Shoney Goes North

Well… Not that far north. This is “Shoney”, a custom G-Mat Ute built for Marianne Davies in North Devon.

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Shoney, a gift for Marianne from her brother John, is now resident in North Devon, UK. It seems that there is a real growing interest in mat surfing up there. It’s been a while since I visited but I think it may be due. A mat meet on a certain point break would be something else over this winter.

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Anyway, back to Shoney, she is a 200/70 wheezer which gives a less jelly-like experience. Also a good option in heavier waves.

Hope to see her in action!

Cheers

G

G-Mat 157 - Da Bolt!

Say hello to “Da Bolt”, a 200/70 Nouveau Racer built for Michael Kennedy.

G-Mat 157 Surfmat Michael Kennedy Da Bolt

Da Bolt is Michael’s tribute to one of mat surfing’s greats; the sorely missed Eric “Da Bolt” Bridges. I’ll let Michael’s words do the talking:

“A few years ago I was chatting with Eric Bridges here on FB. He was retiring and I was telling him how envious I was. His simple plan was to surf with his mates and fish for sambos. Such a simple plan that sounded like so much fun.

Life doesn't always turn out the way we plan. Losing Eric was devastating on many levels. It was like in my mind I was vicariously living his life...no work...play every day with your friends. There was hope as I plowed through another 50-60 hour work week. Eric was proof there was light at the end of the tunnel. Suffice to say the events that transpired shattered all of that.

So how do you pick up those shattered pieces and make them into something good again? Not really sure but my first thought when I began designing my new G-Mat was to pay tribute to Eric with it. Kind of like he's along for the ride in spirit. Its name is "Da Bolt". 

With much Aloha Eric.”

G-Mat 157 Surfmat Michael Kennedy Da Bolt

It’s been an honour o be able to play my part in this. Eric was a great guy!

So, “Da Bolt” will be heading off to Hawaii to team up with Michael. She is built with solid winter waves in mind so will be just the ticket for what looks like a winter of pretty big surf!

Cheers

G

#ericwouldgo

G-Mat 157 Surfmat Michael Kennedy Da Bolt

G-Mat 156 (AKA "Margaret")

Say howdo to Margaret. Margaret is a G-Mat Ute and she has just landed in the US of A (Costa Mesa to be precise) and Margaret is the new love interest of Brett Tweedy.

G-Mat 156 Surfmat Brett Tweedy

Brett is a Wedge guy, a lover of kneeboards (man after my own heart) and a fella  who has developed an interest in mats. Well... why wouldn't he?! Brett also take trips further up the coast and gets in to some less crowded point breaks, which is where Margaret can really come in to her own.

So, more on Margaret. She is a Ute with free rocker. We decided to build her as a free breather to open up on those long Cali rights. Grip is Sikaflex EBT 2/3 of Margaret's length with the front corners also gripped to help out with duckdives and the like. 200 denier yellow deck and 70d navy bottom and Hestered valve.

G-Mat 156 Surfmat Brett Tweedy

Swell is coming in apparently... Have fun Brett! Hope to hear some love stories.

Cheers

G

G-Mat 156 Surfmat Brett Tweedy

PS. A word on that navy 70d material. I love it. The denier of any material only tells you so much. The density of the weave and the amount of TPU all have an impact and this blue is light on both counts. It's reminiscent of the green material I had a while back which some might remember. It's not the easiest to work with but is soooooooooo pliable. :)

PPS. If you live in Costa Mesa and need your drains sorting, be sure to give Tweedy Plumbing & Restoration a call: https://tweedyplumbing.com/

Blue Raspberry

Ladies and Gents, Boys and Girls, please welcome Blue Raspberry into your local lineup! (If you're in Santa Cruz).

G-Mat 155 Surfmat Blue Raspberry Jason MacMurray

Blue Raspberry is a G-Mat Ute built for my good friend and accomplished mat rider, Jason MacMurray. She is a 70/70 construction with acid dyed deck with progressively faded striped starting with a deep burgundy tail dip. The whole mat is actually more burgundy than the shots let on. 

G-Mat 155 Surfmat Blue Raspberry Jason MacMurray

Design-wise, Blue Raspberry (named by Jason's daughters) has a Hestered valve (because Jason's face needs all the help it can get). She is a free-breather with negative elastic rocker. Rockers in mats are only visible at rock hard inflation but their effects are felt even at low inflation. Negative rocker is the fastest and in combination with the lightweight materials (and this 70d navy I have in stock right now is lovely on that front) and unrestricted air flow, Blue Raspberry is going to go like a greased shit off a hot shovel!

G-Mat 155 Surfmat Reverse Rocker Blue Raspberry Jason MacMurray

Blue Raspberry is en route right now so I'm looking forward to the ride report. I've set it before... Sometimes you build a mat that you really don't want to let go of... This is one of those times...

Have fun Jason!

G

PS For more on rockers, have a read HERE.

G-Mat 155 Surfmat Blue Raspberry Jason MacMurray

Prototype: Nouveau Racer - S Deck (or all that glitters...)

