Jan 30, 2013

From Steiny...

Secret Message from Outer Space
Johnny’s Barbershop 247 Trescony St, Santa Cruz

Corner of Trescony and Mission- Hanging For the entire Month

Opening: First Friday February 1st. 7pm

Hello Everybody-
Johnny's Barbershop will host a First Friday Opening for a photo installation I am putting up in the shop. Please come join us. Friday February 1st, Johnny's Barbershop 247 Trescony St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (corner of Trescony and Mission Streets). 7-10pm.

See you on Friday!


Jan 29, 2013

Zip Code 57104...In The House !!!

That's right, you heard right!

A 4GF just shipped out to Sioux Falls, SD.

First surf mat ever in the Dakotas???  You tell us!

Jan 25, 2013

Jan 23, 2013

Life Imitates Art...

I took a quick frame grab of Mister Dirk heading out to his local point break this morning, and was struck by his body language. The John Severson painting is at least 45 year old...

From Matt and Jason...

Hi Paul,

I thought you might enjoy a sequence I put together from the photos Jason Hall took at the Point at Ho'okipa.

:) Matt

Jan 22, 2013

A Verbal-Visual From Peter...

The San Lorenzo River was at flood stage about a month ago. As always during the first big dump, the water was chocolate brown and full of debris – tree trunks, boards, fences, plastics, etc. etc. There was a huge raft of debris, maybe 50’ x 50’, stuck in the standing wave about even with the edge of the beach - water pouring out and a fairly sizable messy swell pushing in.
In that standing wave was what appeared to be a longboard and a budget rubber yellow and blue raft...designed for pools and lakes.
The longboard would flip and flip, and flip and then slide against the current, then pop over the whitewater only to start the flipping action again. Over and over.
The inflatable, the other hand, rode the front wave perfectly the whole time – sorta going left, then sorta going right, steadily and with style. Sorry I didn’t bring a camera, but I thought it something you might be able to picture.

I hope you have a healthy and happy 2013.


From Dirk...

 Photos: Dirk and Steve
Some of you may recall that we started shooting a modest little film about a man (kendog) riding a surfmat down a river to the waves. It's taken shape slowly and pretty organically.
Last week Ken, who is a bottomless barrel of stoke, called me in anticipation of some great weather and a predicted swell, so we jammed up to our camp site in order to get some more shots. Ken brought along his affable friend Steve Senese, who lent a shoulder to the efforts and helped things move along nicely.
The surf was flat when we arrived but jumped overnight to become out-of-control huge the next morning. I had no compulsion to send Ken out there, but he watched very carefully for about an hour before making a canny approach and catching some of the more shapely beasts in between sets. The sets themselves were solid walls of disaster, and no one had an easy time of it when they rolled through.
I got my shots, and then we took a gorgeous drive back to my comfort zone to ride some more pretty waves. It was a terrific expedition, and I think I have everything that I need to finish this little piece of film. Now it's time to edit, which I really enjoy doing.

Jan 21, 2013

How Much Are Tickets To Maui???

(Photo by G, taken this very morning...)
Andy and Phil !

Jan 20, 2013

From Sunday...

Mister Dirk and Kendog share a small wave on their Omnis...while local first responders pull up to make the inevitable rescue!

Hand Brake Rail Grab...

Jeff's VW...

Sorry, no surf photos as of now, but here is Jeff's method for holding in...



Just got out of the water on the Vespa.I have sorted out the sliding problem I was having.

If I grab the outside rail along side my body and pull up to initiate a roll turn it comes up like a dream!!!!! Steeper face, grab further back. It's like pulling up on the emergency brake on a VW as opposed to grabbing the corner of the mat and shaking it like an old rug. High tide waves are the best for the mat.I was riding them to the sand making knee to waist high waves so much fun. I'd have been bogging out on other equipment.This is crazy but I've been matting 90% of my sessions.It's too much fun!!!!

Thanks again for such an awesome surf mat!!!!!!!




