Feb 28, 2013

Feedback From The Fringes...


Last cyclone was a hoax, winds were wrong, however I did get a couple of go outs on the new standard. It goes so fast I felt like that if I fell off you would die !!!! Holy smoke whatever you have done to that mat sure makes it go, I still feel like I need to ride it a few more times to really get the feel but so far its a standout, everything about it feels so right.

I have hit warp speed on quite a high inflation, number 7, and no sign of slipping out, It will be interesting to see what happens at a 180 fold !!!! .... may have to invest in a crash helmet !!!
Yours in danger

PS I'm down the coast atm chasing better conditions I'll keep you posted ! We'll try to keep the good photos and vids coming and try to drum up a few sales for you, thats the least we can do in return for all the fun we've been having on the best mats in the world.

Hi Paul

Just a quick thanks after my trip to Barbados.  Omni's great but I can't make up my mind with the fatty both great but subtley differn't.

Good trip but not much in the way of waves.  mostly 2-3' and some 4'.

Locals are getting the idea now after a few barrels! the remarks of whoopy cushion, and what would happen if I had a pin, seem fewer! but all good vibes Mats make people smile.

Thanks again

Keeping the Stoke


Got em! and dang do they look hot...  Havnt inflated yet ...the only apparent difference is one is a bit narrower...

Thanks again Paul ! Your the man! 



Sorry for not getting back you sooner.
I'm very mad at you for sending the "Fatty" to me.
If I knew how much fun surfing a mat would be I would never have bought as many surfboards as I did over the years and would have just stuck with the "Fatty"
Now, have been riding my "Fatty" that you sent over to me since last September and all I can say is that I LOVE the new experience of surfing a mat.
My first time out on the mat I received a lot of flak from my buddies and strange looks in the parking lot and in the lineup, but on my first ride I dropped into a clean 3-4 footer and made a bottom turn and shot across the wave.
What an exhilarating feeling I got from that first ride! I have been surfing longboards for the longest time and I have never experienced a thrill like that surfing. My buddies were shocked at the speed that was generated just going across the wave. Lots of hoots and howlers. After about an hour of riding I was done and came back to the shore. When I offered the mat to a number a buddies a couple wanted to tried it and loved it while others just wanted to watch and i guess contemplate if they should but I know inside they are probably thinking about giving you a call to get a mat of their own. Since that first experience back in September your mat is all I surf now.
All I can say is THANK YOU!
Best regards,
Hi Paul
Happy new year. Thank you so much! Grant has absolutely loved your surfmat. It has caused quite a stir among his surfing buddies, particularly when they found out it was one of yours, and they have admired the workmanship. It has already provided hours of fun on and off the water. A few punishing moments in getting used to it but lots of fun!
Thanks again, it was a real pleasure to do this with you, and your follow through and personal approach is really great.

New Zealand
Hi Paul
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 bug 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!!!!!!!
Hi Paul.
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
Rode em both yesterday in clean little waves.... Never have i got my knees out of the water in such small surf... Both hold a line but the 5GF seemed to take a line about 8 inches higher then the omni on a 3' wave... Waiting for JoshB or James Sowell to post photos... they both had gopros for the session. Cool interview with liquid salt too. Love what you said "But unlike most childhood dreams (like being a baseball player, playing in bands, etc) surfing lived up to its expectations" :)
Riding the 5GF in waves about shoulder high, very shallow and hollow, with multiple swell directions running for some very wedgy, shifty conditions. I had been out for an hour or so, nothing too exciting, a few tubes and some fun vertical drops, but very short waves so no speed runs, and I had too much air in the mat I realized. I let the 5 down to about 50% and instantly doubled my speed. I took a couple waves where I dropped in horizontal on a side wedge to get catapulted across the sandbar and backdoored the main peak I had been surfing, got a few great views and broke free for a few 3rd gear runs through little barrels that no one else was getting close to making.

