/*23 Breaths: 2008*/

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stormy Weather

Normally I would go with Leana Horne but since today we are celebrating the Solstice I thought I would treat you to Ella and Joe Pass.

Here in SoCal, as Kaser put so appropriately put it on his blog "we all have dry gills".

It's not that you couldn't go out in the water but there really is no reason to.

You know it's bad when the local surf forecaster throws in the towel and just starts giving a snow report.

Then we get to the title of tonight's blog entry which alludes to the weather forecast for the next five days. No hope in sight, Ho Ho Ho.

On the flip side of the coin is the fact that the southern hemisphere is starting their spring cycle.

Check Surfmatters for MatMax enjoying some spring time matting.

PS the landscape shot that appears in the Some photos from NZ blog post is amazing. Nice shooting MaxDad! Click on the picture and you will understand why I have always wanted to go on a trip to New Zealand.

If you haven't visited Mr Smith's blog Born to Lose now is a good time. It looks like he and artistic genius Tom Threinen (a mat rider) got together to sample some of San Diego's finest. Tom has also sketched some frames of Don Redondo riding a mat! Maybe Drew Kampion will take "The Adventures of Don Redondo" down the mat riding path. Speaking of Path, check the Surfer's Path for a ton of great content pictures and stuff you won't find on the er and ing websites.

I will leave you with one final thought

Everything changes,

The surf conditions are so bad right now

that there is no where to go but


(ie the Winter Solstice signifies the shortest day of the year so starting tomorrow the days will start getting longer, and hopefully warmer)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Tree Water

Often this time of year, my friends and neighbors will ask me...

“Pranaglider, (yes my friends and neighbors call me Pranaglider) I am going to get a Christmas tree this year and I want to know if there is anything I can add to the water at the bottom of the tree to make tree last longer.”

Yes fiends, there is

I take the citrus fruit that ripened and fell off the tree,

I cut the orange or lemon in half and throw the half with bad part away.

I squeeze the juice of the fruit into the water I am going to add to the tree.

I believe that the acid from the juice keeps the microbial growth down, but orange juice is complex enough for there to be additional actions.

Next add some sugar

The tree will drink the sugar and live a little longer.

In my family the kids will put in an aspirin tablet into the water too.

Not sure what that does

something I am sure

So there you have it

I put lemonade in the water under the tree!

This also makes a nice new years morning drink, if you over imbibe...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's raining,

the waves are blown to smithereens

and are made up of all sorts of nastiness

that the drainage systems of SoCal

can collect and deposit in our ocean.

So I am at home drinking hot tea watching surf movies

Planet C is perhaps one of the greatest surf movies of all time!

I have watched the scenes of GnarGnar surf this point break a 1000 times

and every time I am thinking about how much fun it would be on a mat!!!

Here is a composite clip of State of S and Fantasea showing what that would look like

Stay warm stay dry!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Something Different

For some reason I feel like a long board.

I can't saw why,

I don't even like long boards

which is not to say that I don't think they have a place in my quiver

My first boards were “short boards” that were cut out of long boards

I currently own the following

9 0 Phil Edwards -3 stick
9 10 Mike Minchinton -1 stringer
9 4 Yater SurfTech -?
9 0 RA Wingnut – 4 stick

Plus three more boards in the 8 0 envelope although I wouldn't necessarily class them as long boards

I have surfed all of those boards enough to feel comfortable on them but then I moved on to other things.

Mat photos courtesy of Daily Bread

Mostly the mat

Which is a “quiver in a bag” ©

So much easier to haul around

so much better in the water!

(You may have noticed that I used the copyright symbol after the quote “quiver in a bag©” above. I don't want to give too much away but hopefully by early April I will once again be offering my own line of surf mats! The enthusiast feedback from those of you who purchased my custom mats last time have encouraged me to make a few more mats available!

Of course times have changed and although I have not set the price of the new mats I do expect the prices to exceed last years levels. The cost of materials has skyrocketed!)

But still I have keep having thoughts of maybe something shaped like this

Photo from Zamora Surfboards blog

Done in what is commonly known as a "big heavy long board" in the classical style

A big blank, maybe a little wood,

hand shaped,

glassed with volan

A sturdy board

Glassed in fin,

Functional, but not so functional that it works like a Greenough

But not a D fin either, no point in trying to make the board work bad

I want to ride it not use it as wall art

If you are familiar with this style of board you know they can be quite fun to ride at a point break

I am not that fond of nose riding,

it has its place

of course

it can be quite fun


it doesn't dominate the experience for me

But there are times when riding a long board is fun and I think about a getting one

Will I ?

heck no

not when I have a mat to ride!

Mat photos courtesy of Daily Bread

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Caution Shelter Party this Saturday

Click on the picture for the FULL MOON


The moon with be at it's closest point to the earth all year on Saturday night for the party.

You know what they say about the full moon and parties ...


Proceed at your own risk!

This Saturday December 13th at Shelter Surf Shoppe:

Shelter Web Site

- A New Art Exhibition By Tyler Warren

- The Premier of the Tyler Warren Expiriments (a J Smart Film)

- Live Music by the Mattson 2

- Skateboard Demo by Pickle featuring his ant Tyler Moma’s new sidewalk sleds (TnT Skateboaords)

- 6 in the PM.. Always Free…Always Fun…

Shelter is located at 2148 E 4th Street in Long Beach 90814

If you read down this far this is for you.

You have been warned!

I did what I could.

If you insist on going,

Remember that Graham's a cool guy and has gone out of his way to collect a bunch of cool boards (and mats) for us to drool over so be responsible!

Have Fun and try not to burn the place down!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Avant garde

The main purpose of any avant garde movement is to change the way of seeing or participating in an act so that any preexisting barriers between the act and the participates/observers are broken down.

More simply, to remove barriers that keep observers from being included in the act itself.

Stay with me on this...

People started riding waves doing what we now call body surfing.

