When I first got a mat and was in major kook
phase, I went to Puerto Escondido. Found La Punta a few miles down the
beach ($0.10 "taxi" ride in little pickup trucks called "Publicos). I
totally lucked out and it was exactly like in this vid thought most days
a bit smaller, chest to head high or slightly over. Outside more of a
roller but bigger so the very small crowd was out there. There was a
long every flat spot between that and the inside that looked just like
the video for at least 100-150 yards. Took me about 3 days to feel I had
reached a low, intermediate level of mat riding and was getting fully
covered and making it out, carving the occasional cutback bottom turn
combo etc. A major memory trace for the old age home! HAH!
believe I’ve cracked the code for warming up to standup surfers. I’ve
been bringing my wife’s camera down when checking the surf and taking
snaps of the lineup for a little while before going out. When I swim out
everyone welcomes me because I’ve taken their picture. I take there
email after the session and send them a couple of snaps just so they can
hold onto a little piece of Stoke. The talk always switches to mats at
some point in the lineup 😀! I’m making more friends at the local
breaks, and my surfing is so fun right now, I’m really starting to relax
more in flight! Our conditions for the last couple days are attached
below. The Standard Super Sport FLIES in these condition! Yeeeewwwww!
a short movie I made from the beginning of today’s session! The
Standard SS flies in every condition I’ve thrown at it! I think the Joy
is conveyed in this Video 🤙🏼! Thank you for making these vehicles of
Joy! Yeeeeewwwwwww! Sending Lots of Positive Vibes and Healing Energy!
The "Vietnam era" photo above is mine, taken at the U.S. Naval School
for Underwater Swimmers, Key West, Florida in 1967. The divers pictured
are in fact USAF Pararescue trainees, not Navy. The fins were AMF Voit
Duck Feet fins, issued to us.
I have used, and still have, two
pair of the original Swimaster Duck Feet fins, which are made of
natural gum rubber, and are still very nice and flexible more than fifty
had a blast with Chris and Ryan last Sunday on a pair of Standard SS
mats and a UDT SS! Party waves have to be my favorite benefit of mat
surfing! The Standard SS has become my go to mat in Nor’Easter
conditions. Chris caught a couple of pics in the beginning of the
The Standard SS...I was
amazed at the speed this mat siphoned from the wave, I wasn’t sure how
she would go in these smaller and softer conditions, but DAMN! The
Standard SS blew me away today, definitely the most fun I’ve had in
smaller waves! For a serious mat surfer this baby is a wave skeleton
key, it’s got me Stoked to the Max after that session! I got into waves
early and was able to beat sections I normally wouldn’t make on other
mats. The speed is addictive....I said one more wave for an hour and a
half 😂🤣. Thanks for making these amazing vehicles of Joy!
Keep Spreading the Stoke! Positive Vibes and Healing Energy
coming your way!
The SCUMM crowd aren't the only matters who know how to have fun!
PG and Mister Dirk, perfect rights, two guys out...
These chips are for you, Eric! #ericwouldgo
The WAKOFF boys (Western Alliance of Kinetic-Optimist Fun Freaks) crack the first west swell of Fall 2017...followed by a world class scarf at a local Santa Barbara eatery...followed by some good natured humor. (At least 'Mericuns know how to tell the octopus joke properly...we have artificial intelligence to tell our octopus jokes for us!)
Ian J. wrote the other day, and it triggered an interesting memory...
I'm hoping that you and Gloria and the
family are doing well. We're getting ready to leave Tasmania and head
back to Ireland and add a new addition to the family along the way -
I was lucky in the last week to
pick up something rather special. It's an older 4GF and though others
have thrown in their two-dimes with estimates of its vintage and design
characteristics I thought it would be best to go direct and ask the guy
who built the thing! Attached are some photos - if there's anything else
you'd like to ask me in order to clarify specifics let me know.
What's the story behind this 4GF Surfmat?!