Hope all is well for you and Glorida. Thanks as always for the fun,

Hi Paul,
My brother loved his gift and is looking forward to getting out in the water.
Hi Paul,
Hope this email finds you doing well... I ordered a Classic from you back in October 2012 and all I can is that I have converted and became a disciple of mat surfing! I have been riding the Classic regularly since the month of December and though my time on it has been short it has definitely brought a new passion to my surfing that I could never experience from a board (no disrespect to the craftsmen who have made for me some GREAT boards in the past).
I just placed an order for a new Standard! Already looking forward to seeing that box on my front door!
Hi Paul,

I just had 4 good days in a row riding 5-7 ft waves. All lefts, which makes me the happiest.

As everyone says, the Omni works! Right from the first takeoff the mat seemed to be almost not there--it seemed to be a part of me rather than something I was riding on. Wave after wave the Omni picked the best line, but at the same time with my input I could go wherever I wanted. I did some nice hard bottom turns, some high line runs, some speed bursts, even unweighting the mat (which I've never done before). But what I really noticed was the way it would ride fast and straight midway on the wave face as if all on it's own. Maybe that's where I wanted to ride and the Omni responded to unconscious signals from me. Whatever, I like this mat.

Tom T
Great service on your part!
Hopefully it will arrive today and I might even have it by tomorrow which would be great because it looks like good conditions here!
I will encourage more orders to come your way. Thanks for such excellent follow up!
Wow, that was quick! Thanks, Paul.  
I can't wait to try it out.

Came home from a long day at work and lo and behold what did I see on my doorstep?? A brand new Standard!
Once thanks for the awesome customer service and the quick turnaround... As always, much appreciated. Looking forward to taking it out this coming Sunday - looks like we are due for some nice swells in Santa Cruz! Will definitely provide you with a ride report.

Even without blowing up the Standard it seemed more sturdier than my Classic - this is my imagination or that the former, being more performance-oriented, is made intentionally as such? Anyways looking to try it out!
Just to let you know the mats arrived today in Byron Bay. Cant wait to try them out!

Hi Paul

Chris Brock from Lennox Head recommended I get your one your mats. Chris has said how much fun it is to ride them.I rode mats as a teenager in Sydney during the 70's. Looking forward to riding your mat .Beginning again,plenty to learn. Thanks for the all the tips.

Much Appreciation

If I was trying to be a conformist I wouldn't be riding a mat. I've met 6 guys here in VC on mats. Looking forward to trying the square-tailed Omni.
Thanks Paul – v.excited about having my own 4G. I’ve been using my friend Jude’s mat (she bought hers a month or so ago) and loving it ... except the occasion chin rash J
Have had an absolute cracker of a week of waves here the new standard is blowing the opposition into the weeds. I feel sorry for all my other mats now as I'm seem to be exclusively riding the new standard, its my favorite too it goes good in such a wide range of conditionsOpen-mouth smile

Hello Paul,
Confirming arrival of UDT..
Thanks again for your professionalism.
Now what kind of prototypes are you working on these days?
And, you don't have to tell me unless you want to.
Just driving home now. Very nice point surf at moffats. Long, winding walls with a decent helping of offshore!
The omni flew! I don't like to say too much after just one session, but it was really fun. I hardly knew the mat was there, which is the main goal for me I guess. Drove all over these walls with supreme purpose and drive. A chin rash is the only real drawback at this stage. Need to grow my beard longer.
Gave my cousin a go on the new Standard and he's very much a noob. He loved it and had a few killer rides. A few eyebrows raised. They're a lot more conservative on that part of the Sunshine Coast. 
Don't work yourself silly with the mat making now!
Talk soon,
With the weather warming here its time for me to plan some bike+surfmat+hennessy hammock trips.