Stand up surfing, generally on longer boards, created a barrier of space because you were no longer "in the wave". In many ways surfers were just observers. Not that observing a wave is bad in some way. I spend more time "mind surfing" waves than really surfing them.

After decades of riding long boards there was a revolution of materials and thinking that led to the modern short board and the surfing associated with it.

Although the short board revolution aimed for total involvement, in the end it fell short and todays hottest surfing maneuvers uses the wave merely as a ramp. (Amusingly enough this is called "getting air", something mat riders already have)

Obviously all surfing has merit regardless of device but I think surfing on a mat strives to remove the boundary between what was wave and surfer/rider/observer and allows a more direct connection to the wave.

While we are talking about waves this may be a good time to point out that the waves we ride are only to a small degree the water. Waves are really energy in wave form that storm winds transferred to the water. We ride them at their terminal end when they break on the shore but the same waves can be ridden out to sea as unbroken swells.

Something to think about the next time you ride an energy wave with your under-inflated air cushion.

Feel the energy, be the wave, you are the avant garde!

Click on the photo to see past the spray

Photo by JDUBSingles see more at his blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you Dale, Paul and George

I have been under the weather for a few days and so I have decided to re-post something from a while back.

I hope you don't mind.

Riding a mat is not like riding anything else,

but at times it's like riding everything else.

It's not like a body board.
Yes, you have fins. Yes, you are treated like a lower life form for no good reason. But there is a whole lot more going on with a mat that isn't with a body board. You do reshape the body board as you ride but not nearly to the extent as you do on a mat.

It's not like a short board.
First there is no ER or ING so there is no mass marketing machine telling you how cool you are if you have the right tee shirt and surf the right way. But seriously, when you are riding a mat you are surfing the wave in a more intimate way than you could possibly do when riding a fixed fin hard board. You can't really say you reshape your short board on the fly to fit the ever changing wave face, can you. The "moves" are a lot more subtle and aren't really maneuvers at all but optimizations to fit the context of the wave at the moment.

It's not like a long board.
Well maybe it is more like a long board. Position surfing, working with the wave, an emphasis on trimming and finding those spots on the face that provide bursts of speed. And the tube riding, eh well then again, maybe it's not like a long board.

It's "like jet-propelled bodysurfing"
This is right from the horses mouth.
Some people comment that a mat is a good thing to ride when it's big and bumpy. And it is a good thing to ride when it's big and bumpy. But it is even better when it is dredging and pitching. Don't take my word for it. Go look and any of the George Greenough's tube shots. Most were done while he was riding a mat. There is a feeling of connectedness with the wave that really helps when you are trying to sit in the tube. You can see the wave changing ahead of you and you can feel it, thru the mat, underneath you.

I have kept you a long time but here is one more comparison.

I surf in one of the more crowded areas of Southern California. But I surf alone. I surf it like it a early 60's longboard, lots of soul but maybe not that exciting to watch. But I am having a blast! As much fun as those first days as a super stoked grimmie in the shore break at Huntington. I hope to, someday, be a part of the mat revolution. Faster, more turns, more "total involvement". But right now it's like the 1950's or early sixties and I don't see another mat rider for miles and if I saw someone with a mat I would pull my car over and chat because I either know them or I share something very important with them.

So my final comparison is that mat riding is a lot like surfing used to be, a simple, joyful pleasure shared amongst friends.

Happy Thanksgiving, see you at the beach!

I will post again next week and will be answering emails and comments thru the weekend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fluid Dynamics

Thinkmat has posted his POV mat video on You Tube.

Great stuff!

Watch in High Quality mode for best results

All this time you thought he just spent his time making his own mats and curating the mobile mat museum.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Green grass and high tides forever?

Love the fall

not so much the astronomical morning high tides

Nice weather, combo swells and enough water to float an ark!

I would have bet that the name of this song was "green grass and high times forever"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Musica Surfica

Musica Surfica is now available!

Visit the Safe to Sea blog

Here is link to a review on Daily Stoke

Musica Surfica includes one the very best mat surfers in the world,
Warren Pfeiffer of Yamba, NSW.

Now available in DVD

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daily Randomness

Since Kaser is out of town I thought I would take liberties with his blog.
So I bring you...

Random Monday Randomness...

The view out of the back of the van when I woke up this morning

Prana was out on his pool toy (does he ever do anything normal?)

WJ (I think, he had a bonzer) was going out but I wanted to look elsewhere

THE Wedge had two guys out, one on a sponge and one on a huge catamaran, the search continues...

Two bright red amoebas on the charts means surf somewhere

The streets looked OK so I went out for a few

Here are some random, I mean art shots I took because there were bits left on the end of the roll

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Surfing around

If you haven't checked out We Are H20 now should be the time.

I nice essay on paipo riding, have a look.

The image above is included in the article.

Another site to visit is rodndtube.com

Monday, November 3, 2008


Some great stuff over at SurfMatters , a community surf mat blog with multiple contributors. Paul Gross is a frequent contributor and his photos of Greenough are not to be missed. My personal Brownie (that's a camera) has neither a waterproof nor a "way back" setting so you had best stop by an check it out over there.

Since we are talking about New Zealand blog also check out Coffee Waffle. "One man and his dog, blogging from Nelson New Zealand". Excellent photography and while mat surfing isn't covered there are enough great photos of other topics to keep you interested.

About to go check out the first post "fall back" surf morning in a few. There is some fresh NW swell in the water and it should be fun, if the wind isn't on it.

PS Thanks for obliging my foray into political blogging. Those that wrote into the blog or my personal accounts were all great!

Remember to exercise your right to Vote tomorrow!

Friday, October 31, 2008


So now you know who I am going to vote for on Tuesday.

As for the rest of the election I will vote in line with the financial conservative, social liberal, tree huggeryness that make up my political persona.

I won't go into the details on a surf blog.

So what about you, dear reader?

What I urge you to do is not to take my word for the appropriate way to vote.

Register, educate yourself on the issues and then cast your ballot.

Your thoughts, your preferences, your vote.

