Uncovering Archie’s Classic Surf Rigs

ARCHIE ENDO was in Thailand when a snow load took down his ten year old homemade, canvas, vinyl, and (thin) plywood-covered, metal-tubing-framed carport.  This was in February, and his area, above Discovery Bay, and everywhere north and west of there got the brunt of the snowstorm.

ARCHIE, still recovering from a stroke, asked me, possibly because I am a contractor, to help extricate two of his classic surf rigs.  “Painting contractor, Archie; don’t really do this kind of thing.”

But we’re friends, so, of course, I said I would get some of our mutual surf friends, guys with carpentry skills, on it.

Eventually.  Then Stephen Davis went to Hawaii, shit happened, and…

A couple of weeks back Archie came back.  Cars still buried.

Last week I got some eight foot two-by-fours, some ten foot two-by-sixes, five pounds of sixteen penny nails (who would need shorter ones?), and had a plan on how to prop the thing back up. Then I got Steve and his friend from Hawaii, Damon (here for the memorial for Stephen’s son, Emmett) to give raising the roof a shot.

Heavy.  Too heavy.  We agreed that a couple of jacks (better than the bottle jacks we had) might do the trick.  Luckily, since I’ve saved jacks from two recent prematurely-killed (by me); we agreed to return.  Meanwhile, we got the roof high enough that Archie was able to start up his Lincoln Towncar.

BUT THEN…

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Two jacks, an extension cord, a Skil saw, a lot of swearing (by me only), and… (some amount of) success! We’ll fine tune it later.

Photo by Archie’s daughter, Lillian, of Archie propping me up. Or about to straighten out my moustache.

CAN’T WAIT to see Archie’s rides out on Surf Route 101.

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Slow Down, No ThrowDown at the BroDown

“I always try to compete to be the best,” I said.

Now, I can, and do, edit what I write.  What I say in real time, however, is out there, it’s gone, in the time zone of ‘past,’ mostly ‘past imperfect’ tense.

Tense. Yeah. Five more minutes, I figured, and the guy who had been all “Aloha” was going to, possibly, want to throw down.  He had, he said, a history.  He had, he said, given a well-known Westport enforcer a beatdown years ago.  Cops were called.  Westside Oahu. Makaha. He knows Sunny, calls Buffalo ‘Uncle;’ said he did some enforcing.  Despite my being seventeen years older than him, he didn’t call me Uncle.

Now, after I went over the story with a couple of friends via cellular device, I began to believe I had, perhaps, over-reacted.  Maybe it was because the thought of someone actually throwing punches over some imagined (or even real) affront in the waves just seems like over-reacting.

Then I called Trish. “You have to think about what you say.” “Uh huh.” “What exactly did you say?”

Oh. So, again, let me rethink:

 

 

Discussions on who has priority.

It’s all about the windows.  The tide was going to drop off, the swell was supposed to drop, the wind was forecast to increase, and not at a good angle, not offshore.  There’s always the chance that you’ll get skunked; especially when the buoy readings, at the last place where my phone works, had already dropped to a size where, in my memory of collected skunking/scoring, the numbers favored flatness.

So, when I rolled up and saw waves… um, maybe I kind of over-amped. Pretty much a record time for me to get a suit on, booties, earplugs… and only two guys out. Guys I didn’t know.  Three surfers, three wave sets; shouldn’t be a problem.

The one surfer had just finished a ride and was lying on his very large standup paddle board. “You guys are probably exhausted from catching so many waves,” I said, paddling past him toward my lineup spot.

WAIT: Etiquette check. Perhaps I should have followed him, making sure to sit ‘outside’ of whatever position he decided to take.

THEN, scrapping around to catch waves that showed up on an outside reef, them, mostly, backed-off, regrouping on the main reef, I did, and I admit it, take off on the same wave as the other SUPer.

WAIT: Even if the guy closer to the peak, farther outside, missed a couple of waves, I probably should just let the wave go unridden rather than go for it.  Probably.

THEN, because I lost one of my earplugs, and didn’t want another three days of one-ear hearing, I went in, hung out with a couple of guys who were waiting for the incoming tide; giving the two other guys free rein.  So, nice.

THEN, MORE SURFING, more jockeying for position, but no more take-off-in-front-ofs by me.  Three wave sets, shouldn’t be a problem.  When it looked like the big surfer was going in, I did comment, “Hey, I know boating season started yesterday, but, um, do you have a license for that boat?”  Joke, yes; but the board, I swear, almost filled the bed of his small-sized truck, side to side. Very wide.

THEN, with the wind coming up and the tide bottoming-out, with more folks starting to fill the parking area, Darren deciding to paddle out before it got worse, I was changing-out on the beach, next to the big guy with the big board.

WAIT: There were, in retrospect, a few things I said that I probably shouldn’t have.

AFTER the big guy, who was pretty (and rightly) proud that he’d dropped many pounds, but had gained some of the weight back, then downed another beer, I could have avoided saying he should switch to coffee.

AFTER he said he’s sticking with the custom board, and said maybe he’s kind of a pussy, I didn’t need to say I think anyone who rides an SUP under 60 years old MIGHT BE (here’s a can’t-backspace words example- I said IS) a pussy.  Probably a mistake.

AFTER he said that if he see’s someone paddling past other surfers, taking off in front of other surfers, he has to say something (Pretty sure he meant me), I did say, “Hey, I only took off in front of him once.”  He disagreed.  Okay.

