Dec 20, 2017

Guest Editorial From Rob


Paul, I can understand your frustration with the Dave Rastovich video. When I watched the last interview with Rasta about Proximity I was so excited, and then he made the pool toy, ball dragging statement while smiling from ear to ear. I thought to myself, all this amazing surfer had to do was tell people that riding a mat is technical and fun and it may have opened a few eyes.

Recently, I was talking to a local 60-something surf reporter, who will remain nameless, and told him I had been surfing for almost a year and a half. He quickly corrected me and told me RAFTING is not surfing. I did not argue, what’s the point? The guy is in his 60’s and still trying to rip away at people’s self esteem to make himself feel better.

What I like about mat surfing is the mat weeds out most of the assholes. I’ve paddled out to the lineup and said hello only to be met by blank stares, no problem, these are assholes, I’ll paddle away.

I’ve followed Rasta since I started Surfing and his Love for the Ocean and ability to ride anything amaze me. In his interviews about mat surfing Rasta always down plays it while tittering about it like a Child! How can you go on a rant that gets your heart racing only to call it glorified ball dragging to finish your statement? Rasta kills me with that Shit!

The standup surfers I put on a mat assumed it would be easy. Most never rode one again. All floundered around even with it full inflated. The surfers that stuck with it and put in the time and effort it takes to learn mat surfing cherish their mat as one of jewels in their quiver! My point to this is that mat surfing is just as difficult as any other wave riding vehicle. It takes a person with a special set of characteristics to take on the challenge of learning this craft. We are a small community of thick skinned dreamers, riding shape shifting surfcraft, on an endless pursuit of Joy! Everyone else is on the outside looking in.

I think Rasta down plays it because he’s probably told a world champ or two how great mats are and got the ball dragging response he ushers up every interview. It’s like calling yourself fat before someone in the room can. Mat Surfing will always be for those who get it, that’s really the beauty of it. When we all lose our egos and embrace the moment people will find the beauty in mats. Much Love to those who don’t get it, I hope that one day they do!

Paul thank you so much for what you do, I do not take it for granted! Mat surfing has brought nothing but positive changes to my life, and I am forever grateful for it!

Keep Spreading the Stoke!

Rob Pollard
Jacksonville, FL


Geoffrey Levens said...

Good post!

He is a great surfer and advocate for the environment and I have a lot of respect for that. But the market i.e. his career almost demands that he not really give props for what mats and mat surfing really are! Don't forget Rasta makes his living by "being cool". And mats are so cool for real, that they aren't cool, if that makes any sense. They ride too subtle and from the beach, well, the rider isn't striking poses and claiming etc. So really nowhere near the "coolness" needed to make big bucks from sponsors. If Quicksilver made/sold mats and gave him $50k a year, he'd be all over proclaiming their virtue.

Rob Pollard said...

You make excellent points, I didn’t consider how his sponsors may look at that statement. I just wished he would have said they are a lot of Fun to Surf. These mats saved me from crucial anxiety and depression! I found my Church when I was introduced to the Ocean by my 4GF. I’m passionate about what a relationship with the Ocean can do for people. If I help one person by turning them onto a life of Stoke, I’ve changed the world! That’s real, this culture changed my life, so I know it works. I won’t ride anything else. There’s so much to learn and it’s incredibly rewarding as you improve. I ride them like I stole them, I want to go as fast as possible, and I Love Barrels! I think a mat in flight is a beautiful sight to behold, and watching a great mat surfer do their thing is mesmerizing. I Love mat surfing and the small community we share! I truly feel for those that dont try it, and stick with it long enough to feel the magic! Stay Stoked! I’ve been a little touchy with this Lake Atlantic situation ;)! Catch some waves for me!

misterdirk said...

Love that first shot, top of the on ramp : )

Anonymous said...

Well said Rob. I myself was a little surprised when Rasta got so excited about that long, fast mat ride he got in his Occ-cast interview only to downplay it quickly after with the same comment. It seemed a bit out of character for him. Your comments highlight why I guess most of us ride mats, they simply feel awesome and put you in touch with the surface of the wave most intimately. The feedback into the brain is like sensory overload and beautiful vibrations! I often laugh trying to explain to some of my friends how something that doesn't necessarily look cool being ridden actually feels cooler than anything you can ride at times. That is the secret hidden in surfmats. Only those willing to take the time and effort to unlock that secret get to experience it. I'm definitely not biased either. I still enjoy surfing, bodysurfing, and respect any form of riding swell. You are definitely right that a mat should be part of any waverider's quiver. Sorry to hear about Lake Atlantic. Stay stoked and hope some waves come to you soon brother. David

Rob Pollard said...

Thanks David, I truly think Rasta gets it too, I love the way he surfs everything! It just rubbed me the wrong way because it means so much to me. I love watching all types of surfing, I just found the mat first and I’ve fallen completely in Love! I learn something from everyone I watch surf, no matter what craft they are riding, and I Love sharing the lineup with the Stoked! I am extremely greatful to be able to connect with so many like minded people through mat surfing. You definitely describe the experience well Bro! Keep Spreading the Stoke! It took me months to get Ryman to ride a mat 😀! I never give up!

thekraftpack said...

Great post Rob. Your stoke is contagious here and on instagram. I have surfed since I was a kid, so about 35 years. All in San Diego and Orange County. I have nearly stopped surfing several times due to crowds, cool guy attitude, etc. This led me to longboards and eggs in the 90's, now these are the domain of hipsters as well! Got my first mat a year ago and am pretty addicted, I have three now. So fun when you get a good one and just take off. It's cool to be totally under the radar and surf weird spots. I've got my teenage kids kind of hooked as well. Mats and mountain biking have become my outlet. Keep up the positive vibes!

Rob Pollard said...

Yeeeewwwwww! Thank you for your kind words Justin. Joy is around every corner if we open ourselves up to it! A toast to Mat Surfers...Here’s to Us....Those like Us...and Those Who Aspire to be like Us! Keep Spreading the Stoke!