If we agree ok,

if not that's ok too.

Now some body surfing from Hawaii

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My New Tattoo

Mr Cubillos over at Patchies Hideout payed me the great honor of creating his impression of one of Kaser's mat shots.

I can only thank him with this

"Patchie slides right"

It should be acrylic on board but it's just photoshop.

Check out the whole series of bloggers-a-la-patchie at Patchies Hideout

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Post swell Post

As much as I like the mat as a super adaptive surf vehicle,

which it is!,

I may like it just as much for the post surf endorphin rush.

(Endorphins are endogenous opioid polypeptide compounds. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during strenuous exercise, excitement, and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being. Thank you Wiki!)

We have been having a good run of surf.

(A new record for the amount of sea water draining from my sinus' post session!)

But now we are back to the usual stuff and it's still a blast!

Both pictures blatantly borrowed from Kaser's website Daily Bread.

Go there for the goods!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I spent this morning with a few friends at a remote break that rarely breaks.


(I surfed the same old beach break with all the regulars, semi regulars and some guys from SD that brought a movie guy in the water and a still photographer on the beach)

Surfed the mat at the upper inflation levels since it was steep, barreling and reeling down the beach.

I can't move my arms


Typing this post with my toes and a little nose action.

Kaser should have some pics if you can't wait for the movie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Another day spent frolicking with the unemployed and retired!

Quite a bit of fog this morning which is odd since the weatherman keeps telling us a dry offshore flow will be developing.

But the SW swell picked up a bit and I got a few good ones!

During the winter I sometimes surf with a hood and since I lost my favorite,
(ripped right off my head!)

I took my backup out for a little pre-winter testing.

Warm, but I think it will need to go under the knife.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sacred Craft

The Sacred Craft show was last weekend.

Kind of a board porn trade show for the resin and foam crowd.

I would go if it was closer but it's not so I didn't.

I was looking at Manny Caro's blog Swallowtail Society which had some pictures of the booth he shared with Brian Hilbers, Kirk Putnam, and Marc Andreini.

Check it out

Mat's at Sacred Craft!

Seems appropriate for a wave craft that gets reshaped a thousand times a session.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ban the Bag!

Lots of offshore wind this morning.

Which should be a good thing but without any significant swell it is just a waste.

Which brings me to a deviation from the usual mat / matting / matter discussion.

Please use some heavy duty bags to bring your groceries home!

The light weight plastic bags are wrong on about fifty different levels.

I won't go into the details but it's worth it and you should go for it.

There are way too many of these bags flying around.

They are the new urban tumbleweed!

Checking the waves this morning I must have seen hundreds of these things being blown into the ocean.

Don't worry you will forget your canvas bags enough to have plenty of bags for trash etc.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Retro? No Bro!

I am goin' scream if I keep having the same conversation out in the water.

It starts more or less like this.

"Goin' retro with a mat?"


"Goin' really old school with the surfmat!"

The reason I think these comments are odd is that I that today's surfmats are the most progressive of a long line of surf vehicles.

I have to explain that with a mat you can reshape your vehicle as needed to meet the changing shape of the wave.

Gotta love it!

Or to put it another way

"To surf free friction, or fin free, primarily forces the surfer back to the core. It is an act of homage to thousands of years of wave riding. It’s a return to an unpredictable wild side in a sea of conservatism. It is a test of composure in delivering the upper hand to nature. Most of all though it’s just a frontier feeling of being untethered and unguided that brings fun to the fore. And fun IS the key."

Derek Hynd

(BTW that's not me above)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Greenough Tube

Just a quick post before I'm off.

I have always liked the Greenough tube shot above.

There are some up on the UK EBay signed by George himself!

Link to Ebay

Beats having "Dogs playing poker" up on the wall

PS real name of the piece is "a friend in need"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

surf different

The mat allows you to surf in many different ways.

Lately the surf has been small so I have been focusing on being aware of the nuances of turning, stalling and gliding.

Turning is accomplished in a variety of methods.

Turning by rolling to the left or right with the mat properly inflated and sufficient speed is a thing of beauty.

In the small peaks I have been surfing lately, I have been playing with turning by dragging an inside hand or fin tip.

That doesn't do much for keeping your forward speed up but if there isn't much should to work with it can be fun.

Dragging leads us to stalling.

Generally I try to keep my legs / fins out of the water to reduce drag and continue my forward momentum.

But if the wave is backing off and you want to keep your position in the curl all manner of leg/fin engagement can but used to slow down the downhill speed the mat is known for.

Any time spent body surfing will pay dividends here.

Once the wave picks up a few quick kicks with your fins can help you on your way.

Glide is perhaps the mats strongest property and can be deceptive in it's simplicity.

As Dale often points out, "the mat is alive" and I would like to add it wants to haul ass!

Faced with any decent stretch of wave face letting the mat alone to do it's thing often results in a blinding flashes of speed.

Amusingly, I would often wonder later what "I did" to make the mat take off.

Eventually, it occurred to me "I" had stopped trying to do anything and the mat took off like a shot.

The point being that if you shooting for personal physical neutrality and letting the mat fly can be an interesting way to spend some time in the water.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday indeed!

I just wanted to say "thank you" to all of you who have stopped by the site to read and contribute to the discussion on mat inflation!

Since this is a key component to the "magic of the mat" I am always interested in sharing in the experiences of others.

I encourage everyone to try different levels of inflation under different conditions to see the wonderful effects passing a little gas can have.

I also wanted to note that the event at Shelter Surf Shop in Long Beach is this weekend.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Everybody Limbo!

As I mentioned in a previous post I have been experimenting with low inflation.

I have had very positive results but I figured that there had to be some point where it didn't help to let out any more air.

The Limbo question, "How low can you go?".

So far,

I can definitely say,

without a shadow of doubt,

that it depends.

At very low inflation, the mat is still flying, skims well over flat spots and handles well


I am having trouble getting it to hold in on the steeper sections.

