11 September 2010

Ever Tried a Surf Mat?

Photo: Ken Samuels

Don't knock it until you try it. Surf mats are faster than both boogie boards AND surfboards. You know there must be something to them if George Greenough (arguably the father of modern surf fins and the man whose innovations helped to usher in the shortboard revolution) stopped surfing long ago. He only rides mats now. His reasoning? A mat gets you closer to the wave. You're down there almost at the level of the water.

Why a mat and not a boogie board? Well, both are loads of fun. A mat, though, is malleable. It molds to the wave since, yes, it is an inflatable surf craft. When the waves get bigger, you put less air in. When the waves are smaller, more air. You can literally adjust your surf craft, to fit the changing conditions, while you're out in the lineup.

Bottom line: these things are more fun than anyone can articulate. Every surfer's quiver should include a mat . . . and a handplane . . . and a bellyboard . . . and some swim fins . . . and a good attitude.

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