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Celebration of Water - A Review
by sandy feet

"Let's go try that endless wave thing ... can we can we pleeeeeze!???

Parents of teenagers probably get used to hearing requests of this type, but this plaintive plea came from none other than my 43-year-old Unix Geek boyfriend.... and he wasn't just kidding around.

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Fred makes his living doing complicated computer stuff, but he is also an avid swimmer, licensed boat captain, surfer, snorkler, fisherman and windsurfer who has recently gotten himself hooked on kite boarding. If an activity's description has the word "water" in it somewhere, Fred is so there.

(I, on the other hand, pretty much fit the textbook description of "land lubber." I can swim well enough to save my life - and the occasional dip feels pretty good on a hot day - but my favorite water activity most often occurs on the beach attached to it.)

The "endless wave thing" he was referring to is the one at the "Boogie Bahn" over at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, of course. We recently made a trip over there to catch the "Celebration of Water" show and I have to tell you -- I was very impressed.

full moon

Full moon rising on the Boogie Bahn



Christy and Marty

Christy and Mark hamming it up...

The show is a balanced mixture of slapstick comedy - suitable for all ages - and boogie board derring do. I very much enjoyed the funny bits, performed by Christy McDonald - Schlitterbahn's own "Director of Fun - and the talented Mark Myers, whose list of recent gigs includes being shot out of a cannon for Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus. Both are classically-trained circus clowns, and their skill in pratfalls, exaggerated doubletakes and thinking fast on their feet is quite evident; I laughed my you-know-what off.

The dozen or so members of the Schlitterbahn Surf Team range from 2 years old to "thirty-something" and it is quite apparent that they love their work - but also that this is not all fun and games. The tricks performed by these accomplished surfers - including spins, barrel rolls, standing on the board, juggling while surfing, and the complex choreographed grand finale - are not something you try your first time out, no matter how effortless they make it appear. Midway through the show, the guy at the controls turns on the "big curl" - the largest man-made wave in the world. You've probably seen the local surfers catching waves down by the jetties, but it is a rare opportunity to watch something like this so up close and personal - you can actually see the brows furled in concentration. This machine is pumping water at a phenomenal rate, and wipe outs are plentiful and "ouch" - inducing (as in, "You know that had to hurt, but look! He's getting up and heading back for more!")

The night we went, the show featured several out-of town surfers who were getting ready for the 5th annual Body Boarding Competition that was held on July 27th at Schlitterbahn. There were over 40 competitors - ranging in ages from 7 to 56 years old - who came from all over Texas. The top two winners from each division are invited to the US Amateur Flow Rider National Championships which will be held at Schlitterbahn Beach on Saturday, August 31st, 2002 and are open to the public. The National Championships will bring competitors from Montana, Georgia & California; though Christy tells us that the members of the Schlitterbahn Surf Team excelled at last week's competition and that SPI will be well-represented in the nationals.

hanging 10

Hanging 10

the wash

In the wash

"Celebration of Water" is performed six nights a week and is free and open to the public; however, for best seating you should make reservations ahead (956-761-7873 ext. 221) and plan to enjoy the cajun-style feast offered by Schlitterbahn before and during the show. Fred and I shared a "Master Blaster Combo," which included crab, crawfish, shrimp, sausage and all the fixins' -- and it was still way more food than the two of us could consume. (Steak and chicken entrees are also available, as well as a special children's menu.) Dinner seating starts at 8 PM, with the show starting at 8:30. One caveat: the mosquitos can be fierce around sunset, so you may want to spritz yourself with bug juice before you go.

Having caught the show, there is a good possibility that even confirmed land lubbers may be tempted to give that wave a try and risk making total fools of themselves in front of their boyfriends and everybody.
You can be sure that I will let you know if it is a much fun as it appears...

See you on the beach!


Trey - Surf Team's youngest member



Photos by sandy feet

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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