The Boogie Man

photo by Hank

photo by Hank


Tales Of The Boogie Man

by Dusty Middleton




In the years before I surfed Waimea, my favorite stories were always those of the biggest days on the north shore. I’d sit quietly and digest the exploits and adventures told around dying barbeques with the last helpings of Pisco and the last swigs of Tequila. I’d listen with full attention and curiosity, thirsty for any knowledge that might save my life in the winters ahead.

The stories I learned… the days over twenty feet, the days along the outer reefs, always included mention of the boogie man. He was a fixture. He was a mystery to be named and respected with any tale told. It seemed he was always there, either waiting tensly in the parking lot or floating alone, outside in a giant sea.

On the outer reefs Kohl and Healy sit deeper than the rest of us.

They sit there waiting to be destroyed by monsters. The rest of us think they’re mad.

The Pirate Freed paddles out and sits with them behind the bowl. They wait there on beautiful ten foot boards talking about fish and women, and they stare out at the bulging horizon. These three paddle into some of the biggest waves in the world.

Where they’re sitting is almost suicidal. If a north swinger comes in they take the risk of having a twenty-foot-plus bowl land on them in the worst way possible. If there’s a set longer than five waves… who knows what will happen.


The Boogie Man’s a bit more crazy.

He’s sitting 60 or 70 feet inside of them, waiting patiently… and he’s got no chance for escape.

When that big set does come in, we paddle hard for the shoulder. On a ten foot board you move fast, and with a heavy flood of adrenaline in your blood, you move really fast.

But the Boogie Man’s not on a ten foot board. He’s plugging along, kicking at his normal speed, and there’s no way that he’s getting out of the impact zone.

As we go over the shoulder… it takes a while paddling up hill… we look back a hundred feet or so. Down there in the trough Kelly the Boogie Man is still moving towards the shoulder. He’s not gonna make it, and he’s looking up at the lip that’s throwing out over him. It’s gonna hit him hard.

Who knows what kinds of things the Boogie Man has seen. He takes the heaviest beatings year after year on the north shore. He loves it. He has taken heavier beatings than any surfer on the planet.

For decades he’s been one of the most dedicated big wave riders on the planet. He’s out there. Waiting.



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