Dec 31, 2010

Party Time In The Netherlands!

Hi Paul,

All the best for 2011!

On our beach every newyearseve they make a big fire! It takes a week for those boys to build this! So it will not be cold tonight (haha).

It's 16:05 PM now. In less than 8 hours it's partytime overhere!!!!!

Look how big this fire is gonna be!



The next day!!!

Dec 29, 2010

So then...who was it?

Australian police rescue floodwater airbed trio...

Three teenagers float down the Bremer river on air mattresses on 27 December 2010 (Image: Courtesy of Queensland Police)
Can the guilty party please step forward?
One of the Severn Bore surfers maybe?

Dec 22, 2010

Patti Smith

Culturally speaking, the parallels between surfing and music are obvious...and never more so than when we observe the imbalance between art and commerce in each pursuit.

Patti Smith was on Tavis Smiley last evening. She was reflecting on the 70's, and -- as always -- dropped the hammer squarely on the head of the nail:

"We were moving into an era where I felt rock and roll was...being taken over by moguls and rich rock stars and the idea of celebrity. I wanted to help remind people that rock and roll was our cultural voice, that it belonged to the people, and we all
could animate that aspect of ourselves."

Here's the whole episode...

And, Patti Smith on Colbert, thanks to Dr. Robert...

Dec 20, 2010

Selling Mats To Women...

Why didn't I think of this hustle back when I was single??? :)

Michelle with her new Vespa, here!

"Discovery" In China!!!

At least one surfmatter we know is waaayyy ahead of the curve on this one!

Dec 17, 2010

Ryan Mats Todos Santos!!!

Hi Paul-

Dropping a line to share a few pics from a session earlier this week at Todos Santos Island. Mostly rode stand up but grabbed the mat for a few sets.

I have a ways to go until I know how to handle the mat in this kind of surf but had a blast and managed to slide a few fun ones. End result was the the mat needing rescue from the inside rocks, but the rescue was a success with no damage to mat or rider.

Hope you're doing well!



Dec 15, 2010

German Mat Surfer Tom, Rocking His Vans!!!

Hi Paul,

What can I say/write?

You understand! :-)


Dec 12, 2010

Schnee Luftmatratze!!!

Tom from Germany found this stuff in his never ending quest for 24/7 mat action!

Dec 8, 2010

Who are you?

...and what have you done with Surf Sister!!!

Dec 6, 2010


Imagine my joy when I saw this shot from today's session. My last few sessions have seen me gain a better understanding of the mat and how I need to ride it. What made me dance a little jig about this photo was the fact that I'm banking into the turn. One rail is out while the other rail is being totally engaged. I've probably been doing that for awhile, but I didn't realize it. This, however, is my proof. What's even better is that my spouse told me, "You looked like you actually knew what you were doing out there."

You can see why I choose to ride the mat at this spot rather than a surfboard. There's so much kelp that riding a surfboard there is pointless. You can only safely go right. I'm a goofy foot, so I live to go left. The mat allows me the freedom to take whichever waves I choose, kelp or no kelp.

I was on the Tracker Square Tail in this shot. That mat works best for me in waves that tend to get mushy. When the wave is steeper and more powerful, I go back to the Standard. It holds better in a powerful wave. Then again, perhaps it doesn't. As I said, I'm still learning how to steer these things.

I may surf a board this week. Then again, I may not. I'm having way too much fun on my mats.

Dec 3, 2010

From Marc B!

Hi Paul,

Long time not spoken. Hope everything is fine with you and the family.

Finally i can send you some Dutch mat pictures of me! The pictures were from one of the best conditions in Holland from 2010, late September.

I will place my order for the Vespa model in a few weeks. It's snowing over here now, and it's freezing...minus 7 degrees!



Nov 27, 2010

4GF Mail Call...

Hi Paul,

Even though it´s trivial, I just wanted to send you a "report" of my first attempts on the XL in seriously crappy 5 sec. interval 1-2 ft. Miami "surf":

- I don´t have a chin rash again and had that "good feeling" in (!!!) the wave. Did you change the black fabric or am I actually progressing?...

