a simple joyful pleasure

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 different thing going on with a mat that isn't with a body board. You do reshape the body board as you ride but can't change the volume as you do on a mat. Not a bad craft mind you. Just different

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. Three to the beach and scored on a scale of 0 to 10? 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 body surfing"
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 at George Greenough's POV 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.  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. Every once in a while we gather together just to have someone else in the water riding a mat. Imagine having to do that with a surfboard!

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


Anonymous said…
Nailed it...

Unknown said…
We don't need to justify our existence any longer...just be. Those that "get it" do, while those who don't might never. Surf more speaks volumes.
Philthy said…
Puts fun back into your surfing. And smile on ya dial. 😎

Popular Posts