Developed in 1933, the surf mat has been one of the more undercover alternative surf crafts providing surfers with an exhilarating, fast ride for years, turning seemingly bad waves into a more than worthwhile session. What most people don’t realize is that while they may not be designed for high-flying aerial antics like a body board, they are however, high performance wave riding vehicles, allowing for super fast speed runs along the perfect trim spot that each ridden wave offers.
In this episode of Surf Sufficient, shaper/surfer Daniel Thomson shares some tips on how to optimize your ride. Changing the internal pressure of the mat by squeezing and gripping the fabric, the rider can alter the thickness, buoyancy and rocker, therefore changing speed and control of the mat.
The air pressure is the key. A surf mat requires less air in smaller, flatter waves and a bit more air in larger more powerful waves. However, experienced mat riders prefer to ride a softer inflation as doing this allows the mat to run faster over the water. A mat rider can experience many different levels of riding performance by simply adjusting the mats air pressure between rides.
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