Equinox Special Edition
A Surfmat Tube Riding Masterclass with the Captain
Here are a few tips for riding deep tubes on a surf mat that I have learned over the years.
Riding good tubes and making it on a surf mat is one of the most difficult and satisfying things to do in the surfing world.
Inflation is critical! Too hard and the mat will get sucked up and over the falls. Too soft and the mat tends to slide to the bottom of the wave and you get a flogging from the lip! Everything has to be just right. Your inflation, your body position on the mat, your reflexes.....everything!
Taking off is a high speed flutter kick and hurry hurry hurry quick quick quick step on the gas and kick kick kick. Drive straight down the wave into the bowl and hit a hard bottom turn. I find this set up turn gives me the whip and acceleration I need to project down the line.
I like to hit the section from behind accelerating from the bottom turn to get into the tube deep behind the curtain.
Stalling to get into the tube and slowing a surf mat down can be a challenge as mats are so incredibly fast and you can break from that perfect line you need to hold the rail in the tube. Some people complain that my surfmats are slippery but you need that combination of grip and slip to be able to slide off the back of the mat to slow it down to wave speed and then pull yourself back up to throw your weight forward to accelerate back out.
As soon as I park it inside, I find the best results come from setting the outside rail!
This allows the water to drain around and under the mat and the surfmat will intuitively hold the perfect line.
To achieve this perfect line as soon as I get the inner vision I throw my inside arm back and release my inside rail, put my head down and fire all my energy at the escape route.
Left arm holding and setting the outside rail and again letting go of the mat in a critical tube is not exactly a natural thing to do but you have to trust the mat knows where to go and you have done all you can do..
Next comes something super difficult and counter intuitive to do....The Check Turn
Being deep inside a deep tube at warp drive is amazing but your mind can freeze.The micro second you feel the mat track too far up the face you need to alter course instantly back down the face towards the lip....then rip on the corner and reset the perfect fall line trim position.
This the part where time stands still. Being deep behind the curtain enveloped in a whirlwind of electromagnetic vortex energy is one of life's ultimate spiritual experiences.
This is the worm hole where the time space continuum gets bent to your will. Every atom in your body is activated. I believe you can and do control the wave and what is happening around you at this critical moment... if your mind can remain relaxed and focus all that energy.
Getting out of the tube is a matter of experience and being comfortable with your surfmat and your ability to make changes and corrections to your flight path at the speed of light as the barrel unwinds itself.
Nothing feels better than to successfully navigate the sacred path and get shot out of the barrel at warp drive knowing you just banked a drainer.