mat surfing

Type of surfing performed on a soft, inflatable, rectangular surf mat; wildly popular in the 1960s and early '70s with weekend beachgoers as well as preteen surfers-in-training. The all-rubber "surf-o-plane" was invented by a Sydney physician in 1934, and American-made surf mats—also called "surf rafts" or "floats"—were being used in Virginia Beach in the early '40s and in Southern California by the late '40s.

Mat rental stands were a common sight at popular beaches on both American coasts b...