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Surf's Up Dude
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2003
(Click Pics to Enlarge)

Here in the Everglades, nature is a combination of magic, mystery and myth, but one story that any old timer will swear by is the Rogue Wave. Neither Maui, Fiji, Tahiti, nor the shores of California have anything to compare to swamp surfing our rogue waves in the 'Glades.

Now for those who may not know, rogue waves are a maritime phenomenon where a wave appears significantly larger than the seas that surround it, like the one that crashed onto Daytona Beach, Florida, on July 3, 1992 which was estimated to be 18 feet high, 250 feet wide and 27 miles long. In that case, the press reported:

"A wall of water as much as 18 feet high rose out of a calm sea and crashed ashore, smashing hundreds of vehicles parked on the beach and causing 75 minor injuries, officials and witnesses said."

Some seismologists speculated that it might have been caused by some sort of "undersea landslide," but several reports attributed it to a meteor striking the water offshore. There are over 3100 articles on the web about it according to Google.com.

They don't get quite that big out in the 'Glades.

Made of tough stuff, my crew fears nothing that our 'Glades have to offer and swamp surfin' is one of our favorite Jeepin' excursions. That's right boys and girls - floating around on oversized popsicle sticks is one thing, but real men (and Megan) "hang ten" off a Jeep.

It was October 6, 2003, Dook's 9th Birthday, so Megan graciously allowed everyone to forego the "ladies first" rule - it was a sad day for all of us when Megs heard about that.

"Ladies first?" "What did he mean by that Dad?" "Is that a rule?" "So, Dad, does that mean always?"

Dookman scans the horizon
in quest of a Rogue Wave

Like I said, she's not a total tyrant -- she'll cut a guy some slack on his birthday. Since it was Dook's birthday, he got the first shot at it.

Unfortunately, rogue waves aren't just everywhere, so we scouted about a bit and rode a few small ones.

While the Dookman could count on a certain degree of slack from Megs, it didn't extend to wussy wave riding. It wasn't as if he wasn't looking for a killer wave, or willing to ride one if he could find it, but while the rest of us were sympathetic, Megs ragged on him pretty bad.

"Yo dude, you coulda rode that ripple on a board - or even a Kia."

I'm telling you, nothing's as brutal as a baby sister with an attitude - especially when she's just dying to show you how it's done.

Meggie swears she had him beat, claiming that she handled her waves with significantly more style and panache than her older brother but, from where I sat, it looked pretty much even to me.

Before I could say anything, Dook tried to get even, "Sorry sissy, maybe you oughta be cruisin the 'Glades in a Samurai."

Ouch! When the real ugliness starts, I try to stay out of it, but I thought that Samurai business was a bit too much. Before I could say anything, Megs nose-hooked him - he should have known better.

I felt for him, but I'd feel for anyone on the wrong end of Megan's nose-hook. I kid you not, that fiendish giggle was not in keeping with the birthday spirit.

Once we got everyone calmed down and Dook's nose stopped bleeding, we were all pretty much ready for Ryan to have a turn.

Being younger than Dook, and not nearly as mean as Megan, Ryan doesn't usually say much. I suspect that makes him the smart one.

He serached and around and had pretty good luck with his first wave too, but Megan and Dook both demanded an independent judge. I hate those lose-lose predicaments.
I tried to punt to Luz, but she quickly pointed out that she was driving and couldn't see a thing. Unable to argue with that, I started to formulate an excuse of my own, but Ryan yelled, "Rogue Wave."

Well, it wasn't actually a rogue wave, but it was a good one, and certainly enough that everyone agreed that Ryan was the winner - to that point anyway. Megan, who's always quoting somebody or other, mumbled something about a "fat lady" and started looking hard at Ryan's nose.

Luz, recoginzing that Megan was liable to get a little irregular, suggested that maybe everyone should ride together, and she'd see what she could find.
It wasn't a rogue wave, but our Luz-y-luz shook things up real well, and definitely chilled everyone out. Since everyone was involved in what was unquestionably the wildest ride of the day, I suggested that we call it a three-way tie. Ryan wasn't thrilled, but he's used to it.
Dook suggested that he have one more turn, and we all felt a little disappointed that we hadn't been able to find a rogue wave for his brithday. I followed them back toward home with Megs chattering away on the radio. I guess she saw it first, "Rogue Wave," she yelled.

Dook swears he's hangin' ten here
It was truly splendiferous (honest to God, that is a word). Meggie, who never her loosed her grip on that mic, was chattering something about "gnarley" (which may not be a word) and Ryan, in the background, said, "Luz, do you think he's drownded?" (definitely not a word)

As you probably guessed, our Dookman survived the rogue wave, since I'm the one telling the story. What writer kills off the heroic kid on his birthday?

That's the really kewl thing about being a Dad. Writer's get to control a make-believe world, but as a Dad, I get to be in charge, and try to make things turn out the way I want in the real world! That's definitely a good thing.

In fact, it might even be "gnarly," but I want to see an official definition before I commit myself.



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