Sep 28, 2008

Inflation: To blow mo' or go really low?

Fortunately, one can raise the pressure in a mat by squeezing it. For really small or extra smooth waves, I let out air until I can fold my mat to look like the number 7. Even less air often frees up the mat in little bowly waves. You can always compress the outer front corner with your fist to hang in through steep sections and make hard turns. I find that the 90 degree L-bend is good for 3-4 footers. Then, as the power and steepness of the surf increases, I tend to add liberal amounts of air. For scary suckouts, I'll inflate my mat as hard as I think it will go without popping. A soft mat gets long glides and a hard mat will resist slides...


Anonymous said...

I always finish with less air than I started. It never goes the other way. I begin with the 90-degree fold, then let air out in small amounts between waves.

One thing I'm curious about is white water takeoffs. They don't work well for me. The turbulence feels almost sticky and I bog real quickly. I wonder if they'd go easier if I used more inflation.

PG said...

I've always had the same experience with white water (or over-the-falls) takeoffs on really soft mats. Very hard to get unglued from the foam and get rolling in the green. If the wave isn't cooperative, I end up stuck in the white water as often as not.

There's no reason -- or not enough reason -- to alter your inflation level to accomodate something like white water takeoffs...unless that's how you're catching every wave in a session.

I try to bunch up the front of the mat with my fists to create a firmer feel to the mat. That usually helps.