Fair enough, I don’t know that much about surf mats. I’ve only been riding them since last September which is bugger-all really. After riding various stand-up boards (ones without paddles mind you) for a few decades this shift to riding mats almost exclusively has had me rattled.
No matter (no pun) where I’ve turned up or what the conditions were like I found myself gleefully reaching to unroll the mat. What kind of mutant wave-riding vehicle could possibly have this sort of effect in such a short time? Read online and watch all the videos you like, the penny only really drops when you get onto one of these things for yourself. Until then it’s, “ahh come on now, it’s just a bloody pool-toy…”
Go on, have a look and see how many folks are making these things – you can count ’em on one hand and you’re still not using all five fingers. Yep, that’s world-wide.
A few months back I connected with Matt Fedden through the UK Mat Surfers forum (one of the very few resources online for everything surf mat). We got chatting about grip patterns on the mats he was making. Stoked to connect with one of the builders of these amazing craft, we began sharing ideas and Matt began sharing his mats! Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of being able to run trials on several of his designs and exchange whatever feedback I could – which in turn, turned into another mat arriving in the post for further testing.
Matt’s been a blacksmith for more than 25 years and also does a fine line in fruit-presses. His old website was a mash-up of all three of his outlets as a craftsman including the surf mats. I could see that his surf mats needed their own home online and offered to build him a site. Given that there is so few other builders of these amazing and strange craft it was great to set him up with a website that could properly showcase his craft – after all, diversity is key for evolution. When a maker has real passion for what it is they do, and the skills to lay their hands on every aspect of production you’re pretty much guaranteed to get something special.
Matt’s really happy with how the new website turned out as am I. This was a really fun project to work on and it’s great to see it go live.
If you’re in any way curious about surf mats or prepared to start the conversation about getting your first (fourth or fifteenth) surf mat get in touch with Matt through his new website.