Aug 12, 2022

From Steiny


The woman in middle is Hilary Bryant, on right Christy Chin. Christy's husband Eric just ordered a mat. These are all very good people. Hilary ex mayor of Santa Cruz. Christy organizer.

Aug 8, 2022

Dispatch From Foreign Correspondent Jim B


 My sunrise swim spot out front. 

Photo: Main Street, Thulusdhoo Atoll, Cokes surf spot down at the end of the road.


Our choices involve: surf or snorkel in the morning?

Where to do either or both of the above? 

How long to nap? 

Do we hire a boat at 2pm or 3pm, to surf until near the quick tropical sunset? Don’t want to be in the water and sun for too long. 

And where to surf? So far I’ve slid some fun, like really fun waves at Chickens and Ninjas. 
Four Italians, two guys two women, yes, surfing Italians from Palermo, two Spaniards from Bilbao, and me. Where’s your board? They ask. As we cruise the five minute crossing from Thulusdhoo to whatever atoll that is where Chickens is, I show them the mat and inflate it. Italians don’t do it often, but they were kind of quiet. Okaaaay….
1.5 hours later they gave me standing ovation when I paddled back to the boat (the last one out). Yesterday, after a similar session at Ninja’s, one of the Italian women laughed and said, “You’re crazy.” I believe it was a compliment. 
So, that’s a summary of our first few days here, more or less. 

Oh: Lotus absolutely flying down the line and holding an edge really well on the bottom turn and cutback. Haven’t taken it out on any super steep reef ledge wave yet like Cokes. Not sure I will. 
Just finished another late afternoon/evening session at Ninja’s. Super fun and nothin’ serious. I got some pretty good zippers, and one way down the line, far past where others were making it to. Paddling back out, one guy asked me how the food was in India…took me a little while to figure it out. Pretty funny. 

And an Austrian woman surfer, when I got back into the boat, asked me how old I am. Classic.

We’ll be joining our four Australian boat mates next week and surf the southern atolls. 


Aug 5, 2022

Newest 4GF Team Riders


From Lloyd's Blog


I met George Greenough in Santa Barbara in 1971. He was the next door neighbor of my friend Bob Easton and one night he came over to Bob’s house and showed us some of his surf films. At the time, George was riding a knee board and had a homemade waterproof wide angle movie camera powered by a motorcycle battery. He was the first guy to film inside the curl and it was breathtaking. Bob said that George was like a martial artist, crouching low, being part of the wave, as compared to standup surfers trying to conquer the wave. He ended up revolutionizing surf photography.

These days George lives in Australia, and is a legendary waterman. For some years now he’s been riding an air mat, which he considers superior to a knee board. It appealed to me. For one thing, it’s way easier to travel with a foldable air mat and fins in your backpack than to lug around a surfboard. For another, as us surfers get older, here’s a way to stay in the water. Plus they are fast as hell.

 I did some research and found that George gets his mats from (“Handmade in America by Paul Gross since 1984.”) Over the years, Greenough has worked with Gross on mat design. I bought one, have not used it yet, but it’s in my car with a pair of DaFiNs, small flexible fins from Hawaii, highly rated by lifeguards and bodysurfers. I’m going to take them on a trip in the Spring to Micronesia and Hawaii. Check out also

Aug 4, 2022

From Lou


G, day Paul...

Some photos of Surf Mat beach hire Kirra Gold Coast.

Bit of history in these photos..



Jul 19, 2022

From Matt


Hi Paul, 

Today I went out to my favorite secret spot up the coast a bit.  2nd day of south swell that has graced the area.  Yesterday was just a handful or less of us for 4 hours.  Super!  Today was the day the word got out, there were 10 cars there at 5:30 when I arrived.  And the surfers just kept acomin'.   

I'm not a big fan of crowds, so after a few minutes in the gang I paddled up toward the river mouth, hoping to get a few along the stretch between there and the point.  Long wait.  Maybe an hour.  Anything rideable was breaking right on the rocks.  Then, what I hoped would happen did.  A bigger set wave came, and I was able to snag it well before the crowd.  As I hoped, I made the section between where I took off and the point, and the rest was history.  Wave of the day type of ride.  