G-Mat 154 Surfmat Nouveau Racer PDR Progressive Dropped Rail Prototype

I've recently built a prototype based on an existing design called the Nouveau Racer which is a mat built for solid/big waves. I thought some might find it interesting to get an insight into some of the design and testing process that goes in to these funbags we call surfmats.

This model has a 1/16" inward cant on I-beams 1,2,4 and 5 giving an enhanced concave and a slightly more taught feel than vertical I'beams without affecting overall pliability. All my mats have canted I-beams bar one and this is the standard configuration for the Nouveau Racer. No news there.

G-Mat 154 Surfmat Nouveau Racer PDR Progressive Dropped Rail Prototype

This proto (which I've named the Nouveau Racer - S Deck) has the same configuration on the bottom but some heavy alterations on the deck. 

G-Mat 154 Surfmat Nouveau Racer PDR Progressive Dropped Rail Prototype

Look closely and you'll see the I-beams fanning out progressively towards the tail on the deck. On the bottom they're parallel.

This leads to a progressive increase in rail drop towards the tail...

And a deepening concave of just over 5/8" at the nose and 13/16" at the tail.

My hope was that the torsion in the I-Beam and dropping rail towards the tail would lead to a mat that would increase bite and stability at the tail, combined with lift. Put simply, I was hoping she'd goes quickly forwards and be disinclined to go sideways. Perfect for heavy surf. The original design already achieves this really well so if after testing it turned out that there is no benefit, or didn't work at all, nothing lost. 

Let's see...

So as you can see, she goes forward. Well, she was always going to. She's also fairly quick. BUT... Here's the main learning point. Changing the parallel structure doesn't do mats any favours. The nose has much more hold (always a risk) than the tail. Essentially, the mat feels almost like two mats welded together like some kind of inflatable cut 'n' shut! 

Verdict: 

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But that's why we build prototypes.

The Nouveau Racer is a far superior mat. And here's the reason I think so. There is a key phrase that has stuck with me from my many, many hours of tutelage with Dale Solomonson: "straight lines can go curved but curved lines can't co straight". The point being, when you ride a mat the way mats are best ridden, it is the rider's behaviour and that of the wave that lead to the mat finding it's best shape. The job of the mat builder is essentially to provide a container to provide boundaries to the shape of the air inside it in as an effective but unobtrusive way as possible.

Straight and parallel lines allow this to happen. Over-cooking ruins the meal. But this is why we build prototypes. It's not until you get on it that you can really know. Mat builders putting the hours in is how we wind up with what we have in the water today.

Cheers

G

PS: On a cautionary note, the internet is full of builders of all kinds of craft offering whacky "innovations". People "pushing the envelope" etc. Just remember that all that glitters is not gold. Unless you know something has been tested and retested, don't blow your dough.

 

Blue Bottle

Surfmat Surf mat G-Mat 153 Peter Horton Blue Bottle
Surfmat Surf mat G-Mat 153 Peter Horton Blue Bottle

Meet "Blue Bottle", the second 70/70 Ubercat in a row that I've built. This time, with free rocker.

The deck is the last of my old roll of navy 70d. The I beams and bottom are a new roll which has a lighter PU laminate. That means more pliability! I had some green fabric a while back that some will remember fondly. This is reminiscent of that. Nice combo in Blue Bottle then!

G-Mat 153 (2).jpgSurfmat Surf mat G-Mat 153 Peter Horton Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle has been built for Australian Peter "Marsupial" Horton. Peter was keen to get a mat that had plenty of lift and would be fast and lively in decent waves, 

Good choice then! That said, I've been riding my Ubercat in all conditions for a few months now and she's going great!

The grip is white Puraflex 40 so Blue bottle really is going to be a light weight ride! Blue Bottle is still en route but I'm looking forward to hearing how she goes.

So then. A little more about Pete... Well, I'm not going to tell ya, but I've added a bit of reading below.

Cheers G

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Dirt McGirt

G-Mat 152 Surfmat Jamie McClellan

Ladies and Gents I'm pleased to introduce G-Mat 152 (AKA "Dirt McGirt" is a free-breathing 70/70 G-Mat Ubercat built for Jamie McClellan. 

She has an elastic rocker and is gripped with Sikaflex EBT. Jamie lives in a land of solid, heavy waves so she's a good fit and that grip offered that bit of stability without adversely affecting the pliability.

Hestered valve to protect Jamie's beautiful face. 

G-Mat 152 Surfmat Jamie McClellan

As you can see, the Ubercat's deep concave will give a stack of lift, working will to support the slim-Jim plan shape. 

Looking like a run of Atlantic swells this summer so hopefully Dirt McGirt will get plenty of action.  

Always a pleasure building mats for Jamie and it's been a pleasure to build this mat. 😁 

Sometimes you build one that's just that bit too hard to let go.

Have fun Mr McClellan!

Cheers

G

G-Mat 152 Surfmat Jamie McClellan