What I think what is happening is that at very low inflation that there isn't enough air to "build" a sufficient inside rail and I'm sliding out of the the pocket and down the face.

Fortunately, a breath or two and the mat holds in on the steeps and flys over the flats!

Let me know if this works for you as well!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

new mat blog

You should go check it out!


a new mat blog on the net from our friends in NZ.

This one will be open to various content authors.

I signed up but since I have two blogs of my own to neglect,

I think my contribution will be small.

So go take a look and contribute.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox is today and I am looking ahead to what I hope with be a good wave filled Fall.

The days have been cloudy in the morning with side shore wind and just when I make plans for a hearty soup for dinner the sun breaks thru and roasts me for the rest of the afternoon.

Here is a photo from earlier in the year.

On a day I decided not to go out as it "wasn't good enough"

Obviously I have wave judgement issues!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Give me Shelter

Graham is doing another film, art show, books, band and refreshments thing

This may be the last one for this summer

Always a good time

A trip down to see the new boards alone is worth the trip!

Be there

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mat rider reply

In my last post I mentioned a story in the latest Surfer's Journal. I thought the wave in the story would be great on a mat and I asked for any mat riders on Oahu to let me know if the mat would be the call.

The reply from Tony Lum gets a post of its own!

(Tony's reply starts below)


From Tony Lum of O Ľahu:

"The waves are big, but it's really choppy and the sections close-out too fast for my surf- board. I'm not having much fun, so I go home and grab the surf mat.

As I'm paddling out on the mat, I remember... the less I try to ride the surf mat like a body board, the better off I'll be... I see a big set on the horizon so I slide myself up a little further on the mat. I kick hard as the swell begins to wall-up and pitch-out. Instead of pushing the nose of the surf mat down, like I would on a body board, I grab the two front corners of the mat and "pull" it into the wave. I'M IN!

It's an extremely vertical drop, but the surf mat conforms to the steep face of the wave and I survive the late take-off.
Instinct tells me to dig my legs and fins in for control, but I fight it off. I lay down low to the mat, lift my legs and the FRICKEN THING TAKES OFF!!

I end up going so fast that I blast right by an entire closed- out section. I see a long boarder paddling out, with his eyes and mouth wide open, totally awestruck that I covered so much distance and was rocketing straight toward him.

When I finally kicked out of the wave, I was so far away from my
original take-off spot that I didn't recognize any of the faces of the surfers waiting at this new peak...

I'm learning new things every day. For example, I've discovered that with the surf mat, you can sit further out than the long- boarders and catch swells that they can't even paddle for!"

Tony, Thanks for sharing the story!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What Fun!

Flipping thru the current Surfer's Journal the other day.

That would be Volume 17 NO. 4 Summer '08 for those of you playing the home game and reaching for the stack...

So I am reading the UnderCurrents section in the back when I get to a piece by Jim Growney describing a day in 1965 when he and some friends shared some large and looong waves at Waikiki.

I won't go into too much details, it's a great read.

But at the end he gives credit to the Paipos they rode and speculated that is the only craft would allow them the long and speedy rides they got that day.

I had two thoughts,

what fun! (check the paipo shots in the article)

Second thought, it would have been unreal on a mat!

PS I get a bunch of regular readers from Hawaii that may be more familiar with the setup on big days.

Please let me know what you think, would a mat be the call?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Good News / Bad News

Bad News

Kaser has lost his dear little friend "Slingshot"

It seems that just yesterday I saw him holding it underwater waiting for the side wave at the Wedge.

I know we all hope for a happy reunion soon.

If not he will be replaced by a fast food tray.

Good News

I got a late night email from Graham raving about his new Neumatic Contrail.

Graham is new to the mat, but it seems he is a natural.

It might be a good time to hit up the Shelter surf shop for the eminent sale on lovingly used hulls and fishes.

(Just kidding about Graham selling his HUGE personal collection of top drawer surfboards, but the shop is always fully stocked, so check it out)

Monday, September 1, 2008

the art and science of capturing light

I have seen some interesting things on the mat.

Maybe I should say I've had some interesting perspectives from the mat.

So I have been thinking of ways to capture the the "view".

I have been avoiding getting into the whole photography thing because I view it as so complex.

(Photography being the art and science of capturing light you know)

So I was wondering if any of you had any experience with the waterproof digital options out there.

I have been looking at the GoPro Helmet deal.

Since I am preaty busy "flying the mat" so I am thinking of something, maybe helmet mounted.

To make it more interesting, I have a budget of zero, so the cheaper the better.

(Otherwise I would contact any of the high dollar providers of equiptment.)

So let me know if any of you have had any luck / experience in this area.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August Shelter Party - Goin' Big - Under the Sun

Shelter Party August 30th: Under The Sun and Goin' Big

Come Join the gang at Shelter Surf Shop on Saturday August 30th at 8pm for a gathering of the tribes!

Film, Art, Music and Literature!

Here's the Lowdown:

Film and Art: Under The Sun by Cyrus Sutton.

Scope the film trailer here:

Literature: Book Signing with Kevin O'Sullivan for his book on the Hayday of Gotcha entitled "Goin' Big"

Music: TBD

Refreshments: Courtesy of The Pike Bar and Grill.

Be There or Be a quadratic shape with four equal sides!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Tuesday, right?

I mentioned in a previous post that the 2008 Bodysurfing Championships was being held last weekend in Oceanside.

I didn't make it due to a combination of factors but here is some video from last years event.

If anyone out there attended this year's event drop me a line.

I would like to know how things went.

Kind of slow here as summer sort of turns into fall.

Which is to say we have June gloom and south winds.

To be honest, I don't know what day of the week it is let alone what month it might be.

The surf is expected to pick up later in the week.

And that's all that matters.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The importance of training

I can't overstate the importance of training and being in shape.

I take it very seriously and would like to pass on some of the techniques that have worked for me.

This being an Olympic year the importance of starting early can't be over emphasized.

I started the summer by laying on the couch most of the month of July watching the Tour de France.

