where the beer flows freely, which presumably helps people forget that giant spiders stalk them at every turn. I am talking, of course, about Australia, where last Saturday two men either didn’t notice or didn’t mind that the inflatable mattress they were day-drinking on was drifting out to sea.

Jackson Perry and Noah Palmer had taken the air mattress and a cooler full of beer into the water in front of Palmer’s oceanside house, located just south of Perth on Australia’s West Coast. They’d intended to spend the day relaxing no more than 50 yards from shore, but the wind had other plans.

“We couldn’t paddle against the wind and we just kept going further and further out,” said Perry in an interview with Sunrise, an Australian morning news program. “We only aimed to be 100 metres offshore, max, and before we knew it we were out to sea.”

With the batteries on their phones dwindling, Palmer and Perry called their friend Tex, who they knew was about 30 minutes away from their location. As the wind carried them two-and-a-half miles out into the Indian Ocean, the pair noticed they were gradually sinking, due to the fact the mattress was full of pinholes. To stay afloat, Palmer jumped off the mattress every few minutes and reinflated it manually while the duo waited for help to arrive.

After three hours of drifting, Tex arrived on a jet ski to rescue his friends, and was quickly followed by a team of volunteer rescuers who helped bring Perry and Palmer to shore. When asked if they had any advice to other people who enjoy drinking on floating air mattresses, Perry said to “definitely check the wind forecast before anything,” but expressed no regrets about his death-defying adventure into the briny blue expanse. “Other than that, we had a pretty good time.”

Feb 21, 2021

From Ara


Hi Paul,

I was just reading your Surfmatters post from Joe in Mass and have a suggestion for him? Over the years I've experimented with the same issue he's describing. For matting cold NE water in the Winter the very best type of mittens are ones that have quality built in sharkskin material for the palms. Hyperflex 6mm or 7mm oven mitts are by far the very best example I have found.

With very best wishes,

Ara P

Feb 20, 2021

From Joe


Paul. Question for you. I just bought some new mittens because it’s so damn cold here in Massachusetts and they just slide off the Mat. I was using a different brand glove and lobster claw thing before and they gripped fine. Have you ever heard of this?  Any recommendations for something I could put on the mits to help them grip the mat better?  I figured I’d check with you before I went out and bought another pair of mits. FYI I’ve been riding my mat all the time. I love it!  Having so much fun!

 I just ordered 7mm gloves from a diving store. Honestly I think gloves may be better for holding on anyway. If they don’t work I’ll try coating them with something. Thanks 


Hey Paul. Just thought I’d give you an update in case anyone else ever has the same issue. The gloves I got were a little slippery as well. I have this stuff called Blobb which you have probably heard of. It’s for surf related repairs and it’s a little tacky when dry so i put it on the finger tips and palms of the gloves. I made sure it was textured to help grip. It works great. No problems holding on. Probably holds better than my bare hands. 



Feb 19, 2021

From Hal


Aloha Paul,

      My good friend and neighbor has been going thru' some old photos and he sent me this pic of
himself with his very first white sea bass.

 The first time I saw it I was busy looking at the fish and I missed
the mats in the background.

Taken at Poche, circa 1955 or thereabouts.

Stay Safe


Feb 14, 2021

From Cory


Hi Paul,

Just wanted to reach out and thank you for your masterful surfmat craftsmanship. I've been riding my Standard for nearly 2 months now in SF and I just can't get enough of it! Many great sessions already in big and small conditions. I think I've enjoyed the smaller days more, where I can really explore the capabilities of the mat. I'm certainly still a beginner getting the hang of it, and the learning process has been pure joy.

Anywho, yesterday I was out with a friend who was riding a Fatty, so we traded off for a few waves and I got to give it a try. I was surprised by the amount of control it allowed me. I was able to make some cuts and turns I hadn't yet achieved on the Standard. It's possible it was the quality of that particular wave, the low inflation, or any number of variables. After a couple waves I said to myself - that's it, I want another mat...

In all honesty, I'll probably end up with all 3 in my quiver eventually. But I won't get my 3rd mat until I get my 2nd, so I hope you can share some insight on what that should be!

Thanks again! I'm definitely a 4GF lifer now. PS - I attached a clip of one of my first waves I caught on the Standard at Fort Point, hope you'll enjoy :)


Feb 12, 2021

From Josh Edwards and Steiny


A panel from the Michael Dormer Hot Curl comics. No idea the date, but maybe late 60's???

More on Dormer here and here...