Jun 30, 2012

This Day In Central Coast Weather History...


"2010 - One of quickest temperature drops ever seen in San Luis Obispo County happened two years ago. At 12:17 p.m. the air temperature in the Avila Valley reached 107 degrees with a dry 13 percent humidity level.

The northwesterly winds increased and brought in cooler  and moist air from the Pacific Ocean. In 40 minutes, the temperature dropped to 70 degrees and the humidity level  increased to 72 percent by 12:57 p.m., a 37 degree temperature drop!

Further inland, the temperature reached 107 degrees at Cal Poly and shattered the official record for the date  of 100 degrees, set in 1993. Paso Robles also hit 107  degrees, breaking the previous record of 103,
also set in 1993."

One of the best swell and weather prognostications on the Central Coast of California is located here, at the Tenera Environmental page.

Jun 29, 2012

So Predictable...

Once again, Liquid Salt posts an otherwise nice surfing vignette, only to spoil it at 3:44 with some hippy-dippy, counter-surf-culture nonsense!

Jun 27, 2012

Become A Mat Surfer And Make $1000!!!

One of the most frequent anecdotes we hear goes something like this:

"I got a mat, been riding it for a year...so stoked I decided to sell all my boards!"

If you think this through from a purely economical perspective (which is probably a foreign concept to anyone reading, or writing, this blog) the cost of a new mat is around 200 bucks in 'Mericun dollars. That waterlogged pile of, uh, foam and fiberglass in your garage is probably worth 5 times that on Craig's List. More on Ebay. Even more on the UKMS Classifieds. So get a mat, get stoked, unload your old boards, and take your SO out for a night on the town!

Jun 25, 2012


Hi all,

Despite and to spite the horrid summer,got Lily on the surfmats!

Take it easy, hope to see you down 'ere dreckly,


Jun 24, 2012

From Surf Sister....

Ruben Peña shot these today of Craig Ferre. I don't know where he was. It might have been Ocean Park since I did see Craig's truck when I arrived. I never did see Craig.


Jun 22, 2012

Incredible Story From Milt...


So I just walked up the goat trail at Diamond Head, and I hear this soft voice and wrinkled old hand motioning for me to come over to her car window. "Boy I have some stories for you about those surf mats!"

She was an old women (eighties?) who sat relaxed in the seat of her Toyota gazing out at the lineup at cliffs as we talked for several minutes. She told me she used to ride a surf mat at Makaha. She mentioned her uncle used to coach Duke and that she was one of the first women to surf in Waikiki. Amazing, she really lit up when she talked about surfing and it was obvious it was still a part of her.....

And to think, I never would have gotten that glimpse into history had I been riding my 5'10 thruster. All the more reasons to get a mat!



Here is a story about The Duke, with a section on Pam Anderson, the woman Milt met...

Ask Pam Anderson about Duke Kahanamoku and she’ll tell you stories about a man who loved the water.

“Once I was out surfing at Makaha,” she recalls, “and I saw this guy riding big waves on an air mattress. I thought, ‘Who in the world is that?’ All of a sudden the guy comes in and it’s Duke! He had blown up this mattress and gone surfing on it. But that’s how he was. He loved the water.”

Anderson grew up around the music and the water at Waikiki. Her father was songwriter R. Alex Anderson, the composer of Lovely Hula Hands and other classic hapa-haole songs. Her uncle, Honolulu waterman George “Dad” Center, coached the 1920 U.S. Olympic swim team in Antwerp, Belgium, where Duke won two gold medals.

Duke and Dad Center are now enshrined in the national Swimming Hall of Fame. But they also share another legacy. In 1917, following a giant earthquake in Japan, they caught a 30-foot wave at Castle’s Surf off Diamond Head and recorded the longest rides on a surfboard ever at Waikiki. Duke’s ride took him all the way into the beach, a distance of a mile and a quarter, and he later said of the experience that it was like “riding an avalanche.”

“Even when they were older, Duke and my Uncle Dad used to go out to Castle’s Surf,” says Anderson, who recalled a day during her youth when she was invited along. Her uncle had put a small engine on the back of his canoe, and together the three of them motored out in it toward Diamond Head. “When we got out by Castle’s, we turned off the engine and waited,” she says. “When a good-sized wave came along, we caught it and rode a long way in. It was quite a thrill.”

With Duke and her uncle as mentors, Anderson became one of Waikiki’s first women surfers. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, she paddled for Duke as a member of Outrigger’s senior wahine crew, eventually becoming Outrigger’s first woman steersman.

Anderson recalled that in the early 1960s, after the Outrigger Canoe Club moved to its current location near Diamond Head, she and the late Henry Ayau used to accompany Duke when he paddled out to the Diamond Head buoy for his daily swim.

