Surfmat design – new, different, further

Matt and I have been having a blast with our trans-global collaboration. Back and forth over email and Skype exchanging ideas about surfmat materials, production and build techniques. I’m very curious about how different materials and techniques can be pushed to explore aesthetics and have a little fun with the form and function of the build. It’s gotta be fun – that’s what these things are all about.

A new 200/70 build - grip form and function with concentric circles
A new 200/70 build – grip form and function with concentric circles

Matt knows how to put together a surfmat that stands alongside the competition – fast, lightweight, responsive and robust like the best of them are. I’ve taken many of his builds into a range of conditions; the last two winters (save this one) I spent riding his mats and was only more and more stoked. Winter on the West Coast of Ireland will consistently serve up solid conditions that will test both your nerve and your equipment. In heavy, cold water conditions you want complete confidence in your equipment – I had that.

Fully inflated the new surfmat design adds even more arcs to the arcs
Fully inflated the new surfmat design adds even more arcs to the arcs

Sure it might be easier if you lived closer to your collaborative partner. I’m currently based in Hobart, Tasmania – it’s about as far across the planet you can get from Matt in Cornwall before you start heading back around. Currently, Matt is working to refine some specific models and posting them down to me in Oz. Here, I’m getting to work exploring and integrating the creative element into the mix and testing, testing, testing…

I’m looking forward to 2017 -we’re going to have some great new things to offer the community. Happy New Years folks!

This new surfmat design with a clear and metallic-pigment in the grip pattern
This new surfmat design with a clear and metallic-pigment in the grip pattern

New ideas materialise

Recently Matt and I have been deep in discussion about new design ideas, new materials and new techniques. I’m constantly bewildered by the nuances of design and the possibilities for progression. There’s still a lot of scope to reassess current ideas of what works and what doesn’t. What aspects can be reinterpreted (again) to unlock further secrets? Have current ideas about design, materials and processes been pushed far enough? Foolish to think so. And what about the things not yet thunk? And so we go…

What's he building in there? A new Mc Surfmat prototype exploring new ideas.
What’s he building in there? A new Mc Surfmat prototype exploring new ideas.

It’s exciting when an idea gets materialised.

The package that arrived in the post a few days ago sent a fizz through my brain. This was one of those ideas, now a tactile presence between my fingers and thumbs. The deck material is new, something different. And there it is as we discussed – the hook here, convex there and revisiting that stagger of the pontoons to incorporate the magic of a prior build. The discussions and trials with the new dyeing technique are producing strange and surprising results.

Materialised - the first inflation of a new prototype surfmat.
Materialised – the first inflation of a new prototype surfmat.

This mat is special – purpose built for a specific riding style and particular waves in mind; a dye job developed from numerous discussions searching for something… something. No one rides the same – style or waves; the former progressive, the latter stochastic; evolution is inevitable. The opportunity of collaborating closely with a craftsperson to create a uniquely personalised surf craft is a deeply rewarding experience.

Now, now, now… how and when can I sneak away to start riding trials? Ah… though I know how exciting it is to head out to trial a new, custom surf craft, what tickles me more is the knowledge that it will have me back in conversation with my maker again to further evolve the species…