Jul 25, 2011

More Mat Stoke!

Hi Paul

Not getting wet that much this year, but had one of my best ever mat sessions a month or so ago down in Cornwall. Even worth the 570 mile in one day round trip for 2 hrs water time !

Cheers, Henry


I finally got out on the mat this weekend and I am still grinning!!! Unreal...I just had so much fun!!! Got some smaller, mushy swell on Sat and headed to the beach. A solid hour into the session I was still flopping around and beginning to wonder if it would even work but then I snagged a solid right and it all came together! I managed to pull off a solid bottom turn and then set up for a 60 yard drainer! I was most surprised by the speed and how well she tracked in the face; I'm not sure if I've ever been so close to the curl for so long! After 3 hrs in the water I was exhausted but the mat made for a nice spot to take a quick nap as well!!!! Keep up the great work PG, I look forward to catching up soon mate.

- Collin


Hi Paul,

Thank you so much for the wonderful 4th Gear Flyer tee shirt. I got the sky blue color with white lettering. It is awesome and very much appreciated!

And thank you for posting my photo on the masthead of Surf Matters! I am so stoked AND honored. As a newbie, I have no idea what I am doing, but the smiles and grins say it all, I guess.

Keep creating your magic mats. And I will do what everything I can to let people know about them!




Took Webbo to take on the ankle snappers on the South Devon coast today. Really impressed with his confidence and he was catching waves on his own and riding clean faces, even linking a few turns.

Best moment was walking back up the beach as.he looked at his mat and said "I love this thing..."




-- Dear Paul
I tryed my mat out today.I caught some green waves,I found it really fun.



Hi Paul,

As a long-time hull rider (and friend of Steve Krajewski, Kirk Putnam, Florian and the gang), I've been a fan of your boards for years, but I never knew much about your surf mats until I picked up a used 4th Gear Flyer "Large" mat on craigslist last month. It's an older model (pics attached), but man, what a hoot! In the course of the last month, I've gone from being an dyed-in-the-wool hull fanatic to being a rabid surf-matter.

There's so much I love about riding the mat:

- being close to the water, going fast and tucking into little barrels
- getting to meet a tremendous community of So-Cal mat-riders (including SurfSista Mary, Dirk, Bruce, Matt, Valerie, Evan, Andrew and the whole gang),
- and especially the fact that I no longer have to deal with any macho-man, tough-guy bullshit. When I ride a mat, board riders don't take me seriously... and that's the beauty of it! I can get my waves, and fly completely under the radar of the aggressive, wave-jostling crowd.

So, I guess that's a long-winded way of saying thank you - my 4th Gear Flyer has made surfing fun for me again.

Thanks again for everything, PG!

Sincerely, Tremor


the swell tamed down quit a bit so H could get in the water but she didnt like all the kelp it was really thick in the whitewash cause of the swell she got afew sand blasters though. no pics yet got to remember the cam next time!!!!the standard is working great got a few nice days at stockon ave and ano nuevo during this last swell. my buddy from florida was with me and he's going to hit you up for a mat sometime soon. i showed him your site and he rode on of my mat and was into it. well this funny i had my hangin on a clip hook in the bathroom and my girlfriend was washing her face in the dark reached over and thought the mat was a towel and was trying to dry her face with it yelling whats up with this towel. so awesome!!!!! well i be getting another mat soon in sure maybe a vespa or xlg not sure yet.you'll get my order soon when i pull up some more cash. be well paul and thanks!!!!!!! daniel


hi paul, thanks heaps for the excellent service. my mat took 14 days from dispatch & next day i was surfing it at watego's with my mates george (the guru) & boyd -- it is much the same size as my old "neumatic" & it goes great. i'll contect you re another one in the near future, regards,dave



Just wanted to let you know that I used the mat a few times now and really enjoy it! Used it in San Diego a couple of times and on a river north of Sacramento…Ocean is better though.

Radcially Stoked!

Thanks a lot and have a great summer!

God bless, Fr Joshua



Hey Paul,

Thanks for the quick ship on the mat.

Small surf here in Carpinteria but still a fun first day with it.

More later.


Hi Paul,

Had a great session today. The Dutch surf is bad this year. But after a good storm the last few days today was great with offshore wind and 5 / 6 foot waves.

Had great waves on my XL. This is a link of the webcam of Scheveningen (home spot).

In october i go on a trip to France, Lacanau. Hope to send some pictures then.

All the best.




Hi, Paul!!

I introduced matting to two friends today. One only got a taste. The other, Grace actually rode the mat. Saying she's hooked would be an understatement!!

