Well, sad times but with occasional promises of moving on followed by long periods of silence it seems that this adventure has ground to a halt. Phileas seems to have permanently emigrated to Japan having been in the keep of Ryo Hiwasa for 7 months today.
Ryo hasn't really been able to send us anything, other than a few photos in August and October 2016 but it looks like they were having fun. Let's hope Phileas is still getting some waves.
It's been a great adventure and the early momentum was so inspiring. Having now built over 200 mats in total, number 50 seem like a long time ago. My builds have evolved a lot since then! Still, Phileas remains the mat closest to my heart with so many memories. Here's a quick look back over the story:
The journey started in July 2014 when a white mat was born:
After a quick splash in terrible waves (the one session I had with her), Phileas swung north to hook up with GP Sean Stansfield on the Shetland Islands.
Sean struggled to find much, although did manage to mountain goat his way in to a good spot but doing that with a mat, fins an camera were a bit of a stretch.
After her stint with Sean, Phileas crossed the Atlantic. Her first stop was with John Hughes in Florida before going over to Puerto Rico with the mat master that is Jamie McClellen. After the sunshine, it was time for Phileas to hit the Big Apple with Tim Darwish before a final stint with the human seal, Jeremy Grosvenor.
I love the amount of work that everyone on the East Coast put in to looking after Phileas.
So, on to the US West coast then. First stop, San Diego and lodging with the late, great Scott Reeder. The perfect host! I know a lot of people will really love looking back at this episode. Surf-wise, she hooked up with a load of local riders including Scott, his wife Pam and son Maz, mat meisters Kendog and Mark Miller and local legends Peter St Pierre and Cher Pendarvis.
For the next stop, Phileas headed up the coast to the OC. After a quick stop off with Newport Wedge legend Sean Starky, a true great of mat surfing, James "Mattitude" Sowell takes up the reins for sessions with Matt Pierce and Chad Stickney. Chad, Jamo and Matt pulle dout all the stops for this leg hitting a huge range of spots from reefs to beaches to river waves to heavy slabs. Such a great example of mat surfing.
Phileas hits Rincon... Well tries too, but timing has conspired against her a touch. Nonetheless, Matt Herman managed to snag a few Carpinteria area waves before Andrew Stephen Buck whisked her off to Mexico's Scorpion Bay. Never let it be said that ASB won't pull out all the stops to find good, right hand point waves!
Vancouver Island was the next stop with Graham Gidden and Willie McB. Graham sought out some phenomenal looking set ups and really put Philleas through her paces in some beautiful looking cold water waves. He sent over some stunning shots which have been put together here.
An amazing part of the world! What a place!
Phileas took a trip to the Sandwich Islands. The timing wasn't perfect for waves and her hosts were curse with bad luck (such as losing the GoPro with the surfing footage on it) but she still had a great time.
Beautiful Islands and mat surfers living the dream... If only she'd had waves...
So it has been a good run and I really appreciate all the effort people put into the project.
Here's to you Phileas!