On my paddle back out, multiple people commented.  Sic dude, nice ride!, that was pretty, etc.  I felt good, just figured that the wave was big and well shaped.  But I wondered if it was maybe me on the wave?  
An hour or so later I got out of the water right after another nice ride from up there.  John stopped me and said he got some pictures of my last ride.  He also commented on the wave I had gotten earlier in the session, that it was very cool to watch.  So I asked, "was it me or was it the wave?"  He responded that it was both.  He said I was going so fast, he didn't think there were many surfers who could have made the section at the beginning of the ride, and he enjoyed the sweeping cutback turns I made when I had gotten out in front of the wave.  That was gratifying to hear, as I have watched many surfers scream across tough sections and wished that I could do that.  I guess I can (and do!)  All thanks to my Standard.  
Included is a picture from the last ride, nothing fancy but maybe folks will look at this post if there's a pic.  And if Kenny is reading, just want to say hi, hope to see you out in the water again soon.  John told me he's a friend of yours.  

PS Hope you don't mind me clogging up the blog with pics of me, but after riding the mat for 15 years, my first two pictures in a "matter" of months is sort of exciting.  Today was actually a 6 shot sequence I received.  

PSS, interesting that the two pictures were taken from nearly the same spot, the recent one either closer to the water or with a zoom.  The big rock at center of the recent one is the same as the rock toward the left of the frame in the pic from April.  
 Matt S

Jul 15, 2022

Jul 10, 2022

From Frankie D and Lou G Paul..

Frank just sent to me , not sure if you seen this ..

Pretty special..

Hope your pulling in.



Jun 22, 2022

From Cher


Hello, Paul,

We’re thinking of you and hope that you are enjoying a nice weekend. Happy Father’s Day!

Steve and I have been having tons of fun riding our Lotuses on the swells this Spring.
I’m constantly amazed at the thrilling speed that we can achieve with the high line drives on a good lined up wave.

Steve is carving and streaking fast lines with fluidity. He’s a joy to watch! 

He’s inspiring me, and the Lotus is helping me to learn more ways to achieve speed and tighter maneuverability control.

All that, combined with GG and Brocky teaching me the Dolphin kick, which allows me to get over the ledge of a steep wave earlier, so I can set up a highline = speed.

One of the most intriguing factors of riding a 4GF is that the learning evolves and seems endless, as is the creativity of riding one.

Paul, thank you for all that you do, and for bringing us so much joy with riding your mats. Riding on the wave surface with your fluid, flexible craft + bubble of air is a blast and a thrill. 'Truly feeling one with the wave.

How have you been? We look forward to catching up with you when you have time.

Take good care.

Warmest Aloha,
Cher and Steve

Jun 8, 2022

From Mat Max


What's The Matter?

It's been way too long since last posting. So here goes...

What I've been thinking about lately: After thirty-seven years on 4GFs matting has become an ingrained process of seeking profoundly surreal moments when everything clicks and sublime feelings of cheating physics melded with minimalist simplicity to produce unique sensations of zen perfection. 

Chasing this elusive attainment propels mat questing through mundane slop sessions and frustrating days dealing with cruel crowds in anticipation of eventual top gear speed runs and solo soul super sessions. Just when matting gets a bit bothersome a fresh day unfolds and the elements combine to provide novel situations where new challenges evolve into more stoke than ever before. On a mat the variables are inherently dynamic for seemingly infinite possibilities that keep turning up unimaginable experiences with subtle nuances that make all the struggles and downtime well worthwhile. 

This post is intended to express my gratitude for the continually evolving adventure of surfmatting. It's taken me to heaps of amazing places and spaces with tons of interesting characters along the way. George and PG and the whole airmat community have opened up the innermost limits of pure fun for we who are lucky enough to have adopted this means of expression that is so basic and yet refined. 

Above all is the thrill of getting it right... Ideal air volume on a fast walling wave... Letting the the mat find its own way... Just being there... Balanced with no effort... Gliding along the perfect line... This is the true heart of the matter.