As I hung out in the lineup with fins while Grace was on the mat, each wave she took had me laughing hysterically because I could hear her laughing hysterically as she got her rides. It was a wonderful experience.



Jul 23, 2011

Tom From Germany ... Mat Riding Citzen Of The World!

Hi Paul,

Just wanted to say hi and send you a pic of a grey and small messy day in Brazil last weekend (again... but there are worse destinations).

Had my 17 yr old son along for the three days - we had some (high quality) time together and he shot the pic - I´m actually grinning on the inside.

Hope all is well (as can be, at least - read about upcoming your Oregon-trips). My stickers should be on the way from your side of the pond, too. I´ll send you some, when they get here.



Jul 18, 2011

Free Surf Movie Night - Crystal Voyager

Free Outdoor Screening of George Greenough and Albert Falzon’s classic surf film “Crystal Voayager” on July 30th at 7:30!

2148 E 4th St
Long Beach, CA 90808

Jul 13, 2011

Ebay Find!

Ever vigilant Tom from Texas spotted this score!

Jul 11, 2011

Two Days of Mat Riding Goodness

The swell materialized as promised. The mat riders did the same. So far, we've had two days of mat riding goodness as a local L.A. break delivered a wave that loves the mat. The swell is supposed to increase. This may or may not be a good thing. The waves had a nice shape yesterday. Today's waves were a bit closed out. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? At least we had those two days and the pictures to prove it.




Mary and Andrew (playing bumper cars)






ALL PHOTOS BY KEN SAMUELS (quickly/badly tweaked in Photoshop by Mary).

Jul 10, 2011

The Latest Mat Upgrade...

A few months back Jamie emailed me and asked if there anything new on the horizon, design-wise. I had to admit that since the roundtail mats were tuned-in during the spring of 2010, not much was happening.

Over at ukmatsurfers.com, Grayman has been refining his grip system for the smooth-deck/thin-topped mats, and that's kept me thinking about the conundrum between really firm deck grip (like rubber grit with Vulkem, Tremflex, etc) and the ability to move around on your mat while riding (like on a canvas mat.)

Maybe it's a generational thing, but I think shifting positions on my mat while surfing is both fun and functional. Being raised riding canvas mats, it's second nature for me to move around during a ride when the situation calls for it...and I don't like losing that aspect of mat surfing. But after surfing super grippy rubber grit decks for 25 years (on the first-gen 4GFs) I also know the value of staying stuck on with more authority...mostly when pushing through larger surf, or pulling into thick sections.

The nylon canvas decks on the current generation of 4GF's are a lot better than the old cotton canvas decks, but they aren't perfect. Obviously, the ideal would be the best of both....more grip than pure canvas, without sacrificing the ability to easily pull yourself up onto the mat after take off, and slide around during the ride.

I've fiddled around with waxing up the decks of my canvas decked mats in the past, but the grip never felt right. A while back, I ran a hair dryer over the top of a mat that had a waxed deck, to see if I could dissolve the wax into the fabric to the point where it might "go away."

I took that mat out for a surf, and within a few minutes I realized that this deck might be what I'd been looking for all along. The mat had noticeably more grip than a plain canvas deck, but didn't resist any attempt to move around on it. The more waves I rode, the more stoked I got. The grip was no where near as solid as the rubber grit decks, but the improvement over canvas-alone was noticeable.

When I got home from that go out, I pulled a length of deck fabric onto my build table and started experimenting with various waxes, number of coats, combinations of hard and soft wax, less heat, more heat, etc.

What worked best was actually pretty simple...two light coats of refrigerated "cool water" surf wax, soaked into the fabric with a hair dryer set on medium heat.

Why refrigerated surf wax?

I noticed that when I rubbed "cool water" surf wax onto the deck, the soft wax transferred onto the deck in clumps. I didn't care much for that. And I didn't have that problem when I had applied the harder canning paraffin onto the deck. So I tried chilling bars of surf wax in the refrigerator. It firmed up the wax so it came off onto the canvas in small, controlled bumps, leaving a pretty even layer on the deck.

In any case, here's a tutorial on the way I think melted wax should be applied to a mat...

Place a bar of cool water surf wax in the fridge for at least an hour. (It'll hold it's firmness for as long as it takes to complete the entire operation.) If you're in the tropics, firmer "warm water" wax is fine.

Blow up your mat firmly, and run the chilled surf wax over the tops of the pontoons. This is roughly what the mat should look like after one coat of wax. Remember, you'll being doing two coats, so don't put too much on.

