G-Mat 51 (AKA "Desperate Dan") - Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Me catching a little lump of chop on a Redback. Photo: Mat Arney

We have been having one of the worst summers I can recall in the UK in terms of surf. Weak, dribble has been the order of the day for the most part. I've been spearfishing and riding my bike but enough is enough.

When I was at the Slyder Cup a few weeks ago I had a go on a Redback. Not great mats by any stretch of the imagination but the big, traditional 4 pontoon design was able to get into a glide which smaller, lighter mats couldn't in the the knee high wind slop. It dawned on me that it might be good to build myself something similar, so I started work "Desperate Dan" as a side project whilst building Phileas

Big Boys! G-Mat 51 and a Redback

G-Mat 51 Deck

Now, I was sent some assorted samples a while ago. In the mix was some 800 denier Taffeta. Too heavy for my liking for my usual builds, I figured that I might try to make some bags out of it but an 800 to 800 weld was just too much hassle. However, this was perfect for building an 800/70 retro mat as huge decks require heavy material to manage the air movement. A lightweight, huge mat will just leave you chasing the air around like a game of whack-a-mole! The heavier material also has a textured canvas finish so did not need my usual grip, especially considering the waves I have in mind. Instead I applied a hot wax finish as developed by Paul Gross to grip up his Fourth Gear Flyer mats.

G-Mat 51 Bottom

As I say, the Redback went OK (ridden backwards) but needed work so I went back to the drawing-board and updated the design. Square as Sponge Bob, with no fade into the corners, but an XR Tail corner, rather than the drawn out curve. Essentially, I've cut 3-4" off the Redback's 'rounded-pintail'.

I've also increased the venting a touch.

So then, an interesting deviation from my norm and not a mat that will get a huge amount of water time, but something to open up the bottom of the bottom end and hopefully, fun for my wife to get on too!