Ben silhouetted by the Northern Lights in Antarctica

Alaska, USA

Howdy Matt,

I just wanted to send you a message of thanks for this wonderful mat you made for me! I have been getting out on it quite a bit and it is really wonderful! I was hoping to send you some pictures of it in action but it seems I am always on the mat and can't be bothered to take pictures... I am sending a link to an album of pictures from the first trip I took it on.

A friend and I sailed to Sea Lion Cove on the outer coast of Kruzof island for a few days of camping and waves. The waves were tiny but glorious and much fun was had! I really love being on a mat!

I am also writing because last night I was out surfing at our little local break here on Baranof Island and it was pretty stormy. Not great waves and TONS of wind. In the blink of an eye a huge gust of wind ripped the mat from my hand and it flew away in the air with much vigour! The wind was blowing across the shore and catching up was out of the question so I rode the next wave in and jumped in my truck to see if I could follow it for a bit as we only have 8 miles of road here in Sitka and it follows the shore. As I drove out the road in my wetsuit I was able to spot the mat a few times but it was still quite a ways off shore and the wind was RIPPING.

I drove to the end of the road and swam out to a place called Magic Island to try and catch a view of the mat if possible. I sat on the rocks at Magic Island until it was almost dark when a big gust of wind came and blew the mat into the air so I could see it! It wasn't too far away and headed in my direction so I waited on the rocks as the sun was setting and, like magic, during a break in the wind my mat floated by just a ways offshore.

I jumped in and swam out and got my hands on it!! It really is a one in a million chance that I would see the mat in the darkening, stormy evening and the break in the wind as the mat came close by was just enough to keep it from blowing out of my reach. I had one chance and it worked! \

So all that to say, I am even more attached to this mat now and if I don't get eaten by wolves or bears or fish first. I plan to be buried with it! Thanks again for making it for me! I hope you are doing well over there in your part of the world.

I just signed a contract to return to the south pole in January for all of 2022 where I most certainly won't be getting any wave riding in. Perhaps I'll bother you next year for a new mat to take around New Zealand when I leave the south pole. All further mats will be bright colors to make chasing them downwind easier!

Thanks for everything and take care,


Ben silhouetted by the Northern Lights in Antarctica
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