Zodi’s Blog

Rip-Curl to Rip-Tide to R.I.P. Part II

 Did I Die or Not?

If you are just joining us, it’s a must that you go back HERE and read the beginning of this harrowing tale.

When you last saw me, I was a diminishing dot on the horizon.

So after I noticed just how far out I was, I tried to keep the first twinges of panic at bay as I started furiously paddling, while still trying to straddle the damn short board. It didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped; as I seemed to be going backwards and to the right. After struggling, swimming, and doggie paddling, for literally two hours, I did finally manage to fight my way back to where the waves were breaking. 

Up until this point I had been really grateful I had the board, without it I wouldn’t have made it this far. But the very thing which had been my saving grace was now to become my possessed nemesis, hell bent on my painful death, presumably so it could personally deliver my soul to the Grim Reaper.

By the time I reached the break point I was far too exhausted and shaky to even attempt to surf. So I decided to try to use it as a boogie board. This didn’t really work out so well either. I had been acclimated to the calm Gulf waters, and I had even taken the worst that the Atlantic had to offer in the past. Well, let me tell those that don’t know, the Pacific is a mean, bad bitch, and she doesn’t play. These monster waves kept shooting me straight up to the crest (with surf board turned boogie board) and pummeling me way, way back down. I couldn’t’ believe how far down. Then, when I got as low as I was going to get, the board would come down on me like a UFC cage fighter putting on a show for the crowd. I couldn’t get the thing unattached from my ankle either, I tried. Then just as I’d struggle to the surface, another wave would smash me.

Now this is where it gets interesting. I remember consciously thinking, “shit, shit, shit” then I remember consciously thinking, “I’m going to die right now, on vacation….fuck!” Then……nothing. I had no outer body experience. My life did not flash before my eyes, just… nothing. Right before I blacked out, I went into an instinctual, robotic, survival mode kind of thing. There was no more pain, no more fear, only a sense of peace. I was still physically fighting and struggling, but I was in a total state of peace. I can’t explain it any better than that.

I came back to reality just about the point that I could almost stand up. I was then able to ride the board ‘boogie’ style the rest of the way to safety. All the people from the beach had been following me and we all ended up about a mile north of where this debacle started. I half crawled, half walked into a crowd of cheering people. I responded by unceremoniously throwing up a nice amount of sea water and some left over bacon and eggs.

Everyone started good-naturedly teasing me in broken English about how I had rode the surf board like a boogie board, and the nickname ‘boogie board man’ was born. The nickname stuck too; I went back two years later and they still recognized (and made fun of) the ‘boogie board man.’

It turns out that nine people had died that day on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I’m not positive I wasn’t one of them. Maybe I did die? From what I’ve read about quantum physics, there are hundreds of thousands of possible worlds existing simultaneously that splinter off at every turn. I don’t want to get all metaphysical on your ass but; maybe if we die in one world, our consciousness shifts to another plane of reality. Maybe this happens many times in our lives without us even knowing? Or maybe I just got really, really lucky. 

If any of you go to Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica, ask about the ‘boogie board man,’ and they’ll tell you about the hung over idiot that almost died incredibly attractive and athletic, white man who is now a legend.

June 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. I love how you end out the story. Keep your head high! (At least above water)

    Comment by Claire Collins | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks Claire! The rip tide was still horrible for two days afterwards; I didn’t go in above my mid-thigh. Even that was sucking me out though. Never. Again.

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 13, 2009 | Reply

    • I’d like to say you learned something.. but we both know you’d do it again given the right circumstances.

      Comment by Claire Collins | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. I’m so glad you didn’t die, or that at least this concept of you didn’t die, or this particular path didn’t run cold – where is that Elizabeth Hersh of Tannerleah’s threads (I can’t remember her name exactly) when you need her? Physicists, are you out there?

    Well done, Scott. I’ll bet you have lots of stories very similar to this one. 😉

    Comment by barelyknittogether | June 13, 2009 | Reply

    • BKT-Thanks, I’m glad that you’re glad I’m alive. Without me you’d have to go elsewhere for your unethical/immoral advice. It’s a niche market, but I’m told I fill it well.
      I do have a couple more of those types of stories; I’ll have to mix them in more often.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. I’m an old So Cal surfer and honestly the closest I ever came to dying was surfing a righteous 8 foot winter swell north of La Jolla. I got hit by my own board and split my head open and was unconscious briefly and no one was within a quarter mile of me. I managed to crawl onto sand coughing and bleeding where an older woman found me and took me to the hospital. Scary shit. Great story and I dig your blog.

    Comment by fundamentaljelly | June 13, 2009 | Reply

    • FJ-Yea , the Pacific was a lot more than I expected, at least that day. I learned a whole new respect for the ocean. Now, I always at least check the ‘drag’ before heading out half baked and half cocked.
      When you were knocked out, do you remember what happened? Maybe there is something to this pet theory of mine? If not, somebody upstairs must really love surfers….
      Thanks for your kind words, I dig your blog as well!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. I always wanted to be legend. You’re so lucky. I’m booking immediately.

    Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. Rooster- You will love Costa Rica; it’s my favorite place on earth. It’s teaming with monkeys, beautiful women, and near death experiences! You’ll love it.
    You already are a legend my friend, you already are.

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 14, 2009 | Reply

    • That’s very nice of you to say, but my manager is still telling me that I have to “almost die” to make it official.

      Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. Okay, I’m not going to even enter the water when I go on vacation in Aug.

    I don’t think I would have the survival instinct that you did. I would have sank about as fast as that Kriby you threw off the bridge. 😉

    Comment by candice | June 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Haha, that Kirby did sink fast. You’re going in August? What part? That’s so cool, you’ll love it! If you’re going to the Pacific side, you can go in, just don’t be a cocky hung over idiot like me…

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  8. That’s awesome that they recognized you two years later. I’m also loving your reality-branches and consciousness-transfer theories. Will subscribe to newsletter.

    Comment by Shawn | June 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Yea I was happy they still recognized me, it meant more people buying rounds of San Miguel. That will be my first vacation after moving back to the states.
      It’s funny you mention the newsletter; I’ve been reading a lot about niche markets lately. I wonder how many people would ‘subscribe’ to my brand of crazy?

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 15, 2009 | Reply

  9. Its kinda sad that I am an Aussie and that I cant surf…and even though we are many, many miles on the other side of the Pacific, I can at least vouch that it is indeed a bitch.
    We have a wonderful, wonderful author from here, I don’t know if you would have heard of him – Tim Winton – or how well his extremely idiosyncratic style of writing would translate, but he captures ‘place’ in an incredible way and I love how he writes about Australia. His last book features ALOT of surfing, and despite how wonderful your tale was, he seems to do the heart in your mouth and exhilaration-come-fear of some of the surfing scene like no one else…. Check it out if you are ever interested, its called Breath

    Comment by RubyTwoShoes | June 9, 2010 | Reply

    • Believe it or not Ruby, but I think I’ve heard of him. I’ve been surfing since I was little but only lived on the beach for the past 6 years before moving here. I would love to surf Oz, but I do very much admit to being afraid. There is just so much that is more than happy to kill you down under.

      As soon as I work up the courage, I’ll be ringing your doorbell.

      I’ll order that book for sure!

      Thanks Ruby!!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | June 9, 2010 | Reply

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