Dec 3, 2013

Introducing The Lotus 7 ...


 


 
 
(Bretto last week on the Lotus 7 !!!)
 
 
The Lotus 7 is the latest 4GF model, and we've been working on it for about 6 months. It was George Greenough's idea from the ground up. Originally, George just wanted a mat that was as easier to duck dive in surf that was large. Or in smaller but consistent surf...like the relentless, 5 second interval spring windswell he surfs in NSW.
 
Of course, no mat can duck dive well, but George wanted to explore the minimal end of mat volume just to see if it made any difference, duck dive wise.
 
The Lotus 7 is narrow, and somewhat thinner, than the other 4GF models. (The length is the same.) George's reasoning was this: Narrower mats hold in well, while thinner mats tend to slide out. So why not make a really narrow mat that was thinner, and let the narrowness do the "hold" work, and not rely on the thickness for that responsibility. Volume-wise, it's a win-win. The Lotus is both narrower and thinner...meaning there's a lot less volume of air to push through waves when paddling out. The final thickness of the Lotus 7 is only slightly thinner that the other 4GF models, but you can feel it in the water.  
 
The narrow nature of  the mat reminded me of the 60's era Lotus GP cars, so that's where we got the "Lotus" moniker from. And after 11 or 12 prototypes, the 7th one went the best...thus the designation "7" in the name!
 
 
 
Here's the first batch of protos I sent to George, Boyd and Bretto in NSW...
 
 


All the Lotus prototypes worked. (Narrow mats tend to surf well regardless of the details of the I-Beam stagger or corner template...just because they're narrow.) I weigh around 195 pounds and wear a 6/5/4 suit most of the year, so the challenge, for me, was to get as much glide out of the lean mats as possible. That became my primary goal while surfing the prototypes here in the California during this past summer.
 
With the feedback from the Byron boys (and my own observations riding the identical batch I made for myself) I generated another round of protos, and we sorted through them. The number 7 version worked best for everyone. It had nice glide for a narrow mat, and was pretty good getting under waves paddling out. But again, no mat duck dives well...so don't lose your mind and think that issue is totally resolved!
 
Of course, because the Lotus 7 is so narrow, it's also a natural big wave mat in terms of riding characteristics. The wave size it needs to get onto a plane depends on how big the rider is. At 195 pounds, I need a head high wave to get comfortable...although I 've ridden surf down to 2-3 feet and was able to get it to break loose and go. But, it's mentally draining, as you always have to stay with the power. You can't cruise out into the flat to set up a cutback just for fun. 
 
The holding advantage of the Lotus really comes into play when riding big/sucky waves, on your "backside" (if you have a backside while mat riding), surfing in crowds (the Lotus holds in well when people drop in on you), and riding at night (when you can't see the wave you're riding.)
 
I distributed my batch of prototypes to friends, and sold about a half dozen of the #7 version to mat riders just to get some feedback. Here's what I heard...
 
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Hello Paul, 
 
Thanks for prototype  mats.
 
Impressed with the name ''lotus'' for these prototypes, it fits nicely to your earlier creation the Omni, all very mystical...something I tease George about.

Seriously, you have done a fully professional job in, to quote George, ''bracketing'' these new designs, so as it will be very easy to make comparisons.
 
I am real excited to test them, hopefully we will get some sizeable waves to put them through their paces.
 
For me, I generally can tell straight up about a mat, although this maybe a little different, as you know you tend to start to adjust to any new mat, irrespective of the design.

It will be interesting surfing these mats with George, I just hope he doesn't get cramped up by crowds, idiots when surfing them.

Some years ago, to be precise, Easter about 4 -6 years ago, when you made us a bunch of different ''I-Beam" height mats, George and I had this unbelievable great surf together, no one else, in these 4 - 6 ft waves that had good bottom tension. We had a fantastic time evaluating and comparing these mats without the nonsense of crowds and idiots. It was really surfing ''in the moment'' of quality waves.

So hopefully we can experience similar times..

Gee, its good being young again!

Best,

Boyd
 
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Paul,
 
The surf was fun today, albeit more crowded than I would like...it's Easter after all! 3-4ft with fat rampy take-offs and then fast, draining and tapering walls. FUN!
 