Mat Max

May 31, 2022

From Mister Dirk



Summer 2022 brings us ... inflatable glasses. "Conceptual, inflated eye wear explores inflatable trend in fashion."

May 26, 2022

From ML


Hi Paul,

The other night, way past midnight, some time around 2 a.m at the Eisbach wave in Munich city.


May 3, 2022



Hope all is well mate.

As a SCUMM update , Phil Harper has finally retired from work , built a new house and  moved to a new location ( Dolphin Point ) so a quick 10 minute peddle ( e-bike) up the hill and onto the ocean!! 
I parted with one of my Standard mats that you made to good mate Dean Dampney who tore his mat  after riding up on the rocks so with myself just about to start some holiday time we decided to meet at one of our favorite mat haunts and share a couple of waves before he had to leave . This place has always been a favorite amongst the mat riding fraternity as you can see by this black and white photo from the early 70's ( one flipper only) I also caught up with the Mad Mooka Boys formally known as Sub SCUMM , the following weekend with 7 of us floating around in the Ocean and spoke with Gavin Dickson who grandfathers all of us in mat riding , still riding one of your mats and original flippers after 14 years of riding the reefs down here , so a good testament to the quality of your mats ! 
I have attached some video from the morning with Deano.
Take care and all the best to the family!!



Retired Phil


Deano Sequence

Apr 24, 2022

From Matt



I was surfing my favorite secret spot today on the beginnings of Typhoon Malakas.  I had run into an old surfing buddy early in the day, and we had exchanged pleasantries.  I took off on a wave on the inside and had a very fun ride right along the shore, one of the better rides (for me) of the day.  When I ended, I was close to my buddy, and he yelled out to me, "Hey, I got a picture of you on that wall hanger, I'll text it to you."  And so here it is, the first time I've seen myself riding a mat.  It's pretty small, but the picture captures the scene well.  Hope you enjoy it. 

Apr 20, 2022

From Sisa


This is Moti C, my father, 73 yrs! He finally got to take his mat to the ocean. Bumpy learning curve, but loads of fun, thanks again!


Apr 1, 2022

April Fools Redux, Plus Bonus Material

 We put up this April Fools posting last year, and thought it night be fun to revisit it...


Originally launched in the late 1940's, The Maturday Evening Post was tagged by The New York Times as, “The thinking man's mat surfing publication!"  The Post raised the bar with family-friendly matting content, countering the sleazy, mat-centric scandal sheets of the day...


The Post represented a significant step towards the decriminalization of mat surfing. Up 'til then, the sport had been relegated to outlaw status in most coastal communities... 



By the 1948 U.S. election cycle, a national ban on mat surfing was on the ballot...but it was voted down, thanks to the positive influence of The Maturday Evening Post...


The whereabouts of this priceless issue of The Post has been the fodder of speculation for decades...numerous learned volumes have even been written on the subject. But, in an exclusive Zoom interview with Surfmatters, our own Mr. Dirk reveals that he has been, in fact, the long time owner of the crown jewel of the surfmat publishing world!


 “Dirk, back in the day, how could you -- a committed surfmat bum -- afford this pristine copy of The Post?"

“In the mid-1970's I made a bundle licensing my patent on the Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device."

 "So what exactly is this, uh..."

"Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device? It's basically a way to produce clean opened up a lot of the technology used in Smart Washer-Dryers today."


"So you were the cat who came up with that! How did you develop it?"

"I had that idea when I was camping on the beach in Sidi Kaouki in Morocco in '75. We were, you might say, fond of the hookah, and it just came to me one evening. When I woke up two days later, I knew was sitting on something big. I secured a world-wide patent, then hired an intellectual property agent in Tangier...Buchra Garbhi.

"Buchra Garbhi...the notorious international arms dealer?"



"The same. But Buchra didn't become famous --  or infamous -- until the mid-90's, when she sold a metric ton of rock debris generated by the construction of the Tangier McDonalds to The Reagan Library."


"How the hell did she do that?"

