Saturday, June 28, 2014

After 3 years of mat riding the bodyboard just had to go!

In this post back in March of 2009, I expounded on the virtues of the BZ Big Bruddah bodyboard I had recently bought. I was very comfortable on it using it regularly on busy chunky days at the point until I discovered surf mats a year later. Yesterday, after three years of riding surf mats, I took the BZ out for a session. It was an appalling wave riding experience. Now the BZ is a big bodyboard, and feeling that might be causing the problem, as surf mats are smaller craft and it just felt almost unmanageable underneath me, I swapped it for a smaller bodyboard being ridden by a mate. The experience was not changed and after an hour of persevering I ended up returning to the beach to swap it for a mat. After a fun session on the mat, I ended up leaving the BZ leaned up on the car park fence with the message written on it that you can see in the image to the left. So what was the problem.
1. Compared to a surf mat, it was far harder to cruise around and return back to the line up. In the rippy conditions that often occur at the point, I was barely able to get myself back to the take off spot especially on the smaller bodyboard.
2. I am so used to adjusting the shape of the surf mat to accommodate the various parts of the wave catching and riding process that the bodyboard just seemed completely ineffective. For instance, I was unable to bend the nose of it down to assist the take off as I do on a mat let alone perform all the other subtle changes one can make to the shape of a mat once on the wave.
3. With the nice big round rails the mat has more inherent grip on the water surface and feels more secure on the wave than the bodyboard which can spin out within a moment with little ability from the rider to stop it apart from dipping a fin. On a mat a judicious shape change can alleviate the situation.
4. I missed the feedback from the wave surface that the soft surf mat so willingly provides.
5. Bodyboards seem to be inherently unable to find the power source in the wave that a surf mat excels at.
It was a truly revelatory and confirming experience that threw into a stark light the brilliance of the surf mat as a wave riding craft and showed that 3 years of effort have not been wasted!