Jan 23, 2020

From Mat Max

Points me to appreciate my best matting moments and value the deepest core of surfmat philosophy.



Jan 21, 2020

From Jonathan

Hi Paul,

I've been meaning to write for Surfmatters on this topic for a while. You know that trope that mat surfers always have a huge grin on their faces (you should, since you invented it)? Well, it's true as we all know, we've indeed the anointed ones (heh heh), but I firmly believe that it's a sheepish grin because we're constantly subject to humiliating goofs due to the freaky "living" qualities of a mat, humiliating because most of the time they happen in front of our highly judgmental surfboard riding companions, all too ready to fold us to the bottom of the priority deck (beyond simply being on a mat in the first place).

I'd love to share a couple of personal highs masquerading as cretinous lows, illustrated by carefully-rendered illustrations. There's no point in trying to deconstruct how they happened. There was no lead up, the mat did it, not me!

Picture #1, "Sidesaddle", a wave where I slipped off the side of the mat, and bodysurfed the wave with my arm around the mat, effectively an inflatable outrigger. Or maybe more accurately like a drinking buddy, staggering out of the bar. If I remember it was a pretty good ride.

Picture #2, "Flip", was really weird. In a moment of flailing chaos, the mat dug a rail and turned completely upside down, in a clunky three-part movement. Somehow I kept going, riding the blue bottom side up. I can report that the traction was actually pretty decent.


Picture #3, "YeeeHaw!" ,wasn't on the mat, but it sure was... a situation. I was out with just one other guy (a wizened kneeboarder) at a B-grade spot just up the coast from an A-grade spot. Steiny's turf. Big south swell, easy double overhead. The wave was mushy and peeling, but it was STILL quite big and powerful, a senile elephant. I'd just gotten out and was making conversation with the other kneeboarder, two old salts at ease in the big stuff. Then a huge set came. We both took it on the head. He made it under. This old salt had that damned mat ripped out from his death grip! No problem, I relaxed, and started the long swim. In fact, as a new set approached, I casually set up to body surf the next wave, a big, glassy wall. A BIG wall. Jesus! I realized it was by far the biggest wave I had ever tried to body surf, as I got sucked up the face, and started to plane.... The whitewater explosion was huge, but some angel was looking after this fool and I was rocketed forward, feeling the power, adrenaline squirting, the whole time thinking what a fucking idiot I was and just how much more I had bitten off than I could chew!

Each time I had that shit-eating grin. Please let this be a clarification of that expression that all mat riders wear.

Thanks a lot, buddy!


Jan 20, 2020

From Frank

Hi Paul,

I found this on Facebook.


Jan 16, 2020

From Lloyd

 Hi Paul thought you would enjoy this one -

As a mat rider you get more than a few WTF looks in the lineup - and a few comments like "Oh dad an mum had one of those in the 1970s",  but as the oldest in the line up by about 10-15 years the looks become even more perplexed. Then when you stage the same thing at the Urbansurf  Park in Melbourne, the looks intensify even more. Is this old fart for real?

17 Jan 2020 (today) the first time a mat had been used at the park which opened 6th Jan 2020 and it was a real buzz to pull it off on my 68th Bday. Fantastic to have a 4th gear flyer to ride.The great thing about the Surf Park is along the wall where the waves are produced is a current that pulls one straight out to the line up, wait your turn and presto the wave is yours. Its a great little mat wave that breaks over a shallow concrete bottom. It is not the ocean, but once you are on a wave that fact quickly dissolves. Next time I will try it at a more intense setting and time it for an offshore wind.
Andrew Ross the creator of this dream has done a great job. 

Then after the surf I get back to the studio and Silvi Glattauer has another voucher for the surf park as a BD gift - How good is that - Great surfing with Matt Blackwood my surf buddy at the park and also to the team at Urban surf - very impressed - this is a sensational venue, staff are friendly and helpful. 
Thanks Paul  - the mat is still powering along  and I will be back to the Wave Park SOON!

Cheers Lloyd

Jan 12, 2020

From Adam

 New Year's Eve

 New Year's Day


Happy New Year !

Well, we have survived a few close calls over here the past few weeks and the cleanup continues for us here on the NSW South Coast , the water is just filthy with blacken leaves and ash with the air quality varying daily from putrid smoke ridden to partial clean sort of breathable air , but not complaining  too much as some communities south of us have been wiped out altogether and only just having power and other essential services restored , lots to be done in the coming 12 months!
Stay Safe
 Neal has been helping out heaps with the use of his buggy to run supplies along the beach to stranded communities and now is helping with food stations for the native wildlife.


