I met up with the esteemed Mr. Dirk and his equally esteemed family (Ms. Maria and Master Decker) for an afternoon surf along California's Central Coast. We got some fun waves, and enjoyed being out of the 100 degree-plus heat plaguing of much of the West.
Dirk had a new waterproof mini-cam he was itching to try out, so after an initial go out to get loosened up, we swapped between shooting and surfing. Needless to say, Dirk's riding outshone mine, so any images that surface in the future will undoubtedly be of him!
After what seemed to be a complete day, we were all back at the parking area sharing stories and getting out of our wetsuits. Two vans rushed up, and a film crew hopped out. They set up a video camera facing the sunset, and a couple guys ran in-frame to enjoy the last rays of light together. It turned out that the two gentlemen, Tod and Justin Purvis, were brothers documenting their journey around the United States, seeing everything they could see before they lost their sight. They are both afflicted with Choroideremia, a degenerative eye disease which can lead to complete and total blindness. Amazing serenity and wisdom, the both of them.
Last week we had one last sunny morning before the marine layer and pea soup fog rolled in. The surf was a mix of SW swell and NW windswell, making for tight intervals between the waves and a lot of close-outs at the beach. It was too mixed up for the reefs. I had four of my favorite rides with me, the 5'10 keel fin fish, 6'2 swallowtail quad and 7'2 egg swallowtail, all Pendoflexes, and the 4th Gear Flyer Standard. The waves were about 2-4 feet, mostly closed out and crowded with surfers. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the pelicans diving for fish in the empty swimming area and I decided to join them at their peak on my trusty 4th Gear Flyer Standard.
There were just pelicans and cormorants diving, and no people! My mat session was as fun as a barrel of monkeys! It was good practice for me to mat surf the beach, as I usually surf the reefs. After catching some inside corners, I was ready to take off on a close-out set wave just for the fun of it, and got a kick out of the free fall drop over the falls. This set me up for a couple of late take offs on set waves that had some shape. I even pulled into a couple of little barrels, enjoyed the vision and didn't lose my mat in the shore break closeouts. Yay!
All in all this was a great overall work out and such a joy. I was blessed to have fun surfing when I might have driven home without getting wet. Thanks so much for making such great wave riding vehicles and sharing the fun with all of us.
Steve sends his "Hello" and stoked smile, too. . .
Danny Williams: good choice. Looks like the same kind of guy, 40 years on...
Kono: Now a woman. Nice update, hope she has Zulu's serenity...
Chin Ho: No one can replace Kam Fong as Chin Ho Kelly, no way. One of the most authentic and beloved character portrayals in the history of American TV. But the new guy will probably redefine the character, so no worries...
Steve McGarrett: Have they lost their minds over at CBS??? :)
I'm in the final throes of finishing the Tracker orders that came in over the last few months, and should be caught up in a couple of weeks. Between 12 hour days making mats and three trips up to Oregon to keep an eye on my mother this summer, I'm ready for a surf! :)
We were originally going to put the Standard and the new Vespa Roundtail on sale in October, but after going through our expenses versus sales numbers for the past summer, we realized that, while we can't get by selling made-by-hand surf mats for $165, we could swing $199 if the sales numbers held up at a level approaching the Tracker's introduction this summer.
One benefit of building more mats is that we were able to buy material in larger quantities, and save a bit on a per/mat basis. The other benefit is that as I made more and more mats in recent months, I was able to streamline the building process without compromising quality.
We're going to put the whole 4GF line up for $199 around October 1st. The Standard, Tracker RT, Fatty, XL, and UDT will be $199. The Classic will stay at $165, and the Vespa RT will be introduced at $165 for two months, and then go up to $199 on January 1st.
The "buy two and get one free" offer will remain in effect...meaning you can get any three 4GF's for $398 USD. (Classics and sale mats can be added to the three mats you order, but they don't receive any further discount.)
The estimated shipping turnaround time will be bumped from 2 days to a week, just to be realistic. Delivery time after shipping will remain 2-3 days in the US, and 7-14 days foreign. If you have a vacation planned and want to order a mat at the last minute, email us, and we'll do everything we can to accommodate you.
The initial idea of putting the Standard on sale this October was to encourage surfers 205 pounds or under to add one to their quiver. In head high surf or better surf, the Standard is a rocket. It's a peak experience every mat rider should have!
Craig D. of Washington took a pair of mats to Bulgaria, and turned them over to a group of orphans from that country. Fantastic!
His observation: "I can tell you that I've never seen those kids happier than when they were on those mats...full of joy and not a care in the world. How great to be able to share that with them! I am so glad that we were able to pull that off."
(George Greenough in full flight on the 4GF Standard, Fall of 1985. He's barely leaving a track on the wave! )
I finally had the chance to take the Standard out today. We've had typhoons, typhoon remnants, and tropical storms the last two weeks and it's still big but today conditions were finally okay surfable (okay for a mat, that is).
It looked pretty small, but I guess I didn't check long enough. Once I got out, I realized it was over head high on some of the sets. Real messy conditions, a bit unpredictable, and there was a strong current, which is a bit unusual for this spot. The first wave I took off on, the first wave I caught on this new mat, was one of the biggest if not THE biggest wave I've caught. I pretty much just flew down the face and saw the wave closing out. It was one of those waves that you don't quite remember what happened because it was so in-the-moment. Mostly I was just a tad bit scared at the size.
Somehow I made it further down the beach. Surprisingly, it was breaking. I had never surfed that part of the beach and I didn't know that waves even break there. The waves were much more manageable here, only about chest high. I had some of the best rides! The mat felt great, really "solid" feeling for a mat (don't know how else to describe it - sure of itself?) yet responsive, and really fast, too! Surprisingly, the ride was pretty long, too. I LOVE this mat! Now I'm faced with the feeling of not having enough time to get a good feel for all of my mats! If only daily surf were a reality for me...
But those rides left me way stoked, and today was a new surf experience at my home break.