I'd been waiting for this day. I knew it was coming sooner rather than later.
In a nutshell, when I emerged from my mat session (at my homebreak in closeouts that weren't worth surfing on a board), I was met by the lifeguard. He was very nice. As a result, so was I. He told me that he had no problem with me matting, but that it was against the law since the mat doesn't have handles, or a string to hold onto or something equally unimportant. This lifeguard told me that he had no problem with me since I was obviously competent in the water and had fins. However, his boss would be the problem. Then he went on to relate that another lifeguard had been written up by said boss for allowing someone in some kind of kayak to go into the water. I guess what he was trying to say was, "I'm cool with it, but others won't be."
Well, I'm not cool with this law. As I walked back to the car, I was met by the crew. They didn't understand how the mats could be illegal for the reason he stated since there are so many surfers, especially in our crew, who surf without leashes. They wondered how that is any different from being out on a mat without being tethered to it.
I knew this was coming. This will not keep me off the mat. My attitude is: If you want me out of the water, you're going to have to come and get me out. Granted, at some point that's not going to end well. In the meantime, I'm willing to take my chances. The problem I foresee will come when I try to take the mat to a local point break. I've already been told that Malibu is out. I may try Sunset at some point. I'm not keen to mat there because of all of the rocks. I'm not sure what my options are for another point.
For those of you in L.A., Orange County or other parts of California, what is the status of this law? Is it a state law or is it local? I know someone commented on my blog that mats aren't illegal. I need that information.