Spitfire - A Bit of Bling for TVC

Say hello to G-Mat 144 (AKA "Spitfire"). She is a 200/70 Ute built for Aussie mat surfer, Tom Carroll.

G-Mat 144 Tom Carroll Surfmat

I've been eyeing this build as it's crept up with an air of excitement. Doing what I do, I have the privilege of building surfcraft for a number of people who have influenced my surfing over the years and this is one of those times.  I have never been a stand up surfer, but as a youngster, Tom Carroll's powerful, direct, no bullshit approach to riding waves had a huge impact on me.

I know what you're thinking.... That video looks just like my kneeboard surfing, right?! :D

Anyway, Tom has a pretty open mind when it comes to riding waves being well known for ripping on his SUP these days as well as charging monsters tow surfing. Part of his open mind has seen him find the surfmat.  I'm sure many people will have seen the images of Tom riding a Krypt mat at Uluwatu so there is no doubt that he has an aptitude for it.

G-Mat 144 Tom Carroll Surfmat

We managed to get Tom's trademark sash into the design on the deck. We talked about the logo and settled on a bit of bling with a holo effect using glitter in clear sealant. My friends Matt and Ian over at Warpmats have been messing about with this for a bit. It gives an interesting finish.

As you can see from the shot below, Tom has opted to have his initials below the G on the central pontoon. Being a custom G-Mat, Spitfires needs a number which has been set in to the deck towards the back right corner.

G-Mat 144 Tom Carrol Surfmat

Spitfire has set sail for Down-Under and should be there really soon. One thing I've learned over the past few weeks communication is that Tom gets EVERYWHERE so hopefully it won't be too long before he and Spitfire can hook up.

G-Mat 144 Tom Carroll Surfmat

It's been a real honour for me building Spitfire for Tom. With his experience as a waterman, I'm really excited to see where he takes the mat.



G-Mat 144 Tom Carroll Surfmat

UPDATE: 05/10/2017

Some pics of Tom from Ben Chipper over in Sydney.

Tom says he's off to France and Spain and Spitfire is going along too. Lets just hope the Atlantic can send some waves.



Little Dinky Winkles!

BIRTHDAY TIME!!! That's what Chally bey Rick Kenyon said to me when he said he wanted to order a mat. Who's birthday? Well, Jasper Newitt, son of another Chally local gone AWOL, Jim Newitt. 

Surfmat Surf mat Jasper Newitt Jim Newitt G-Mat 141 (1).jpg

Jim works as the Artistic Director of Surfer's Journal (done well!) and lives in the US these days but occasionally comes to back the South Devon for a visit. His lad, Jasper, is turning 6 and apparently, had a mat which Rick managed to pop so it was only right that he got a new one.

Talking to Rick, is only seemed right to go custom so we went for a Ute scaled to the average size of an 8 year old to give some growing room.

Surfmat Surf mat Jasper Newitt Jim Newitt G-Mat 141 (4).jpg

The mat is called "Captain Jasper's" which will amuse Plymouthians. As you can see, compared to a 5 Star General, she's tiny!

Surfmat Surf mat Jasper Newitt Jim Newitt G-Mat 141 (2).jpg

Captain Jasper's is a 1000/70 wheezer so super managable for a youngster but she'll go really well. The grip is really light and primarily aesthetic to look like a big boy mat.

Surfmat Surf mat Jasper Newitt Jim Newitt G-Mat 141 (3).jpg

Have fun Jasper! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


G-Mat 142 (AKA "Michael Stripe")

Having taken a little time off for a wee trip away, I thought it would be nice to build myself a new mat for my personal quiver. It's been a while since I built myself a mat that wasn't a proto but I decided to treat myself.

G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye

So, what to have. Well, I've been missing my old Ubercat and it has been a really long time since I've had one. Bryn Dampney has one named "Kessel Run" and I have really enjoyed riding her when we've surfed together so 70/70 with rocker seemed the way to go. 

G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye

As you can see, I fancied a bit of colour and had surfed with a fella on a hull with stripes which I thought would look good on a mat so I got busy with the acid dye. I'm pretty pleased with how she looks, although Paul Mason did ask if I was going to "Police the lineup" (Perhaps I should have called her Nina!).