- The XL worked much better for my 200lbs than the Tracker RT in small conditions. (Who would have thought so?)...

- Again!! This time my kiteboarding copilot - smiled about the speedy "glide" once the wave picked him up.

- The other copilot was fascinated by: "You can roll the thing up and put it in your pocket"

Savor the praise and the positive vibe - one can never get enough of that.

Any customers in Dubai? I´ll be there on the 13th.

Cheers from cold and snowy-white Germany




Mats got here this afternoon, in time for a thanksgiving session!!

I snuck out on the UDT this afternoon. First one I caught, dropped in, banked a bottom turn, and just flew down the line and took it all the way in to the beach.

Number two, banked another bottom turn, took a little line, bottom turned again, and pulled into the barrel and came out.

And then, the next 6 or 7 I completely kooked out and could barely get in or hold a line.

I'm hooked!

Thanks again. I'll keep you updated.



Hey Paul,

I just wanted to drop you a small email since I've had several surfs recently on the behemoth mat you made for me! (Greenough-spec UDT.)

The conditions lately have been poor to be quite honest, but the UDT (with round tail and short I - beams) performed as promised!

The take-off was always an easy treat BUT what energy I did conserve kicking into waves was quickly sapped from me after making my way slowly to the line-up again. It's a whole lotta fabric! To be fair, the waves were not always the micro waves I had thought them to be upon entering the water, a lot in the 4ft range and unpredictable. What REALLY surprised me was its ability to 'suck' down onto the wave surface. We suffered no slide-outs whatsoever!

It was really fun being able to only make one basic correction at take-off and then doing else except tearing along the face of messy walls at speed!

The mat is a winner and I thank you!




Hey Paul,

Just wanted to let you know how stoked I am with the mat i got from you, the roundtail tracker! Having a lot of fun out there, despite the entire line up ignoring my presence (narrow minds eh!).

Took a few surf's to get used to it, but each session was building my experience/skill exponentially. Very forgiving and fun mat, stoked I got one!

Thanks again, kind regards,

Barry, NSW, Australia.


Hello Paul,

Just letting you know the Standard arrived today,23 Nov. Thanks. Also had a great session on the RT at a spot near Margaret River on the weekend Head high sucky wave and the RT went fantastic!!. It will be interesting to see how the Standard compares with the RT. We are getting into summer now so swell is usually low in our summer not that our winter has been good for swell this year ,very few good days.

Thanks again.

Cheers Eric



Yes, Ron is riding a mat all the time and loving it! Doesn't ride his surfboards anymore. We have a trip to Cardon, Mexico planned for next year and are looking forward to bringing our mats.

Easy packing!




I actually like that I can't read my standard's label anymore because it means that I've surfed it a lot. :-)



Thank you Paul, great service a s usual.

I now have a complete quiver of 4th Gear Flyers :)





UDT arrived on Friday. That's fast. Had a chance to try this past weekend, and wow. Got a few waves that hinted at what is possible. Surf was kinda mushy, but had some size. Quite a work-out. Not used to kicking fins, especially full-size UDT (old style). You need to be a navy seal to use those. A few more sessions and I think I will have a feel for the mat.

Thanks again for your patience and generosity. I think I may be a life-long matter.


Nov 20, 2010

NZ Weighs In!


Jonathan from NZ here. The mat arrived last week, safe and sound. I can see that you got additional postal information for it, so - thanks for that - and that it cost a bundle to ship. Thanks for that too. I'm sorry to cut into your profit margin that way. I'm doing my best to get my friends to buy mats, spreading the gospel - so I hope you get some more orders, and you certainly will from me in the future!

Been going through some revelations about wave riding in my life. I read something you wrote about the "egoless" quality of wave riding on a mat. I've been seeing/feeling the way wave riding becomes pared to a sort of animal (dolphin, and now we see, orca!) essence... steering away from the hand-jive, dance-like expression that's maybe the best of knee and stand up styles (and far away from the modern skateboard trick style - I call this capitalist surfing, but I won't get started...). Using the mat feels like an exploratory journey deeper into pure wave riding- once again, a surprisingly new thing at this stage of my life.

