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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kim’s Hawaiian Boogie Boarding Zen

Boogie boarding (a.k.a. body boarding) is another form of surfing (or surfing lite). Instead of standing upright on a surf board to catch that perfect wave, boogie boarders lay on their stomachs on top of a much shortened surf board made out of different materials to catch waves crashing closer to shore. Surfers attach their boards with nylon cord and a Velcro strap around their ankles, while boarders have a wrist strap. The basic idea is to “jump on” just before the wave crests and ride it like you are snow sledding. Click here to learn more about the sport. For me, boogie boarding at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island is one of my fave-rave pastimes. It’s fun, exciting, and the water feels great in this warm climate.

Surfers have long had their own philosophy and Zen wisdom on their art of surfing; yet, I have never seen anyone get philosophic on boogie boarding. So, here I am, still on Hawaiian time and the spirit of aloha coursing through my body. Today, the best way to express that is to get all Zen with The Neighborhood. Surf’s up!

  1. Boogie boarding takes practice. Timing is critical. Don’t worry. Keep practicing. You’ll get it. And when you get the timing down and ride that first wave, it’s magic.
  2. When you see the wave about to crest, be ready for it. Get on the board and start kicking. If you’re not ready in time, it’s okay. There will be other waves.
  3. If you see a big wave coming and don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t take it. Let it crash through you or swim under it. Be comfortable with your board, your body, and the water.
  4. Sometimes, if you don’t time the wave correctly, or if the surf is too high or too rough, you can get knocked off the board, batted around, or flipped. We all make mistakes. Get back up on your board and try again. If the elements cause your fall and tumble, it’s just a temporary set back. Try again later.
  5. When you catch a pretty wave, ride it with all of your heart. Let your body and mind go. Savor the moment, savor the fun.
  6. The ocean is bigger and stronger than you. Embrace it, learn about it, and love it. You’ll get the same in return.

Much Aloha,



Lorraine Hart said...

Oh yes you have much aloha spirit to share, my friend!

The last time I tried body-surfing was also the last time I wore a bikini, which long time ago now. I'm more the wading, beach-combing sort.

Growing up in Southeast Asia, just about everything was poisonous and/or dangerous in the wild water, so we stuck more to pools. Tell me, are there less worries in the waters of Hawaii? Are there sea snakes, urchins with poisonous spikes, jellyfish...that sort of thing...or does this paradise have less sting?

Kim Thompson said...

Hey Lorraine:

Yes, you need to be cautious in Hawaii, but it's not that big of a deal. Beaches get shut down in Oahu due to jellyfish (folks go in the water despite the sign postings). You need to look out for man-of-wars and there's some sea urchin that's nasty. No sea snakes. sharks are around, but they are pretty rare. Really I think the true surfers are more at risk because they are out in deeper water with bigger waves. For the stuff that I do, I don't worry. Though with this trip, I did see a big manta ray come in to where I was boarding. That was eerie and cool.

Lorraine Hart said...

I love watching Manta they're flying through the water!

I was stung by a man-o'-war (luckily, a baby) when I went in the water off Pensacola...had this red mark on my leg for months after.

You can see why, even in pools, I have a tendency to get out very quickly! For some strange reason...I go up basement stairs like that too!

Kim Thompson said...

Oh, honey, basement stairs give me the CREEPS!!!! I run too!

Lorraine Hart said...

I wonder where that fear comes from.

Kim Thompson said...

Horror movies? Claustrophobia?

evan said...

I wonder if someone can answer a question. I was boogie (body) boarding at Pacifica near San Francisco on Sunday and the waves were large for my standards (7 or 8 feet). I was just happy to be able to paddle out past the break, and I actually caught one. The next one I ended up on the crest and was catapulted off my board and nearly drowned as I was held under 4 or 5 times. What did I do wrong? How do you catch a large wave without free-falling down the face very separated from your board? Could this have been the wrong type of wave? Do I just suck? THANKS!!!