It was my first go-out on a Lotus and my first impression is what a well proportioned mat!
I just loved the size of it and how it felt underneath me. Within the first 10 or 15 minutes in the water I'd already caught about half a dozen great rides, both left and right!
Stoked. I see what you mean about narrow mats finding the pocket and effortlessly staying exactly where they need to be. That's exactly what the Lotus did, wave after blessed wave. I see what you're saying about narrow versus wide. It's so interesting! The surf today on the Lotus was possibly the best I've had in ages, really like the feeling of that mat.
 
I also felt strong on the backside! I'm comfortable on my backside (both surfboard and surfmat), but obviously frontside is more preferable, but today I barely even thought about which way I was going as they both felt really good. Backside is sometimes a struggle when it's quite hollow, which it was when we first got in and the Lotus just KILLED IT!
After a while, I swapped with Audi and took the Standard. It felt like a wide tugboat in comparison. The  Standard performed REALLY well also, but I felt like the Lotus was a perfectly tuned guitar string and the Standard was just slightly out but only enough that one could barely notice after hearing how in-tune the string next to it is. Very fun.
However, this must all be treated with the caveat, in so far as this was the first surf on a new mat. I'm almost always amped after a first session. More hours required, but it's still nice to note the initial findings for later.
NP
 
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Another day...The conditions were far from optimal, 2-3 ft dumping slop with a fair amount of southerly wind, but managed to get the Lotus flying in 2 different surf spots. Straight away, harder to get onto the waves but when on them it FLIES!! I really like the size and feel of it underneath me.
 
I'm wondering how narrow we can go? It was really steep and dumpy at one point and the Lotus felt like I was bodysurfing with speed and purpose rather than riding a mat! I like that feeling. I'm really convinced that the narrower the better for me. I'm sure that wont suit everyone, but for a small guy like me it really works! 
 
NP
 
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Hi Paul,

Had a couple of go outs today on the Lotus. It's fast, and easy to pull up into the face. I think already it will go great in tubes and be the mat for indo. I really like the feeling of a tiny mat. This week I'll ride the lotus on the dropping swell and see how it goes in smaller waves.... but so far I love it !!!

Cheers Bretto
 
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Hi Paul,

Had a few goes on the Lotus in good size tubes. It feels so rock solid in the barrel, slick and super fast its like it could make anything. Also the smaller size so good for manhandling under sets, I've had some super clean duck dives where as normally Id prepare for a flogging.

I rode good size point yesterday and today but I opted for the Standard as it had a few fat sections to link up, keeping the Lotus for those really barreling or super heavy days.
 
Michelle took a few photos of me on the lotus and Al on the lotus and a few of the point, I can send them if you want to see.

Cheers and super stoked
Bretto
 
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Right Chief,

Lotus, eh? Sounds racy. Would you believe that we'll be pushing one-thousand percent beyond the performance envelope with this testing?

Thanks for the interesting assignment,
Max
 
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Hi PG,
 
Those mats do look racy! #3 is a lot like the Mini with a full length chassis and #8 seems to be a majorly refined 5GF. So we have significant evolutions of my two favorites! There are chaotic six foot sets here today with lumpy sideshores. I'm avoiding such punishment as the water is a bit like wet cement at the moment. Will get out there soon.
 
Cheers,
 
Pahl / Max
 
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Hey Paul,
 
Went out this morning on the Lotus in 3-4 foot semi-fat reef surf and got some decent racetracks. The Lotus is pretty close to my 5GF size-wise so it's a good comparison.
 
The tighter corners and longer rail line noticeably stiffen up the handling. Feels like there's a bit of downforce, as the Lotus sucks onto the water. Definitely gunnier than other 4GFs. Wants to draw longer lines and likes linking sections. 
 
More grip at higher velocity. This is probably due to the slightly smaller corner radii. The increased rectangularity makes for a more stable platform. I can see how this new concept mat would slither across spots similar to Lennox Head with surety. Iif the surf was heaving I'd be more confident on the Lotus.
 
The Lotus configuration obviously develops more grip and directional stability than other 4GFs as speed increases -- like a modern racecar! Right, these are my first impressions. 
 
Cheerio,
 
Max / Pahl
 
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Another sunny bonus day before the Southerlies! 1-3 foot spent swell with strong offshores. Good for seeing how Lotus goes in small weak waves at 180 inflation: Definitely a purpose built model. In peaky little beachbreak the fun factor is diminished by the gunny aspects of the design.
 
That said, I could get used to forcing turns and finessing cutbacks. Still though, the long aspect ratio and squarer corners tend away from playfulness, which disqualifies the Lotus as an all purpose toy. It's a very worthy addition to the 4GF line, as long as buyers are fully informed as to the nature of the beast.
 
