Saturday, 16 December 2017

Dynamic Duo Paddling

I thought it would be a marvellous idea to take my buddy Mitch down some rapids in a double kayak. He's been kayaking before, of course, but never on moving water. And I've never paddled a duo with someone in the front who weighs as much as me (or a bit more even)...

So, with very high water levels on the Dart (through the third arch if that means anything to you) it was always going to be an adventure.

Safety boating, filming, commentary and wind-ups by Steve Whetman (Ugg) from Whetman Equipment

My favourite part is actually Ugg running the somewhat rowdy Lover's Leap rapid backwards so that he could film our descent. Awesome work!



Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Hammerhead Land SUP Boards

Land-based training and lots of fun!

We have UK stock of the Hammerhead board and paddle available at the new competitive price of £339 including mainland delivery and VAT. The US price is $389, but that does not include tax or carriage so this is a bargain. For comparison the only other carbon paddle we know in the UK is £129.99 with the nearest comparable longboard coming in around £220, so at a similar price but including delivery and a host of unique and arguably superior features, the Hammerhead looks pretty attractive.


Unpacking the stock and checking out the boards, Kiah liked the Natural board colour with the Sandstorm deck pad. I kinda wanted to like the Black with the Rasta pattern, but I think I have to agree. All the boards including the Ocean Blue (pictured above) look pretty cool though - the foam deck pad looks a lot more exciting than just grip tape, as well as being warm and allowing us to ride in bare feet!

Natural//Sandstorm
All the colours we have
The unique things about the Hammerhead board are its sheer size (it's much more of an SUP experience than just a normal longboard), its deck shape that prevents the paddle from fouling on the wheels, and the foam deck pad. If you want to feel that you are riding an SUP board, rather than just skateboarding while waving a stick, I don't think there is any other combo that can replicate it. The paddle is carbon with a dense and grippy rubber ball, perfect for drive as well as braking, support and slides. The paddle is adjustable too. With the massive, robust Caliber trucks and the smooth as silk 70mm wheels, we are having a lot of fun with it!

For more information or to order a Hammerhead board please contact UK Brand Ambassador Bill Mattos - mail@billmattos.com


Big thanks to Kiah from skatesisters.com Instagram @kiahskate



Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Jeans from dewerstone - practical in the extreme.

Stretch jeans were a thing when I was a kid. It didn't endure. But in a world where we want our activewear not to look like activewear (I'm using the royal "we" because I know there are MAMIL's and people who wear their gym clothes to show that they go to the gym) the concept of stretch denim actually makes a lot of sense. I wasn't sure I would enjoy wearing it though. But I do. They look like nice jeans, feel good to wear (they are quite light but I haven't ripped them yet so that isn't really a negative) but crucially they allow a lot more movement than conventional jeans.

A friend of mine who is a dancer used to wear what she called her "dancing jeans" - I think they were in fact her Dad's old jeans, and they were massive. This enabled her to do big dance moves unhindered, and I don't think she was bothered that they weren't that flattering to her svelte physique. But guys can't really employ this strategy - we don't have the waist/hips really, so big trousers actually fall down and make leg movement even more difficult. Enter the reasonably fitted but stretchy dewerstone jeans. I wear these as often as I can, and very often bust out a workout in them. Dance moves not so much.

Kind of a dragon flag/crunch combo thing... Without builder's bum... Winning...

"Now hang on a minute," I imagine you saying, "Why would you do a workout in your jeans?" And yes, perhaps that seems as incongruous to some people as wearing Lycra all day does to me. But hear me out. When I'm looking after the toddler, or at the computer, I just need to swing into action with a mini workout when said child goes to sleep or is incarcerated in a high chair. Or when I have writer's block or procrastination overload, in the latter case. Or at the pub. I don't have time to be putting on special clothes.
On another level, the fact that I can do a workout in these jeans demonstrates that they're perfect when you have to vault a gate, climb a wall, or paddle home from the pub in a canoe. All of which (and more) I have had to do in the dewerstone jeans recently, so I can confirm that they are practical in the extreme. Maybe they should be called "Life Jeans"...


What else do I like about them? The little square pocket that all jeans have, that I used to call a change pocket but maybe it's for condoms? Whatever, it's no use at all if you can't get enough fingers in to retrieve the contents. This one is perfect. Again, the stretch helps.

