Son of Stinkles - Bad H takes on the World!

The latest mat out of the workshop is for Henry Hester. This is Henry's special take on an old model called the Glider. Henry's adaptation is the  XR corners at the tale. There's more on the ordiginal mats built to this design HERE.

Henry's favourite mat is named "Stinkles" so it only seemed fit for him to name his new steed "Son of Stinkles." S.O.S. is a 200/70 set up, same as Stinkles with free rocker. The one change is that Henry has gone for more grip than previously and this time has gone for Sikaflex EBT, rather than 11FC+.  The reason? Well, Henry has some significant travelling planned for this year, going to Hawaii and to NSW. Given that, he was keen to go with a mat with a more stable deck as an option for waves with some grunt.

I've knocked Henry up a double bag to keep his girls together on their travels.  Sounds like the three of them have a pretty sweet adventure lined up.

Have fun Henry!



Recognition for a Legend

I'm very, very proud of a certain Californian G-Mat rider today. 

Some of you may know of, or even personally know Henry. An extremely talented mat rider with a colossal pedigree as a surfer having been a previous Rusty team rider.  Henry has a special mat which we christened the Glider XR. I built two of these to the same dims. On called Big H (a play on "Bad H") which now lives with my friend Bob Booth. The other was "Stinkles". 

"Stinkles" Photo: Graeme Webster

Henry at Swamis Photo: Lance Smith

There's plenty more to read on Henry and his mat surfing in his UK Mat Surfers Here & Now interview . For now, lets get back to why I'm so proud of Henry.

I'm sure most will know that Henry has dabbled in Skateboarding over the years. When I say "dabbled" I mean that he is a bona fide legend of the sport. Seven times World Slalom Champion who competed regularly up until just a few years ago. 

Henry went on to organise the Hester Series comps and famously developed revolutionary skateboard wheels. And then there's the Skatecars. And then the Snowboards...

Too much to cover in a brief blog post and that UKMS article has it from the horses mouth.

What that article does't is why I'm so proud of Henry today. I'm proud because a few days ago, Henry was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame.  So well deserved for a true legend of our time and a really top guy.

What blows me away most with Henry is his openness and humility (kinda blustering hell-man chaotic humility that is of course!) Henry has undoubtedly forgotten more about skating and surfing than most of us will ever know. Still, he goes through life with his eyes and ears open and is always looking for the new stoke. 

He picked up a surfmat and took glee in being a novice. Guess what... Now he's RIGHT up there.

Henry, I salute you mate. Enjoy Henry's acceptance speech and look on Planet X. Henry Hester has a few lessons for you on how to ride a surfmat.



Hestered Away on an ASB... Erm... Paddow?

OK. I will be the first to admit that the pun in the title of this post is flatter than one of Andrew Stephen Buck's mats, but I have some early feedback of my own on my scaled up version of ASB's favourite G-Mats. Namely, the valve position.

Hestered Away Valve

This valve has been tucked away under the edgelape at the nose to give a clear deck so as to reduce the likelihood of unwelcome union during duck dives and wipeouts. This positioning wasn't my idea. My first go at this was on a mat for the living legend that is Henry Hester on his mat "Stinkles", so I call this "Hestering" the valve away. 

I don't know if Henry is keen.


Stinkles Valve

My initial concerns were that the valve would catch but, as you can see from the shots, the valve is clear of the water at full inflation and the nose of the mat is always fully inflated. It's easy enough to get at the valve to reduce air by twisting the valve and the air pressure during deflation seems to prevent water from getting into the mat.

All in all, I think it works pretty well. Henry has given positive feedback as has Ian Wraith regarding his mat "Badger of Honour". I think my personal preference is still to have the valve on the deck but this is certainly a valid option for those who are into it.

Ian Wraith's "Badger of Honour"

Back to the ASB mat, I've ridden it once in very nice walled up glassy reef surf and she went really well. I need more sessions but am confident that it's a good design. To be honest, if I thought it was bad then I would be questioning my riding rather than the design as ASB is a far more able mat surfer than me.

More to come.


G-Mats 41 & 42 (Glider XR)

I've just packed up a mat going to Californian skateboarding legend that is Henry Hester.  

G&S Hester Model Logo

Henry recently tried out my G-Mat Glider and enjoyed the ride but, having come from riding round-tail mats, found the tail a little loose. After a little arm twisting, Henry talked me into building him a modified Glider with my original XR corner template at the tail and an extre 1/2 inch of length. I used this template on the first two mats I ever made.

Other than that, this is a Glider with Tweener template front corners and completely free-breathing (I'm done with wheezers).

So, here's introducing G-Mat 41 (AKA "Stinkles").

G-Mat 41 (AKA "Stinkles")

G-Mat with valve fitted to bottom skin.

Henry tells me that his face is too beautiful to risk damage so he has opted to have his valve below the seam at the nose of the mat. I've tucked it up under the edge-lap to ensure that it stays clear of the water.

How well this arrangement works out remains to be seen but it should be fine. All in all this is a really experimental model which will need to be field tested.

Given that, I just have to try one myself so have built the monochrome sister of Stinkles: G-Mat 42 (AKA "Big 'H'"). I've named the mat after Henry. 

G-Mat 42 (AKA "Big H")

G-Mat XR Corner Template

So then, that's two of us trying these out so lets see how they go. It'll be really interesting for me to get back to the XR corner and see how it performs with my current dimensions and I can't wait to hear Henry's thoughts.