Dec 27, 2014

8 Habits of Successful Mat Riders ...

Everyone falls for clickbait crap like, “13 Habits Of Successful Felons Who Stay Out Of Jail While Maintaining Their Ideal Weight.”

So...we now present our own, hard-earned run-down: 

“8 Habits Of Successful Mat Riders”

1. Surf Day Selection
The successful mat rider surfs only when he or she is feeling like it, not when the surf is good. Waiting weeks or months for the perfect day, then blowing off work, your child’s birthday, or a wedding anniversary to get to the surf is verboten for the mat rider who strives for a permanent smile on his or her face. Mat surfers enhance their real life with mat surfing, they do not displace their real life with mat surfing.

Simply put, any go out is a good go out...

...unless you're complete deluded, in which case, you're in a permanent state of rapture!

2. Dawn Patrols...Optional!
If you do feel like pulling on a clammy wetsuit in the dark, then getting the breath sucked out of you as you push through the first set of white water waves, knock yourself out.

The successful, self respecting mat rider sleeps in, takes his or her time with their morning rituals,  then hits it when they feel like it.  Bonus points: if you lag at home long enough, the wind has driven out the morning crowds!  

3. Surf Buddy Selection
This one gets tricky, because the last thing the successful mat rider needs is to create a barrier between themselves and other, arguably less enlightened surfers. But damn, the wrong surfing partner can really screw things up! They push you into lineups you might otherwise avoid, on days you would rather sit at home and read a book.
A sure red flag: Stay clear of any surf partner who EVER utters the phrase, “wave count.” Once you start judging your session by how many waves you rode, you may as well subscribe to Surfline and start calling everyone “dude” or "bro."


4. Mat Model Selection

The successful mat rider: a) owns a number of different mats, b) rides more than one model, and c) resists the temptation to own and ride just one mat.

These points are universally accepted…so the next query is, which of your many mats should you ride today?
Answer: It doesn’t really matter. They're all fun in their own way.
Extreme quivering: Mister Dirk owns over 500 4GF mats, and transports them all to his favorite point break every morning on a flatbed 18 wheeler...

5. Inflation level

Much has been written about the variable nature of a mat...because you can inflate it at higher or lower rates, and thus generate a wide performance envelope.

The successful mat rider doesn't get too fussy. Just blow the mo-fo up and go for it!

6. Performance Anxiety

We’ve all had it, even when we’re surfing a mat by ourselves, 10 miles from the next closest surfer. 
The successful mat rider realizes that no one in the water has a clue what you’re feeling when you ride a mat…and feeling is the salient element of mat surfing.  
This is how cool it feels to be a mat surfer...
This is what others see...
We come off like kooks no matter what, so get over it!
7. Après Surf
Here’s where things start to get interesting. What does the successful mat rider do after he or she hits the proverbial showers?  Food?  Sex?  Intoxicants? 

Yes please...


8. Sell all your boards.
The PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE of mat surfing experience is when you happily sell off all your boards. The successful mat rider uses the funds to buff their family with stuff they'd never buy for themselves. You're a hero...and your garage is suddenly more spacious. Win-win, personified!

Feel free to round out the list in the comments section…with one proviso: we will be judiciously filtering incoming comments. History has shown that the Surfmatters reader demo tends to be on the salacious side. 



Unknown said...

Love it. All true. I think you could add the Post Surf Ukulele Acid Jazz Jam Sesh.........jusy sayin.....oh and sensibly washing your mat....

Anonymous said...

Mat name, Moby. Good for burning speed riffs, and sliding pauses. Remember Grape Jam? Thanks for the tips.


harmless neighborhood eccentric said...


misterdirk said...

Well, it sneaks up on you. I honestly didn't realize I had a problem until I couldn't find parking for my third 18-wheeler flatbed. That was humbling.

(Seriously, though, my learning sped up enormously when PG encouraged me to cycle through a couple of models during a session. I'd recommend it, too.)

tuskedbeast said...

Brilliant post! Particularly love the balance/moderation notion, in theory if not in practice.

Since many mat people seem to be, ummm, very *experienced* surfers, an apres-surf bath in epsom salts really hits the spot.

If I knew what you were talking about, Moby, I'd certainly agree. Love Moby Grape.

Jeff said...

Best thing to happen to me was Lisa claiming my Omni as hers.Put me back on the Vespa and it was a real eye opener.Then got a standard and alot dust fell on the surfboards.

Scott said...

Haha. Stellar post.

One addition: Aren't mat riders prone to cackling? And at inappropriate times? Or at least when nobody else is laughing?

Skip Spence probably cackled, too. Listened to the first Moby Grape album on the way out to the coast yesterday. Great stuff. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

We mat riders are artists. The canvas is our canvas.


Richard in SB said...

Brilliant and hilarious insight into matters gray matters. It's as if Dave Barry is one of us. Thank you.