Hello Paul,
Wow thanks Paul got the vespa in about a day. Great service...
I have not ridden a surf mat since the early 1970's in Laguna beach. From what I recall the mats were blue canvas with rubberized end caps good fun but rather rigid. Also good for a heck of a belly rash in a within few hours.
I have to thank you for taking your years of knowledge of mat riding and marrying it with the best materials availiable today making what may be the funnest thing I ever ridden on the ocean...
My first day on the Vespa was a learning experience...I found getting through the small stuff was super easy just float up and over everything up to a certain size then... Rule #1 hold on to our mat or lose it and swim a good couple of hundred yards!
On my second time out on the new Vespa I went out on my longboard caught one wave threaded it thru the substantial crowd got out of the water switched longboard for Vespa and have surfed nothing else since then... I am totally hooked on my mat and will not give up till I master riding it.
I was surprised when I finally got the Vespa up to speed as I have spent the last 40 + years riding different craft on the water. I have over 15 boards in my quiver plus several boogie boards. All I want to ride is my Vespa at big Rincon or C st. Make a few sections and get that baby to fly...It's definitely more difficult than it appears its also more fun than than you would think..
The biggest suprise is the look on people's faces as you go flying by...As Austin Powers says YEA BABY!!! Too much fun Paul I'm all surf stoked again 40 years later.   
The wife gave me a go pro camera for Xmas so if I get some editing software Ill send ya some mat riding footage...
Thanks again for making my Vespa and lighting the fuse.
hey paul, received my mat on friday and took it out both sunday and monday and super stoked with it. so much fun apart from the epic amount of chaff i got on my arms.
cheers again
Hey Paul
Thanks for the Omni. I paddled out at arroyo burro (Hendrys) a local break with combo of reef and beach. About 2 to 3 feet loads of fun and the grommets were trying to process a 55 year old Dude on a Mat.

Got it, gary had me read a lot of this already,,
thanks for everything, had a blast on it yesterday at the lane
I learned more on every wave I got, it is extremely touchy and technical, gonna take some time, but, I am keeping it on the face of the wave better now…and making more sections


Feb 25, 2013

From James...

Hi Paul,

This morning I took the Vespa Roundtail for a spin in some stunning waist high Cornish waves. I'm always amazed by the ability of the Vespa to hold a solid high-line. Just brilliant!
James H

Feb 21, 2013

Fair Warning !!!

This Week In Mat Riding...

From Jason

From Henry...


I'm emailing you a great tanker wave shot in Galveston Bay. When I recently lived in Fort Worth for a year, it was constantly on my mind.


Feb 20, 2013

From Shawn at Stoke Harvester...

Hey Paul,

Hope all is well in your world.

I just did an interview with Ira Mowen. Ira is making a film about a wave he discovered in Berlin. He's chasing it on one of your mats. :)



Also, some more coverage here...


Feb 19, 2013

From Tom...

Hi Paul,

You might already have this cover shot, but I just came across it yesterday when my wife Terry was telling me she once worked for a famous magazine publisher in the 1970s. I googled George Von Rosen (he gave Hugh Hefner his start) and while eagerly looking through a bunch of cover images from the 50s and 60s this one popped up.



Feb 17, 2013

From C-Dub...

Hey Paul,

Inflating for another fun session a couple of weeks ago.

All the best,


P.S. The coon-skin cap guy is Dave, a long time surfer, new mat convert....

Feb 15, 2013

Paipo Stoke Fest This Sunday...

Sign up here...

Not sure if surf mats are "alternative," "sustainable," or a sustainable alternative to the alternative sustainables...but they're welcome nonetheless!

Feb 13, 2013

From The Happiest Man In The World...

Hi Paul,

Here's my current quiver. Its got me covered for most conditions Smile


From Bob...

From Toshie...

Hi Paul,
I just got the airmat! How exciting to get the real airmat!
Thank you so much for making it so quick for me.
Hardly wait to try it. I might have to wait for 2 days since I am recovering from the flu I had. I will let you know how it goes.



Live Update:

Hi Paul

I tried your mat and it is unbelievably great. It goes really fast and your airmat makes me feel like I am much better surfer.
I am so overwhelming about the quality of your airmat. It was small surf, hardly wait to surf on the good size waves. Perhaps I might try in front of our house tomorrow morning if wind is right.
All the best


Feb 9, 2013

From Bob...

