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The Beach Souvenir Store Boogie Board is The Ultimate Wave Riding Machine

The holy grail of wave-riding tools.


The Inertia

You’re on vacation with your family at the beach: the sun, the sand, and your third overpriced piña colada hitting you before noon has you in the perfect mood. “Life is good,” your T-shirt says. As you look out over the ocean, you get an itch to surf. Well, not SURF surf. That’s dangerous. This is your vacation – you’re at the beach to relax. But it is impossible to resist the mysticism of the sea.

With surfing out of the question, you have decided to dominate the whitewater from your belly, so you head down to the local surf shop, Sunsations, for the finest in wave riding gear. After perusing row after row of lifeguard apparel, you find it: the chariot you will ride to glory.

“How much is this one?” you ask the salesperson.

“Fifteen Dollars,” they respond.

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Perfect. You are now the proud owner of The Ultimate Wave Riding Machine – a cheap boogie board from a beach souvenir store. Your confidence soaring, you order another piña colada.

“Sir, this is a Sunsations,” the salesperson reminds you.

As you get ready to head down to the beach, shoving folding chairs and every sand toy known to mankind into your oversized wagon, you admire your purchase. The shape looks like a child’s first attempt at drawing a rectangle. Its rails are round and overly forgiving, making it impossible to knife into a turn, but easy to bulldoze through a crowd of swimmers. The blunt corners at the bottom appear somewhat aggressive, suggesting that this board and its rider live life one way: fast.

This boogie’s construction is the result of being meticulously crafted in minutes by low-quality machinery. The factory that produces these slabs is likely more known for making happy meal toys and garden gnomes than it is epic wave slaying mini barges. The result is essentially a large piece of foam wrapped in Teflon. It’s an engineering marvel.

Confident that this is a product built to last, you wedge the boog in the back of your wagon behind a beer-filled cooler and make your way down to the ocean. There, you can see that the waves are massive – thigh, maybe waist high. You begin to tingle with excitement.

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After spending 30 minutes unloading and setting up a small village, you strap the low-grade Velcro to your wrist and prepare for battle. Forced to fight for your spot in the lineup, you wade out into waist-deep water and push past a family of four to get into priority position. Your sporty, high-performance shape covered in dolphin artwork expects nothing less than the best waves.

In the distance, a wave crumbles. The resulting frothy ball of whitewater bears down on you and your porpoise plastered beauty. This is it: the moment you have been waiting for. Turning around to face the shore, you shove the board into your abdomen, pleased with how well it contours to your body. As the sudsy foam approaches, you leap forward, latching onto what’s left of the wave’s energy to propel you towards the shore. The straight-line performance is astounding, whisking you past other boogie boarders with ease.

Wind in your hair, the roaring sea at your back, and small children desperately trying to get out of your way, you have never felt so alive. A surfer nearing the end of his ride yells at you. Words of encouragement, surely. Surfers are so nice. “This must be what that Italy Ferrari fella’ feels like,” you think.

You claim victory over nature and proceed to pass out on the sand, satisfied with your $15 shred sled. As you drift off into your Rupert Holmes-inspired coma, you wonder “Standing is for suckers. What could possibly be more fun than this?”

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