Editor’s Note: As part of the “100 days of Summer,” The Log will be exploring Destin and the activities it has to offer during the summer season. This week the featured pastime is wave runners..
The sun is blazing, the water is perfect, and everyone is looking for a fast and simple way to get out on the water. Two words will solve that dilemma — wave runner.
On a wave runner, riders can go solo, or bring up to three people to zip and meander through the waves along Emerald Coast.
“It’s mesmerizing and you just forget every problem you have,” said Boogies Watersports employee, Bobby “Bucheaux” Montz. As a twice-daily tour guide for Boogies’ dolphin excursions on wave runners, Montz told The Log that he couldn’t be happier with his career choice.
“If I call this a job, I’m gonna quit because I have fun doing it,” said Montz.
Boogies Watersports, located at 16 Harbor Boulevard, in the HarborWalk Village, offers something for everyone.
“We offer everything there is to do on the water,” said General Manager, Johnny Parker listing glass bottom boats, pontoon rentals, parasailing, and dolphin excursions on wave runners.
“The dolphin excursion is a two-hour guided tour. We’ll take you out in the Gulf of Mexico, stop and hang out with dolphins for awhile, and then the last half hour you can do whatever you want,” he said.
Parker told The Log that dolphin sightings during the outing are not guaranteed, as the sea creatures are in their natural habitat, but he estimated that 99 percent of the time the tour guides find them.
“It’s fun with a guide because they know how to find the dolphins and where to go,” said Rosalind Highfill of Paragould, Ark.
The Highfill family is repeat customers of Boogies, this being their second wave runner outing with Montz as their guide.
“We did it last year, and we really enjoyed the guide and the service,” said Rosalind’s husband Kenny. “Last year we were right on top of the dolphins.”
Before heading out, each rider must watch an informational safety video, detailing the laws and guidelines of operating a wave runner. Also, Florida law requires anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to obtain a Florida valid boaters license before operating the vessel. Boogies offers a temporary one-year license for three dollars, and even supplies a study guide and test on site.
“It only takes ten minutes,” said Parker of the test time. “A majority of big water sport companies offer it now, but customers come from other companies to take their test here, and then go back to rent.”
On a Thursday tour 11 wave runners headed out to find some dolphins with Montz in the lead, and another Boogies guide, Jake Rasbeck bringing up the rear. The jetties were the first stop, and although the waves were choppy, the group found several dolphins playing in the waves.
“Seeing the dolphins was really exciting,” said Allison Vaughn of Paragould, Ark., after coming in from the tour.
“I like the waves,” added Emilee Highfill. “I thought we were going to flip several times.”
After an hour of dolphin watching, and maneuvering the large waves, Montz led the group to the calmer waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Once there, some chose to race one another in the bay, while others relaxed and enjoyed the lax atmosphere of the popular sandbar dubbed Crab Island.
“I would go out again right now,” said Heather Lambiase of Peoria, Ill. when she returned to the dock.
“It was awesome,” added her son Brayden Lambiase.
When it comes to his passion for showing wave-riders a good time, Montz said that it is his number one aspiration.
“A lot of people don’t get to experience it the way I like to present it,” he said. “This is nothing like you’ve ever done before.”
There are several companies that offer Jet Ski rentals in Destin. Here are some places that offer rentals both on the harbor and bay side.
Luther’s Watersports 650-8733
Blue Crab Water Sports 218-5504
Xtreme H2O 978-3060
Gilligan’s Watersports 650-9000
Boogies Watersports 654-4497
Destin Vacation Boat Rentals 650-2628
La Dolce Vita 1-866-651-1869
Harbor Watersports 650-0390
Dockside Watersports 428-3313
Destin Powerboats 217-5285
Discount Watersports 654-0099
Sunshine Watersports 837-2299
Sailing South Watersports 837-7245