mat surfing, cat surfing & a general rant...

I’ve been checking in on swaylocks but never seem to find time to post something, until now!
I was on a bit of a cruise over the past year. I’ve been on and off the boat from Greece through the Med across the Atlantic, via the Canaries, Madeira and then on to Panama, Fiji, Tahiti then from Townsville down to Sydney.
We’ve had some hairy surfs along the way, with the catamaran.
She’s an 11 ft open deck racing catamaran, built in '79 after plans from John Shuttleworth, sort of like an old Ferarri with a lot of soul but falling apart slowly.
Whilst sailing we hit 20 knots several times and had some big open ocean waves, from the front and comming from behind.
We were making about 14 knots and -down the faces speed increased up to 18-20 Knots.The feeling this gave is hard to describe. This catamaran is steered by a stick on either side and during these speed runs, we both had to hold on to this stick together as the force on it was massive. On most waves we had to go sideways along as straightening out would have collapsed the cat.
I found the thrill similar to riding big waves but more scary as there is no easy paddle back to shore, -less room for mistakes, -no high tech gadgets on this boat!
I was stoked and the old skipper who had never surfed in his life now truly knew surfing.
On a not so glorious note we misjudged a reef and nearly sank the boat close to a little old port in Spain. After winning a race with a fellow catamaran we got cocky and took it too easy, with a cold one in hands, around midnight.
Just got her into the harbour,barely manoueverable, one keel waistdeep filled with water.
The next day I plugged the larger holes using all my swaylocks knowledge;) and after drinking our courage back, we sailed about 70 miles further to a marina where she could be lifted out of the water for professional maintenance.
The repair job cost 11.000Euro’s (both rudders were damaged as well) and lasted until Tahiti!
I had one of Dale’s Mats with me as well as a trusty 6’10 Singlefin.
The mat was incredible. I had surfs with it in places I doubt people have surfed before or since; in front of the Gibraltar Rocks was one memorable session. I am really thankful for Dale’s craft and the mat withstood a lot of bashing and is still in great condition. I’ve just been living near Lennox for a while and hooked up with fellow matrider and shaper Mark Thomson. -He put it in a nutshell when he says; Mats turn s**t into gold! True dat, but they also turn Gold into Platinum…
After living on the East Coast for a while, I am driving down to W.A. for work and hopefully waves…
Stopped in Cactus on the way, got some waves too!
W.A. here I come, would be nice to meet some of you swaylockians out there!

it’s too bad you didn’t post this before you hit those spots, coz i’m located at one of them, and wouldva gladly taken you around for a surf. i too ride dale’s mats and lovem. i run a chart store and so surely our crossing paths woulda been a breeze.

Good stuff yr story of surfing open-ocean waves with yr cat…