The parking brake rail grab works awesome in barrels!!!!! Had a great north swell yesterday
the Vespa was king of the barrel! It looked like I knew what I was doing.Likes a high line.Sorry to blabber but

It keeps getting better every time I use it!!!!!
Thanks again

Jan 16, 2013

From Jason...

Our water pipes have been frozen solid the past three mornings here in Paso Robles. Hit a low of 21F a couple of nights ago...not a record, but pretty close.

Now Jason has to shove it down our throats with a nice post of Matt B riding his mat on Maui!

From Kendog...


Not sure if this will open for you it's kinda old and in my primitive state I'm not sure how to send it. The vid is of Mattitude, on a winter day at Wiggums.
Huge outside swell so much so we couldn't find anything ridable in the giant wind that accompanied the swell. But there was Wiggums all tucked in for us. The Coast Guard actually closed the entrance to the bay for small boats as the conditions were really sketchy. We ditched them in the small boat by hugging the cliffs. Once they caught on to the Zodiac, they followed us to anchor and laughed when we jumped in with our mats.

Three hours later we were the ones laughing. I ploughed off the boat with my Super 8 and tripod and set up under the cliffs to shoot this. I only caught him on a few waves cause I seriously wanted to go surfing. Then I had to pack up, and paddle back to the Zodiac before jumping in to surf.

Mattitude's riding a 4th Gear Flyer, one of the first ones you sent me. Fun waves but really cold.


Jan 14, 2013

Maui Too Warm For You???

Hi Paul,

It's chilly overhere!


The Netherlands

From Maui...

Hi Paul,

I've been spreading the matting word here on Maui and on Facebook, thought you might want to put the following on Surfmatters.

The photo is of the Point at Ho'okipa from this swell, not me but I like the lack of surfboard showing. Who needs a surfboard! Three days of NE swell on Maui, this was today, I've been matting every day. My favorite was the point Friday morning, one guy, "I thought you were on a jet ski, your were taking such a different line." Another guy, after I caught a wave outside and blasted past a longboarder by using a long undulating take off, "that motion you're doing is the kaneloa"(longman). I responded, yeah it's a good motion I try to do it when ever I can!

Matt B

Jan 12, 2013

More Bretto !!!

Hi Paul,

Had to escape the crowds and the onshores so went to a little known spot offshore in the trades and no one out.
Its a few hours south, at my dads place. mostly a closeout which is perfectly makable on the mat.
I'll have to get a pic of my dad he loves riding the mat just took it up at 73 but still competes in surf life saving has 7 world titles and a few world records, reckons hell take up mat riding full time when he stops competing.
The Standard is unbelievable and so fast that it is scary, the photos dont show the speed but believe me when I say that if you fell I felt that I would die ! It goes good in small waves too.
PS Michelle had trouble focusing the camera because of the speed.

Jan 7, 2013


You will read all these testimonials and then buy a 4GF mat...
You will read all these testimonials and then buy a 4GF mat...
You will read all these testimonials and then buy a 4GF mat...

Hi Paul,

Mats arrived safe and sound. Came in from a point surf on the standard and a package was waiting, didnt even get the wettie off and straight back out on the UDT. What a blast, got down to a low inflation and the thing just lit up, Im going to have a lot of fun with this one, it reminds me of a pickup truck, requires a bit of effort to take off but then theres no stopping it !

Michelle is stoked with the custom standard, went really good for her, fast as usual and her initial response was wow its sensitive, also easier for her to handle in the soup.

Surfs going to pump tomorrow I'll get out on the standard HG, so amped Im tempted for a night surf but its too cold !!!!

Thanks again for the superb service, awesome mats and pure stoke.

Regards Brett







thank you Mr,gross.

your flyer has come. I try it.

kindly reguards



Hey Paul.

Let me see how the kids do the rest of the summer. And if they're into it, I'd like to get mats made for them. When I put them on my Vespa they absolutely fly!