Jan 10, 2020

Mat Tote Bags From Regi/Lou


Regi made some custom bags...lightweight and durable! If anyone in the matting community is interested in one, they can contact her at "masiyellough at gmail dot com."

We're in San Clemente, CA. She would be happy to make them for $30 + shipping. Just send her an email. She can do custom colors and patterns specifically made for protecting and carrying the 4GFs. 

See attached pictures. They're pretty great!

Bryce D


From Lou...

Bag with shoulder carry strap...4 Mats assorted models wrapped in a towel and taped..approx weight 4 kgs..purrrfect for travel and all good as on board luggage...

2 bags obtained from K Mart camping section...used for beach umbrella carry covers but some customers leave them in store..i got these 2 for nothing from one of the sales staff..used twice so far on overseas trips...

Worth checking the camping section for any excess or left over ones..😎

Lou G

Jan 9, 2020

4GF Cameo


One of the ubiquitous Jamie O'Brien videos captures a 4GF rider at the Waimea river...but only for a brief flash or two. Any ID of the mat rider???

Jan 2, 2020

Fun Floats!

Still renting surfmats after 60 years!  Details here...

Dec 29, 2019

Mat Noir


For Americans with basic cable, Saturday nights often include an episode of "Noir Alley," a retrospective of 40's and 50's black and white crime films...hosted by noir-film-fanatic Eddie Muller.

Along with its usual mix of femme fatales, gun play, and double crosses, last night's noir offering (Repeat Performance) served up some poolside salaciousness with an inflatable backdrop. But the male protagonist got it wrong...clearly, the hot babe was the brunette with her own mat!

Dec 26, 2019

Dec 23, 2019

Merry Christmas

Normally, I would post a holiday greeting around thsi time, but Adam from SCUMM just sent us a big batch of vids, so I'll let him do the honors...



Howdy Paul

A big Thank You for making some of the best surf craft on this Planet , your surf mats have given us crew so much pleasure and has open our eyes to riding breaks that we would never normally surf ! It has been a fun year overall for waves with plenty of variety so I have attached some of my favorites for the past 12 months.

Merry Xmas to you and your Family!!



staying alive from adam williams on Vimeo.
SOLO SCUMM from adam williams on Vimeo.
Grease Lightning from adam williams on Vimeo.
SCUMM AIRLINES from adam williams on Vimeo.
Your Boogie Man from adam williams on Vimeo.
Bonzilla from adam williams on Vimeo.
SOLO from adam williams on Vimeo.
Beach Life from adam williams on Vimeo.
beach life 1 from adam williams on Vimeo.
video-1565508087 from adam williams on Vimeo.
And of course, no holiday greeting would be complete without an off-color bit of humour from Neal
Friday Joke with Neal Cameron from adam williams on Vimeo.

Dec 19, 2019

From Patrick

G'day Paul.

pic taken by the young film maker Max Zappa of me on your round tail...


Dec 15, 2019

From Lou

For an OS trip...
Standard...worn in 'N weather beaten.
Lotus..still waiting to get worn in 'N weather beaten.
Half way through a 2 month trip...
I haven't had any epic waves, best has been say 3 to 5ft...but most of the time..1 to 3ft..but pretty well have had this beachie to myself..left hand sand bank in the mornings high tide super clean..lulls but 
Mate, at this stage of the game..i am like a pig in shit with my snout well n truly in the trough..kinda off season  here and the local crew must have it pretty good through out the peak season and leaving the small stuff alone..so i am super stoked...
Mats are going well..mainly mixing it up between the XL..with low inflation..fun and the Std n Tracker..got a month to go..great getting out of Gold Coast Pre Xmas onshore slop..
I trust you are well and Xmas orders firing up.
Life's Good.
Take it easy.
 Local Fisherman/Divers...use these bamboo rafts to paddle out ...actually seen them ride a wave in on there way back from diving with their catch...😎

Dec 10, 2019

From Bryce


I was in Rhode Island for some hurricane swells back in September and scored some great waves. I met a guy who would show up on a 4GF and would pick out the best waves down the point and then take 30-45 mins kicking leisurely way outside past all breaking waves, back up to the top of the point and right into perfect position. He'd stay out literally all day, wore a helmet, and didn't talk to anyone. Such a great mat rider. See pictures attached.

