It may look like a regular raft, but some of the best surfers in the game have vouched for this inflatable canvas-and-nylon mat from a near-secret brand that's been making them for decades. By laying it flat and gripping its edges, you can fly through flats and into barrels. It's faster than foam and way more packable. [$200; surfmats.com]
Gear of the Year
The best tools, tech, and toys of 2013.
Plus: Lance Armstrong's Downfall
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