At almost the exact moment the lifeguard at tower No. 14 went all David Hasselhoff on the megaphone — “Attention, surfers out front: You guys need to stay outside the black and yellow flags; we have a surf warning today” — Josh Long tugged down his silver board shorts, hopped on his board and caught a wave.
A gnarly wave.
A wave moving, by one estimate, at 26 mph.
A wave that seemed never to crest and tumble, only churn, like the spin cycle on a washing machine.
No worries. Long, vacationing here from hopelessly landlocked Lincoln was not that close to the Pacific Ocean. From his vantage point, across the boardwalk and away from the sunbathers stretched out on the sand, he could see the breakers, all right. But Long was riding a wave of his own, an artificial, mechanical wave called the FlowRider at tourist-friendly Belmont Park.