All three 5GFs have sold...thanks! We'll update you with their impressions when we get some feedback.
Left to right...Fatty, Standard, and a 5GF.
We're contemplating making the 5GF design into a 4th Gear Flyer model. It's a great mat in the right situation, but by no stretch of the imagination is it an all 'round vehicle. It's the same length as the Fatty and Standard, but the width is very lean. The 4GF widths, in descending order, are: UDT, XL, Vespa/Fatty, Tracker, Standard, 5GF. So, that will give you an idea of how radical the 5GF is.
The glide of the 5GF is limited in smaller waves, but the ability to hang into to big double ups is amazing. It almost feels like it has a fin.
Also, it's easier to duck dive than a Standard...but...it's not a huge improvement that'll change your life.
In terms of riders size, I'm 205 lbs and wear a 6/5/4 wetty most days. I can barely catch a wave on it unless the surf is overhead...at which point it comes alive. I would say realistically, it's a mat for riders 185 lbs or under. Maybe 200 if you're trunking it.
There are about a half dozen 5GFs out there right now, most notably in the hands of Surf Sister, Mat Max, and Jamie Mac. Sis and Jamie have it in their regular quiver rotation. Mat Max, on the other had, likes his so much he's cast aside all his other mats in all but the smallest surf, and rides his 5GF most of the time.
Here is what Jamie wrote me a few weeks ago, re the 5GF...
Surf sister put the bug in my ear about riding her 5GF in day to day conditions and she seemed to be really loving it
so i yanked it out of the quiver bin and blew it up one evening a few weeks ago. its been in my truck on regular rotation since then.
i've really been stoked on it. not necessarily because its faster than the STD, but because of the crazy amount of control i have with it.
reckless abandon is the only proper way to describe my technique with this mat. i'm throwing myself over and under ledges waaay deeper and waaayy later than i would on any other mat, drops i would only otherwise do bodysurfing. really radical carves/drifts/turns off the top and fully controlled bottom-turn/stall/tube/accelerate type stuff. and i've generally been sitting further inside, where i would sit to bodysurf or ride my paipo, because of the ease in duckdiving the 5GF.
i never saw much need in riding this mat in point surf, i was never out of my control capabilities on the STD, but with the ledgy shallow beachbreak i've been surfing mostly, i've really found the rhyme and reason for this design. i always knew it was there, but i had really only ridden it on a handfull of really large winter days where i mostly got pounded by closeouts and it wouldn't have mattered what craft i was on. i am still waiting for a chance to surf it in some more challenging rock reef type waves to see where its extreme performance edge lies. but for now i'm really stoked to have found an added dimension of freedom and recklessness to my daily go outs at home.
happy holidays, hope you're well mate
We have three new 5GF's made up and ready to send out. We'll sell those three for the cost of a Classic ($135.) The idea is to get them out there quickly and see what riders think. While there's no hurry to get feedback, we'd like to get your feelings within a month or two.
Anyone thinking of getting a 5GF should have 1, or preferably 2, other mats, so a good comparison can be made by you. This definitely isn't a newbie raft.
To order, email me first at fourthgearflyer at yahoo dot com (spelled out phonetically to avoid spambots...just use the normal url language). Since we only have three at this price, we don't want to get a lot of orders we have to cancel.