One interesting observation is the optical effects of the horizontal stripes... They make the narrower/longer Ubercat look short and fat! I did check in comparison to my Rubber Bucky though and as you can see, all is as it should be. 

G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye
G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye

Anyhoo, Michael Stripe has been surfed in waves at Gwenver in West Cornwall, that were less powerful than really warrant this design but she went well.

Gwenver Surf Surfmat

We also had a session in slightly bigger surf which really let Michael Stripe open up. Rail to rail surfing at speed... I forgot how much I love Ubercats!

Gwenver Surf Surfmat
G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye

Suffice it to say, I am really stoked to welcome this mat in to my quiver.Here's hoping for a winter of solid hollow waves! 



G-Mat 142 Surfmat Ubercat Acid Dye

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Been busy knocking out 3 mats of late. I'm building myself a new ride and didn't want to slow down the waiting list so thought I'd pull out all the stops. The third in the set is a "little" bit different so I'll post about that down the line. For now here's some info on the first two.

G-Mat 139

To start, here's Shi Shi. The latest addition to the quiver of my oldest customer, Pete D'Ewart.

Surfmat Surf mat Peter D'Ewart G-Mat 139 (1).jpg

Pete is a Seattle Seahawks fan, being from Washington State. He gave me free range on the logo and I thought it might be fun to go with blue, grey and green to match his team's colours (the white on the logo is actually grey, believe me).

Surfmat Surf mat Peter D'Ewart G-Mat 139 (5).jpg
Surfmat Surf mat Peter D'Ewart G-Mat 139 (3).jpg

Anyway, Pete is an extremely experienced mat man. By which I mean one of the elders who kept mat surfing alive, riding Neumatics through the barren years.  He has a Rubber Bucky and loved the speed so the next step had to be negative rocker. As you can see, Shi Shi has it in abundance! 

That rocker combined with a 70/70, free breathing construction and very light Puraflex 40 grip job means this mat is very pliable and will be very, very fast! 

Surfmat Surf mat Peter D'Ewart G-Mat 139 (2).jpg

Pete has some travels planned so Shi Shi is going to get a good run out in a range of good quality waves in the hands of a master.

UPDATE: 24/08/2017

Email from Pete with a story about the spot that was namesake for this mat:

"Shi Shi"arrived in prefect condition.  I love the feel of 70/70.  Looking forward to some long glides. Thanks & me keep me in the queue if you will.  

Shi Shi is over an hour walk through the forest, usually muddy or a 20 minute boat ride from Hobuck.  We almost hit a gray whale returning from Shi Shi a few years ago in a Zodiac.  That trip resulted in the mat pack being made by Diane, my wife.  An herring net pouch with a draw string designed with a 2" back-pack nylon belt to stuff a rolled up deflated rolled mat into making it possible to swim out and under strong inside surf.  Dale commented at the time that if it is too big to get out with an inflated mat, you probably shouldn't go out.  I had rode to far inside on a blustery big day and had to deflate the mat and swim with one arm (the other hand gripping the mat to get back out to the boat.  The mat pack frees up both arms. Fun.


G-Mat 140

On to the second build, this time a 200/70 Ute named "Blackfish" for Julia Graham who lives near Santa Cruz, CA. Inspired by the important documentary of the same name. 

Surfmat Surf mat Julia Graham Santa Cruz G-Mat 140 (1).jpg

Julia has spent plenty of time riding G-Mats with here partner, Mark Garcia having both a 5 Star General and a Ute named "The Narwhal", so it was high time that she got hold of a custom fit! 

Surfmat Surf mat Julia Graham Santa Cruz G-Mat 140 (2).jpg

Blackfish is built with free rocker as Julia is going to be surfing a wide range of conditions and was keen for a mat that would get her moving down the line quickly. The grip is Grey Puraflex 40 so offers that reassuring sticky feel whilst having minimal impact on the overall pliability of the mat.

