Costa Rica surf trip .. had great time riding mats in 4-8' with real long rides with lots of face time at this reef / point break. We only encountered one other surfer in the water the entire trip. Rendezvoused there with Paipo and Alaia riders I know from http://mypaipoboards.org/.
Mostly rode the Omni which is noticeably faster then older mats and I made leaps and bound progress in my ability to go where I wanted on the wave. All of the sudden things really clicked. I rode with a complete fold in the mat. That slither to the front thing is one key element. I could take off on anything and find my way to a pleasant ride, glide through slow spots and position for face time. I would let the wave throw me, hang on, then get in control. I could even stall with some slide slip and then cut in when ready. Real fun!
I missed my queue to try the Standard on the biggest day so can not compare it to the Omni .. I was thinking the Standard might be the right ride for OH+. Next time.
I made some progress in getting out through some dumpers. Seems I did a perfect 720 cartwheel. I found that as I duck dived I could flip to my back and hold the mat up so it would catch less force. I put the death grip on the front edge of the mat with both hands. I also let the air out the mat when I got caught inside a couple times and then filled up when out again. Of course I went lateral to deeper water when I could vs hitting head on but I was a bit slow to get that wisdom. Otherwise, you could get pushed back 100+ yards into lava rock in a second. I did take a break one session and rode a paipo which dives much much easier but then returned to mat and made real progress. At one point I thought I might have to use paipo boards when it got bigger as a go-to ride but then came back to just thinking its more skill that is required.
In short, I had a great, fun time, made progress in my skill and got to hang with some really great guys.
Life is good,