 "She convinced them it was rubble from the Berlin Wall. They fell for it, and a legend was born."

"So how'd she handle the sale of your patent, Dirk?"

"She cultivated a bidding war between the Bavarian Illuminati in Vienna, the Soviets, OPEC and Disney."

"Shrewd move...pit the 'four points of evil' against each other."

"The Bavarians blinked first. The next day, my pockets were deeper than low tide El Cap!"


“The cover theme is interesting. It seems the gang is knocking down some brews before a go out maybe?”


“It has more of an apres-surf sort of feel to it," Dirk pointed out in his cogent, professorial manner. "I've done some research on that point, and from what I've learned, people back in the day would often enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two after mat surfing...then engage in a little amorous congress.”

“Sex, drinking, and a surf in the same afternoon...holy shit, imagine trying that now, in today's PC environment!"

"Unless you're Charlie Sheen, fuggetboutit!" Dirk laughed.

"And Norman Rockwell did the cover art?"

“Yeah...but it was no big thing at the time. Rockwell was a regular contributor to The Maturday Evening Post.

“Was he actually a mat surfer, or was he just jumping onto the post-war mat riding bandwagon?”

“Underneath that pipe-smoking, puppy-petting exterior, Norman was a hardcore matster...dawn patrols in Santa Cruz in boardshorts, duck diving Sunset on closed-out days, the whole nine yards! He even double-dutied his Converse mat as a beach towel on flat days...a style that's still in vogue today."


"Was Rockwell known throughout the beach culture?"

"Legend! They called him '22 Breaths'.”

"Not 23 Breaths, the universally accepted metric for the number of breaths required to inflate a high performance surfmat?"

"Norm's lung capacity was enormous. Fucker could fill a surf raft with only 22 puffs! Joseph Heller knew Rockwell from their days carousing in the Hamptons...that's why Joe eventually chose the number '22' for Catch 22


 Most people don't know it, but the original title of his novel was Catch 23."


"Wow. Why Catch 23?" 

"23 was an inside reference to matting...having to catch your breath after inflating a mat with the standard 23 breaths."

"So Heller was a mat surfer?"

"Yeah. That's why at the end of the book, Captain Yossarian escapes in an inflatable row boat."

"So how did he get from 23 to 22?"

Right after the first print run of Catch 23 started, he changed his mind and went with '22' as a tip of the cap to his buddy Rockwell.

 "Awesome inside intel, Dirk! How many copies of Catch 23 shipped?" 

"1500. Most got recalled, but a dozen or so are still out there. I've got a local hacker on the spy for a signed first edition."

"That'd be a great acquisition! Keep us in the loop. Any other 'must haves' on your bucket list?"

 "Obviously, any of the 3 remaining misprints of the Gatsby cover."

"Fitzgerald wasn't a matter, was he?"

"Nah, they just screwed up at the publishing house."

"Bummer. I thought he might be into it...what with Jay Gatsby dying on a mat at the end. So anyway, how did you acquire this issue of The Post?" 

“Interesting story. After I cashed in on my patent, I made a pilgrimage throughout Europe and the Mediterranean...looking for surf, artistic inspiration, and investment opportunities." 


"Nice. How did you come across this issue of Maturday Evening Post?"

"There used to be a tunnel from Algeciras to Ceuta, and like all great European underground stations, it boasted newsstands and coffee shops. I was waiting for my train in Ceuta --  I'll never forget the sweet aroma of the mint tea you could get there -- when I stepped over to say hi to my friend Saghir, the street vendor. I asked to see the latest mat surf magazines, and he grinned and pointed to a pristine copy of The Maturday Evening Post..."




"He saw me stiffen up -- speaking metaphorically -- and we started haggling. When they announced my train departure over the PA, I felt the time squeeze. I coughed up the dirhams and got the hell out of there. The next trick was getting it into the US."

"Why was that a challenge?" 

"The authorities seemed to think it had been stolen at some point. My sources in Zurich informed me that Interpol had posted a BOLO for the mag just days before I bought it. I wasn't going to take any chances getting it back home. I made my way to Paris, flew to Montreal, bought an old Renault, donned a suit and tie, then drove across the border...masquerading as a Quebec separatist posing as a Canadian businessman."


