Oct 17, 2008

Touching 3rd Gear ... Part III

Greenough talks about running in 3rd gear, and being able to surf through a single section of a wave three times. If enough speed is in hand, he can glide over the top of a section as it's forming, cut back across it as it crests, and run though it again (heading down the line) as it breaks. The above photo is a perfect example of third gear mat surfing.

This is one of my favorite mat shots.

The wave was in a protected cove. The swell was moving very slowly toward the beach, and there was no curl line, pocket, or surface tension.

George caught this wave further up the point, and double-clutched the take off...meaning he didn't drop straight in, but started out across the top of the wave face, then dropped in after he had gained some speed, but not all the way to the bottom. He reset his lateral line halfway down the face, let the mat run "flat," broke loose into third gear, dropped down to the base when the wave stood up a bit, pulled it off the bottom, and tore across the top of the wave. The track you see is left over from his bottom turn. It's a ruler straight line. It looks like a sailboard track. That's how fast he was going.

I showed this picture to the photo editor of a surf magazine back in the late 80's, and explained why I liked it. He broke out laughing.

(This video has a number of shots of George propelling himself into waves.)


nate said...

How was George able to get into that wave so early? It seems that in my experiences so far that the earlier one can catch a wave the easier it is to break loose and hit 3rd gear.

PG said...

George is an extemely strong flipper-swimmer, and he weighs 135 pounds! He catches small waves out with the longboarders.

And, I agree, catching a wave early is an important componant of getting your mat rolling. Nothing worse than a late take-off on a fast peeling wave!

PG said...

Here is a shot of George catching a wave on a spoon. Notice he paddles with his left arm catching rights...it adds a bit of momentum in the direction of the wave.


Also, here is a shot if him going through a section three times on a spoon...


PG said...

This vid has a number of examples of George propelling himself into waves...