What a time to be alive. When once the surf world was entirely closed off to alternative craft, there is now (for the most part) more openness to uniqueness, and riding waves with whatever tickles your fancy. It should be said that the surf mat is in no way new, and surf culture has gone through phases. In the late 1960s and early 1970s people like George Greenough were experimenting with a variety of craft including kneeboards and surf mats – a bi-product of the shortboard revolution. In the last decade or so, though, wave riders of all stripes have demonstrated a new openness to wave sliding equipment of the past, and thinking outside of your standard high performance shortboard.
The surf mat is designed for speed. Only semi-inflated, it flexes and moves with the wave, skimming across the surface with little drag. Perhaps that was Irishman Ian Jermyn’s draw. The amount of speed he gets on this little thing is incredible. And the feeling? Contagious. Might need to get me one of them.