 "That old ruse..."

 "It never fails! The border patrol fell for it. They were so busy confiscating my trunk full of sham separatist propaganda, they missed the hot magazine strapped to the bottom of the gearbox!"

"That's an incredible action adventure story, Dirk! You have to make a feature length, streaming version!"

"I'm polishing the screenplay now." 

"I see Matt Damon in the lead."

"Already on board. In fact, that's why he moved to Byron Bay a while back...portraying a mat surfer immersed in international intrigue is the role of a lifetime!"  

"Who's directing?"

"The Coen Brothers. Spielberg producing. Scorsese advising. Spike Lee kibitzing. They were all over here earlier, raiding the fridge and going through my latest draft."

"Are they as committed to the objective truth as you clearly are, Dirk?"

"You know how those Coen guys are...obsessed with nihilism. They want my collection of surfmats to succumb to some kind of surreal, 'Kafkaesque air leak syndrome,' never to be inflated again."

"I guess you could always order replacement mats from me...generating a happy ending for the film at a reasonable cost with a quick turn-around time."

"I'll suggest that!" Dirk laughed.

"Let's talk about the Russian oligarch, Sergei Belitnikov. Until now, this issue of The Maturday Evening Post was thought to be in the his possession. How does he figure in?" 

"Serg is a kook. He floats around his private lake in Switzerland on a lilo and thinks he's a Hanalei charger." 


"Totally! He wouldn't know a Churchill swim fin from a Russian Orthodox Church."

"Is he sucking up to that a-hole Putin, with all the mat posturing? 

"No doubt. Vlad has been into matting for a good while now."


"Yeah, he's put in a bunch orders from 4GF over the years, but we cut him off. So how did Belitnikov come to be known as the owner of that issue of The Maturday Evening Post?

"I hired a PR firm in London to plant the rumor he had it stored in a Kremlin gym locker."

"To take the heat off you and your family?" 

(Dirk nods solemnly.)

"Was he torqued you fingered him? He's not the kind of prestupnaya you mess with."

"You kidding? He loved it! Dude was an incel loser until I framed him. Now he has to swat away the mat groupies with old issues of Bodyboarder!"



"So you two guys are cool?"

"He sends us a Christmas card every year."

“Mind if we ask...what did you pay for that issue?”

“Hella dough, hella dough. Saghir's nobody's fool, he made a bundle off me.”

“Did he have you pegged as nouveau riche when you stopped by his newsstand that fateful day?”

“How could he miss? I was rocking a Rubber Duck Riders t-shirt I scored from a black marketeer in Marrakesh.”

"That's a pricey piece of history. It wouldn't take long for a Ceuto local to figure out you were flush...strutting around town wearing that thing. So c'mon, Dirk, give us a ball park figure for the mag.”

“In today's money, it would be 7 I sweetened the deal with 10% front end interest of any future movie projects involving our transaction.”

“Brilliant! If the Coen project bombs, Saghir will end up owing you money!”

“Exactly! I laughed like a lunatic all the way to Algeciras, and half the way home! Truth be told, we still stay in contact, Saghir and me. He's done well. He took his profits and opened up an invitation-only mat surfing resort situated on the windward side of a tropical island. Warm water, blown out's a matter's paradise!!!"


"Sounds great! Where is it located?"

"When you get an invite, you'll find out..."



In the past year, Mister Dirk has been busy pursuing a number of artistic endeavors, including a sure-to-be-cult-classic comedy short entitled, "Is This Funny, Or Am I Weird?"

Shot in Barcelona's Parc Guell this past March, Dirk drew from his vast network of European artists and ner-do-wells to achieve his vision. Here, he gets a last minute touch up before going on camera...

...and went on created this epic short subject... 

 While in Europe, Dirk and his wife Maria also took the opportunity to get into the spy game..

On the flight between Barcelona and Copenhagen, Maria managed to dispatch the Russian operative seated behind her. Nice work!