Dec 27, 2008

From Jonathan J ... Who Never Ceases To Amaze and Impress!

Hey Paul,

I thought I'd send you these pics of an infamous surfcraft of yesteryear. I'm sure you've seen one in your travels. (I'll bet most prone-riders haven't!) I'm talking 'bout the lowly Captain Swim-Surfer!

Is it a surf mat? Not quite...

Is it inflatable? Kind of...

Is it totally indestructible? Just about...

Was it developed by mad chemists, with a keen sense of advanced hydrodynamics? Perhaps...

Long discarded in surfing history's pile of flotsam, I say this funky relic deserves another serious look!

3/4 view, showing concave deck, and "chine" transition rails.

Logo shot - still intact!

Rear view, showing drain plug and -- WOOOPS!!!! -- UNION CARBIDE???
I bet they wish they would've stuck to making these, rather than offshoring their pesticide refineries. (Remember Bhopal?)

Bottom view rear - dig the subtle keel fin!

Bottom view front - It appears that all the rocker is in the hulled bottom profile, while the S deck remains quite flat - up onto the rolled hips....hmmm.... And what of those concave nose pockets? It's almost as if Simmons had a hand in the design of this thing!

Dec 22, 2008

The Last "Stripes Down" Hodgeman ???

This is my last "Stripes Down" Converse-Hodgman experience...

It was the late 70's, and I was driving down Mission Blvd in San Diego. Being the 4th of July weekend, there were a million people milling around the beach, the boardwalk, and the intersections.

By this point in mat surfing history, the 60's era "Stripes Down" Converse-Hodgman model (which was shorter and narrower than the 50's era Hodgman version) had been in the grave maybe 8 years. The wider, slower, 70's era Stripes Across Converse-Hodgmans were also history. We were into the lean, flimsy Merrins by that time...but the old Stripes Down Converse-Hodgman still occupied a soft spot in my heart. Once they were broken in, they could be pretty damn potent if there was a bit of power in the wave. (The mat surfing in Crystal Voyager was on the Stripes Down model. )

So anyway, I'm driving down Misson Blvd, and in front of me jay-walks a middle age guy and his family ... all sunburned and "beached-out."


One of his kids was carrying a Stripes Down Converse-Hodgman! It looked like it was in mint condition, based on how deep the striped colors were on the deck. (Maybe it was just still wet?)

The traffic was solid going in the opposite direction, so I couldn't make an instantaneous u-turn. I drove on, and at the first opportunity, hung a u-ee and burned rubber back to where I saw the family. Of course, there was no parking anywhere. I ended up stopping maybe a 1/4 mile up the road, and ran back. (And by "ran," I mean a 47 second 440 in flip flops. )

They were no where to be found. I schlepped around the neighborhood on the inland side of the boulevard for maybe a half hour, checking out all the seasonal rental units, but no luck.

The whole time I was looking, I was trying to figure out what to say if I found them. Of course, money would be offered, but how weird would it be for some breathless guy with 3 day's beard growth to pull out a roll of 20s and throw it at them from their old surf raft? Plus, I had to figure out what to say to my girlfriend if I came home broke and with a mat. (A whole Jack In the Beanstalk scenario came to mind.) Later, when I sheepishly told her about my adventure, she said we should go back and look for them again the next day at the beach. That's when I decided to propose to her. (It took 10 years, but she finally gave in.)

The next day we trolled the beach. Nada.

The wisdom of old age finally kicked in, and I gave up my search. But every time I run across an old shot of a Stripes Down Converse-Hodgman, I remember that family crossing the street with a piece of mat riding history in tow!

From Kenny H.

Heading out at Ikumi Beach, Shikoku, Japan. October, 2008
Photo: Denise

Good Morning Paul!

Boy, did THAT thing ever attract some attention in that gadget-crazy country! Even though this shot looks pretty dramatic, we were there at the tail-end of the surf season and I got pretty skunked. Surfing wasn't the sole purpose of our journey, but I had brought the mat and fins along just in case I got lucky with a late-season typhoon…

Hey, why not? The gear doesn't weigh much!

Happy Holidays to you!


Dec 21, 2008

From Jonathan J.

Epic find ... a "pre-Converse" Hodgman mat!!!

The price was $23.95! Not exactly sure of the date, but by any reasonable estimate, a lot of money at the time...

Hello Paul!

I just took those pics out on my front steps the other day, before the rain set in. you guessed, there's a totally stock red/white/blue striped Hodgman "Float" that came with that box!

It's one of the "crown jewels" of my mat collection. At the same time I received both this mat, and a smaller kid-sized mat, in their factory boxes....a rare score indeed! If you're curious about what it looks like, it's identical to the Hodgman postcard pic I sent.

The date is mid to late 50's on this long-striped Hodgman!


Dec 18, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

It's almost summer in Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud. Even though we are as far south as Northern California is north, the sea gets fairly warm for three or four months. Here's me on my Fatty just yesterday, having flashbacks of Zuma Beach in August.

Photos by MAX DAD

Some Photos From NZ

My Father, Max Dad, took these pictures with an old Pentax that he used to shoot when he edited SURFING ILLUSTRATED, and went on bitchen assignments like for LIFE MAGAZINE to cover The Duke Contest with Don James, and pioneering El Salvador, and exploring Baja in a PBY amphibian aircraft... Max Dad quite often took Max Mom and us Max Menehunes with him. (I got to shake hands with Duke Kahanamoku. Wow!) Were we lucky beach rats or what?

These pictures are actual film shots. You remember film, those strips of plastic with holes down the sides that if you touch them with your finger the image is ruined forever. Sort of like those big black music discs from before CDs. (Kids these days have been known freak on the revelation that LPs actually have a B-side!) Right, so feast your eyes on some chilly average NZ beachbreak:

Photos by MAX DAD

Max Mom and Max Dad. Photo by MAT MAX

Best Go Out Ever ???

Tim and Jim B.
Photo: Christopher B.

Sacre' Bleu!!!

Dec 13, 2008

Waves to mat..


the ultimate side wave somewhere???
side wave monster

Chicama, peru 

Bolsa Chica new jetty, cali

T Rex esther, cali

Cloudbreak with the Trex out back

Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor
corona de newport harbor


Ray Bay
ray bay



Crystal Cove
the cove

Noosa, Oz

High Tide Blacks

Witches Rock, Costa Rica

IDK Why not?

my favorite, the wedge

Los Osos

Pig dog on the mat?

Just a quick thought on "backside" mat surfing.

I am a Goofy foot so rights are backside for me although before discovering mats I had been working on my switch stance.

Although going right on the mat is comfortable, different and fun I find I just think about going left more.

Here is a picture where it looks like everything is a little off.

I am not sure if I am recovering from some disaster or what but

1) left hand cluching the mat rail preaty far aft

2) right hand squeezing the left front of the mat

3) looks like I am dragging the rear of my behind in the wave face

I don't remember this specific wave or if I was trying something different (the mat looks a little over inflated) but I look like I am focused on the the little section up ahead and hoping it becomes interesting.

The beauty of riding these craft is that the experience is constantly unfolding.

Dec 11, 2008

Making It Look Easy

I stole this from Daily Bread. Here's Prana on a wave I would kill for on a surfboard, let alone on a mat! This is a great shot!

Dec 9, 2008

Mr. Dirk...

Cool O'Neill Super Suit!

Nice video of Mr. Dirk the early 90's! Rich Pavel fish.