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! 



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.



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


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!



G-Mat 152 Surfmat Jamie McClellan

5 Star General News

Quick update as I realised that UK Mat Surfers have been telling all the news about the 5 Star Generals and I'd forgotten to share it on here.

G-Mat 5 Star General Surfmat

I'm doing the 5SG in both 70/70 Free-Breather and 200/70 Wheezer models now. I'm also doing them in three sizes, Small (fits riders from 5'4" to 5'8"), Medium (fits riders from 5'9" to 6'1") and Large (fits riders from 6'2" to 6'6"). 

You can get them in the UK Mat Surfers online store.

G-Mat 5 Star General Surfmat Sizes

I'll be building these every couple of months or so in between custom mats. If you want one I'd suggest getting on the UKMS Mailing List.



G-Mat 151 (AKA "Grenadine")

G-Mat 151 Surfmat Ute Tony Ryan

This is G-Mat 151 (AKA "Grenadine"). She's a G-Mat Ute built for Tony Ryan over in San Diego.

Tony has a bit of a thing for Surfcraft with a bit of a bubble gum feel and Grenadine is no exception. The fade from black, through grey and into pink looks good and emerged up from the black bottom too.

G-Mat 151 Surfmat Ute Tony Ryan

Grenadine is built with a 200/70 construction. The internal venting is slightly restricted so she is a little wheezy to help keep her shape. The grip is clear Sikaflex EBT which really pops the colours.

Grenadine will be setting sail shortly so should make it in time to be able to get in to some of this decent run of swell that Southern California has been getting.

G-Mat 151 Surfmat Ute Tony Ryan

Ride reports to follow.

Have fun Tony! 


G-Mat 151 Surfmat Ute Tony Ryan

Bumbarreler - Getting Deeper...

Say hello to my 150th custom mat!!!

G-Mat 150 (1).jpgSurfmat Maddie Gordon Bum Barreler

This is a 200/70 G-Mat Ute named Bumbarreler by her owner, ex-pat Maddie Gordon. 

Maddie hails from the sarf eas' of the England but has given up her life as an Essex Girl to move to the US West Coast. Specifically, Santa Barbara. 

(Disclaimer, G-Mat Surfmats has no idea whether Maddie is actually from Essex, has ever lived in Essex or has ever visited Essex).

So, why Bumbarreler? Well, Maddie seems to have the bum-barrel really nailed down and felt that the name might spur her on to going deeper. 



Bumbarreler will be setting sail for the US dreckly and will be Maddie before the end of the week. Loks like some decent surf over there at the moment so it shouldn't be long at all before we see some head barrels from Maddie!

G-Mat 150 (1).jpgSurfmat Maddie Gordon Bum Barreler
G-Mat 150 (1).jpgSurfmat Maddie Gordon Bum Barreler

Also, people might not be aware but Maddie is a super talented artist. Take a look at her work via her Etsy shop here:



Important G-Mat News

Hello again all.

Another update on the waiting list. Unfortunately, the complexities in my life are ongoing and it doesn't really look practical to keep building custom mats commercially, at least for the foreseeable future. Given that, I will need to wrap up the waiting list and won't be taking new custom orders for the time being. I am going to build mats for the 10 longest waiters on the list.

Beyond this I will be focusing on building the 5 Star General and Bodybags for UK Mat Surfers. I can just work on them as and when I have time and they are MUCH quicker to build using templates and also saving time on collaboration and design from scratch.

5 Star General Surfmat

My plan is to build these in 3 scaled sizes to cover riders between 5' 7" and up to 6' 4" which covers most people and means people can get a perfect fit.

Bodybag Surfmat

The 5SG is basically a Ute with a teeny bit more length to extend the bottom end of it's range. I am really proud of it. It's fast with great hold and covers pretty much all conditions. I sold the last one I owned and have missed her ever since! The construction is exactly the same as with custom mats. Ask Adam "King Waka"  Williams from Scumm if you want more info on them.

In time I'll build them in 200/70 and 70/70 construction. I'll be doing some different colours too.

If you want to get a 5 Star General then get on the UK Mat Surfers mailing list:

I'm really sorry for any disappointment caused to anyone missing out on a custom mat. Hopefully a time will come where I have the space to get back to doing them commercially, but with my day to day work being stretched between employed work and self-employment plus needing to make time for increased family demands that's not practical right now.