Apr 28, 2021

From The Tusked Beast

 Hi Paul, how are you? Hope you got waves during the most recent swell.

I was talking Wedge (a discrete subset of surf babble) with a friend of mine, Steve, who grew up in the Corona Del Mar area. He shared a couple of mat photos from his teenage years. 
First is from his favorite spot (not the Wedge), a bike ride from where he lived. He wrote:

"Great fast left at times.  Good cliff jump too.  Resident seal gang bodysurfing on same waves.  Lost my virginity and lots of brain cells there.  Ah, youth... "

 Photo: Woody Woodworth

I asked him to elaborate. Exercising discretion, he wrote:

"That photo from mid-1970s. And actually, my late great friend Tom Delorenzo and I had running argument over if it was his shot of me or vice-versa.  The rafts were those old striped ones, I forget make, but we called them “rubber ducks” and sometimes glassed 2 small fins into the bottom (before twin-fin boards, even).  Which sometimes fell off.  These were mainly the standard ride at Big Corona jetty, “off the end” when big south swells hit, before anybody rode actual boards there (or at the Wedge, for that matter). Warm water, rarely with wetsuits, so beyond the rocks of the jettys, nipple rash was the main hazard.  Plus big debates over whether Duck Feet or Churchill’s were better fins... "

Steve attached a second pic:

"Here’s my oldest pal Scott with his, Big Corona, 1975. October in fact , when the swells were best and school attendance got very sketchy...

Ps Churchills"

Take care,
Update From JJ ...

Saw the Surfmatters article submitted by Jonathan….stoked on that content!

Confirmed with Woody this evening that the “Scott” in the top picture is indeed one Scott Flanagan of CdM.

Who knows how many old Sea Kings (CdM alumni) will come from out of the shadows to share their jetty lore?


From The Fun Bunch At SCUMM


 Hi Paul

I scored some nice little runners on a nearby reef with just myself and a couple of Dolphins to keep me company. The Standard is still flying along! Many Thanks!!!


Apr 26, 2021

From Hal


 Hi Paul,

Several shots of a mat rider among the other chargers at the wedge in this batch from the first big south of the year. You can't miss him; it's Jamie O'Brien, wearing a red wettie.
4:18 is a great run in front of the white water!

Hope all is well.




 JOB got an Omni from us recently, and turned up in Newport the other day. Some pics of him are floating around the internet with said 4gf mat...



Apr 22, 2021

From Gogglefog


Hi Paul,

Hope all is well.

I don’t normally do tropical weather but COVID has turned the world upside down. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

My first time in El Salvador in 25 years and it’s changed almost as much as I have.

Take care, 

Apr 21, 2021

Inflated Porsche Chassis



While unrelated to mat surfing, or surfing in general, it's always fun to hear about ways inflation is used in engineering.

This whole vid is interesting, but the specifics start at 4:15...

Apr 18, 2021

From The Tusked Beast



 Hey Paul,

Bit of mat brandishing in this early 60s Australian footage. But what's interesting is how much gets crammed into the short piece, including Duke, Midget and Nat, an even earlier flashback to some young swain arriving at the beach in a chauffeured limousine (?), a record pressing plant and record store, and best of all, The Atlantics surf band pounding away, live, throughout.

Had a mellow, sunny session in south swell surf at Pleasure Point the other day. Bobbing around out the back, a woman asked me if I was catching waves. Funny how other surfers perceive us, or rather, don't perceive us. It's usually advantageous to be under the radar in the lineup... but c'mon, what do you think I'm doing? Hobnobbing with the cool kids? Fishing with my bare hands?


Hope you guys are well!


Apr 15, 2021

Apr 1, 2021

From The Art Collection Of Mister Dirk

Originally launched in the late 1940's, The Maturday Evening Post was tagged by The New York Times as, “The thinking man's mat surfing publication!"  The Post raised the bar with family-friendly matting content, countering the sleazy, mat-centric scandal sheets of the day...


The Post represented a significant step towards the decriminalization of mat surfing. Up 'til then, the sport had been relegated to outlaw status in most coastal communities... 



By the 1948 U.S. election cycle, a national ban on mat surfing was on the ballot...but it was voted down, thanks to the positive influence of The Maturday Evening Post...


