mat surfing

Type of surfing performed on a soft, inflatable, rectangular surf mat; wildly popular in the 1950s, '60s and early '70s with weekend beachgoers as well as preteen surfers-in-training. "For decades," the Sydney Morning Herald noted in 2007, the surf mat "was a comforting part of the summer, an ingenious but simple device that helped generations of grommets grow confident enough in the waves to become surfers."

The inflatable all-rubber "Surfoplane" was introduced in 1933 by Dr. Ernest Smither...