Sunday will mark six years since the passing of Jason Bogle. After falling ill with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, the rising North Shore star eventually succumb to the disease on Sept. 29, 2004. And while time moves much too fast to believe it's been that long, it's safe to say the man's still touching lives.
Bogle and I got to know each other while I was working at Surfer magazine. He'd already been battling the cancer for awhile, and when he was recouping in a hospital bed he had this unquenchable appetite for surf movies, magazine, and the like. (Wi-fi had yet to be invented, but he'd have loved it.) Every once in awhile his friends would stop by our office, raid our video stash, and go up to see him.
I interviewed Bogle a couple of times for the magazine, and eventually we started to talk on a more regular basis. He'd call every once in awhile to say hello, see how the last interview we did turned out, or talk about surf trip ideas he had. But I'll never, for the life of me, forget one of the last stories he told me.
It was a random summer day, maybe mid-July, and he was back on the North Shore facing up to the fact that most of the piss and vinegar had been taken out of him, and that at this point there was pretty much zero chance of shaking this thing. But, ever the optimist, he had two things he wanted to do before it was over; one was to see his sister get married, the other was to get barreled at Pipeline.
Now, if you know anything at all about Pipeline, you know it doesn't break in the summer. You can snorkel along the reef, dive down and pull busted fins, teeth and Brazilian boogie boarders out of the caves. All told it's pretty placid. Aware that he probably wouldn't see another winter, Bogle maintained a rigid routine of surf checks. Then, whether by random chance or divine intervention, one day he went down to the beach park to "see the ocean" and found a small west swell was running, just big enough to make Pipe pop. Doing what he'd always done, he grabbed his board, found a photographer and hit it. He would go on to describe in great detail and depth his last Pipeline cylinder, how free he felt to finally be back in the water instead of a hospital bed.
Holding on long enough to see his sister get married, you could say Bogle moved on a happy man. Just the same, six years gone and there are still a lot of people missing him. So I guess it's like he taught us, no matter where you are in life, no matter what's going on around you, or what's happening to you, never pass up a chance to go to the beach.