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.
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.
After all the frivolity of the past week I think it's time to return to the more normal fare for this site, that is the rants and ramblings of yours truly, a mat rider.
I hope I haven't offended anyone in the mat industry. (Both of you) That was just a April Fools post. Not even a good one. Thank you all for playing along with the home game.
If you are one of the 100,000 readers that came to this blog as a result of Kaser's post in the design section, welcome, you might enjoy my other surf blog Frequent Rip Currents. FRC is a more general surf blog where this one is more geared more specifically toward surf mats.
We now continue with our regularly scheduled blog entry...already in progress... sorry but you missed all the good stuff while you were reading the crap up above...
I was in the water last Sunday, the first time in a few weeks, and just having a blast in the shore break with some friends. It's spring in SoCal and while it can be a time of combo swells it can also be a time of no swell but local winds. I am either getting used to cold water (it's still in the upper 50's) or it just seems warm compared to earlier in the season. Ku Yah! and Fresh Aspect are (hopefully) laughing hysterically at this point when I mention that is was a cold winter for us.
So I am just musing on the past winter. Better, I think than average. Enough large swells combined with reasonable conditions for the young changers and more than enough for us geezers to compare it to some epic winter that we really don't remember anymore anyway. I still never made it up the coast to visit the Queen but there is always next year. All this on top of what I remember as a very good fall. Lots of fun size days with morning off shores. I think it's important to take some time to be thankful.
Several people have expressed interest in some sort of mat oriented get together in the near future. If you are interested as well send me an email or use the comments section to let me know when is a good time for a good time. So far it looks like a trip down to the greater San Diego area at this point.
PS - Regarding the photo of the body surfer at the top of the page. This is a great photo but unfortunately I don't know who to give credit to. I don't even remember who's site I pirated it from. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.