July 10, 2011

Cowabunga! Wowabunga!



     Sometimes a chance piece of information included in a print media article takes you back to the past. This happened while reading an article on Idlewild Amusement Park’s new multi-million dollar wave pool, the single-largest capital improvement project in the amusement park’s history.*

     Idlewild is located in Ligonier Township in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

     The 182 foot-long pool, which delivers seven minutes of waves for every 10 minutes of calm water, is named Wowabunga, a takeoff from the 1950s surfing movies, Gidget. The pool’s name evolved from Cowabunga, to be coupled with another descriptive word, to Wowabunga. The Cowabunga/descriptive name combo was rejected because it was too to other attractions elsewhere named Cowabunga Cove and Cape Cowabunga.

     If you asked me, I couldn’t recall the original source of the word Cowabunga. I don’t recall seeing many Gidget movies, although I did see some. I do remember my stepfather using the term, and occasionally when something wows me I’ll say Cowabunga. I might even use the term to wow my grandchildren.

     If I make it to Idlewild Park this summer, I will be certain to experience the wave pool. After all, a still lake, pond, or pool doesn’t offer the incentive the ocean does: waves.

      COWABUNGA! Or, when in Ligonier, should I say WOWABUNGA!



A Day in the Life of a Ligonier (PA) Resident: June 12, 2011

Hottis Complainus Constantitis

Osprey in New York’s St. Lawrence Valley



  1. Well, I heard is is mild compared to say, Boyce Park or Sandcastle! I didn’t really care for Sandcastle’s Wave Pool it was to violent for me; and when I went years ago with my son to Boyce park, you had to use inner tubes which didn’t really work too well for me, I couldn’t seem to stay on it correctly, and as far as Sandcastle’s Wave pool, I swallowed a whole lot of water so that wasn’t a totally fun experience for me! I am, however, looking foward to checking out the wave pool at Idlewild on the 29th of this month as I am going to go with a group from Latrobe, I hope it is mild, as I don’t care to swallow a whole crab load of pool water again! Of course, I could stay in the lower end, but, that would not be as much fun! As far as, Cowabunga, I don’t really remember hearing that word till the Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtle movies came out, in the early 80’s or 90’s I believe it was! And perhaps in some early 80’s movies; but, I believe the TMNT movies made it popular, or more popular than any other time! At least for the teens, and pre-teen crowd!
    Julia E. Torockio

    Comment by Julia E. Torockio — July 13, 2011 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  2. COWABUNGA was the word that Chief Thunderthud used when he greeted others on the Howdy Doody show back in the 1950’s, then the Surfers picked it up, then The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then Bart Simpson. Now everyone knows of it.

    Comment by Scott — October 16, 2011 @ 2:15 am | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment. I only know it from Howdy Doody, so the additional information is good. Carolyn

      Comment by carolyncholland — October 16, 2011 @ 8:32 am | Reply

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