Subtle branding. Nice. Sizing, as far as I can tell, as expected. Colour - they don't look "too blue" straight off the shelf, but don't fade in the first few washes. Build quality - exemplary. Back pockets big enough for my "phablet" (^see dragon flag pic^ - it's in my back pocket).


Could they be better? Not really. I would prefer a button fly, and maybe a hidden zipped pocket for cards/cash so that stuff can't be lost when you hang upside down. But that's just me. Personal preference.

To check them out or buy online, go to dewerstone.com

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Training with balls...

Two balls, in fact, a BOSU ball (wobble plate thingy) and a medicine or slam ball. Most of my SUP pals, like myself, train on sheltered flat water a lot. When it comes to going out in the wind and chop, it shows up deficiencies in the legs and core control. I've been training on the Hammerhead land-SUP for a few weeks now, but when the weather is wet, or hail, sleet and snow right now actually, I want a way to train at the gym. And I'm not in any way a fan (pun intended) of those things that are made out of a rowing machine, a stick and some string. Luckily my gym has the right equipment, but you can buy it online to use at home.

Hammerhead land training board - for more about this see here...
This video got off to a false start last week because I somehow managed to pack not the resplendent T-shirt from dewerstone that I'm wearing in the vid, but my girlfriend's size 8 vest-top from Gap. Don't get me wrong, I went ahead and did a workout anyway, but it didn't feel right to share. I'm pretty sure people were looking at me funny...

The BOSU ball is actually more wobbly than even my race board, so the legs are firing from the start. I throw the medicine ball at varying spots on the wall so that I'm constantly moving around to catch it. Catching it in one hand looks hard, but while it punishes the wrists and fingers, having the other hand for balance actually makes the exercise easier. Throwing straight ahead and catching against the chest is the hardest work - it nearly knocks me off my feet - but I like to mix it up to get the most varied and functional workout possible.

I train to heart rate (my phone is displaying that on the floor in front of me), but you can do sets of 20 throws, or timed intervals, or whatever feels right for you. I'm finding my heart-rate is up around 80% of MHR if I throw at about this rate. It spikes a lot higher with more extreme reaches and jumping type moves. So I'm getting a great cardio workout while beating up the abs, core, arms and back, and the legs are working hard at keeping balance.


You might want to start with just a football or something until you get the hang of it. A 5kg medicine ball is quite impactful. Another top tip, if you're at a public gym, is to look out for bystanders. Every time, some lycra-clad person will settle down on a mat right behind me to do some kind of yoga moves, seemingly oblivious to how much that medicine ball is going to hurt when I inevitably miss a catch. Finally, make sure you are throwing against a concrete wall. Not a plasterboard stud-wall. Oops...

PS This is not in fact my normal training T-shirt. I normally use the dewerstone Trail Tee, which has a small and subtle logo, but small and subtle is not the way for brand ambassadoring. It's a great workout tee that keeps me cool and is dry enough to wear straight outta the washer. You can check them out here - http://ss1.us/a/Vv3d4Q46



Monday, 21 November 2016

Hammerhead - First Impressions

I've had the Hammerhead Land SUP board in my garage for a couple of weeks now, but because it never stops raining I haven't used it as much as I hoped. I have, however, managed one dry outing, and have had time to formulate some thoughts on this relatively unusual activity.

Hammerhead’s unique, patented board consists of a multi-ply Baltic birch deck, real SUP foam deck padding, black 70 mm 82A density Divine Road Ripper wheels and a choice of either the Caliber 50 trucks or Gullwing Sidewinder trucks.





My first thought was "Why buy this?", thinking that going out with a standard longboard and a yard brush would give much the same experience. It doesn't. The Hammerhead has been designed to simulate accurately the Stand Up Paddling experience. And it does so. It's not like riding a skateboard - it really is like paddling an SUP. The board is vast, a completely different scale from a longboard, and you can move around on the foam padding feeling just as you do on the water. I even managed to hang ten on my first day! The special board shape is specifically to allow aggressive riding without fouling the paddle on the wheels, and it works!
Size comparison. And yes, my longboard has original 1970's red Kryptonics...
The durable rubber ball foot on the three piece, adjustable paddle provides just the right amount of grip on the tarmac. It's great for paddling, braking or support, and facilitates moves like tail-slides that I'm not quite brave enough to commit to yet! This carbon paddle would normally be around £200 on its own, but it's included in the price of the board. 