Talk to you soon,

Dec 7, 2019

Happy Holidays From SCUMM

G’day Paul,

Hope you're happy and healthy, well the SCUMM crew managed a few waves yesterday I  rode  my  ‘standard’  in some big fat long left handers at one of our favourite early morning haunts Gilligan’s Island.  It seems the plague has started to spread early this summer as you can see by the line up at Gilligan’s but you know us SCUMMbags mate always seem to find some stoke in what ever we chose to slide in..

Take care out there !!

All the best to you and yours for the Christmas festive season.



Nov 19, 2019

Unearthed by Sam

I don't know how far we should go down this rabbit hole (I, for one, like it) but pursuant to our previous reference to the inflatable raft at the end of The Great Gatsby, Sam K dug up this interesting assessment of the meaning of the raft in the scene in the book where Gatsby is murdered....

I doubt any of us have ever looked at inflatables in quite such a way!

Honey Bee Surfers...

Nov 18, 2019

If their honey-making and pollination prowess weren’t enough, there’s a new reason to appreciate honeybees: They’re world-class surfers.

Beyond pollinating flowers, worker bees — which are all females — are given the job of searching for water to cool their hives. But if they fall into ponds, their wings get wet and can’t be used to fly. A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology found that when bees drop into bodies of water, they can use their wings to generate ripples and glide toward land — like surfers who create and then ride their own waves.

Gnarly, right?

“When they fall in the water, they have to find a way to get to shore as a matter of survival,” said Chris Roh, a Caltech research engineer and lead author of the study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s a ‘to bee or not to bee’ situation.”
As with many scientific advances — Isaac Newton’s apple or Benjamin Franklin’s lightning bolt — Dr. Roh’s experiment began with a walk. Passing Caltech’s Millikan Pond in 2016, he observed a bee on the water’s surface generating waves. He wondered how an insect known for flight could propel through water.

Dr. Roh and his co-author Morteza Gharib, a Caltech professor of aeronautics and bio-inspired engineering, used butterfly nets to collect local Pasadena honeybees and observe their surf-like movements.
The researchers fashioned a wire harness to constrain each bee’s bodily motion, allowing close examination of their wings. They found that the bee bends its wing at a 30-degree angle, pulling up water and generating a forward thrust. Bees get trapped on the surface because water is roughly three orders of magnitude denser than air. But that weight helps to propel the bee forward when its wings flap. It’s a strenuous exercise for the bees, which the researchers estimate could handle about 10 minutes of the activity.

The researchers said the surf-like motion hasn’t been documented in other insects and most semiaquatic insects use their legs for propulsion, what’s known as water-walking. It may have evolved in bees, they speculate, so the workers could collect fluid without getting stuck in the water and dying. The closest motion is seen in stoneflies, but their movement is more like paddling than surfing. 

Dr. Roh and Dr. Gharib plan to use their observations to design robots capable of traversing sky and sea. They have already made a mechanical model that simulates the bee’s surfing motion. Next, they will make one light enough to fly.

Howard Stone, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton, said nature is a helpful guide for technological innovation because “evolution has had lots of years to try out solutions” to common physical problems.

Dr. Gharib’s lab has previously studied underwater locomotion by looking at jellyfish, and energy harvesting by looking at leaves rustling in the wind. He envisions numerous practical applications for bee surfing.

“You could imagine an amphibious system that can move on the surface of water and fly without hassle,” Dr. Gharib said. “This could be useful for search and rescues, or for getting samples of the surface of the ocean, if you can’t send a boat or helicopter.”

Some more detail here...

Nov 9, 2019

Welcome Home, Kenny !!!

After a Summer and Fall spent north of the border, followed by a quick jaunt south of the border, our man Kenny is stoked to get back to the Santa Barbara coast in time for winter...

¡Buenos días, compañeros de bolsa de basura!

Sitting in the airport in Mexico City awaiting our 9:30 flight.  If all goes well we will be at LAX around noon.  A relaxing bus ride home and I’ll finally be ready to slide.  Looks like it’s been pretty small, but here’s hopin’ some storms materialize. 

Wow!  We haven’t been in Mexico 🇲🇽 City since our daughter was 3, 29 years ago.  It was a very busy place then.  NOW?  Holy moly! 

I’ll close with another volcano shot, another favorite, Pico de Orizaba.  Highest in Mexico at 19,000 something. 

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

See you soon


One problem, Mr. K...this November is shaping up to be the flattest in recorded history!