Next: crawl into some sea-cave and forget my own name....


Uh, forgot my name already!

Nov 18, 2010

What Your Air Carrier Doesn't Want You To Know!!!

Tom, a pilot of some repute, inflating his new Tracker RT during a layover in Chicago!

While surfboards and bicycles are getting the shaft under the guise of "excess baggage" at check-in, surfmats are gliding through with nary a notice.

Why is that, you ask?

Sure...deflated mats are tucked neatly away in your suitcase. But a more nefarious mechanism is at work!

You see, "The International Airline Pilot, Mat Rider And Off Duty Social Drinker's Association" (TIAPMRAODSDA in airline industry shorthand) has leveraged its awesome power to influence major carriers' policy. In short, the nose-dripping-saltwater chaps in the cockpit are responsible for your super cheap, surf mat vacations!

Hats off to these flyboys...without them, who knows what it would cost to schlep a quiver of mats on board your flight to Sri Lanka!

Nov 16, 2010

Mat Max's New Best Friend!

Details of the surfing Killer Whales in NZ here...

Mat Riding Tips From The Pros!!!

(Photos: Lance Smith)
"The Smash-Mouth Take-Off," as demonstrated by The Kendog. Out of the darkness and into the light!

Nov 12, 2010

Boardbag Blues?

A travel-wise mat rider cashes in on big airline savings!

Thanks for getting back to me on this and thanks for all your help in spec'ing and ordering the mats.

I don't know if you have seen it, but just the other day Surfline published an update of the airline transport fees for boardbags from most major airlines ("Boardbag Blues"). Between the high rates and the fact that most times you can't even tell whether the airline will even take your boardbag until you get to the airport, travelling with surfboards is getting to be untenable these days. Perhaps something you can work into the portion of the website which extols the virtues of travelling with surfmats....

Delta - $200 each way per surfboard bag.

United - Domestic $100 each way per surfboard, International $200 each way per surfboard.

American - $150 each way (charge is per surfboard bag if neatly packed and under 50lbs).

Continental - $100 each way for 2 surfboards , $400 each way for 3 surfboards, $700 each way for 4 surfboards.

Taca - $125 each way per surfboard bag (max. 2 surfboards), $175 extra for additional surfboards.

Copa - $75 each way per surfboard bag.

Jet Blue - $75 per bag (max. length 80 inches and accepted on space available basis only).

Southwest - $50 each way per surfboard bag.

Air Paciifc - $50 each way per surfboard bag.

More here...

Just some food for thought...

Mike M.

Nov 6, 2010

Pigs On The Beach!


If you're interested, I've got a travel blog about my trip to New Zealand here...

A bit more mat love- I've been surfing a place that requires a hike of several kilometers to access. Some folks take their ATVs and four-wheel drives there. I've been offered rides from those people (an adventure in itself!), and am positive that carrying a rolled-up mat as opposed to a full-size surfboard, helped me get a lift!



Nov 3, 2010

Hello Kitty Tat Craze Threatens The Mat Riding World!!!

Surf Sister's new tattoo keeps her landlocked for a week!
Will this disturbing trend keep even more mat riders out of the water?

This is getting out of hand, Paul...

I spent the last week out of the water because of my new tattoo. I was chomping at the bit to get wet today. I got to the break. I suited up. I pulled The Minx out of the car. As I was about to wax her, I looked at the small waves that no one was on. They were over here. The majority of the surfers were over there. Guess what happened? I kept looking at those waves, at the crowd and at my board. Before I knew it, I was sliding the board back into the car. A few minutes later, I was on the sand—blowing up the mat and throwing on some fins.

One of the people I always see at this break said I was grinning from ear to ear on one of my waves. I know there were a couple where I came up whooping. It was yet another perfect session on my mat. I was on my Tracker Squaretail, by the way. I think that mat works better for me than the Standard. I'm wondering if this has something to do with the female anatomy and the fact that we carry most of our body weight lower than men do. It doesn't matter though. Both mats surf beautifully.