Adjustable carbon shaft to suit all paddlers.
Still thinking the board looks pretty expensive? Well, it's not cheap, but what you're getting is a very big piece of kit. Everything on it is huge. The trucks, the wheels, the deck itself. Enormous. Although, surprisingly, not that heavy. And if you think about it, your SUP board plus composite paddle probably cost not far shy of £1000. So this, with the paddle included, is a pretty affordable bolt on to maximise the quality of your water time by training on land as well.


The tail has a wedge which works like a kick-tail and helps drive slides, too.
I've got the 10" Calliber 50 (that's 50ยบ, btw) trucks, which are great for carving and jibbing around - the Gullwing Sidewinders are dual-pivot trucks suitable for serious downhill use.

If it's too windy to get on the water, or the tide's out, I can see this is going to be a great way to train, and it's a much better core arm/shoulder workout than skating. Watch this space for more when I've got some of the local rippers out on the board. Or if you'd like to get one, and you are in the UK/Europe, get it here : 


https://wishboxusa.co.uk/collections/sports-outdoors/products/hammerhead-paddle-skateboard-landpaddle-combo



Friday, 14 October 2016

Let's Get Hammered!

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be working with Hammerhead Boarding Products - as a brand ambassador for their skateboards. Skateboards you say? What has that to do with paddling? Well... Land-SUP, or Street-SUP as some have called it, is a fun and different way of practising your SUP skills when there's a shortage of waves. Or water.

The Virginia Beach company (VA, USA) has made a new skateboard design that gets around some of the problems of using a "paddle" when you have wheels to snag it on. And although I currently live by the water, I have some great roads and pavements to skate, too!

It looks like a hammerhead, so it's called Hammerhead, and we're looking forward to getting hammered on some tarmac this side of the pond!

Here's a little taster...


For UK and European enquiries, hit me up here: mail@billmattos.com or use any of my other links!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dewerstone 'Life Shorts' - work/life balance.

I have always detested the expression "work/life balance". Work is part of life for most people, so "work/play balance" would be a better way of putting it. Life is the whole thing.

Therefore I was instantly dubious when I first saw the Dewerstone Life Shorts. And I thought "They look like board shorts, and not particularly robust ones at that!" Many is the pair of boardies I've rubbed on rock or reef, so I usually select something that's quite canvassy or otherwise chunky, to ensure their longevity and hopefully my dignity. The Dewerstone shorts are light-weight and seem quite thin at first glance, so I was concerned.

I'm pleased to say that (after admittedly not a lifetime but at least a year or so) the Dewerstone shorts have proved me wrong in almost every department. They are not only tough and tear resistant (even the stretch version) but they are better to wear for most sports because they aren't too snaggy/grabby - whether in a kayak or on a waxed-up board they give the right feel - and slithering over granite or slate has not, so far, made holes in them, or even wear marks for that matter. They are comfy and by virtue of their light weight, they are light and quick-drying and drape well.

In a perfect world, "Life" shorts would be shorts that I could wear in any walk of life, without having to make wardrobe decisions first thing in the morning or to pack the right stuff for a trip. Sadly that isn't possible. If I wear my Life Shorts for day wear, this necessitates carrying a bag or a jacket for phone, wallet, keys and all the other paraphernalia of modern business. The (excellent) zipped pocket on the shorts is OK for a single key, an emergency banknote or a condom, but it's irritating in the extreme to have a normal bunch of keys or a handful of change in it. For this reason I would call the Life Shorts "play" shorts, but for that purpose they are unrivalled. Everything that would get in the way or be slow to dry on a more practical (cargo-esque) short has been eradicated in the pursuit of great running and jumping, kayaking, paddling or swimming performance. And I'm lucky enough to "play" nearly every day. You might say that's my work ;)

The fly opening and tie is a piece of genius - no velcro to rub or scratch or poke, but access is acceptable when required, and the shorts are neither compromised nor rudely removed by rogue close-outs, hydraulics, or self-styled comedians. Colour fastness has proved excellent - in fact, save for a few rust stains caused by my own carelessness (I leave a steel keyring attached to the pocket tie-loop of my light green pair of Life Shorts at all times), the shorts actually look like new, despite many hours of sun, salt, sand, kayaking, surfing and swimming. And perhaps more relevant, putting them repeatedly through the washing machine.

Verdict - Five star fantastic product that defeats all comers at playtime/sport performance and appears to last forever, but if you want to wear them for everyday "life" you may need a handbag/man bag or a jacket.
Available from many forward-thinking  outlets, or why not shop at dewerstone.com !!!