I'll be in touch.


Hi Paul,

got the mat, looks like it will definitely do the job. Thanks for the T-shirt too, I will wear it tomorrow when I hit the surf after blackball. Cheers.


Hello Paul,
My favorite go-to 4GF (so far) has been the XL.

However, the UDT RT has been a revelation!

Granted, I haven't had as many hours logged in on the UDT as the XL, but man oh man....the UDT RT just screams!

At 3/4ths inflation, the UDT takes off easier, tracks a little higher, and turns effortlessly!

To be fair, I'm wondering how much my body weight is affecting either mat's ability, as my weight seems to be fluctuating as of late.

The craft beer movement hasn't been too kind to my mid-section, if you get my drift.

I was anticipating a larger South swell last week....this one came in a little too steep (170-175) for the Cdm jetty to work correctly.

I was hoping to test drive the UDT on optimum overhead sets, but Cdm didn't pan out.

On another note, I've assembled a new lightweight POV harness adapted for the GoPro 2 cam.

This new rig has a series of carbon fiber boom poles that can be configured a few different ways, for different perspectives.

I'll send you some pics of it soon...

Hi Paul,
the UDT has been delivered pretty fast, thanks ! We 've tried it out practising along the seaside and in a few weeks i'm planning to go to France along the Atlantic or the Verdon river.
Best regards,

I am super stoked and appreciative. The mat really packs small, so I take it everywhere. Now I will make an eight-year-old girl the happiest Tica in Playa Negra by allowing her unlimited access to my mats. I wrote a letter (but think I neglected to get it in the envelope with my mat) telling you how her father, the best surfer in Playa Negra, took her out on some pretty heavy days riding on his back and she was ecstatic. Said it was the most fun she had ever had in her life! She could just have easily drowned, but has no fear so no panic, just fun. A nice way to feel about the ocean. I can hardly wait to see her face when I tell her she can use a mat whenever she wants.

I can't thank you enough.

Thanks Paul for keeping me up to date.

I will ring George about the new Omni mat.

Hope you start getting some decent waves, its been pretty dismal here.

Best Regards,

Thanks, Paul. 

My wife and I (we're in our 60s) were boogie boarding Sunday afternoon and I told her about the rental surf mats I used to enjoy in Ocean City, Md. when I was a teenager. I wondered if surf mats were still available and started looking on the internet when we got home. I was delighted to find that updated models were being built and decided to give one of yours a go.

I'm looking forward to having some nostalgic fun.


I was stoked to get home after surfing chest hight point waves on my lb this am for 2 hrs. I was so stoked to see after another day at the old grind the box sticking out of my mailbox that only meant one thing. MAT is HERE! Thanks 1000 times over for the lightning fast turn around! Jumped in the truck and screwed down to the beach and had a blast. I was a little concerned it'd be hard to catch waves given the things the Internet had flashed my way, LIES! That thing rips the whole

Squeeze and release trim is a bit weird but I think the first two or three waves I was so excited about the view I may have been holding on a littttle tight. Anyway just wanted to convey my gratitude for such a rad sea-faring vessel. Oh yeah a couple of older guys got super excited that there's someone to order these things from. I guess the Internet is not as completely engrained as I thought. Thank goodness. I'll try and get some shots for you and help spread more love for these fantastic Cadillac's of body boarding'!

Paul Good Morning

Zeuf and I are armed and dangerous with swell on the way.
Looking forward to playing

Thank You
Surfed the Isaac swell with the Vespa.Much easier for me to use with lower air,45 degree+ bend in the mat.

Fast. No sliding. Turn from the hips and hold it down flat for speed.The mat is so much fun!!! Kinda addictive. My boardsare lying dormant lately.Thanks again!