“Duke was getting on in years and Henry and I decided he shouldn’t go alone,” Anderson says. “Just paddling with him was an amazing experience. He had these big hands, and anytime he took a stroke, his board just shot out into the water.”

Out by the buoy, Duke would slide off his surfboard and go for swim, utilizing that famous flutter kick of his as he glided through the water. After he returned to his board, the three of them would turn toward the beach and quietly paddle back in.

“Henry and I were very fortunate to have shared that experience with Duke,” Anderson says. “Duke loved being out on the water. I think it’s what kept him young.”

Jun 21, 2012

From Max...

Hi PG,
Howzit? Hey, that pict of Mary gliding along on an average wave really says it for me. Fully supported with minimal wake. Nothing special yet such a focused moment. The Zen of matting. I've had 10,000 similar experiences and cherish them as awake vital memories. Words fail and feelings persist. Mat riding is a transcendental meditation. Surfing a prayer rug hand built by an acolyte of the holy global church of critical slide is most definitely a religious accomplishment. Enlightenment comes to the harmless who persist at bliss...
The pelican in the BG is onto Mary's moment.
Cheerio Dude,

Max ;) winking

PS The MiniMax is really good fun!

Jun 18, 2012

From Dan...


We are at Assateague for the week. Just got out of the water. First day that has been ok to go out. Wind blowing a constant 30mph the first two days we were here. I'm way out of shape!


Jun 14, 2012

From Ben...

Hi Paul,

Attached are some photos of the 5GF from Uluwatu, Indonesia...and a secret spot (haha!)

Fast ride, and held a bit better than the 4GF Standard.

Had a blast! Thanks again.


Jun 13, 2012

From the Awesome JJ...

Hello PG!

Just wanted to follow up on the most excellent UDT mat you made me!

That's a wealth of info on the inside flange....a real "histogram".

To be honest, it hasn't had it's maiden voyage yet.....that'll have to happen soon, though.

Diggin' the waxed deck!.....can't wait to get this thing wet already!

I really like the "volumetric" feel of it.

As I mentioned in an earlier email, I'd provide some details regarding the perfect "marriage" for the UDT mat.

Here goes:

So, I'm at the LB swapmeet last month....and this dealer has a pair of dead stock 80's Duckfeet...still new in the box!

He mentions that they're "kinda big" too....so I slide one out of the box....they're freekin' UDTs!

So there ya have it......some match up huh? I've never seen UDT Duckfeet in that color configuration before!

They're usually brown, or black? I'll bet these babies are packing some thrust....

Thanks again Paul for all your hard work....I'll let ya know how it rides soon.


(For more JJ, click here...)

PS: Here are some pics I took off the side of the box. Some neat 'ol graphic artwork from back in the day. I'm not sure who the artist was that did this "orange crate" style of advertisement? I'm thinking there's a guy named Bill Evans?...or perhaps Jim Phillips? I couldn't see anyone's signature....great art from a great era, for sure!

Mat Deck Stoke!

Hi Paul,

Your nylon canvas deck material is still my favorite.

I was out riding some wind swell last week at my favorite San Diego reef break. I really noticed how much I move around on my mat in that kind of surf.

I slide a little more off the rear of the mat to slow it down for short hollow pockets, and shift forward again to accelerate across fast forming sections. If I get separated from my mat for an instant--on late take-offs or when hitting a bump at high speed--sometimes I land out of position, requiring a quick shift back into trim position.

When mat surfing in semi-junk, which is my normal crowd-avoidance strategy, your nylon canvas deck material works super well. I can move myself around on the deck as needed, but I never slip off or get pushed off.

I have, in fact, been on a quest for the ideal deck grip ever since my first 4GF with the red canvas glue-ons. All my pre-Hybrid models have been modified, but none of them work for me as well as the Hybrid deck.

Tom T.

Jun 12, 2012

Jun 11, 2012

Mat Max's Mat Quiver...

With overseas adventures continuing, and total abandonment of boardriding ongoing, my three mat travel quiver concept is constantly evolving. Currently it's a MiniMax, a 5GF and an XL.