A light dinner then three hours TV.


I warmed up with a half an hour of highlights of the stage from the previous day.

Followed that up with two hours watching a bunch of possibly juiced up guys peddling through some of the best scenery anywhere.

My cool down regime consists of previewing the next days course and reviewing team and individual standings.

Hydration is very important (especially during the summer months) so make sure you drink plenty of fluids.

I have been favoring the Pope Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. (6.99 at Trader Joe's)

Now there wasn't a lot of recovery time between the Tour and the Olympics this year.

This can be a problem because your body doesn't have time to fully integrate all the training you have done previously.

If you have an injury at this point (heaven forbid) you may be out of the metals.

The big day arrives, the opening ceremony, the march into your media center, the traditional replacing of the batteries in the remote (if you can find it).

The crunch time begins.

10 am to 6 pm everyday!

Following that it's the 8 to midnight "prime time" show.

"Prime time" in this case means now we are going to show you the stuff you wanted to see all along.

You need to have the energy left for a kick every night for the final 10 to midnight section of the program.

If you were dining on salads and eating nutritiously during the previous month now is your chance to eat like a hog.

After all McDonald's is the official restaurant of the Olympics!

So go nuts.

On a personal note my Olympics has been up and down.

There are times when I've bonked on the couch for several events but so far I have been able to rally back.

We aren't at the finish line yet so it's too soon to tell.

Good luck!

PS Coming soon my DVD on how you too can watch TV like an Olympian!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another day in paradise

Surfed the shoulder high south swell that is the predominate direction for this time of year.

Lots of bait fish in the water today.

Not long after I noticed the fish the dolphins showed up.

They had a go with the fish and rode a couple of sets.

I always like to see any sea life in the water, it lets me pretend that the water isn't as polluted as it probably is.

One of those warm sunny days that the water look so good that I am taken in by the beauty of it all and just let the wave pass by un-riden.

Yes crazy, I know.

Also tried some shorter fins today.

I am always fiddling with something, but I think I will stick with the duck feet.

Looking forward to Sliding Liberia tonight

Well that's all for now, I have to see a man about a job...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's been a good summer

Brazil by Ben DeCamp

Greetings all,

back at the keyboard once again.

It's been a good summer this year.

Not too much "June Gloom" and most days have been surf-able.

Went out at a local well known secret spot this morning.

I have surfed there for years but try to surf elsewhere since the run off is so bad.
Whenever I'm there I run into Kaser.

Today's run in was almost literal and he caught me tube dodging again.

I was teasing him about doing cover shots for "Surfmat Monthly".

Someone should really give the guy a job doing water photography.

If you are a regular reader of his blog you know he loves the water shot.

I did my best to run right over him but he held his ground,

a good trait in a photog.

(One of these days I need to mention to him that I am totally blind in the water and exercise little to no control on the wave.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

eleven and a half breaths

Just a quick note before I am out the door again.

First an apology for there being so few posts of late.

(you should see my in box!)

But its been a good July swell wise (not big but decent)

and when I get home from the beach and just can't raise my arms up to the keyboard

So just a few notes from the front and I am back at it.

The plug popped out of my mat the other day.

I was scratching for the outside and almost made it past the first wave of the set.

The mat had lost a lot of air and before I had a chance to add some more a NICE peak

popped up and I had to go.

The take off was a little sketchy, more of a swim in than a paddle in.

But then the this under, under inflated mat took off!

So the last few days I have been experimenting.

Definitely a trade off between paddling and speed but worth it.

So try it and let me know what you discover.

Start off with low inflation and let out some more.

Keep catching waves to dial it in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Innermost Limits of Pure Fun

A film by George Greenough

Head on down to Shelter on July 26th at 7pm for live music, refreshments and an outdoor screening of George Greenough’s Classic Film “Innermost Limits of Pure Fun”.

Our friends Ovideo will be performing their own live soundtrack to segments of the film while other segments will be worked out via the film with the original soundtrack by Dennis Dragon and The Farm .

This is hands down one of our favorite surf films of all time and features the likes of Chris Brook, Robert Conneely, Danny Hazard, Russell Hughes, George Greenough, Gary Keys, Terry Keys, Bob McTavish, Dickie Nelson, Ted Spencer, Davide Treloar, and Greg Weaver.

For those unfamiliar with the film, here’s a brief synopsys:

This release is essential watching because it is a cinematic masterwork of the highest magnitude. In it, George Greenough chronicles ground zero of the shortboard revolution as it evolved in 1968. This highly personalized film is the prime instigator’s perspective of the innovations that changed surfing forevermore as they came down. Track the inside out with George in groundbreaking point of view sequences that are utterly unique. Experience remote Australia and hidden California as ridden by Mac T, Ted Spencer, Baddy Treolar, Chris Brock, Gary Keys, Russell Hughes and a brigade of the underground’s best. Revel in the morphic hand hewn artwork of Patty Hennick. Hear the distinctive improvisational soundtrack which was scored on the spot by Dennis Dragon, (before the Surf Punks), his brothers Doug and Daryl, (the Captain before Tennille), and Denny Aaberg, (before Big Wednesday).

Check out Graham's Megatrough site for more details

Monday, July 21, 2008

yoga mat

As I am currently unemployed I have had the opportunity to surf more, a lot more!

I think I may have mentioned what a great surf vehicle the mat makes when you are checking the surf by bicycle.

A short wetsuit, fins, mat and towel fit nicely in the basket

If you have the time, the surf check by bike is a nice way to go.

Also since I don’t have quite as many commitments I can afford to let the tide come up or go out or simply pedal down the path a ways to see if some other sand bar is working better.

But that is not actually what I wanted to blog about today.

Since I am surfing more it is having more of an effect on me at the physically level.

When I was seventeen the above statement would have meant that I was more tired or was physically more fit.

Unfortunately, time passes and sand shifts...

Now it means that I have to keep up with my yoga practice to keep up with the mat.

