Nov 2, 2008

Sunday Afternoon...

A front blew through Eastern Washington this afternoon, and I drove 35 miles out to the Columbia River. (Gas was $2.79. Did I fall into a time machine? Can you dial me back to 1987?)

Anyway, the weather was great, and I just had to see some moving water! So off I went.

I snapped a few photographs once I got to the river...

Columbia River, near The Port of Walla Walla. This afternoon...Nov 2.

Max and I and a few others have posted photos of mat riding in pretty good, or even really good, waves. Occasionally, someone will send me a shot of mat surfing in crummy waves. Of course, it's fun to get things like this. But not that exciting. Not the kind of stuff that anyone would post on-line as an inspiration to others. Here's an example...

Photo: Tatum

Let me tell you, if I pulled up to a warm beach today and saw some empty rollers like this, I would go absolutely nuts. Appreciate it if you have it!


Unknown said...

to me that is what mat riding is all about.
pull up no one out cause its not good enough for them
suit up and have a blast on stuff they can't see any potential in
wondering on a couple how the mat can generate so much speed from so little power
we ride good surf probadly less than 10% of our go outs

Anonymous said...

I think there are three factors in riding small, weak waves efffectively. (There are probably a lot more, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Feel free to add to the list.)

The most obvious is experience. Anyone can learn to ride a mat at or near a world class level. But, you have to ride a lot of waves to get to that point. Small wave mat riding benefits the most from experience...much more than surfing a mat in better waves.

The second is your physical size. Smaller rider have an edge in weaker waves.

The third is being able to ride waves without a lot of, or any, other surfers in the water....especially longboards. You have to be able to ride a lot of waves per session, and take any line you want, to find your voice mat surfing small waves.

The shots of GG on smaller waves just flying along are the culmination of 50+ years of mat riding, a lean body, and a background of riding uncrowded waves in centuries past. Hard to beat that combination.

Mat selection is a factor too. The nylon mats have a lot more glide and carry in small waves than canvas mats.

There are also a lot of different kinds of small/junk waves. Staying away from closed out shorebreak is a good idea. Peaky waves with a bit of roll to them at least give you a chance to get a mat moving!

Surfsister said...

I still want to get a mat. Any suggestions? Thanks for the link to the article.

Unknown said...

This has been one of the most life-changing aspects of mat riding for me.

Previously I just surfed a kneeboard and it really needed good waves with plenty of push in them. As the father of 2 young kids, getting wet meant waiting until conditions were right AND I had the opportunity to go out.

Now my quiver includes a mat and a Wegener alaia and basically I'm now surfing more than ever. Had 2 sessions on the weekend - a mat session at Wateoges on Saturday, an alaia session on Sunday at Broken Head. Small conditions that I wouldn't have even considered knee riding in. And yet I got my fill both days.

I reckon most mat riders would enjoy the delights of prone alaia similar in lots of ways, surfing a finless craft and yet so different at the same time....

Anonymous said...

Me spoiled rotten. Today I passed up glassy 4' peaks with 75 yard shoulders and no one out so as to do little errands and make social calls. Then I looked at PG's posts -- and realized how incredibly lucky I am to have uncrowded fun surf nearby. Next time I'll have to be more selfish in order to feel less guilt.

Anonymous said...

Or, send me a round trip ticket to NZ, and I can ride those wasted waves for you!