As for the reasoning behind model choices, here's my logic: The MiniMax actually works in just about any decent waves, and is really fun, but is a bit tricky to handle due to being as small as possible for a medium sized adult to ride. It's meant for body-dragging along extra gnarly ledges and in pitching barrels, so with its minimal surface area the Mini can be a bit difficult to skim across mushy waves under one or two foot. If I had to choose just one mat to use all the time it would definitely be a 5GF, because it really will work in almost any type of conditions, especially fast big surf. If the waves are good, I go straight for the 5GF, and inflate it so that it bends 90 degrees. I'm 5'8" x 175 lbs and was hooked on the Standard for years, but now prefer the narrower 5GF due to ease of paddling and the feeling of streamlining, which is rather similar to the velocity one gets from a narrow surfboard. On small fat waves the XL makes having good fun quite easy with its large hovercraft footprint that provides easy takeoffs and superb glide. The XL is also great for putting beginners on because it's so stable.

Personally, as a bit of a traditionalist, I choose rectangular mats, because they're more, er, mat-like than the roundtails, which offer highly entertaining and functional angles of high-speed drift like a rally car, but also slightly less of the on-rails go-kart handling that I tend to like.

A brilliant aspect of this particular three mat lineup is that they share the same size corners, so there's no transitional adjustment as far as technique goes. (A lot of global testing by PG, GG, and myself went into defining this ideal corner radius for the widest variety of conditions.)

Here in chilly NZ, I occasionally apply sticky cold water surfwax by rubbing it on lightly, and then letting it soak in by melting in the sun. (Just waxing up mats before surfing gives way too much grip for my tastes.)

Since I've been driving to the surf lately, I keep these three mats in the car, and am covered for all conditions. When constrained by space limitations, like jetting with a daypack, and I can only take two mats, they'll be a MiniMax and a 5GF. If traveling with just one mat, it's definitely a 5GF. Having been a mat rider for fifty years now, I'm more stoked than ever, and am still learning every time I go out. Being able to mix and match a variety of fully developed surfmats is an amazing blessing. I'm really looking forward to the next fifty years of matting! Hopefully this info will help people who are working out their own quivers or making mat model choices



Jun 10, 2012

Weekend Emails!

UDT/XL Fun = No baskets that day!


Hi Paul,

Here´s a pic of the Vespa and the XL at Pleasure Point. The waves were mostly nice for the mat and it wasn´t too crowded at this spot.

Next month 2 days of Brazilian winter, then vacation to Brittany - lots of opportunities to slide, I hope.

Maybe we can arrange a meeting (with surf!) again in the fall.

Hope all is well.



Hello Paul

I am Ryan from Minot ND, the geological center of North America. I recently moved to Oakland, CA in 2009 and was introduced to the Pacific Ocean. For 2 years I watched friends surf while I clung to the shoreline. I grew up on a lake and in rivers so I feel I am a strong swimmer but the ocean intimidated me.

I moved from Oakland to Santa Cruz for the summer of last year and lived with Sean Hellfritsch and Rob Wilson, two avid SC surfmatters. They introduced me to your 4th gear flyer surfmat. The added buoyancy of the inflated surfmat gave me the courage to paddle out into the Manresa shore break. I had never been in the ocean until this moment.

Sean showed me a few tricks for balance and took me to where the waves where swelling. He then showed me how to set up for a wave, catch and ride one. It took a few tries but I caught one (my first wave) and was reminded of how much I loved sledding on the snow covered hills as a child. I had to catch another!

I've been riding a 4th Gear Tracker which I had received for my birthday 9/28/11 and I love it! Thank you Paul for providing such an awesome interactive water craft. I would have never gotten into the ocean without it.

My wife Kimberly has recently taken an interest in surfmatting. We went out at Pleasure point last weekend and she had a go with my tracker. She caught her first wave and immediately said she wants a surfmat of her own. I am so stoked to get her in the ocean with me!

So, will you build Kimberly a surfmat?

Height 5' 2'', weight 120 lbs, Bolinas and Santa Cruz are our current surf destinations.

Thanks Paul.



Hey Paul... I sufed swami's for 4 plus hours today! The first half hour was on my surfboard and you know the rest... a quick run back up the stairs to get my mat! I've really got the hang of the vespa. I'm getting the feel of the whole mat, twisting it and gliding it across waves. I'm still at a pretty heavy inflation for a heavier weight guy but now that I've figured it out I'm going to start decreasing the inflation. KenDog what is a great help over the phone when I was first getting started.

Cheers, Henry

Paul, I took this pic, then went out, one of the better days I've had on the learning curve, good exercise for the old guy,

the best, Michael

Jun 7, 2012

Brett And His Standard!

Hi Paul,

Here's todays installment, Im forwarding you these photos while I can get them as I cant always get photos. Hope Im not sending too many and seems like bragging, Im just really stoked cant believe how the mats can make an old bloke in to a grommet again, and with the same stoke !!!!

I think your encouragement of Michelle's photography has motivated her to take some more photos (cool). More big swell on the way early next week so fingers crossed.

Thanks and cheers

Mat riding forever