Tandem duo ready to ride into Watermen’s Plaza with bronze statue – Orange County Register

Personal Injury Attorney

Steve Boehne drove from Huntington Beach to San Onofre on a freezing cold day in 1968 to try surfing with a young Barrie Algaw, who was already known for her aerial acrobatics while riding tandem on waves.

The petite, 5-foot, 89-pound surfer girl from Santa Monica had forgotten something important – her wetsuit.

“She didn’t want to say ‘I’m not going out.’ I didn’t want to say I wasn’t going out. So we paddled out without wetsuits in the middle of March,” recalled Boehne. “I caught one wave, lifted her into a swan, rode it all the way to the beach and said ‘I’m taking you in before I drop you in the water!’”

While they only caught one wave on that frigid, fateful day, the tandem duo has had a lifetime of wild rides together at surf breaks – and on streetscapes – near and far.

Their accomplishments as champion tandem surfers and skaters, as well as longtime surf shop owners in Dana Point, have earned the couple – they were married a few years later – a life-size bronze statue at the Watermen’s Plaza across from Doheny State Beach, joining a collection of other iconic Dana Point surfers who have had a major influence on the sport and culture through the years.

Can’t swim?

Barrie Boehne was hanging out at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, a young 17-year-old who watched in awe as the gymnasts and skaters practiced jumps, spins and twirls.

She was tiny, a perfect frame for the tandem surfers who would also show up to train before hitting the water.

Among those surfers was Pete Peterson, a famous early-era surfer from the ’30s who helped popularize the subculture of tandem riding.

Peterson asked Boehne if she wanted to try tandem surfing out in the water.

“I’m an adventurous girl, I’m open to anything,” she said.

There was just one problem. She didn’t know how to swim, a little fact she forgot to mention.

After their first fall, Peterson went after his surfboard (there were no leashes back then), coming back to find Boehne struggling to stay afloat.

“He got so mad at me because he had to rescue me,” she said. “He said ‘Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t swim?’”

“You didn’t ask me!” she quipped back.

So Peterson, also a lifeguard, taught her the basics of dog paddling and her lungs got stronger, and she kept surfing.

Steve Boehne, meanwhile, had picked up surfing at about age 12, buying a tandem board a few years later so he could take his three younger siblings out into the surf.

He remembers traveling up to Santa Monica to hang with surf buddies and seeing Barrie for the first time.

“She’s flying in the air doing loop-de-loops,” he recalled. “She never remembers me from that, I was just an admirer.”

Peterson sustained a neck injury and Barrie needed a new partner. So that’s when the duo went to San Onofre on their first fateful surf adventure that cold winter day in 1968.

They dated while Steve Boehne went to Cal State Fullerton college, entering surf contests up and down the coast and then in Hawaii, Europe and Australia. They started racing catamarans. They started skiing and then snowboarding when that became popular, finding adventure wherever they could.

“She just took advantage of any opportunity, anything that was fun,” Steve Boehne said.

“I loved fun,” Barrie Boehne echoed. “I still do.”

Wild rides and wipeouts

When the surf was no good, Steve and Barrie Boehne would tandem skateboard, doing the same moves they were known for on the water on the hard concrete.

They would cruise along 19th Street in Costa Mesa, trying to avoid rocks and bumps while maintaining complex holds, Barrie lifted high above Steve’s head, getting the same adrenaline rush as when they were tandem surfing.

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