Mar 20, 2010
Inflation Levels Revisited
Occasionally, we get emails from mat riders asking about inflation levels. Sometimes they're experiencing a touch of frustration riding their mat at the softer settings preferred by surfers like George G.
After riding the often powerful and disorganized conditions along the Central Coast of California for the past 7 months, I can relate to their predicament!
The lower inflation levels (a 90 degree bend, or more) that work so well in point surf can be a liability in dumpier surf. If you're lacking the smooth, linear power line of a point break, riding a softer mat can be haphazard at best.
Because so many factors go into the "correct" inflation level on a given day, it's important to keep in mind that the variable nature of a surf mat should be used to it's fullest extent. There are no hard and fast inflation rules!
In point surf, I usually ride a mat which is bent around 90 degrees. But my experiences this winter on the Central Coast have resulted in a 45 degree bend most of the time. Meaning, a lot more air. This is because, in the punchy waves I ride, I don't need the delicate skimming ability generated by a flatter mat. And the extra hold of a firmer mat helps me track across uneven, backwashy shorebreak walls with a lot more authority.
Again, inflation is a personal choice...determined by your experience, mood and the waves you are immersed in. The correct setting is the one that works for you!