The Manx and the Lone Star

The few days since our last post have been quite a treat! We have had incredibly good fortune, and got to participate in several exemplary outings including a great snorkel trip, we sailed around the islands on a catamaran, we hiked in Bastamentos, learned how to conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, ate homemade truffles made with organic chocolate from our new friend’s farm, and went to a super cheap seafood restaurant on the next island which is run by an expat chef from NY. All that is fine and good, yet:

None of that holds a candle to THE MANX and THE LONE STAR.

Once upon a time, when I lived in SF, I hung out with some phenomenally great dudes who extended their boards to me in friendship and surferhood. These guys have big hearts and great senses of humor, and most importantly, they have loads of extra gear. Girls from Colorado don’t usually own wet suits. Lots of pairs of mittens, sure, but wetsuits? I had zero gear, had never spent more than a brief afternoon or two near the ocean during a family reunion at Disneyworld in the 5th grade, and was stoked to try surfing.

r their somewhat reckless tutelage, I learned to surf and fell totally in love with the waves, the changing nature of the sea, our ability to float on the ocean perched on a big piece of Styrofoam covered in fiberglass, and the juicy sense of calm and focus we learn while sitting on a surfboard waiting for the next set. I fell in love with surfing.

Fast forward to 10 years later. . . I have been living in Central Texas where there is no surf; the closest surf is a 5 hour drive away, and once you get down to the TX coast the surf tends to be pretty lousy. (At one point, I did wrangle a posse of Texas surfers to try the surfing-behind-a-tanker adventure, but it takes a lot of infrastructure, is not that fun, is probably illegal and is definitely dangerous.) I surrendered to reality; as long as I was in Austin, my surf days were over. -But I still carried a torch for surfing. Deep in my heart, buried below the layer of Tex-Mex flab and my BBQ spare tire, I yearned for surf.

Now we are in Panama, in a surf town. I am stoked!

We rented boards a time or two, and paid a real sweetheart local surfer named Miguel to be our surf instructor. After we got the basics from somebody who knows what they are doing, and we got the beta on where the beginner spots are and how to get there, we were ready to roll! Picture this- we are on vacation for another month. We both love surfing. We both love surfing with each other. We are in a great little surf town. Perfect!

Oh, but wait. The downer is that surfboards are $15 per day, per person to rent. Do the math, it adds up. ALSO- new boards cost no less than $250, and it costs $150 to take them on a plane. We don’t want to buy new boards here, we don’t want to pay to keep renting, and all the used boards we found are too short for beginners.

BUT, Being the scrappy folks we are, we find solutions. We make shit happen. We work it on out! We hit it and quit, just like James Brown! BOOM! Bring it!! Done!

We asked our buddy Ixa, who runs our favorite bike rental shop here in town, and has the inside scoop on all things, where we should look. Her reply? “How about you look at these I have sitting in my backyard? They’re nothing special, but they might work for you.”

$40 later, we were the proud owner of two of the ugliest boards in Panama, and possibly all of Central America. $20 per board. We are on our way to greatness.

There were some dings and some holes, but remember our dude Miguel? We took our new treasures to him not only so he and the other boys hanging out at the shop could laugh heartily at our new acquisition, but so the boards could get fixed. $50, one six-pack, and 2 days later, the holes and most of the dings were patched and sanded, and we were one step closer to awesomeness.

Granted, the boards were still the most ugly, pathetic looking things of all time. They’re light, and watertight, and totally hideous. Spray paint, anyone?

I’ve always wanted my last name in Low-Rider font in the back window of my efficient little hatch-back Toyota. Why not do that on my new surfboard? Well, “Montgomery” has a whole lot of letters. Nix plan A. Plan B- Since some of my ancestors came from Isle of Man, and Manx sounds a lot more tough than Welsh, German, or Scottish (origin of other ancestors), we stenciled “Manx” on the board in Low-Rider font. Totally tough sounding, and totally awesome. (As an aside, the horrible pirate Morgan who plundered Panama and the rest of the Caribbean was Welsh. It isn’t that the Welsh are not tough; it is just that writing “Welsh” on your surfboard doesn’t look tough. Manx has an “x” in it, and everybody knows “x”s are tough.)

Being Texans in a foreign land, and given that red and blue spray-paint are easy to find, the other board became the Lone Star Board.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Manx and the Lone Star.

We waxed them up, took them out, and most of the spray paint stayed on! What a good surprise!

Now, we are surfing our very own boards. The Manx is nimble and quick, the Lone Star is super floaty and forgiving. We have the most stylie boards in town, don’t have to pay for rentals, had a super fun paint and repair project for a few days, surf every single day on our own boards, and are wildly happy about the whole thing.

Boards: $40

Repairs: $50

6-pack: $4.50

Paint: $6.75

Wax $1

The Manx and The Lonestar: Priceless.

In this picture, in front, with the really boring rental board, is our new good buddy, Kirstie, who is the best adventure pal we could ask for. Yay!


  1. You guys are so Fing RAD! Leave it to you two to scoop out the inside track and score exactly what you needed. Nice work!
    I am so happy to have friends like you guys!

  2. And WE are so lucky and stoked to hear from YOU!!! Want to come visit? We are here for 3 more weeks.

  3. ahh... Montgomery-Quigly duo, you two are fantastic. The Manx and the Lone Star is a new story classic. :) And Kevin whole-heartedly agrees that an X does in fact make you cool. His middle name is Xavier and believe me he NEVER leaves out that middle initial. Never ever.