The Slyder Cup

There has been an interesting development in the mat world

Many of you may have noticed a disturbance in THE FORCE

You may have read about it on FaceBook or the UKMatSurfer site
(worth the trip if only to hear Paul Gross give us some historical perspective)

The just of the matter is that there is going to be a contest of several of the less mainstream surf forms

Read all about the Slyder Cup here

"body surfers, paipo riders, mat surfers, bellyboarders and alaia riders in a one-day surf competition that celebrates the art of waveriding from a ‘finless’ perspective"

Great Stuff!

I love the gatherings of the alt surfcraft variety!

Nicest people you would ever want to meet.

That said I kind of had to ponder the part about "competition"

Although I have surfed in my share of contests in high school I have come to view the whole pro contest deal like a sort of traveling circus that invades the local peak (usually at the wrong time of year) and then moves on without too much effect on the surfing done hereabouts.

"Competitive surfing is like competitive picnicking" is my usual take on the thing.

How can you judge who is having the most fun?

(Sidebar - They can't judge. Since the beginning an elaborate set of criteria was created as to what is good surfing. Funny thing is since surfing is always changing the judging never keeps up with the surfing. If you weren't on the nose you didn't get many points, then it was if you didn't do three linked turns to the beach you didn't get any points. Right now if you don't land the double-reverse-fatty-aire you punted in the shore break, well no points for you! It's hilarious and the surfers doing the leading edge surfing are always penalized.

An interesting note on judging surf mat riding. This will be easy because as my wife likes to point out "You all look the same out there". True. Surfmat competitions would of course be judged on the biggest smile and the loudest hoots by the mat rider. Straight forward, simple, easy.)

Surf contests are a marketing tool to sell more t shirts.

So where does that leave us?

The few

the proud

the elderly, myopic, and or crazy people that simply prefer to ride a mat because it's fun?

It leaves us EXACTLY where we were before

Paddling to get into waves, making some not making others. Getting cut off by kooks riding something weird. Because that's what kooks do.

But you won't care because you ride the most advanced surf craft on the planet and they are a blast!

Contest or no contest.

Post Script --

I have been reading and rereading the comments around the internet.  I found the post by Paul Gross over at UK Mat Surfer the most enlightening. PG was there, at what some might say was the beginning of the end. Now he spends his time, reinventing and refining the surf mat. Still stoked on getting into the water and having fun. If "Are mat surfing  contests good for the sport?" was the question. then PG is the answer. Just vary your inflation and continue on down the line.   


Piskian said…
As the acknowledged Boba Fett of the matting universe,I shall be busy working that day,and trying to avoid the Sarlacc Pit.

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