I used the phrase “keep up” because I have skipped a day’s practice (or a month's !)in order to pursue other activities.

So the yoga practice is especially important to me now.

First the practice keeps my body in better physical condition.

Second, a post surf practice shows me where my body has been overly stretched and extended. If I find a spot or two that needs some mindful attention I find it during my practice.

This really keeps me on top of my day to day condition and lets me surf more than my advancing years might normally allow.

The combination of a mindful approach and more time in the water has been lots of fun and has even let me progress in my mat surfing.

Breath deep and enjoy the day!

PS Fewer pictures for a while as I am maintaining the blogs with a dial up connection.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bodysurfing Championships

Just a quick note

The 32nd Annual World Bodysurfing Championships will be run this year on August 23 & 24 2008 in Oceanside California.

Here is a link to the contest main site

While I am not a big fan of contests this might be a hoot to check out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

hands free

I recently received an email from a mat rider who wanted to know if I ever swam outside the waves and then blew up my mat.

I have employed this method on a few occasions. The surf doesn't get that big around here so I was able to put enough air in the mat to be able to find it if I lost hold of it and just swam out that way.

The mat rider who wrote me was thinking of some sort of pouch attached to a wetsuit vest. That would provide a hands free approach and make the swim outside more efficient.

In our correspondence, I mentioned that I believe that Dale Solomonson had done some work in this area.

Anyone out there have some experiences they would like to share?

Friday, June 27, 2008


I am taking a few days off to give the new mat surface a through testing.

I may or may not post depending on how the testing goes.

Feel free to email me.

Enjoy the week and breath deep.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I did it!

I over came my sloth and reapplied the Vulkem on my mat.

I know I did because I don't have sense enough to wear a respirator and the entire world smells like a telephone pole.

I applied the new stuff last night after work and it looked good this morning

Fun that the same atmospheric conditions that make for good wine, (warm days giving way to foggy nights) also makes for a quick cure for Vulkem.

But I digress

So when are we goin surfin?

The local FrogHouse crew scored at Cottons recently

I have next week off so anytime that week is good (the 4th is out).

My crystal ball says that Monday (6/30) may still have waves from the SW swell that peaks 6/28-6/29.

Any takers?

(I promise not to lock my keys in the car this time!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

At least the dog got a bath

Got some good waves on Saturday and Sunday.

But due to the heat wave I chose to stay in the shade and seek comfort in cold beer instead of working on the mat.

But everyone can relax

I did give the dog a bath

Not my dog but a reasonable likeness.

(My dog would have skipped the glass of wine for some cheese.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday at last

Still haven't resurfaced my mat.

Promised myself that I would get it done this week but then the refrigerator broke.

Some how my wife thinks that having a working refrig is more important than not sliding off my mat during a critical section, go figure!

But this weekend for sure, it's on the list, right below washing the dog and tending the garden.

I have been using the photo above as my desktop this week.


Kaser posted it on the erBB.

Part of a three shot series I believe.

No idea who the photographer is and maybe more importantly who the guy is.

I have been promising myself a evening glass off trip to the beach but the spring winds aren't cooperating.

Bit of a early summer heat wave here in so cal.

I mention this because several of the regular readers of this blog reside in different hemispheres.

I find that fascinating.

Why they stop by here or the other blog, I have no idea.

But since you do I make local and seasonal references to spice things up.

Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, June 9, 2008

So I went with the fish

I have a 6'3" that paddles like a long board but rides well enough for me.

My days of riding a 5"6" may be over.

All and all it was a good day.

Saturday's winds had mellowed out enough for a quick go a the local beach break.

Several things I noticed about stand up surfing (SUS?)

1 - Standing up with booties that I have filled with recycled coffee is like trying to surf with a kiddy pool strapped to each foot.

2 - Even though the water has warmed up I still went out with a full wetsuit and booties.Just because I always do, not a very good reason I will admit.

3 - While I have surfed long enough that leashes don't bother me they are still in the way.

4 - Just paddling with my arms for waves takes two of my major muscle groups out of the picture.

5 - Pearling up to my neck isn't so hard to relearn when you have been away for a while so that was one good thing.

I had to take a break from all this standing up-ed-ness so I locked my board in the car and grabbed my fins.

A couple of fun ones realigned my back, raised my spirits and exercised my legs enough to give the board another go.

First I skipped the booties.

Walking out with the sand under my feet was great!

I really need to trunk it more often!

I seem to get a glimmer of some old forgotten fishing skills and spent the rest of the session thinking of ways to modify the fish to flex more.

The final redesign has a foam band on each rail but with an inch of foam dug out in the center and re-glassed. (Think glass spoon but not dug out all the way to the bottom of the board and alot more foam left up under the chest for paddling)

A good day all together.

I think I will try to work at least one day of stand up fishing into the months a head.

I didn't get started on the mat resurface but should get going this week depending on the workload at work.

Regarding another mat go out.

This weekend is out but I am open after that.

I would like to shoot for some time with good swell.

I will be off the week of July 4th so I have a bigger window then.

But please don't wait on my account.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spring Chores and Choices

Go check out Greenough's old mat over at Megatrough
Graham has it hanging in his shop

As for me, it is about time for my annual or semi-annual mat resurfacing.

Something to get done while the June gloom and spring winds prevail.

I surf a lot of sandy beach break and I rub off all the Vulkem 116 texture.

So every so often I have to order up some of the stuff (I am ordering a couple of tubes via Amazon) find where I left my caulking gun last and get busy.

Since the stuff smells a lot like a telephone pole my wife banishes me and the mat to the far reaches of the backyard for the duration of the procedure.

Now I have talked about this before and Surfmatz.com has a couple of great how to posts if you are interested.

My dilemma is what do I ride until the process is complete?

My first thought is just to go body surfing, mat riding is a lot like body surfing and I do love it.

But I don't mind a occasional stand up surf as well and if I don't ride my boards on a semi regular basis I fear a semi rigorous spring cleaning may whisk away a few.

