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!


Solo said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
asmith said…
I usually run mine at about "taco fold" level. Pretty low. But I seriously have to beef up inflation when it gets bigger or hollower. If I have too low inflation on steep sections I tend to cheat with my legs and fins to get extra hold. mega kooky!
MAT MAX said…
Fortunately, one can raise the pressure in a mat by squeezing it. For really small or extra smooth waves I let out air until I can fold my mat to look like the number 7. Even less air often frees up the mat in little bowly waves. One can always compress the outer front corner to hang in through steep sections and make hard turns. I find that L-bend is good for 3-4 footers. Then, as the power and steepness of the surf increases, I tend to add liberal amounts of air. For scary suckouts, I'll inflate my mat as hard as I think it will go without popping. Well, that's me, anyway. You can check out Twinfin's posts on the subject at http://megatrough.blogspot.com/ for Greenough's take on the subject.
Dale said…
While there are limits to how low you can go...

The lower the inflation, the more important the technique and timing.

Try a little extra squeeze, to increase internal pressure which momentarily firms up and fills out the inside rail, when running high into steep sections. Create pressure from hand grip, forearm, chest... even your chin. Also really effective when accelerating through hard carving turns.

George Greenough:

A mat has a variable shape. You shouldn't blow it up rock hard then
go out and ride it. You run it softer in small waves so the corners will stretch out flatter and it will skim more, and a little harder in powerful waves so it will be stiffer and hold in more.

You can fine tune the handling between rides by adding or letting out air. That's an unbelievable thing to be able to do. It's like changing boards any time you feel like it.

I ride my mat really soft. When the mat's soft and you are running
down the wave there's very little water coming off the outer rail. You can see this in pictures.

As you throw a mat into a turn you squeeze the front. That stiffens the mat up and it holds in through the turn. You learn how to squeeze the front when you want to hold in and release our grip when you want to break loose and skim.


A word of encouragement:

I was looking back in my journals and realized that I have been mat riding for 7 years now!! I can not thank you enough for all the great times you have enabled me to have thanks to your hard work and creative vision.

Since I have been mat riding I have not felt the need to surf on my beautiful quiver of surfboards. Mat riding has provided with the stoke and fills my creative expression. I have ridden waves from 6 inches to 12 feet. I learn something every time. And I think most importantly, I have found solo waves that are not good for surfing but work great on the mats.

Last week was a good example: There was a decent south swell but the tides were high in the day and the northwest winds were blowing around 15 knots. When I pulled up to the point 3 guys were riding the inside reef, but the waves were not giving them much to work with.

As I paddled out I could see a decent size set on the horizon. My UDTs gave me the speed to jet to the outside reef, past the surfers who thought that I was kooking out, to the second reef. I was in perfect position as the wave of the day, a 6 foot beauty came in.

I was on it, it jacked up and kept fighting the tide but soon imploded. The mat made the drop of course and was able maintain momentum to the inside were it just lined up and I zipped on down the line making 3 long bottom turns finally reaching the channel.

I timed the sets that day every 12 minutes, and was able to surf the inside reef for a couple of little peelers and then get back outside to catch the bigger the sets. The mat and UDTS got me into the waves a good 10 feet outside the surfers. I was able to catch just the top part of the wave before it backed off and make huge sweeping s-turns until the wave took off, then I would hold my edge until the last minute, slide slip down the face and be able to set an edge pretty much on any part of the wave.

I learn something every time I am mat surfing. I never regret that I am out on the mat except the odd days in the winter when I am alone out there and a macker catches me inside with a 8 foot wave breaking 2 feet in front of me, I wouldn't mind to be able to duck dive or have a leash, but that I what makes it interesting.

By no means have I mastered the mat every time it teaches me something and reacts to parts of the wave I never knew had power in them, again that's what makes mat riding interesting!!

7 years ago on 9-10-01 I caught my first set wave at second point and I have been hooked since!!! Thank you for the stoke.


Martin Headman
twinfin said…
So far I feel like a good place to start is the easy 90 degree point. With the conditions being as they have been lately, I have been keeping it there or letting air out.

On mt first rides using the author of this post's mat, I found myself toying with the pressure a bit letting air out just so I could climb on top of the thing.

Isn't it amazing that the mat is a craft that you can adjust on the spot to the conditions?

The words I gave came from George by way of Dale.

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