May 1, 2012

JJ's Homage to Woody Woodworth And The CDM Mat Rats...

There aren't too many beach communities in the world with more loyal regulars than Corona Del Mar...and the surfing history of "CDM" is long and colorful. Here are some fantastic movies shot in 1938, before the current rock jetty was built on the south side of the harbor entrance...



Corona Del Mar is situated near Newport Beach, just south of the harbor entrance. And what's on the north side of the harbor? The Wedge! As a result, CDM gets no where near the love from the surf media as their big brother to the north. (The locals prefer it that way!)


While bomber south swells are jacking themselves up into 20 foot faces at the Wedge...


...CDM enjoys more civilized waves on either side of the harbor's south jetty.


On smaller south swells, those same waves run along both sides of the jetty at a much closer proximity. In fact, the curls usually intermingle with the jetty rocks, leaving no margin for error for anyone who chooses to ride them.


In the 70's, CDM local Woody Woodworth began modifying surf mats to ride the waves off the south jetty. What Woody did was take the stout, top-of-the-line Hodgman/Converse mat, and bond a second layer of canvas to the deck and bottom. He also took advantage of the more stable pontoon structure (due to the two layers of canvas) and attached small fins to the outer rails. The double layers of canvas provided added toughness, and the fins allowed the rider to surf away from the jetty with little or no chance of sliding out.


The CDM mat crew loved Woody's mats, and rode them all over Orange County...



The Greenough-inspired mat riders up in Santa Barbara (such as myself) were on a different philosophical track. We preferred pliable mats, and never used skegs. Of course, we were surfing pristine point waves, so our priorities were different. When I moved down to Orange County in the mid-70's, I rode the CDM Jetty...and quickly saw the point of Woody's mats!

Our own Jonathan Jarrett was one of the kids who fell under the spell of the older CDM Mat Rats, and became an exceptional mat rider. He even built his own canvas mats, and collected everything inflatable he could get his hands on.



(Photos Ken Samuels)

JJ's Partial Mat Collecton

A while back, JJ asked me to build him a copy of the old 5 pontoon Hodgman/Converse that had gone out of production in the mid-70's. He also asked me to make it out of the thin blue 4GF bottom fabric, top and bottom. I had no idea what he was up to...so a few weeks after I sent it out, I asked him about the performance. I was met with a cryptic, "Uh, haven't ridden it yet..."

A few days ago, JJ fired some photos my way. What he'd done with the 5 pontoon mat was cover the top and bottom with canvas, then add fins to the outer rails. In essence, he made a re-issue of the Woody mats of the 70's.

JJ is a machinist by trade, and his attention to detail is awesome!








So there you have it...another high point in the time line of mat surfing's history! Well done, JJ.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

cool! maybe a limited edition run of 4gf's with canvas outer? they look friggin' cool and old skool!
el vaquero

PG said...

This issue is cost...it's a ton of work to bond a layer of canvas to either side, with a high likelyhood of screwing it up and having to do it over again!

pranaglider said...

Great post! JJ is a genius! I'm always stoked to hear about his latest projects.

Mateo said...

Awsome mat ! Saw JJ get long jetty grinder last year.... The wave is always threatening to push you into the jetty but he was riding deep with confidence...

GRAYMAN said...

Nice work.

Almost a different craft to a lightweight nylon mat.

G

GRAYMAN said...

Nice work.

Almost a different craft to a lightweight nylon mat.

G

GRAYMAN said...

Just in case you missed that, almost a different craft to a lightweight nylon mat.

;-)

G

PG said...

It's hard not to notice how carefully JJ mated the stripes of the canvas reinforcement over the fins with the stripes of the mat...

Back in the 70's I repaired a torn Hodgman raft, and used canvas from an older, thrashed Hodgman as patch material. I matched the color stripes together, and when George saw it, he laughed uncontrollably for 15 minutes. Then he took a breath, and laughed for another 15 minutes.

To each his own! I for one appreciate JJ's attention to detail!

GRAYMAN said...

Function over form every time but function and form is best I reckon.

I think its also worth noting that JJ has matched the striped in the material to the contours of the mat.

G

Anonymous said...

after reading how gg reacted to your repair job, i had to laugh a little myself. good story!
el vaquero

Anonymous said...

Mat Nerds!!!!

Great. Stuff like this makes surf-matters so cool.

Cheers
Tom