Good Morning Paul,

Thank you for the email.
I cant' wait to ride the mat when it comes in!
I have been looking over the manual on how to ride a mat in the surf that you have on your site over the weekend. It seems pretty straight forward.
I have been surfing the Great lakes on a body board for almost nine years and surfing different longboards and short boards for about 15 years. So we will see how it goes. There is a nice blow that is coming in on Friday (All our Surf is Wind Generated) out of the NE between 10 to 20 Knots which mean 3-5 feet... should be lots of fun!
I'll give you feedback on how I do.
Best regards,


Love the mat and getting it on the different style of ride. My son Tucker is two to three sessions ahead of me on the learning curve. Now he has “got it” with take-off speed and line on the wave . His point “trust the mat”. Distant storm waves have been head high for us but closing out and leaving little shoulder. When it allow a good face it is Tucker on the face 15’ ahead of the breaking portion with a huge smile. I am getting out on the shoulder just not as far or fast . Too much thinking! Too much driving!

Will order him one for Christmas, so he can do it more and I can too. A friend Richard Woodbury got one from you and we are trying to build a group. Getting newbies past those first few days requires coaxing at times. Tucker is 6’ 2 ½” and 185. He went on line to check the size for him. Do you have any thoughts on the mat shape? Hope you are well.


Hi Paul,

We just came back from a 5 day trip to New England where Steve and I were invited to show his boards at the Grain Surf Re-Evolution in York Beach, Maine.

It was a wonderful adventure. I got some great still pics of Steve riding his new prototype that you sent, (and a short video clip too) which we will share with you as soon as I catch up with things. We were blessed to enjoy the hurricane Leslie swell for several days in various spots from Rhode Island to Maine.

We both love the new Omni prototype. Many thanks!
Steve rode his mat most of the time and friends/folks in New England had never seen anyone ripping on a mat, enjoying many of the performance capabilities one can do!!

4GF Mat evangelisto!

Kirk Aeder has enjoyed your 4GF mats in the past and had lost touch, did not know you still made them. We referred him to you today.


Love and Aloha,

Cher and Steve
 Hi Paul,

Just wanted to say thank you for making such a magical vehicle! I’ve had the Tracker RT out every night this week and I can’t believe how much fun I’m having. It has been sloppy and small, all my friends are struggling to get rides on their boards, and I’m just flying in on the waves and going in circles as fast as I can go. I’m really looking forward to the winter season and playing on some bigger waves.

Best Regards,


Dear Paul,
I had ridden the 5GF before, but may have had the inflation too high for its best performance. I liked the 5GF before, but I really noticed the benefits of this particular design with the lower inflation that I used yesterday. It was fine in even the slower, softer sections of the waves. This mat caught waves easily, maneuvered well and flew through the fast, hollower sections. I am about 155-160 pounds. I think that yesterday I had it at the 90 bend that you're describing. Previously it was firmer.
Now Steve is interested in a 5GF RT :-)
I did get to ride his Tracker RT, one day when he was using it and I was body-surfing. He had the inflation very low. It took me a couple of waves to get used to the lower inflation, but on the third wave I caught a long ride that peeled off and it performed great, I was able to pull up high into the pocket.
Many thanks,
Cher and Steve


Hi Paul,

I finally got to try the 5th gear for the first time in some chest high hollow waves, great little mat held a high line easier than any of my other mats truly a little pocket rocket.

Hope all is well and that your selling tons of mats.

Take care



Hi Paul
The Mat arrived yesterday, thanks for getting it here that quickly.
Gave it a crack this morning in 1-2 foot onshore slop. No one out it was that bad. Still had lots of fun, could have stayed out for hours. Seemed easier it was to catch waves with less deflation. Had a couple of 'micro moments' consistent with the feeling others have described. Will report back in in a month or two, hopefully with further progress!
Best Regards



Hi paul.

5th surf on mat today. Tiny, fat, onshore, no one out.
Experienced 1st bout of uncontrollable laughter going what seemed
crazy fast under the circumstances. Think I'm hooked!

hi paul,

got some fun surf this past few weeks, and one really fun storm surf session on the 4GF. My buddy and i put in and did a 2.5 mile pier-to-pier drift in big jumbly overhead storm waves. i got a few screamers. the two of us dropped in together on one especially big one and it was so fun to look over and see his huge smile as we were maching down the face.

