In that first mat wave, I'm really impressed by the way he rides down the slope of those cross bumps. They look like the threads on a screw, and they're winding him down the line as they slide up the face. I've seen that in some pictures of GG, and tapped into that line myself sometimes.
Thinking of getting a mat but don't really get the ride from these vids...Guy takes off and streaks down the face and outruns the wave and slows to a crawl - wave catches up and shoots his ass out too far in front - again...never seems to hold a line, a high line on most waves in the vids I've seen would be nice but never pulled off, for the most part...Convince me - cause I'm not, but see the potential (and don't point me to all GG vids - that's deceptive advertising).Pete
Hey Pete -- I'd encourage you to get one and start playing with it. If you already are an experienced surfer, there will be a period of "unlearning" as you become familiar with the mat because it's a different feel with no edges and a flexible platform. Experienced riders only inflate the mat to about 50 or 60 percent so it shape-shifts a lot. But at some point you'll surprise yourself with a good section, or wave, or a whole session, and then you'll be hooked : )I can't really speak for Jason's session in the vid here, but it looks like a sloppy challenge. Mats can definitely hold a high line though (swim fins add an edge). The basic feel is to let them run, and just glide along the natural fall line that is there on every wave.A couple of shots of me on smaller California surf:https://vimeo.com/39086675https://vimeo.com/34104051
Pete, you've got a really good point with the cannon blast and stop syndrome. I think we are all guilty of giving in to the feeling, the rush that a mat provides for some unknown reason and allowing the mat to "play out". The obvious fix would be to bank it into a sweeping railer of a cutback before it dies on the shoulder but I'm here to tell you it's tough to break that speed trim. Once you experience it, all you want is more... my buddy DJ called it chasin' the dragon. Got to commend you on a good eye. That is exactly what's happening here but the cross grain waves had a little play in it too. J-Bay? Different story.
Muli-bump waves are the bane of mat riding. Tough to feel the right line, and tough to hold in.Jason's riding is very good in these shots...and he hasn't been "seriously" mat surfing for very long, either.A lot of times mat riders will do something on a wave, or not do something, just because it feels good, and it doesn't translate well into conventional surf-wisdom.
A few more perspectives I'd like to offer Pete. First, have you ever had a non-surfer watch you surf and ask you, "Whats the point? What are you doing out there?" They don't know because they either haven't tried it, or if they have, it didn't appeal to them. There's nothing I can say to a person like that, it's just different strokes for different folks.Second, and this was touched on by Henry, is that riding a mat makes some people want to run down the line. The mat will connect sections over large flat spots, so I personally look further down the line for that far section and sometimes try to cross a section that doesn't work. In that case I'll slow to a crawl and get rear-ended by the whitewater. I'm still learning.And lastly, every type of surfing has different waves that it is the best for. All boards go well at good Rincon (for example) but a longboard has a distinct advantage at way inside Malibu. I've found that the mat has a similar advantage on long walled sectiony waves with flat sections in between. If there is a bit of onshore wind knocking the top over, then, on a mat, I'm the only one making it past the first section. Recently I was riding about 50 yards when others on 6' chips to 8' funboards were only going about 10 feet. I would /guess/ that this day shown in the video the mat was getting longer rides than anyone else.
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