This mat thing has got a hold on me. Lord, it must be love!!


Nov 2, 2010

How Much Fun Do You Wanna Have???

A big shipment of material just arrived!


The 4GF Standard will go on sale for the month of November.

$135 USD.

The Standard is our all-time favorite high performance mat, and we think everybody under 200 pounds should have one in their quiver.

But, if you're over 200 lbs, consider one anyway, because when it's head high or better, it flies. A lot of plus-sized mat riders have tried a Standard, and are blown away by how much fun they have when the surf has some grunt.

How to order:

Write me at fourthgearflyer at, and put "Standard Sale" in the subject line. (You don't have to use that subject line, but it will help us.) I'll get back to you within a day or two with the ordering instructions.

Several Provisos:

This offer won't be held over past the end of November. One month only. If someone orders one on November 30th, and the time stamp on the order is Dec 1 or even 2, that's OK. Things like that happen when dealing with world wide customers living in all the various time zones, etc. But no whining that you want the Standard deal on December 3rd!!!!

This offer will not be a part of the "buy two get one free" deal. If you want a quiver during the month of November, it's $398 for three mats, regardless of what mats you want.

No promises on the delivery time. We're all caught up at the moment, but if a lot of orders come in due to the sale, then we might have a 2-3 week build time. But no more than that.

Any non-sale orders that come in this month will go straight to the head of the line.

This offer won't be posted on our web page. This is for the readers of Surfmatters. Of course, anyone can order a Standard on sale, but we aren't going to post it on our site.

Some nice shots of Greenough riding the Standard...

Oct 30, 2010

Best Session Report Ever!


Yesterday was just perfect...or was it the day before ???

No matter...or one matter, in the water mid-day Santana. Ohhh well.

What day is it anyway???

Nothing more to say the mats are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oct 27, 2010

First Rincon Mat Session Of The Year!

(Spence is out there somewheres...seriously dude!)

Hi Paul,

I just got a session on the Tracker Roundtail...

The bouys were reporting 12-13 ft. at 15 seconds but the direction was something like 310 degrees, too north for anywhere around here. I remember something John Bradbury said however, that there were Ranch swells and Rincon swells and it always seems Rincon picks up more Northerly swells better than anywhere in Ventura. Big winds outside made for a considerable South backwind bump and slopped up everything, and the bump only got worse as I headed up the coast. In fact, nowhere was really showing much of anything until La Conchita showed some whitewater on the rocks under the pier at high tide. But, as I rounded the sweeping turn at Mussel Shoals I could see the backs of waves in the Cove.

It was high tide and sloppy, I wouldn't even have stopped if I didn't have the mat. The cove was handling things best with sets through to the sand for the patient, but really bumpy. I was surprised that anybody was out, and there were about 20. But nobody, maybe 3 or 4, at the Indicator so I decided to give it a go. The first thing I notice about the Tracker is the heft, and it seems quite a bit bigger than the original Standard. Love the texture of the canvas deck, just enough grip.

It's sloppy indeed at Indicator but there are a few peaks. My first wave was forgettable, fair enough since I haven't been on a mat in I can't remember. But then I got a couple of waves that connected across the creek mouth. It catches waves easily and reminds me of the 9'4" spoon or perhaps a longer 7 foot range hull; very stable and seems to have a lot of glide. I connected sections that would have left me dead in the water on other mats...and especially on a surfboard.

I surfed for about and hour then kicked down to the cove. After few minutes I caught a wave from the glass house to the beach on the inside, connecting section after section, cutting back after big bottom turns, and left the water with a big smile.

I love the feeling of holding on to HORSEPOWER when the mats cut loose and start to squirt across the face of a wave. There is nothing like it.

Mission accomplished. Thanks so much Paul. I can't wait for more South wind.


Oct 24, 2010

El Matadore!!!

Charl goes fashionably bodacious -- donning a beret, standing perilously close to a fire place -- while challenging a local toro (off camera) with his new Tracker Roundtail!

Details of his hair raising adventures here...