Hi Paul
David here from Queensland.
The tracker round tail I got a year or so ago is going great.
After a couple of sessions where I was really scratching my head and wondering about it all things are coming together. I’ve taken to inflating the matt quite hard and when in trim going into a superman position. When I want to bottom turn or if I’m going to get hit by the lip I grab the outside corner but tend to still keep my inside arm off the mat trailing behind or trailing in the face of the wave.

On Saturday I had probably my best mat experience yet. A nice little 2 foot wave came through at Anne St Rock Bombie, North Caloundra where I surf the mat most. The wave walled up all the way to the beach and with the front of the mat just out of my view and both arms back in Super Man pose I had this amazing flying experience. Such fun! I can’t wait to get into it again!
Thanks Paul.
Regards David    

Hi Paul,

Just want to tell you that since I got my Tracker Roundtail, I have been hitting Pismo Beach almost daily. I am re-living my youth in Redondo Beach, including that great post-surf feeling of health and calm.

I would love to mat surf with others in the area if you know of any networks or riders. Until them, it's me vs. the boards.


ps Even my wife Wendy says, "You look great." Now that's an endorsement!

I hooked into a nice glassy right this morning on the north side of the Pismo pier, actually getting tubed in the morning sun. Made my day!


Hey Paul

The fatty introduction is going well. Had a good session in small glassy waves this morning. There was (the usual) pack of 20 guys sitting on one hollower peak, but further down the beach lots of empty peaks with hollow takeoffs, going fat quickly, into a hollow close out. And no one on them! Couldn't believe my luck. Got so many fun waves - absolutely stuffed now.

Will send some phots once my wife comes down to watch.







Paul, It makes other craft seem one dimensional!
The yearning for an Indo trip has diminished a little.

had the mat out in conditions very similar to the pic you currently have up on surfmatters (great pic hope it is me) the mat went extremely well the waves were very small but had a very fun cove to shorepound section. It drifted like a rally car around a high speed turn which felt like the fastest way as well as the most fun. Took a different angle than any other mats I've ridden



 Been riding my standard model here in North Los Angeles . I was out at zuma sunday with my 8 year old daughter teaching her to bodyboard . She grabbed my mat for a couple rides and was way more successful and stoked than the 662 foamie she had been on. I am thinking of getting her her own mat to ride with me . 

thanks a ton


dedicated to mastering my mat 


Hi Paul,

thank you so much. Am sure it will be great. We live in small wave country (Belgium), and main purpose is having fun with the kids and once and while by myself. You could expect more orders from Belgium next summer :). Will send everybody interested to your website.

Take care, Roel


Hi Paul,

Just wanted to let you know the mats have been great fun. Have been using the mini mat a lot on the close to shore days we have sometimes in the South bay. I've gotten some good rides. Thanks for crafting these great wave riding machines!




Honestly I have no favorite. Depends on conditions and my mood. I'll say the Vespa is what I go to for the really small stuff. Maybe the XL, too. And I always bring the Fatty.

For bigger and better faces, I bring the Tracker Roundtail and the Standard.

I really want to match the Fatty, The Tracker Roundtail and the Omni.

If I had to pick one favorite, I would say...I can't!

Dear 4th Gear,

I am heading to Ghana for a research related trip (climate data), but at the last minute had to make unfortunate changes which now forces me to go to DC before heading to Ghana. This, unfortunately, forces me to pay an additional round of airline board fees for my surfboard. Yes, I was bringing the board even though it is not an official surf trip....
But, now that I can no longer bring the surf board due to additional flight legs (don't want to pay an additional $150 to delta), I would love to bring the surf mat with me.