So my basic choices are long board, hull, bonzer, fish or tri-fin.

Long boards are fun but well too long, if you know what I mean.

The hull is fun but I think that is the last board I rode, I remember because I still have the scar.

The bonzer is one of my favorites but I need to fix that ding.

The fish is always fun and since both of mine are dinged beyond repair...so that maybe the call.

I have several tri-fins in multiple lengths that could be a good call, depends on the surf and the location.

Maybe and add the the quiver is in order!

I have been looking at some fish shapes by Steve Pendarvis (Pendo Flex) and
Stan Pleskunas (Wibbulator).

Both of these designer / shapers have done some great work in creating truly flexible surfboards. I think they would be a hoot to ride...

(Hmmmm, Honey, did you invest that economic stimulus package in long term or short term bonds?).

Actually this is just why I love the mat.

I just bring it and shape it on the fly into whatever I want.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

I haven't been updating the blog too much as of late.

Like everything, this moves in waves and sets of waves.

So what we have here is a lull...

A few posts over at Frequent Rip Currents regarding some new movies out and the first of a three part-er interview with Mike Black the writer/director/star of Invasion of Planet C.

It's spring time in SoCal and so far this month I have seen good swells from both northern and southern hemispheres,

heat waves,



and four dollar gas.

This week as we prepare for the traditional three day weekend / Memorial day holiday we are monitoring decreasing swell and steady side shore winds.

The coconut wireless has tales of one hour windows of calm winds if you are in the right place at the right time.

These down times are options to pursue other interests or fix dings.

Since there are no dings in the mat I intend on whittling away a little on the pair of UDT's I bought a while back.

I would like to keep the length but mow a little off the support ribs.

When the weather mellows out I would like to propose another group go out, let me know if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

photos from last weeks mat meet

Ken sent some of his photos from last weeks mat meet.

ASmith on edge and driving

Thinkmat with his eyes on the prize

Tom Threinen turning up

Pranaglider looking for the backdoor

Andy Smith of Born-to-Lose with a hand full of canvas and a racetrack.

Thinkmat likes San Diego

ThinkMat threading thru the crowd.

*Unfortunately, Ken was the only one taking pictures so we don't have any of him.

Look at video of Ken in Maui here.

All photos copyright 2008 by Ken McKnight

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Misc Wednesday

After the mat last weekend most of us went to lunch to talk mats surf etc

I noticed that several of us preferred fish when we surfed boards and found the lines that one takes when surfing a fish similar to the ones on the mat.

I ran across this quote from Dan Malloy on the er website and it seems to summarize the feeling nicely. "..The Fish gives you perspective on where the energy of the wave is. It's about the high line, speed and flow." The rest of the quote is below for your reading pleasure.

""I've really learned a ton about my surfing by riding Fishes," says Dan Malloy, one of a handful of pro surfers who grew up on thrusters but have recently turned to the Fish in an effort to reexamine creative performance surfing. "I'll jump back on my thrusters, and wonder, 'Oh, my god, why am I wiggling so much?' The Fish gives you perspective on where the energy of the wave is. It's about the high line, speed and flow." Which is exactly what its creator had in mind all those years ago. And although Lis continues to make a few boards for a handful of friends, he still marvels at the enduring popularity of his little Fish."

Let me know what you think.

Mattitude has just finished editing Ken McKnight's the mat footage from his trip to Maui. Looks like fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A great time!

A great time over the weekend!

There were 6 of us at the May Mat Meet.

ASmith, KenDog, ChileDub, Tom Threinen, ThinkMat, and PranaGlider

You know you have a good crew when only one third can use their real names!

I think it worked out that we had a "Teacher of the Year" as well as a "World Renowned Artist" in the group to balance out the karma debt of the rest of us.

Solana came thru for us and the surf and conditions were fantastic.

If I hadn't locked my keys in the car it would have been perfect!

(To be fair, I had my car keys, I just wasn't driving my car! Really!)

If you couldn't attend, you missed out, but we had such a good time another meet is already in the works!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Inflatable Toy Surf Meet

The incredible water color above by the equally incredible John Severson

Mr Smith has changed the coordinates of the ITSM -

I just checked the beach break again. It is not going to be the call. Let's move this party to a real reef!

Seaside reef and its cohorts will have waves and definition.

Inflatable Toy Surf Meet
Saturday, May 3rd.
Early until the wind kills it.
All are welcome. Bring your stoke.

Seaside Reef:

View Larger Map

Exit 5 onto Lomas Santa Fe
Head West (yes, west).
Turn North on PCH/101.
Seaside reef lot is the huge lot just north of Solana Beach. Its official title is South Carlsbad State Beach. If you reach Cardiff reef or the surrounding restaurants (Ki's, Olas, etc...) you've gone too far.
I would suggest gathering towards the south end of the lot.

There are bathrooms but you might have to pay to park $8. If you get there early enough it might be free, I'm not sure. Another option is to turn west onto Solana Vista just south of the lot. There is stairway access to the same stretch via some stairs.

This could be epic!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Things I LOVE about the mat

1) Everywhere in my local wave arena was flat. Took a chance at a local hot spot I used to surf everyday but haven't visited in ages. Most sets were knee high but occasionally bigger. What the heck, I paddled out, everyone else paddled away and I had occasionally perfect double overhead (on the mat) waves to myself! I never could have had that much fun on so little surf with a hard board. If I did I would have attracted a crowd.

2) You get to be in the water. I know everyone surfs in the water but if you are body surfing or on the mat you are IN THE WATER. I love it. The word "frolicking" comes to mind.

3) I tend to, well let's just say "obsess" about equipment. I just want to know how it works. So I can optimize the next board. But there are no perfect boards. Some paddle well, some turn, some tube ride. The "best board" is a compromise. Although there are different kinds of mats etc, I have one mat, it is PERFECT and it's done. A quiver in a bag! If I want to change it I can (and do wave to wave and section to section really). Ultimately configurable! So I tweak over fins instead. Still great fodder for the meditation cushion though.