I would ID this mat as a 2007 vintage. This was a fertile window of time, design-wise.
We had been building essentially the same mat for over 20 plus years...a Standard model, with a gripped deck.
The thin nylon tops we were using were just something we accepted as a necessary evil. They were floppy and unstable, especially at low inflation levels. And the grip was either/or. You either stuck, or you didn't. Takeoffs required a "hop" to pull yourself onto the deck, and if you landed in the wrong spot, it took half the ride to get re-situated.
With the old canvas mats, you had enough grip to stay on, but you could slide forward easily on takeoff. You could also move around on the deck during the ride. The stability of the firmer deck helped with that as well..
Of course, the all-canvas Hodgmans or Merrins were comfortable to be on, but a complete horror to surf by modern standards. What was once state-of-the-art in the 60's and 70-'s was now crap.
Around 2006, at George's urging, I built a couple of nylon mats with an entire sheet of canvas bonded to the thin deck. While they were fun to be on, they were insanely stiff, and performance suffered.
The next step forward was to bond as much canvas to the deck as possible, without interfering with the performance. The result was the run of mats like the one Ian found...
These were good mats...the best we had generated up until that point. The performance was good, and the grip was almost perfect.
Key word: almost.
We started looking around for canvas that was compatible with the nylon I-beam and bottom fabric. After a bit of research, I found what we were looking for, and started a run of mats in early 2009 that continues today. For a short while, we called them the "Black and Blue" series...
Our initial impression was that they were good, but not perfect. Over time, we learned how to manipulate the fabric to gain a bit more grip and enhance performance -- grinding the decks and applying hot wax to be specific.
There is a break-in period with canvas-decked mats. 4GF mats perform better with age, as the fabric gets a touch looser.
What's interesting is that mats that start out a little too stiff, then
break-in with use, are better than mats that are loose to begin with (IMO). The stiffer
mats break-in in the areas of the deck that bend and flex, and thus ''need'' to
break in. The passive areas stay firmer. (Should we have called them "SmartDecks"?)
We continue to tweak our mat designs to get the most out of the new deck material. The return to canvas decks also allowed our design range to expand, because larger mats like the XL and UDT were more feasible with a stable deck to hold the rider in place without overly distorting the deck.
Another benefit of canvas is that it can be ridden comfortably with or without a wetsuit...like in the olden days.
And surfing critters appreciate the stability...
Of course, deck configuration is a matter of personal preference among experience mat riders, and reasonable people can and do disagree. This is merely a little essay about the evolution of 4GF design.
In any case, Ian, you have a slice of 4GF history!
Well the froth
continues ...have been riding the Lotus and Standard in various reef /
point breaks , just loving the feel and slide ! I would definitely lean
towards the Lotus as my favorite, such a quick and responsive mat to
ride...and power to the canvas deck, the extra surface tension makes a
treat to lay on and the beast grip that never wears or needing a top up, 10 quackers in our book!
Below is some
vision from a couple of Sundays back, Justin came down for the early (
it was 5.30 and pitch black when we met up) and he had Ron Anderson ,
father of Chris and founder of Ecto Handplanes with him, it was Ron's
first surf on a mat , so after the 100 m paddle out , I did mention to
him to never let go and gave him a fe tips on how to duck dive a mat,
and to Ron's credit, he caught a few and never let go, was so stoked for
The next weekend we all headed down a touch further south and scored
some fun little right handers , Neal sat and watched as he had better
waves during the week ;) so just Paul, Phil and myself, with a bonus
visit from Eric the Seal .
Last Sunday Justin came down again for the early, such a beautiful red
pre dawn, the ocean was awashed with a red glow, just makes it so worth
while to get your backside out of bed and see it...the waves were just a
bonus thrown in for free.
Yesterday was my RDO , so made the most of it and had 2 surfs, Gilligans & Mat Reef , Eric's favorite wave.
One from last year, just Neal and myself, full speed figure eight crossovers....zoom!