MATS & MAKERS
Modern surfmats have evolved into lightweight, durable, wave riding vehicles that are fast, fun and fascinating to ride. There is a common misconception that mats are effectively inflatable bodyboards, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, bodyboards bare more resemblance to surfboards than to surfmats.
Surfmats are highly pliable craft which can mold themselves to the shape of the wave and the rider, always making the most of the energy available.
You can read more about how they work on our Surfmat Anatomy page.
If you are serious about mat surfing then you need to get yourself a proper modern nylon mat. We've given some info on what's available below.
Fourth Gear Flyer Surfmats by Paul Gross. Paul is a highly inspirational member of the mat surfing world who has long been a friend of George Greenough. In the past he has been a professional surfboard shaper and is still recognised as a world authority on displacement hulls although today pretty much exclusively rides and builds mats at his home in central California. He runs the excellent Surfmatters Blog which is a great resource.
Paul has over 25 years of experience in mat design and manufacture, and has developed a wide range of mats to suit riders of all sizes and abilities. Many top mat surfers ride 4GF, including Greenough.
These mats are sturdy, coming with a thicker 1000 denier canvas style nylon deck which provides a naturally grippy surface, backed up with a brushed hot-wax finish. The bottom fabric is a thinner nylon twill which provides a highly pliable material which can respond sensitively to the wave and the surfer.
Prices start at $240 USD. Paul also offer deals on multiple orders, so buying a quiver or buying as part of a co-operative can save money!
G-Mat Custom Surfmats by Graeme Webster are individually designed and hand-built in the UK for mat surfers all over the globe. Cornishman and long time mat surfer, Graeme (better known as ‘G’) cut his teeth working in the surfboard industry back in his youth and has been building mats since early 2011, having been schooled in the art by Dale Solomonson and, latterly, Paul Gross. G is a dedicated aficionado of these craft and is the man behind the creation of this site and it’s predecessor UK Mat Surfers movement, organising a number of iconic ‘matmeets’ which set the ball rolling for the formation of the UK surfmat community.
G has a number of models available, but each G-Mat is individually designed and tailored to the specific dimensions to suit the rider’s body size, the waves they surf and their style of surfing using extremely lightweight materials. Custom G-Mats are suited to experienced mat surfers who are looking for the extra sensitivity and responsiveness of lightweight mats.
Custom mats take a long time to design and build so are more expensive than standard models, with prices starting at £250 GBP plus shipping. That's still half the price of a surfboard!
G also builds a stock model called the 5 Star General exclusively for UK Mat Surfers which are available in our store for £195 GBP.
These are built to the same spec as Custom models and perform extremely well for riders of all abilities in virtually all conditions. The 5 Star General is available in 200/70 construction.
We also exclusively stock G-Mat Bodybags which bring the magic of mats to bodysurfing! You won’t believe how well these go!
Warpmats Surfmats by Matt Fedden are handmade in Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Warpmats is a collaboration between Matt and Ian Jermyn, which is committed to building surfmats that are personally customized to each surfer and the waves they ride. Matt has quietly developed his art over a number of years, bringing a fresh eye to the craft. When he’s not building, you’ll usually find him hidden away in some obscure cove. Ian is a talented mat surfer and an accomplished artist who hails from Oz but lives in Ireland today.
Custom-order Warpmats are often characterised by creative acid dye work from the creative brain of Ian, who brings a range of eye-catching colours and creative grip templates to match the personality of the matsurfer.
In addition to designing personally customised mats, Warpmats also have stock designs, an All-Rounder called the GP and a Lightweight model, aimed at new or experienced mat surfers wanting to add versatility to their quiver.
Matt builds all custom Warpmats in close collaboration with the rider. The conversation back and forth with each surfer allows Matt to explore nuanced or experimental design ideas and aesthetics.
Neumatic Surfmats by Dale Solomonson were built by the man who first pioneered the use of lightweight TPU coated nylon. Dale embodies the true meaning of the word genius and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. If you are lucky, you may come across a Neumatic although they are an increasingly rare sight. Due to well documented health problems and subsequent difficulty in meeting orders, Dale is not currently building mats but a second hand ‘Neu’ is well worth grabbing if you get the chance. They will be pricey!
Krypt Surf Technology offer adult and junior high performance Surfmats (called the MT5 and JT5 respectively) which are and are relatively inexpensive and commonly available in surf shops. The MT5 is a fairly versatile mat, although it does favour better waves. Krypt mats can be pretty slippery so owners often add some form of grip to the deck.
The man behind Krypt, Mark Thomson, is simultaneously a mind-blowingly talented mat surfer and one of the more divisive people in the surfmat world. Known for his somewhat forthright nature, things came to a head in 2019 when he was convicted of assaulting a female surfer, Jodie Cooper by repetitively holding her underwater at Lennox Head, Australia. This has put many people off the brand.
Filnally, these need to be given a mention as they are out there. Heavy canvas mats such as Redbacks, and the old style rubber Surfoplanes can be a great introduction to mat surfing, but really don’t even come close to the performance of a nylon mat. There are also a number of inflatable bodyboards on the market which are super fun to ride but are not mats in the real sense. From time to time, people come to the mat world with the idea of revolutionising or updating the surfmat design but as you will see if you read our Surfmat Anatomy page, many of the design points which are seen as ‘the problem’ by some are actually what make mats perform the magic that they do.
If you are new to mats then do your research before you buy. There are a wide range of models around which each have unique properties, far too many to list here. At the end of the day it's a case of horses for courses so we’d strongly recommend hooking up with other matters and trying out as many models as possible. Mat surfers are generally more than happy to share.