The whereabouts of this priceless issue of The Post has been the fodder of speculation for decades...numerous learned volumes have even been written on the subject. But, in an exclusive Zoom interview with Surfmatters, our own Mr. Dirk reveals that he has been, in fact, the long time owner of the crown jewel of the surfmat publishing world!


 “Dirk, back in the day, how could you -- a committed surfmat bum -- afford this pristine copy of The Post?"

“In the mid-1970's I made a bundle licensing my patent on the Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device."

 "So what exactly is this, uh..."

"Vion radiant over-unity Freiherr-Knigge device? It's basically a way to produce clean neutrinos...it opened up a lot of the technology used in Smart Washer-Dryers today."


"So you were the cat who came up with that shit...cool! How did you develop it?"

"I had that idea when I was camping on the beach in Sidi Kaouki in Morocco in '75. We were, you might say, fond of the hookah, and it just came to me one evening. When I woke up two days later, I knew was sitting on something big. I secured a world-wide patent, then hired an intellectual property agent in Tangier...Buchra Garbhi.

"Buchra Garbhi...the notorious international arms dealer?"



"The same. But Buchra didn't become famous --  or infamous -- until the mid-90's, when she sold a metric ton of rock debris generated by the construction of the Tangier McDonalds to The Reagan Library."


"How the hell did she do that?"

 "She convinced them it was rubble from the Berlin Wall. They fell for it, and a legend was born."

"So how'd she handle the sale of your patent, Dirk?"

"She cultivated a bidding war between the Bavarian Illuminati in Vienna, the Soviets, OPEC and Disney."

"Shrewd move...pit the 'four points of evil' against each other."

"The Bavarians blinked first. The next day, my pockets were deeper than low tide El Cap!"


“The cover theme is interesting. It seems the gang is knocking down some brews before a go out maybe?”


“It has more of an apres-surf sort of feel to it," Dirk pointed out in his cogent, professorial manner. "I've done some research on that point, and from what I've learned, people back in the day would often enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two after mat surfing...then engage in a little amorous congress.”

“Sex, drinking, and a surf in the same afternoon...holy shit, imagine trying that now, in today's PC environment!"

"Unless you're Charlie Sheen, fuggetboutit!" Dirk laughed.

"And Norman Rockwell did the cover art?"

“Yeah...but it was no big thing at the time. Rockwell was a regular contributor to The Maturday Evening Post.

“Was he actually a mat surfer, or was he just jumping onto the post-war mat riding bandwagon?”

“Underneath that pipe-smoking, puppy-petting exterior, Norman was a hardcore matster...dawn patrols in Santa Cruz in boardshorts, duck diving Sunset on closed-out days, the whole nine yards! He even double-dutied his Converse mat as a beach towel on flat days...a style that's still in vogue today."


"Was Rockwell known throughout the beach culture?"

"Legend! They called him '22 Breaths'.”

"Not 23 Breaths, the universally accepted metric for the number of breaths required to inflate a high performance surfmat?"

"Norm's lung capacity was enormous. Fucker could fill a surf raft with only 22 puffs! Joseph Heller knew Rockwell from their days carousing in the Hamptons...that's why Joe eventually chose the number '22' for Catch 22


 Most people don't know it, but the original title of his novel was Catch 23."


"Wow. Why Catch 23?" 

"23 was an inside reference to matting...having to catch your breath after inflating a mat with the standard 23 breaths."

"So Heller was a mat surfer?"

"Yeah. That's why at the end of the book, Captain Yossarian escapes in an inflatable row boat."

"So how did he get from 23 to 22?"

Right after the first print run of Catch 23 started, he changed his mind and went with '22' as a tip of the cap to his buddy Rockwell.

 "Awesome inside intel, Dirk! How many copies of Catch 23 shipped?" 

"1500. Most got recalled, but a dozen or so are still out there. I've got a local hacker on the spy for a signed first edition."

"That'd be a great acquisition! Keep us in the loop. Any other 'must haves' on your bucket list?"

 "Obviously, any of the 3 remaining misprints of the Gatsby cover."

"Fitzgerald wasn't a matter, was he?"

"Nah, they just screwed up at the publishing house."

"Bummer. I thought he might be into it...what with Jay Gatsby dying on a mat at the end. So anyway, how did you acquire this issue of The Post?" 

“Interesting story. After I cashed in on my patent, I made a pilgrimage throughout Europe and the Mediterranean...looking for surf, artistic inspiration, and investment opportunities." 


"Nice. How did you come across this issue of Maturday Evening Post?"

