The Right Stuff

"the right stuff" is the title of  this beautiful John Severson water color

I find it interesting that given the HUGE amount of images that Mr. Severson has to choose from how often he returns to the mat riding of his youth.  Makes me wonder if he had a really good mat would "The Surfer" magazine might have turned out to be "The Mat Surfer"

Mark Thomson staying high and driving.
Open the pic in its own window to see more detail

Out surfing yesterday in some fun little waves under a beautiful blue sky.  Lots of people in the water and lots of questions about the mat I was riding (a 4th Gear Flyer Fatty) so after the usual comments, I get the question, " how do you keep it from going sideways?".

The answer is well placed fins and no you don't have to glue them to the bottom.

I have been thinking about posting about the importance of fin placement for a while.

It all came together watching Ramsnakes  Fantasea Mat Riding in Slo-Mo post a few weeks ago.

I could pirate the video over here but follow the link above and go check it out at his site.

I sat in the local library, with their high speed video connect for the maximum time allowed watching and re-watching GG and Paul surf.  I can't get enough high quality slow motion mat video. It's only in slow motion that you really see all the subtleties.

(I have been trading emails with one of the big names in surf blogs about doing some mat video for inclusion on their site.  One of the most important things I think in capturing surf matting is a good tight shot in slow motion. More about that later.)

One of several things I noticed watch the Fantasea video was how much they used their inside fins to turn and keep a high line.  All part of the dance when riding your mat.

The next time you are out, especially if you find yourself getting "flushed" out in front of the wave, try being a little more conscious of rolling to your inside rail and using your inside fin to keep yourself higher in the wave as you drive out to the shoulder .

Photo by Jason Hall -

Unless fins up and sideways is right for the moment.


Growling Gecko said…
Ah the zen of fin usage. One of the things I picked up from watching the Fantasea Slo-Mo footage was how often Paul uses the outer fin to maintain directional control in the opening sequence of the fast run down the line in a higher gear so as not to diminish the speed he was enjoying. Still so much to learn and always amped to get on the mat again with the boards being left in the surf van more and more often.
PG said…
Page 33 of Inflatable Dreams shows Kenny Hughes using the same "outer fin dip" technique.

That first wave in Fantasea was much smaller and weaker than it appears on film. It was a struggle to keep planing, espcially with a canvas top and bottom mat (I'm riding a Merrin, with an "unpealed" bottom.)

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