Surfmat Surf mat Julia Graham Santa Cruz G-Mat 140 (4).jpg
Surfmat Surf mat Julia Graham Santa Cruz G-Mat 140 (3).jpg

Things are pretty sharky around Santa Cruz right now, but that won't deter Julia! I think she's planning on just out-running them anyway... Move over Michael Phelps!

I'm really looking forward to hearing about how Julia and Blackfish get on... Stay tuned!



Surfmat Surf mat Julia Graham Santa Cruz G-Mat 140 (5).jpg

UPDATE: 31/08/2017

Email from Julia. Sounds like she's having fun:

Waves weren't too great this weekend but managed to catch a few on Saturday at Manresa. Love it! Really fast down the line and I love the maneuverability...and not as much mat to wrangle around :)


G-Mat Goes Renewable & You Can Too!!!

Surfmats are about as eco-friendly as it gets when it comes to Petro-Chemically based surfcraft. Since the days of early headaches from Vulkem 116, I have always prided myself on seeking out the most functional sealants for gripping mats with the lowest VOC ratings. 

However, welding mats is an energy thirsty exercise with my welding table running at 750 watts and a 300 watt welding iron for corners.  There's no getting away from it, that's a fair bit of energy! 

But now the workshop has gone 100% renewable!!!

That's right. I've shifted over to an energy supplier called Bulb who provide 100% renewable electricity. Also, 10% renewable gas.  You can see where their energy comes from here:


Pretty sweet and here's the really good bit. Their tariffs are pretty low AND if you live in the UK, you can switch over to them via this link and get £50 credit on your account. They'll even pay any early get out fees from your current supplier!


That's £50 towards your next mat! :-)

So... Get on it!



5 Star General 70/70 Proto

G-Mat 5 Star General 70-70 Prototype Surfmat

Little proto here. As you can see, this is a 5 Star General, my "off the shelf" model that I build for UK Mat Surfers. This one is different though. No, not the colour. That's just cause I had some sexy material lying around and this is a prototype.  

The 5SG is a well tested design. There are a few floating around our there and I've had nothing but good feedback from the people who own them. This one is different because of the materials. This is a 70/70 build so has a 70 denier bottom skin as normal, plus a 70d deck rather than the usual 200d. That means this mat is super light weight so gives a really sensitive and fast ride. 

I've tested this mat in small weak waves and shapely hollow racie shoulder to head high surf (see below) so far and she has gone great! 

Surfmat Harlyn
G-Mat 5 Star General 70-70 Prototype Surfmat

So, all good. What this all means is that I will be adding a 70/70 5 Star General to the mix with the next batch that go to UKMS. A great addition to the quiver, if I do say so myself! 


G-Mat 127 (AKA "Isabel")

This is Isabel. She's a 200/70 G-Mat Ubercat built for Paul Lorello over in New Jersey.

G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

Paul is an experienced mat surfer and got on the waiting list after getting hold of a 5 Star General from UK Mat Surfers.

G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

Isabel has been built with a free rocker. Paul surfs hollow, fast breaking beach breaks (well, he is in NJ after all!) so free rocker seemed the best bet to get down the line whilst still benefitting from the Ubercat's hold.

G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

The deck is 200d in royal blue and the bottom 70d navy. The grip is Puraflex 40 and covers the front corners.  The livery looks yellow in these pics but that's down to some kind of interaction with the blue I think. The logo is actually green, as you can see from the bag.

G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

Paul has gone for a free breather to add a little more zip and a standard deck valve placement.

G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

As for the name. Isabel is named after Paul's new Granddaughter.


G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello
G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

So off she goes. I reckon Isabel is going to be the perfect companion for Paul's 5SG. Looking forward to hearing back. Have fun Paul!



G-Mat 127 Surfmat Paul Lorello

UPDATE 04/08/2017

Word from Paul:

"Isabel arrived yesterday and  I lucked out  because the wind turned offshore and the 2-3 ft closeouts I’ve been riding the past few weeks turned into glass, with some punch.

Mat rode great and I was able to get a feel for how good it will be when the size bumps up, which should be soon.

Can’t say enough about the excellent quality and really appreciate the fact that these are handmade…kind of a rarity these robotic  days.

Paul Lorello"