Went matting today...

Feb 6, 2013

From Gary...

Having fun since starting mat surfing. What a blast!


Feb 5, 2013

Underwater Waves Beckon...

May have to ride your mat really, really deflated...


More From Ian...

Hi Paul,

sorry to milk this subject so much,but thought I had to grab it by the horns,so to speak.

Assyrian warriors used inflated skins to cros the Euphrates early on. Most commonly used on Tigris and Yangtze.

I'll try and grab a few on my way back...


Feb 4, 2013

From Piskian...

Hi Paul,
an article I found in Popular Mechanics.

I heard people throughout central Asia still use animal intestines to make a bladder to transport goods and themselves across raging torrents.

We used to pack our clothes into binliners and float around headlands to gatecrash the Universal raves of the early Nineties!



From Tom...

Hey Paul,

In 1951 my parents and I lived in South Mission Beach while my dad was in the Navy. My parents loved the time they lived at the beach, and have always talked about riding waves on mattress covers from the submarine my dad served on. Here are two photos I scanned from my parent's family photo collection of my mom and dad riding waves near the jetty on inflated mattress covers. This was a very popular beach activity at the time. Whenever I surf there now on a much more advanced 4GF, I think of them having fun over 60 years ago doing basically the same thing I do today.

Tom T.

Feb 2, 2013

Two Good Reads...

...on the significance of fun.

Here... and here!

From Bretto and Michelle...

Hi Paul,

Its been a great start to the year here with some good swells from cyclones. Have been surfing a wide variety of waves so its been heaps of fun. Michelle took some good photos....


and since it was Australia Day last week...

I cant believe I've been riding your mats for almost one year, I'll have to have a party to celebrate!



PS I've got some good photos of a few of the 4th Gear Flyer crew I just have to get their OK and I'll send them to you.

Feb 1, 2013

From David and Rod...


John Clark Discusses The Six Types of Hawaiian Surfing:

1. He'e Nalu (board surfing);

2. Pakaka Nalu (outrigger canoe surfing);

3. Kaha Nalu (bodysurfing);

4. Pae Po'o (bodyboarding);

5. He'e One (sand sliding or skimboarding); and

6. He'e Pu'e Wai (river surfing)

The entire piece is worthy but the 'He'e One' section starting at 23:14 includes 1930s footage of Hawaiians riding mattress covers or pillow cases from the new hotels. See a guy ride off the beach into waves and back on a pillow case. You also have to love the guy in the 30s video who goes 'He's One' without anything underneath. John is a great historian and surfer.

See his book Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past,


...and other contributions, e.g.


Maybe this will inspire a 4GF Pillow Case model? Or maybe the more 'advanced' UK Mat Surfers will just go back to the future and start going 'He'e One" craftless. I am certain that only pub time is required for preparation.



Hi all,

After listening to some of the arcane arguments about what is and what is not a paipo and the same for a bellyboard, what is "true" paipo surfing, etc., maybe one could argue the only "true" mat surfing is pillow case riding ;) John Clark is captured in several videos on the Internet. Great job and great book.

Great guy, too.


Paul and Rod,

I am thinking my window for craftless He'e One has passed. However, I am going to go back to the future and try some pillow case riding. That is akin to sculpting ones own Piapo from wood.. perhaps most like the straight plywood variety. Simple is good. I wonder how they might have sealed the pillow cases .. if at all? In the beginning of John's video he discusses how the Hawaiians waterproofed their paper like swim cloths (covers). I wonder if the same oils were used for the pillow cases? Maybe "real" mats are pillow cases prepared like oil skin coats. Hmm, even cotton canvas tents swell with water and remain dry inside, without sealants .. that is, until you touch the wall.

Speaking of surf bedding invokes the image I see every year camping on Assateague Island. At least one camper tribe successfully surfs their queen sized camp bedding air mattress. Fun picking up where a 4GF UDT leaves off. Will make a point to get some pics this summer.

In the mean time .. I might swing by Bed Bath and Beyond and check out some some surf mats.