Mar 22, 2010

Glide-In Mat Take Offs


Mr. Dirk and I were surfing together a while back, and as I was paddling back after a ride, he executed a virtually perfect glide-in mat take off. It was a delight to behold!

Not limited to conventional surfboards by any means, a glide-in take off is well within the grasp of mat riders. Here's how it works...

The rider aggressively kicks/paddles into position to catch a wave. As the wave approaches, he/she takes a few hard strokes towards shore, then stops paddling just before the wave reaches them. At that moment, they slide forward on the mat, into riding position. As the wave picks them up, their positioning relative to the cresting wave and their forward momentum due to the nose-ward slide allows them to catch the swell....and off they go, already in the right spot on the deck of the mat.

After you practice this move, it's possible to catch waves further and further out before they break.

Great fun!

9 comments:

Jay said...

This sounds great. I try and try to do this but have failed so far. What happens is that the mat seems to fold in the front part and I lose forward momentum and miss the wave.
Any ideas? Thanks global mat-brain!

PG said...

Try paddling with your weight further back, then you can slide forward and not end up too far up on the mat.

PG said...

Also, this is easier on a canvas decked mat than some of the sticky-er tops.

Jamie said...

and easier with slightly more inflation than less, until you really get the hang of it. this is one of the two techniques I use at outside Greenmount to catch them deep before they break. The other thing I do out there is to sit directly in the impact zone on the outside peak, where I know I'm right in the spot with the most direct energy. Usually the wave will break just in front of me and I'll hang off the back and let the whitewater give me a good push. sometimes you end up nowhere, but usually I'll come rocketing out of the whitewater/ether to everyone's surprise and have a good set wave all to myself.

borntoloser said...

two more variations-

1- the one hand takeoff. Body off of the mat, one hand centered on tail. Swim into wave, body in a kind of bodysurfing form, as the wave picks you up you slide onto the mat.

2- Paddle around at low inflation already close to riding position. Use more arms, and purposefully sink legs to get a bit of kick in. When the wave comes sink your legs and weight backwards without sliding on the mat, then lean forward, pushing the air bubble forward, you're into the wave a bit earlier and in riding position.

easier written than done...

my word verification is "pronelyz", really.

DrStrange said...

"What happens is that the mat seems to fold in the front part and I lose forward momentum and miss the wave. "

I have had same problem: If you grab rails toward rear of mat, when you are hanging off back kicking/paddling, and squeeze them towards each other it forces air into nose and stiffens it. Then, while holding the squeeze, pull mat under you as you do big dolphin kick and sort of hump up into riding position. W/ a bit of practice you should be able to nail the right spot in one lunge. Immediately shift hands to nose rails and gently squeeze them toward each other to maintain some rigidity... Once your body is up in riding position that should eliminate most of the nose folding problem anyway but adding a wee squeeze of rails may be needed depending on inflation level.

That's my version anyhoo...

Anonymous said...

Thx for the ideas! I'll try these on my next go out. --jay

PG said...

Another variation of this takeoff is to wait for a cresting wave to just about overtake you, then swing into position with your legs apart (like you were at full stride while running). Bring your legs and fins together...and that little forward thrust is enough to catch the wave.

misterdirk said...

Confession: I wasn't actually aware of that early gliding take-off as a technique per se until PG pointed it out to me. I've paid closer attention to it since then, as well as all the other speed boosts you can get with just a little unweighting. That "nose-ward slide" that Paul observed also include a momentary upward push of one's chest and head, and I think that little head hop helps set the glide in motion. It's not a very large action, but it has a big effect.

2 days ago I was going fast into a long section that looked as if it might close on me if I just cruised. I tried one of those little unweighting head hops and was able to accelerate into the high line curl and thru the section. I'm used to having speed to spare on a mat, but it was nice to learn that there's more on tap when you need it. I plan to learn a lot more about unweighting.