4) Very easy and low profile approach. If I lived to the north, or the south really there might be a hike involved to get to the beach. Fins and mat fit in a pack with room to spare. I live in a metropolis where every beach has been bulldozed flat and outfitted with a parking lot and bathrooms to maximize the quality of the beach experience and number of visitors. So the easy approach in my environment is I can suit up grab my mat and fins and carry all the family accoutrement's. This should let me blend in with the summer hoards. (Alas I did get outed last weekend.)

5) Ten feet to two feet the mat is a quiver in a bag. The day I surfed and it was knee high for the stand ups, there were as there often are the occasional good head high sets. The same mat that works on 10 inch waves works on 10 foot waves. There is no "I should have brought my long board, fish, gun, quad, SUP" remorse.

6) Glassy waves are nice. Choppy waves are also nice. The mat adjusts to choppy conditions very well. When the wind comes up and everyone splits as long as the shape is still there you can still be on it! The same thing when its offshore! The variable inflation of the mat adapts to the water surface. I believe the Greenough quote about the mat ability to deal with windy condition goes "like a Cadillac over potholes!".

PS - Dale sent the perfect photo to go with the post. Warren Pfeiffer flying across small Noosa. Thanks Dale

PPS - I have been staring at this picture for two days now. (weird i know) But I have come to the conclusion that if you are doing it "right" this is what it looks like. I know it's subtle but this is my thinking. This wave is only knee high. The section he is in wouldn't be called critical. But check the speed spray coming off the back of the mat! Still shots lie like a rug but he is flying at this point!! Just letting the mat do it's thing and making little adjustments.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things I HATE about the mat

I am a pretty introverted type of person and even if I am surfing with friends I don't spend much time talking in the water.

That's not always true but for the purposes of this rant let's assume.

I'm surfing and I focus on that. Plenty of time to talk later.

Also I'm blind as a bat and I need to pay attention.

So I'll be floating along, or paddling my head off or whatever and some well meaning surf dude will say "I used to ride a mat like that back in the 60's".

Now I know this is just how normal people "strike up a conversation" etc. but for me, let's just say I am way too literal.

The first thing I have to do is explain that I too surfed the blue and yellow mats when I was a kid and it was a blast.

You would drag (there was a rope handle), paddle and push those suckers as far out as the walled up south swell in Huntington would allow you and you would wait.

A huge set would come in hit you and you would freight train straight in toward the beach.

Running over everyone in your path. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

But in NO WAY are they like the mat I am riding at the moment.

Now out of the water I can talk about these things non stop for days.

But not in the water.

I spend my days literally trapped in tall office buildings dreaming of the next time I can get into the water.

So dude I don't have time to compete your hydrodynamic education while we wait for a set, which even though I am in position for, you will take off on me anyway.

Because I'm on a mat.

Other than that, I'm good...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Class! Class! CLAAASSS!

Good morning, class. Good morning, class. Class? Class!? SHUT UP!!!!! Thank you

Teacher of the year ASmith has the following info for the upcoming field trip

Looks like North Torrey Pines. If it's small the beachbreak will give us something to ride, if there is some swell the reefs to the north will offer some fun.

How does Saturday, May 3rd look?

North Torrey Pines:

Exit carmel valley road (in Del Mar) off of the 5
Head west (surprise!)
Three parking options-
1- Park in the state beach lot, far north end and walk under the bridge to the beachbreak. I think, but am not sure, that if you arrive before the state employees then you don't have to pay. I would double check.
2- Head farther up carmel valley road and park on the west side by all the chaparal and the auto repair place. Take the trail just north of the auto place down, under the bridge, and to the beachbreak.
3- Head still farther up carmel valley road and merge right onto torrey pines road. park on the west side of torrey pines road and walk down the cliff on the trail to the south end- emerging next to the bridge and the beachbreak.

Read the Surfmatz forum for the latest

I'm looking forward to it already!

Bonus point if you recognised the Cheech & Chong - Sister Mary Elephant bit

Friday, April 18, 2008

Blowin in the Pines?

All the votes aren't in yet but it looks like Torrey Pines, an early leader in the race, is making a come back at the location for the Spring Mat Gathering.

No word on the date yet.

I say Spring Mat Gathering, even though Clayfin came up with "Blowin' up 2008".

I like it! Not bad for a resin and foam guy.

Unfortunately, anything with the "Blowin Up" in the title would get us way too much attention from Homeland Security.

I have been trying to think (something I don't do often) about names and "Partially Inflated Surf Sliders" is about the best I can do. You can take it or leave it...

I think we might get promotional tie ins from Viagra and FloMax that way.

For all the latest go to Surfmatz.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

a story for others to tell

I usually comment and or rant on the act of mat riding in this blog.

Although I do post time and space coordinates for the occasional mat congregation. (More on that coming soon.)

Today's post concerns recent events that are unfolding in the commercial space that mat building occupies.

You can read about the latest here at Surfmatz.com

The just of it is as follows.

The URL http://surfmat.com points Internet users to Dale Solomonson's website at http://neumaticsurfcraft.homestead.com/.

Information on the website include Dale's contact information for ordering one of his mats.

At some point, clicking on URL surfmat.com sent users to the 4 gear flyer website where there is historical info on spoon and mat riding and a online ordering system to order a 4GF mat.

How and why that happened I have no idea.

It does seem like there may be more to the story.

But that is a story for others to tell.

As for myself, I do have a plan.

I will sit down, put on my fins, blow up my mat half way and go for a surf.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mat Rider Gathering

A Smith from San Diego surf blog Born-To-Lose has started to organize a gathering of mat riders in San Diego.

Click over to SurfMatz here to get the latest.

No word on the official name for the gathering ( a gaggle of mat riders, Nothing But Fins, "The Dale" has already been put to good use) so feel free to be creative and come up with a name.

Mostly this is so I have something offical sounding to tell my wife.

No word as yet as to which law enforcement agency, if any will be annoyed with us.