"There used to be a tunnel from Algeciras to Ceuta, and like all great European underground stations, it boasted newsstands and coffee shops. I was waiting for my train in Ceuta --  I'll never forget the sweet aroma of the mint tea you could get there -- when I stepped over to say hi to my friend Saghir, the street vendor. I asked to see the latest mat surf magazines, and he grinned and pointed to a pristine copy of The Maturday Evening Post..."




"He saw me stiffen up -- speaking metaphorically -- and we started haggling. When they announced my train departure over the PA, I felt the time squeeze. I coughed up the dirhams and got the hell out of there. The next trick was getting it into the US."

"Why was that a challenge?" 

"The authorities seemed to think it had been stolen at some point. My sources in Zurich informed me that Interpol had posted a BOLO for the mag just days before I bought it. I wasn't going to take any chances getting it back home. I made my way to Paris, flew to Montreal, bought an old Renault, donned a suit and tie, then drove across the border...masquerading as a Quebec separatist posing as a Canadian businessman."


 "That old ruse..."

 "It never fails! The border patrol fell for it. They were so busy confiscating my trunk full of sham separatist propaganda, they missed the hot magazine strapped to the bottom of the gearbox!"

"That's an incredible action adventure story, Dirk! You have to make a feature length, streaming version!"

"I'm polishing the screenplay now." 

"I see Matt Damon in the lead."

"Already on board. In fact, that's why he moved to Byron Bay a while back...portraying a mat surfer immersed in international intrigue is the role of a lifetime!"  

"Who's directing?"

"The Coen Brothers. Spielberg producing. Scorsese advising. Spike Lee kibitzing. They were all over here earlier, raiding the fridge and going through my latest draft."

"Are they as committed to the objective truth as you clearly are, Dirk?"

"You know how those Coen guys are...obsessed with nihilism. They want my collection of surfmats to succumb to some kind of surreal, 'Kafkaesque air leak syndrome,' never to be inflated again."

"I guess you could always order replacement mats from me...generating a happy ending for the film at a reasonable cost with a quick turn-around time."

"I'll suggest that!" Dirk laughed.

"Let's talk about the Russian oligarch, Sergei Belitnikov. Until now, this issue of The Maturday Evening Post was thought to be in the his possession. How does he figure in?" 

"Serg is a kook. He floats around his private lake in Switzerland on a lilo and thinks he's a Hanalei charger." 


"Totally! He wouldn't know a Churchill swim fin from a Russian Orthodox Church."

"Is he sucking up to Putin, with all the mat posturing? 

"No doubt. Vlad has been into matting for a good while now."


"Yeah, he's put in a bunch orders from 4GF over the years, usually funneling the funds through a bank in Palm Beach, Florida. So how did Belitnikov come to be known as the owner of that issue of The Maturday Evening Post?

"I hired a PR firm in London to plant the rumor he had it stored in a Kremlin gym locker."

"To take the heat off you and your family?" 

(Dirk nods solemnly.)

"Was he torqued you fingered him? He's not the kind of prestupnaya you mess with."

"You kidding? He loved it! Dude was an incel loser until I framed him. Now he has to swat away the mat groupies with old issues of Bodyboarder!"



"So you guys are cool?"

"He sends us a Christmas card every year."

“Mind if we ask...what did you pay for that issue?”

“Hella dough, hella dough. Saghir's nobody's fool, he made a bundle off me.”

“Did he have you pegged as nouveau riche when you stopped by his newsstand that fateful day?”

“How could he miss? I was rocking a Rubber Duck Riders t-shirt I scored from a black marketeer in Marrakesh.”

"That's a pricey piece of history. It wouldn't take long for a Ceuto local to figure out you were flush...strutting around town wearing that thing. So c'mon, Dirk, give us a ball park figure for the mag.”

“In today's money, it would be 7 figures...plus I sweetened the deal with 10% front end interest of any future movie projects involving our transaction.”

“Brilliant! If the Coen project bombs, Saghir will end up owing you money!”

“Exactly! I laughed like a lunatic all the way to Algeciras, and half the way home! Truth be told, we still stay in contact, Saghir and me. He's done well. He took his profits and opened up an invitation-only mat surfing resort situated on the windward side of a tropical island. Warm water, blown out junk...it's a matter's paradise!!!"


"Sounds great! Where is it located?"

"When you get an invite, you'll find out..."