Deflate your mat, then gently go over the waxed areas with a hair dryer set on medium. This photo shows the mat after the middle pontoon is complete. Take your time, as there's no need to overheat the deck of the mat for the sake of brevity.

If you choose not to deflate your mat before applying heat to the deck...expect the expected!

All three pontoons are complete. You don't have to make every bit of the wax disappear in to the fabric, just most of it. Once you finish this step, repeat the entire process again. Blow up your mat, go over it with a second light layer of chilled surfwax, deflate it, then soak the wax in with the hair dryer. Or, you can be conservative and try it out in the water with one coat, then add a second if you want a bit more grip. However, two coats seem ideal to me. From my tests, there doesn't seem to be any benefit to a third coat.

After you finish the second coat, water will bead up when your mat's immersed.

Once you've been in the water for a minute or two, the deck will begin to absorb water. The grip remains the same, however.

Don't try this idea unless you already have the feeling that you want more grip out of the canvas deck of your mat. But if you do give it a go, please report your experiences in the comments section. If everyone likes it, I might start doing it on the decks of new 4GF mats before they are sent out.

Jul 6, 2011

From R4th

UDT foil-In preparation for (hopefully) more Magic Toweling this summer, after two years my first pair are splitting at the strap, which I think is a common injury. These guys were more rubbery than the last batch, so I left a little more rail on the side-less darty more hold?-also a little more ")" to the fin edge.

*the pugs cut out of the ends in second shot were used as spacers when installing my shower curtain rod into the flanges (twss)

**this Portacable Armadillo is Wizard.

***don't eat rubber-wear a dust mask.

****last time around.

Jul 5, 2011

Pillow Smurfing...with Ian Zamora

A few weeks ago Surf Sista organized a mat meet in La County. This could be probably be the most fun I've had in a while!Good times with great people! Can't wait for the next one!

Got to pull the camera out to snap a few pics... enjoy.

Apologies to the surf mat community for the late pics.

Please visit www.ianzamora.tumblr.com


Jul 3, 2011

The Postman Always Rings Twice...

...unless it's a batch of emails to 4GF!


hi paul

picked up the mats today. thank you

they actually arrived yesterday. i could not pick them up as i did not have my car back from the workshop till today.

regards, warren


Hi Paul,

My personalized Vespa RT just arrived! Thanks so much for making the mat for me.

I'll have to wait a bit longer to get in the water with it. I'll let you know how it goes ...


PS - I think you have just redefined "customer service" ... for the better!


Hi Paul-

Just got it! excited to ride it……..I assume you lay on the black textured side so you don’t slip off?

My wife thinks I’m insane for buying a “mat”, but my boys (10 & 6) think it’s awesome…….betting most of my surfing pals will agree with my boys

Will keep you posted……



Hi Paul,

Winter has left and spring has arrived in the Netherlands.
Today i had my first matsession of 2011!!! From januari till the begin of may is simply to cold.

I went out on my new Vespa mat, first time. When i paddled out i tought the mat was to small for me. There was a small wave, like 1 meter.
I had to find my place on the mat, but after my third ride i got it!
The speed was insane!! The Vespa goes so fast on such small waves.

For Dutch waves the Vespa is great!

So stoked and very happy to be back in the water!

Speak to you soon.

All the best and greets to Gloria.



Hi Paul,

I ordered the tracker roundtail off you a few months back and just thought I'd update you on my progress.

Unfortunately due to moving house and injuring my foot I was out of the water for a month after my initial run of getting friendly with the magic towel. I got back into the water last week in some decent 3-4 foot beachies on low tide breaking on an outside bank then reforming into the inside.

I got my best wave to date on a set wave, took off at the outside peak, found an edge, gained speed and without thinking put my legs up and edge off for a speed glide across the face. Made it past a section that broke in front of me right into a subtle cutback through the reform and into the inside wave/shorey and virtually up onto dry sand! Looked back to my mate from where I took off and he was quite a distance down the beach from where I now sat!

For some reason I found myself effortlessly riding the roundtail after a month break, it seems that the less you think about it or intellectualise it, the more the mat rides you :)

Also got a late drop that day onto a set wave, man... the speed of the thing, my mate couldn't believe how fast I was going, ha ha. I went out the next day and proceeded to get a flogging, not punching through a 4 foot set and getting sucked back over the falls, losing the mat and having a decent swim too retrieve it. Strangely, I really enjoyed the struggle during that surf, always a learning curve! Seems the ocean wanted to show me the glory then the guts :)

Thank you for such a fun and inspiring wave riding vehicle, it is such a soulful way to ride a wave and the most fun I have had in the water in a long time.

