Birdwell Beach Britches
Birdwell Beach Britches

Dazzling Blue #126: Mat Surfing with Paul Gross

Email sent: May 16, 2020 9:10am

Is this your brand on Milled? You can claim it.

Thanks to high visibility and water temps between 70 and 80, you can spot the full complement of sea fauna off Hawaii’s coastlines in as little as a pair of board shorts and fins. Keep your summer look as clean as the coast this year in the 311 Limited-Edition Clear Water, a new pair built in Santa Ana from light blue SurfNyl™ with a contrast waistband and wax pocket in navy. Even if conditions at your local are less than ideal, in a pair this bold your style comes across crystal clear.

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A couple years ago I traveled to the Maldives with Aussie surfers Creed McTaggart, Ellis Ericson, Beau Foster, and Ari Browne. These guys are experimenters and innovators, and the quivers they brought reflected this: single fins, twinnies, finless boards, and surf mats.

On several occasions, usually when the waves were steep and barreling and the wind was slightly onshore, they pulled out the mats, and proceeded to fly across the wave face at mach speed, with lots of drift and slide. There was a certain bar-of-soap-squirming-out-the-hands quality about it. And my whoops, too, were childishly giddy. I had flashes of being tickled to hysterics by my older brothers when I was six. And I was merely a spectator.

Paul Gross is a former editor of Surfer magazine, an accomplished surfboard shaper, and perhaps the world’s greatest proponent of surf mat riding. His baby, Fourth Gear Flyer Surfmats, dates back to 1984, when he transformed a bedroom in his Carpenteria home into a mat building shop. I’ve long been a fan, and I was curious about the surf mat love, and all the rest of it.

   

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