The Art of the Boogie Board or The Mystery of the Green Hat
We spend a day at Miramar Beach and the saga of the missing green hat begins. First, a lesson in catching the perfect boogie wave.
Long ago, we decided there are four types of waves. “Just a Swell” (or Just as well if you weren’t ready) is a big fat lazy wave on which you can float, with or without a boogie board, right up on top, get a glance at the ring of hills embracing the bay, then dip back to the sea. A “Jumper” is stronger, faster and leaner; you can’t really float on it, you have to make a straight, push-from-your-toes leap to clear the top. A “Diver” means you either get on your board and boogie (more about the board in a minute), or dive straight underneath it to avoid a somersault or head plant. If a Kahuna wave comes for you, there are several rules. First, if you are tall and see it in the distance, you are required to warn all of your companions. Second, once the wave hits, it’s every person for themselves; do not try to save anyone else, save yourself. Third, bend over at the knees, duck under the waves, and kiss your ass good-bye. OR – if you are really skilled, you can body surf or boogie all the way into shore.
You can rent a boogie board for $2 (CDN) an hour. However, straddling a boogie board is not easy. You have to fling yourself on top of it, grasp it on both sides, and paddle like hell. When a Diver or a Kahuna descend upon you, turn your back to the wave, laugh in the face of danger, and try to catch it just before the white water curls over your head. If you are lucky, or highly talented, you will lie right up on top of the crest, hurtling toward the shore. You’ll have time to see the horrified looks on the faces of people sitting in chairs on the beach. You’ll have time to chuckle to yourself, because they have no idea of the sensations – the wind in your hair, the tickle in your stomach, the zoom in your toes. Remember to keep your mouth closed, though, or you will also feel the salt in your throat.
It was one such lucky catch that started the case of the missing green hat. I sailed up on the wave, buoyed by my faithful boogie board, and caught the tumbling drum of water as it roared toward shore. It was amazing! I was light, speedy, a sail in the wind, conqueror of the Pacific. Which was when El Pacifico thought I’d gone too far. A backlash wave – one of those that tumbles from the beach and not toward it – caught up with my barreling flow of water and clapped hands. My boogie and I were in the middle, so the hands picked us up and slammed us back down again, a demonstration of the power behind even a relatively small wave – a Jumper for heaven’s sake, not even a Diver let alone a Kahuna. Tumbling to a grinding stop, thinking my chiropractor would not be pleased, I finally straightened and surfaced, slightly stunned and somehow shorter than I was when I went in. It was at that moment my husband asked me, slightly bemused, “Didn’t you have a green hat?”