Although I live in New Orleans, I work in Panama, Costa Rica and Brazil. I plan to use it at all those places, 1st being CR during Christmas time. I grew up in Ocean City Md and loved the old school surf mats, that at that time, the early 70's, they were the only thing that could be used during the day when the tourists were swimming so my buds and i became very good at it. I since have tried one in Brazil a few years ago and have had access to it during every trip there. I finally broke down and got my own....I'm very excited.



Hi Paul
Just wanted to share my disappointment with the new 4GF Standard..........

...........disappointed that I didn't try one of these 20 years ago!
You were right of course, about loving the Standard in waves over 3 foot.
The first few tries in hollow surf were a bit lack lustre, until I tried pumping it heaps (only 45 deg bend at most). Yesterday in very hollow 3 to 5 foot semi close outs, I made more barrels in the space of an hour than I normally get in a month on other craft. With high inflation the drop and bottom turn was quite easy. Then to top it off, I took my wife out last night in a sheltered spot with 1 foot grovellers and let her test drive my fatty (which she enjoyed judging by her squeals as she dropped in), while I rode the Standard at 180 fold, and it still flew. Such a wide wave range.
Of course you have heard all this from others. Sorry for making you hear it all again. I'm that stoked that I have to tell someone!
I've been trawling through your old blog entries and picking up lots of good tips, your website is a great resource for those new to matting.



Dear Paul,
I can't thank you enough for getting me started in the world of mat surfing this year! After kneeboarding since the 60's I finally took the plunge this Spring with one of your fantastic 4GF Fatties. There's been a bit of a learning curve as you said there'd be, but the total experience has been so worthwhile. Now I'm loving flying across the faces of Santa Barbara waves on my magic carpet. Thanks so much for all your efforts to help others enjoy this wonderful form of surfing.

Sincerely, Richard

Happy New Year to yours!


We wish you two the same and all that you wish for in 2013.

I must tell you that surfmatters.blogsopt is the first thing I see when I open Firefox and I appreciate it so much. The humor makes it fun. The worldwide news of airmatting means there are people who love being in the sea instead of dominating it standing up above it all and ripping. That might be a bit unfair since board riders so often express the spiritual side of being in the ocean and moving with the sea's energy.

For me, though, being like a flying squirrel on my custom vehicle with only the experience and no ego involvement is so beautiful, and I love it that people all over the world express that in individual ways while belonging to what I see as an elite group of wave riders. You two with a little help from Pahl make that happen.

So Thank You heaps and Happy New Year from Sarah


Hi Paul,

The 4GF was on the doorstep when I got home from work yesterday, so I had to take it out for a little dawn patrol sesh this morning.

What a blast! It was small and dumpy but the surf mat just lets you go on anything. Too much fun!

Thanks Again!



Jan 4, 2013

From Tim...

Hi Paul,

I wish you and all the surf-mat riders around the world a happy new year. Somehow I’m convinced that 2013 will be the year of the surf-mat and I intend to “share the stoke” whenever I can, starting with a little video about my first ever non-solo surf-mat session. It’s incredible fun being able to share the same wave and not being afraid to get hurt or ding my board.

I had two more sessions together with my wife, which were also a lot of fun. In total I spend more than one week at the Atlantic cost of southern Spain and brought my longboard too. The board had a ding and I had the intention to fix it but I ended up using only my mats and they were to much fun. I had loads of beautiful rides in very different conditions - from tiny to overhead, from beachbreak to pointbreak - all types of waves are fun on a mat.

Thank you so much for making those incredibly versatile surf-riding vehicles.

Kind regards,


Jan 3, 2013

From Bretto...

All photos by Michelle...

Hi Paul,

Onshore summer days at the moment, washed off the new years hangover with a bit of tandem fun with my daughter, and a couple of other local grommets. The laughs and smiles are priceless. The

UDT RT is just an awesome piece of equipment.



PS New mat should be arriving today or tomorrow just to coincide with another cyclone swell yewwww keep u posted.

Jan 1, 2013