So I have been on one of those trips trying to pick up sleds from people who won’t be around much longer: Rennies, Waynes, Brewers and the like. A couple months ago I ended up eating a bunch of hallucinogenic plants in Africa with bhuiti disciple people who were indoctrinated in Gabon... which resulted in me spinning back to reality with this vision both of moth god protector beings (fucking aztecs) and riding a surf mat at some super hollow waist high right pointbreak. Moth gods and right points are go. So I order a mat from Paul Gross who is a radically sweet bloke who sends me an email saying he’s in the hospital, that he can’t make mats until he’s healed from surgery would I like to cancel my order or have a fat rebate and wait. The Dark Continent and Dark Vibes had me there surfing hollow left barrels by myself for a couple extra weeks so no big whoop- a cracker can wait. By the time Delta delivered my half dead ass back to Ventura just in time to get dumped and watch my neighborhood catch on fire, there was a box from Paul waiting for me. So in the middle of the apocalypse I paddled out at one of my locals which happens to be home to not only the best waves in the bioregion on a daily basis, but populated by the psychopathic neck tattooed fuckbags I call friends. It’s head high and A framing but fuck, I’m so surfed out from Africa the thought of paddling makes me want to go get coffee instead. So I take the mat out and blow it in more ways than one. I take good care to inflate it to the 50% rate that aussie bloke with too much bad background music recommended on that video y’all posted on the East Coast surf mat thread and stumble down to the water which has piles of ash from burning rich peoples' houses washing up along the beach where it's usually only dead birds, tampon applicators and used diapers. My “friends” are out and like being caught fucking one of their wives or elementary school aged kiddos, I am promptly called out, put down and told to go the fuck home with my inflatable fuck doll the same as you would be showing up on a popout or with LA plates on your Prius. I can take each of those fucks individually and know they are too fucked up and dysfunctional to organize and swarm so I politely start duckswimming myself out to a peak no one else is on that also happens to be bigger, hollower and less makeable than the main peak. “Fuck, this ain’t so hard..” I think moments before I try to duckdive an overhead sandsuck of a closeout. Damnedest thing is, you can’t actually duckdive those things. So I go over the falls. Twice. And lose my pool toy. I swim in trying not to inhale water that smells and tastes like burning tires and scramble back up the sand, retrieve it from next to a used, uncapped syringe with blood in it (#venturastrong) and then waddle my flippered ass over to the channel and paddle out behind the main peak. Just as I am passing the pack of commercial fishermen, roughnecks and Hells Angels who make up our friendly breakfast club, a huge set rolls through. I try to duckdive again and end up being blown ass over tits so many times I saw godhead. And lose my mat again. This happens three more times before I figure out you can deflate the thing and swim out with it. My first wave is a solid left throwing a 50 yard spiral. I do that fairy kick holding onto the thing like a kickboard just like the Aussie guy showed in that video before hucking myself onto it and over the edge (see: The Wipers "Over the Edge" lp). As I careen down the face into a barrel and slideways towards sort of safety, I am reminded of drunk driving on an icy road that night when i was super gakked out on speed and being paid $2000 to haul an unregistered illegal Peterbuilt self-loader over an icy mountain pass from one Western state into another so the bank couldn't repossess the D-7 Cat bulldozer riding pretty on the lowboy behind it and the airbrakes went out going down a grade on bald tires with no chains but that is another story all together for another time when a bloke is certain the statute of limitations has in fact expired. Anyhow, so the 4GFlyer flies... or at least feels like it because hell, with no real rail to speak of (insert North Shore reference of Chandler picking up your flippered foot and fondling your knee- "There's your fin.") you are sliding as you progress down the wave in a way nothing with fins ever would. But there is something in that mildly out of control feeling that sticks with you like being shithouse drunk on Flor de Caña in the back of a stolen 1986 Toyota pickup driven by some halfrate deportee mafioso around the streets of Managua that makes you want to do it again and again. So rather than going to fetch a proper surfcraft that would allow me to take my rightful spot in the pack of fuckwits, I sissykick my way out the back, only getting thrown ass over tits once. The next wave is a super hollow left that is about to run the whole beach into another immobile object better left undescribed. Like the Aussie cunt who couldn't turn down the shitty music said, I kickboarded the thing over the lip, over the edge and down the face sucking my knees up to maximize my speed 'cuz this was one of those screamers only the lil' twinks with stickers on their boards would ever make. The mats are as intutive as they are goofy and just like you find the weird little stalls that can keep you in the best part of a whitewater Souplantation belly surf into the beach, my left foot and elbow dragged in the face just enough to stall into what would have been a completely lame crouchy barrel on a real surfboard but felt like fucking Taylor Swift after a key bump of good blow riding my inflatable fuckdoll. And so it went, wave after wave after wave. I get it. Got it. And totally understand the mat thing. The surf cleaned up and picked up a notch to the point FOMO beat the shit out of Being Present so I missionaried all the way to the sand and went and fetched my all white Roberts BeaverCleaver 6'1" with these Captain Fin XL thrusters on it. I paddled right out past my friends ("Did your new girlfriend pop?" "Did you take some viagra and get a hardone between your legs again?") and onto the same peak I was on before. Twenty seconds later I was paddling back from an identical left to the one I got barrelled off my nuts on riding the mat. And a right. And three more lefts. And I can tell you from first hand experience being on the same waves on the same day, there is no way in fuck a mat is faster than a modern, well foiled surfboard. Maybe faster than a log. Maybe faster than an egg. Definitely faster than a Wave$torm but in no way faster than a properly- even mildly properly- ridden surfboard. But like riding obsolete old shapes that feel good, the mat feels good. So I took it out the next day at a bodyboard wave with barrels wider than they are tall. And got the living fuck beaten out of me but came off feeling like I had some of the best waves of my life pulling into spinning brown sewagebarrels that would be completely useless on a surfboard. And the day after at one of those spots with so many boulder we only ride it when the huns show up and make everywhere else socially untenable. And at huge closeouts across from the boat. So it is not as fast as anything else under 7' in my van, but a hell of a lot fun.