I'm really stoked on the Lotus design for riding bomboras swells and long fast walls!!!
 
Max
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Hi Paul,
 
Riding the Lotus is like driving formula one.
 
Bretto
 
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When the lotus hits the straight nothing can come close
  

First gear...
 
 
2nd...
 
 
3rd...
 
4th...
 
 
 
 
And hang on tight...
 
 
Yeewwww!!!!
 
 
Its going to be the perfect barrel rider for indo for sure guaranteed. When I look out the window and its pumping I get excited just knowing I'm up for another go out on the Lotus that's how exciting it is to ride !
 
cheers
Bretto

 
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Howzit Paul?
 
The Kiwi sea is now sinus headache temp, but not yet brainfreezing. I took Lotus out in 3-5' offshore beachbreak with some long walls that required all available thrust and more. Nothing very gnarly but quite lined up. It locked positively onto steep faces for stable fast trimming. Developed 5% to10% more top end than a Standard on flat-out speed runs due to improved highline trajectory derived from better hull traction. Turns and cutbacks required a bit more hip roll / lean angle. Overall handling was stiff and secure. 
 
The Lotus feels like a solid step-up mat with no flaws or vices.
 
Cheers, Maxi

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Hey Paul,

The waves dropped to 2-3' today with the same shape and winds. Lotus  was much less fun in smaller surf. Joy was diminished by stiff handling, and the overall ride was a bit sluggish due to the mat being underpowered. Today's experience furthered the idea that the Lotus is a special purpose design.

Cheerio, Max

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Hi Paul,

It's been good every day for matting but only small, riding the standard, UDT and Tracker ( I hadnt ridden the TRT for a while and forgotten what a great little performer it is.)

Anyway woke up this morning excited as the prediction was for a  3 meter south swell, and while it was no where as big as predicted it was still good enough for another test of the Lotus. The best thing was it was cold stormy and a bit lumpy so there wasn't another surfer in sight, which was a relief as lately we have been battling an invasion of small wave hellmen on their SUPs.

Funny thing when I was riding it felt fast but not super fast, but Michelle said I was going faster than she had ever seen !!!! Going out now for another try now  yeeeeewwwwww !!!!!!!!!!Emoji

Thanks again Paul and I'll keep you posted

Regards
Bretto
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Hey Paul.
 
So I'm back home in Aus. The Gold Coast has had amazing waves. The lotus is crazy. 3ft flat bottom drainers and it just locks in accelerates and shoots you out the other side. I tried riding it in some smaller softer waves and found the narrowness a little tough but in fast hollow waves it was wild.
Thank you thank you.
 
 
 
This is the end section of the super bank today, just to give you an idea..

Eden Saul
Dead Kooks Surfboards.
 
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I did ride LOTUS 7 yesterday and that is my favourite mat ever!!
 
First waves we've had in 6 weeks and about 3-4ft, steep, sectiony and peeling at times. The lotus is really intuitive in those conditions. Minimal input from me and maximum face time achieved! Super fast!

Like I've said before, my perfect quiver now is an Omni (possibly Fatty) and a Lotus. That has everything covered, proper. 

Thanks for the mats, boss...they've really changed my view on mats this year. 

Appreciated!

NP
 
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Hey Paul.
 
Been giving the lotus a really solid run lately in some juicy waves at Lennox point. Took a little to adjust to the pulled in width.. But now I'm freaking on the speed it holds. Comes hard off the bottom and holds a nicely and when you bank a solid high line it's pretty crazy. Anyways. Thank you for putting a smile on my face once again

Eden Saul
Dead Kooks Surfboards.
 
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Quick update..... been riding the original L7 only so far, only about head height a bit over and its going so good I cant believe it especially for the critical late take off into the barrel, making everything...... even on the 5gf i was struggling a bit on these waves the L7 is loving it. Waiting for a bit more pumping waves!!!!! 

Cheers
Bretto
 
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Paul,
 
Thank you for the Lotus 7! Gary and I have been talking about getting the new Lotus 7 for several months, so what a great day it was today to finally have it.

I had time to hit the water with the Lotus 7 this afternoon in head high wind swell. It worked fantastic! It paddles fast and easily catches waves, like all the other 4GF mats. I was concerned at first that I might not have enough mat to get going but that quickly proved to be a needless worry. The mat is very fast and very maneuverable. I was delighted with the ease at which it holds to the face. The difference is noticeable. Kudos on the advancement in mat design!
 
