I was a good surfer – along with a very mixed group of friends – on Llangennith Beach on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales (UK) for many spring and summer weekends in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. It is a fabulously wide beach and I suspect it’s still massively popular with those seeking great waves.
Of equal importance was that by driving down the M4 and over the Severn Bridge into Wales I could do the journey from Central London in well under four hours.
The beach-side Hillend Campsite offered an evening’s refuge on a half filled lilo and a sweaty sleeping bag after drinking too much of South Wales’ Brain’s beer at the King’s Head Inn. Sadly, I didn’t yet know much about fabulous Airstream Airstream trailers….if only!
I really enjoyed Boogie boarding with an iconic Morey Boogie board – 42″ tall with a lanyard and velco ankle strap to avoid it disappearing after you performed a couple of impressive 360 degree turns on the top of a breaking wave… yes it did happen! Complete with Gul 4mm neoprene wet-suit, wet socks and Froggies – little flipper-like fins made of thick rubber that were essential to get you high on a breaking wave.
In July 1971, Tom Morey the Detroit born surfing enthusiast and designer who’d moved to Hawaii from California, designed the first Boogie board out of packing foam, news print and glue, naming it after his preferred style of music – and patenting his remarkable invention.
Morey’s take on the different between conventional surfing and Boogie boarding was that by lying on a Boogie you could really hear and feel the waves beneath you, a much more rewarding experience than standing up and being several feet away from the wave. By 1977 he was producing 80,000 Boogie boards a year and selling, primarily, in the USA.
See here a 1986 commercial for Morey Boogie boards Morey Boogie boards 1986 spot
Almost all our kit came from “PJ’s Surf-shack” where Peter Jones, a former competition surfer, was forging an alternative and successful career as a retailer. He also gave lessons to novice surfers – an excellent way to ease into the sport. As PJ tendered to stock long boards, I bought my Morey Boogie board from a surf shop in the Mumbles south-west of Swansea (South Wales UK).
I have never been small or lithe so long boards – whether in wood or glass-fiber were never my thing. I am completely willing to accept that a good surfer – on a Boogie or long board – particularly one carrying a GoPro Go Pro Hero 4 camera – mounted on a helmet or board can look great cutting and dipping over a high wave and racing through the pipeline of a breaking wave at breakneck speed.
See here GoPro footage of Boogie boarder Sacha Specker Sacha Specker in the Canary Islands
To this day I use my Morey Boogie board in that surfer’s paradise of Tarifa (Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain) a series of beautiful sandy beaches, and a great hippy vibe that deliver great waves.