The Great Mat Off!
Flat out surfing a mat comparison for you and it's not a troll.
Since I haven't shown this side of me to you before , I thought I'd reveal all.
I have both a Fourth Gear Flyer from Paul Gross in America http://www.surfmats.com
and a Krypt surf mat from Mark Thomson at Lennox Head http://www.kryptsurf.com
I did a comparison review of both although they are two different sizes and shape s both fared well
All was good for a test of both models, at half inflation or under, swimming out is the option the less the inflation the easier to get out! The formula I had back in the days of Hodgemans etc was to have the mat at a riding inflation of being able to be bent at right angles across the centre point. This enables the rail to rail ( not really applicable to a mat) flexing that gives your concave for high speed planing across the face and a soft corner to grip to pull you around for the tightness of turns. This also gives a variable concave flattening out to the tail.
OK Inflation two different valves. The Krypt a one way valve that helps you inflate more in the water, there could be concerns with sand in the valve as there is no sealing cap only a pressure relief cap that you insert.After feedback from Mark at Krypt the cover is designed to be stretched and a very tight fit on the valve stem I tried it and with a little more muscle than I was using it fitted My answer is to keep your equipment clean.
The Fourth Gear Flyer has a mouth to mouth valve and an insertion plug. By mouth to mouth I mean you blow and then as fast as you can, insert the plug, not a problem if you go over your desired inflation and then be prepared to lose a little air as you plug in much the same as the old style mats. Did notice a little leakage if I didn't push the plug in hard enough. Again keep valves clean applies.
Now the test, a reasonable right hander about five foot but hey it's all overhead on a mat!
The FGF was first out I weigh 222lbs/100kgs smaller mat but it was like a really controlled body surf but able to hold a cleaner faster line for longer and outrun the lip over a greater distance, getting caught behind the white water test involved releasing the concave by lifting my elbows, and sweet, I slipped sideways to the bottom of the white water and re-engaged the concaves and began tracking to the open face again. The response was a little slower than I would like but this was probably because I was hauling my weight on a smaller mat.
Where the FGF came into play well was in throwing it around in tight turns and the textured fabric was both flexible and tough enough to give me that good grip to chuck a good turn both at the top and bottom of the face.
Would I recommend the FGF? Yes however I would suggest that larger surfers look at their bigger models as the main issue was the hydro drag created by my own body not any problems with the mat.
The fact that it was capable of responding and doing everything I asked of it even under extra weight gave it an AA+.
Next the Krypt mat. A larger model and different fabrics with no cloth textures, gripping was a little different and was more of a scrunchy grip.
No problems there, rode more onto this mat than the FGF and had a better planing surface because of that, not about the mat here but my choice of size I imagine wetted surface to wetted surface ( if the same ) would be almost similar in surfing.
Once again full maneouvrability maybe a litle different in the the top turns
Would I recommend the Krypt ? Yes same rating AA+ all round and it is my choice for my body size, and thatâ€™s the only reason, I will continue to use both and carry them in the car for when I need a quickie.
Mats are now much lighter in materials than the old days and the material appears technically stronger time will tell. I canâ€™t afford to do a destruction test on these babies.
Destruction tests were done on other mat like devices available they were sort of cheap kiddies toys and blew apart but at the cheap price and Taiwanese type construction what could you expect.
I would not recommend either mat as a boogie board substitute they are in fact a more advanced wave riding machine, I suspect that if you could achieve airs on them the landing could finish them off but for full barrel runs and wall wailing these are the craft to go to.
In good hands you can outrun almost anything else across the wave.
Thanks to Paul Gross of Fourth Gear Flyers and Mark Thomson of Krypt Surf, full marks guys.
The older I get the better I was, and I'm not bad now!
Arrrhahahahaha that brings back memories. It's still a mat dude. Maybe when im 80.
Nah J...... you'll get nailed before you get to that!
Memories indeed. I remember my dad pushing me into small waves at Elephant Rock Currumbin when I was about 6 years old on my bright yellow Amoco surf mat. You could get the mat for $2 at any Amoco servo if you filled up there.
When I was 10, after relentlessly hounding him, my dad got me my first board, a Shane single fin. 30 years later I`m still as stoked as I ever was with the feeling I get riding waves.
But I can trace it all back to that bright yellow Amoco surf mat sowing the seeds.
When it comes to surfmats I've always thought they had the hydrodynamics of an inflatable tube at half inflation. But this point of view is gleaned from watching not riding (I've never ridden one).
Nice reviews though Jaf. Can't say I'm pumped up to get one (geddit? 'pumped up') but will cast a more discerning eye on the next one I see screaming through the pack.
Surfed with a guy once he had a bright orange rubber mat, like out of the 60's can't remember where we were surfing, he said they were made in Newcastle, he was getting some awsome barrels. Jaffa coming out and telling people that you surf a mat is probably surfings equivalent to cross-dressing, best not spoken of.
It's a rare skill to ride 'em right.
When you see Greenough or Carcass doin' it you realise the truth of Jaffa's words.
"In good hands you can outrun almost anything else across the wave".
Words for those who have ears to hear.