While the waves today were nothing special, I had an especially fun time just because I was riding the long-awaited Lotus 7. Several people in the lineup commented on how fast I was going and how well I was riding, little did they know I was on a new mat I had never ridden before. I hope to get the Lotus 7 in some real juice soon (see attached photo).
 
 
I took the Lotus to Gary's house and we both salivated over it for a while. We broke out all our mats to compare. The Lotus 7 is narrower than the Standard. This gives the Lotus 7 its own unique "feel" and I like that. Its a definite screamer, this coming from a larger rider (>200lbs).

All the best going into the holidays,

Aaron.
 
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Hey Paul. The lotus 7 took a little adjusting but I'm losing my mind on that thing now. I've had a bunch of my buddies keen to get some mats this last little while, and I've just moved into a new factory with a showroom space and would love to get a few for the boys and a few to put in the showroom with my boards also.

Eden Saul
Dead Kooks Surfboards.
 
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Yesterday there was a huge in increase in size from totally flat to stomach high on the clean up sets. I met up with Gary and my dad at the beach for a bit. Gary rode the Lotus and loved it!  It worked in the small surf, and he was getting great rides and doing tricks on it with ease.

My dad went out on the standard to give mat riding his first real go. He got good rides and was discovering many of the little tricks to riding a mat. Once we get real waves and he gets his first high speed slide he will be hooked! I rode Gary's tracker and got some nice waves even though it was small.

The small wave performance of the 4GF never ceases to impress. We were the only ones out and had a blast, a nice relief from the typical bombing crowds we get he when the surf is 1 foot or bigger. Without the 4GF mats, none of us would have surfed since it would not have been fun on any other watercraft.

Aaron

 
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PG = Sensei             in anticipation, i am seeking the next graduating step to : The Lotus!!
           i am spending much time in preparation.   Yoga positions & heavy meditation will hopefully ready me for the  High Speeds of this new ride!       Thank you  Sensei    your enlightened student  gary  -
 
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Paul

Got the best mat waves of my life today at Rincon on the Lotus 7. 4 feet overhead and epic fast. Sick mat, somebody got footage, will see if it pops up online. I love the Lotus, thanks again!

Aaron
 
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Paul,
 
Haven't seen any video pop up yet.
 
Some more detail on the epic session:
 
I cracked it and the wind was strong side shore, but hollow and not blown out. The early crew paddled up at the top of the point so I had the cove to myself for almost 45 minutes. The sets had 8 waves in them and the lulls were about 3 minutes. Size was a perfect 2-4 feet overhead (8-10 foot faces).
 
The way the wind was blowing made it near impossible for the surfers to get in to the waves but the mat sliced through the wind with ease. The lotus with the DRP was perfect for the conditions. The hold was great but the speed was off the charts. The waves, due to the west swell angle and east wind, we're very lined up and almost unmakeable due to how fast they were. I made every wave. Later on, several people made it a point to paddle over to me and tell me how amazingly fast I was going and how good the rides were I was getting.
 
After 5 sets all to myself the crowd hit, the wind died, the swell backed off a notch, and the fun was over. I counted almost 500 bodies in the water at one point. I spent the next 6+ hours playing crowd pinball. I saw some severe injuries from collisions, verbal fights, lots of people going straight or left, impenetrable networks of ditched boards and everything else that goes with a super-hyped swell met with international hordes of beginners.
 
Some people were excited to see a surf mat tearing it up and asked where to get one. It felt good to have gotten over the learning curve and to have progressed to the point where other people want to take up matting after watching me. The fun is contagious!
 
I got my piece of the pie and went home happy, despite the degradation in conditions and massive crowd later on. The Lotus has worked out better than I had hoped!
 
Aaron
 
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Some great image of the Lotus mats (prototypes, including the #7) courtesy of Michelle ...
 














 
If you want a Lotus 7, just order a Standard from our home page at surfmats.com and let me know that you want a Lotus in the comments box. Now's a good time, since all the high end 4GF mats are on sale ($25 off) during the month of December.
 
Thanks,
 
Paul
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

3 comments:

misterdirk said...

Correlation may not equal causation, but it looks like Lotus 7 equals good waves!

Aaron said...

Thank you to Paul and the dedicated test crew for the Lotus! The mat is amazing, truly at the next level.

Anonymous said...

"simplify, then add lightness." Colin Chapman


Guerdon