(Mat Max, Hard At Work)
The Virtues Of Hyperinflation
After months of weak waves that called for low inflation matting, the surf picked up today with powerful five foot tubes. A few sideslip wipeouts prompted me to puff up my 5GF so that it was full but not quite rigid. The squishy, slippy mat was transformed to a form more akin to a rigid bodyboard. Tracking across steep walls and through pitching sections became much easier.
There's a comfortable inflation that allows my abdomen to settle slightly between the fully inflated outer pontoons for a locked-in feeling. This is my starting point for high volume settings. I reckon that the amount of bend is about fifteen degrees. Then I fine tune from there depending on how much traction on the waves is needed. After a few adjustments I find an air volume that suits the conditions and then enjoy greater control.
I often forget to pump up the volume because of being fixated on glide. One factor is that the inflation zone between ninety degrees bend and twenty degrees bend is pretty much useless for my purposes. So, I often put off pumping up, and suffer needless lack of handling. Then I'll inflate to nearly full volume and rediscover that in powerful waves the drag is not all that severe, good speed is still attainable, and negotiating gnarly surf becomes much more fun.
The moral of this story is that utilizing high inflation is a great opportunity to transform your personal hovercraft into a more board-like perch for negotiating steeps and deeps.