P.S. Went for a quick one at 2 foot offshore Greenmount yesterday, wasn't really getting waves, I put in a prayer to Huey just as I was about to head in and got a little screamer that connected through the inside run into the gutter/reform . A longboarder went to drop in but saw the speed I was travelling at and pulled back in shock!

Dale W.


Gday Paul,

got the Greenough spec UDT today, thanks, its quite a bit bigger than my XL and I’m looking forward to surfing it in the morning. I will send some photo’s soon.

Thanks jason



The baby has been baptised - not sure if Catholic or Episc but seriously thinks Huey is the man.

On the other hand - there was in idiot trying to ride it - he needed divine intervention - especially as France and Bali beckon and both have rocks!!




I cant express my joy and thanks to you!

Thank you so much. Nanni and I have been matting every day since they arrived, we are hooked!

We have surfed everything from burleigh heads, snapper to straddie and they go amazing!

haha so stoked its silly, I even think they communicate with dolphins, they all come under my mat to check it out!

Thanks again paul, will have to send a photo over asap!

Cheers Gus


Hurray! hurray! thank you soo much! My daughter is sooooo jazzed!

Aloha, marta


Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE


I just wanted to let you know how much fun I've been having riding my
mat. It is awesome, and the speed/ feeling of speed is incredible! I hope that Surfer's Journal gets around to uploading "Inflatable Dreams" to its archives. Thanks again for so much fun.



Hey Paul:

Just a note to let you know that I took the Vespa Roundtail, XL and Greenough Spec. UDT to CR last week for some low key surf sessions in front of our hotel. We were there more for R&R than a hardcore surf trip, which was fortunate because the surf where we were wasn’t really pumping at that time, probably 3-4 feet and mushy, mostly closeouts all across that section of the beach. That being said, I still managed to get a few sweet little rides when the mat found the isolated little pockets of open water and tracked into them. I used all 3 mats and probably got the best rides on the Vespa, as it was a little easier to make a late drop on the open section, but all 3 mats worked great.

An added bonus was that it was much easier to travel with the mats and I would have probably regretted dragging surfboards along given the hassle, expense and the waves which were ultimately available. This proves to me that if one can open one’s mind to the possibilities and advantages of surf mats there is a lot of fun to be had.

Naturally I will be taking the mats along on any trip which has even a remote chance of seeing surf. Thanks for opening up the window for getting quality surf time a little bit more….

Regards, Mike


Hi Paul,

The mat is awesome! I took it out in 2-3' waves and had a blast. I need to figure out how to ride it better, still finding it challenging to stay up high in the face to get a fast line, but I'll study the rider's guide and look at some videos online.

Thanks again! Really enjoying the mat!



that was a cool rendition .
the canavas top is quite genius.
the girl is estatic with anticipation.
she has been using a toysarus red
canvas mat for a couple years on visits
to home kauai.Now at a down time in life
working in t-wan she is Stoked about summer
and surfing her mat.

thank you for your attention to detail .
aloha from waipouli


Hi Paul,

Got the mat today! Thanks for getting it out so quickly. Looking forward to Obzor Bulgaria and some wave action!! Will let you know how it goes!



Hi Paul,

how are you?

I just got back from 48hrs in Camburi, Brazil.
Remnants of a storm on Sunday made it hard on Monday, but things calmed down, I figured out the rips and had a few nice slides on 8-10 ft faces culminating mostly in poundings on the Tracker but more so on the Vespa.
Smiles and laughs (locals looking at the mat), but in the end some sort of respect - "If you can´t convince them, confuse them!".

Running barefoot between the pousada and the breaks all day, dogs sleeping in a shady spot in the middle of the main road (while cars circumnavigate them) topped things off.

I hope I´ll make some decent pictures when I go back in two weeks.
Won´t make it to the California in June or July...

All the best


Hey Paul, just got back (to California) from Costa Rica and would have to say I am hooked on the surf mat. I bought a Fatty in May and took it down on my surf trip. I barely rode anything else. Most of the the time I only surf for about two hours per session, but on that mat I would go for hours and hours. I was catching long rides with longboarders in Tamarindo, and speeding past short boarders in Playa Hermosa. I love it to death.



recieved the mat today,you mean i got to blow it up??? i am looking forward to giving it a go.Why did you include patch material are you trying to jinx me!!!!!Felt like a kid with a new toy funny how the thing made me laugh had so many surfboards in my life but the stoke of this thing made me grin must have good vibrations built in

aloha Ruben


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