WAIT: Maybe I really shouldn’t have said that I don’t really get the whole paddling past other surfers thing. I paddle to my spot, everyone else is entitled to move. If my lineup is the one they want to use, come sit next to me, even inside me.  Paddle.  Move.  Jockey.  “Back when I started surfing, the best surfer got the most waves.”

“OH,” he said, possibly moving a bit closer to me, “Do you think you were the best surfer out there?”  Out of three. This is where I said, “I always try to compete to be,” and he came back with, “You aren’t.  See that guy over there?” Now dressed, talking to Clint. “He rips!”

OKAY. This is when, exactly, I thought about the last time I ever was involved in serious fisticuffs.  I was about 13. Butch Standefor. I only cried because I was frustrated because, though I wasn’t hurt, he wasn’t either.  SO, I lost. CLEARLY.

THEN I thought about my father.  He would throw down up until he died.  At 92.

SOOOOO, I walked away from the BIG GUY, he re-suiting to go for another session, his last word to me, “Aloha,” walked over to the other guy, shook his hand, introduced myself, apologized for the ONE time I took off in front of him.  He was nice.

LESSON LEARNED.

No, you don’t have to believe me. But, if we’re out together, sit by me. We can discuss which wave is who’s. Aloha.

 

WATCH OUT! Going Paddle-less

In a CONVERSATION with my friend, media darling (I will continue to call him this- it’s true) ADAM WIPEOUT JAMES, me painting trim in a low-bank waterfront mansion (part of the greater Puget Sound, but many thousands of feet (because waterfront seems to be sold my the foot) from even the fickle, often-trickling (note the internal rhyme) waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Adam just about to miss a ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, where he would attend and cook oysters at an event held by ‘WARM CURRENTS,’ a group dedicated to getting kids who might not otherwise get the chance to enjoy the cold bliss of surfing, Adam, in response to my telling him that I was switching to surfing a TRADITIONAL LONGBOARD, and that he should definitely tell ‘Warm Currents’ official, ABIGAIL, who, if you read ‘Realsurfers’ religiously (as you should), you will recall that Abigail, who I, allegedly (accused, not convicted) once burned on a wave (in response to, again, allegedly, she pulled my leash), but who (still Abby/Abigail) did, nevertheless, purchase an ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirt; and that this switch from the STANDUP PADDLEBOARD would, obviously and unavoidably make me far less DOMINATE in the lineup; in response to all that, Adam said, “WAIT! WAIT! you’re going to crawl on your belly, MAYBE jump up to your knees; maybe even (gulp) STAND UP?”

There was something in Adam’s TONE that just hit me wrong.  NO, not the tone, it was the WORDS.

“NO, man; I’m planning on RIPPING IT UP; dropping-in, back to the wall; swooping, climbing and dropping, tearing into a vicious cutback… all that.”

“YEAH?”

“YEAH.”

“WELL.”  It was a ‘well, we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

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Archie Endo, styling at LongLost Point. Photo by Stephen R. Davis

I would like to say the catalyst for my switch back to a longboard was that ‘Allboard’ (formerly ‘Shortboard’ to distinguish him from ‘Hippy’) Aaron’ said he has the perfect board for me, a ten-four Ricky Young; or that legendary longboard stylist Atsushi ‘Archie’ Endo offered me a ten-two Southcoast on a long-term loan basis- I would like to say that- but the truth is, if I want to surf some of the Strait’s less-accessible spots, or even, like, make the trek back from, say the beach at Westport to the parking lot, without, embarrassingly, dragging my board across the sand/gravel, and, sweating and red-faced, stopping every once in a while to readjust my grip on my SUP, I might just have to switch back to crawling onto my board, paddling for and into waves, hoping some dormant muscle memory might kick in and… we’ll see.

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Archie Endo shot this one. It’s, like, waist-high, right?

ALSO, I switched the header back from the one drawn by my late sister, MELISSA, to one of me standing up on a surfboard.  Yes, I did make that wave.

YES, I am aware that I’ve been saying I have (already) given up my WAVE-HOGGING ways for a while.  Well.

That’s a ‘we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

Memorial for Emerson ‘Emmett’ Davis

While I do fancy myself a writer, and I have done some work (paid) as a newspaper reporter, it will soon become obvious that I am neither a photographer nor a photo/journalist.

The memorial for Emerson ‘Emmett; Davis, tragically killed in a fire in his apartment in Seattle, had been planned for a while.  His father, Stephen Davis, often mentioned in ‘realsurfers’, is a friend of mine, and, while this was an opportunity to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of someone taken away from those who loved him way too soon, it also afforded the many people whose paths in some way were touched by Emmett’s.  Including mine.

My connection was, originally, through surfing.  Emmett was, and Stephen is a part of the loosely-connected collection of surfers with a homebase in the unlikely corner of the country, the Olympic Peninsula.  Because Steve travelled, ‘posted-up’ (his term) in Baja and California and Hawaii and Costa Rica, and often included Emmett for parts of these adventures, because Steve put off work (occasionally) to go snowboarding with his son, met up with him in Oregon; the community of surfers with a connection to Emmett has grown.

Add in the fact that Emmett was raised in Port Townsend, went to college and worked in Seattle, it shouldn’t have been surprising that so many people met up at Fort Worden.

Though I knew many of the locals through working in Port Townsend for many years, I was probably more at ease among the surfers. Not saying I’m totally accepted; I’m tolerated.  I gave a ride to the memorial to a surfing buddy of Stephen’s and mine, Archie Endo. A stylish longboarder, whose daughter, Lillian, went to school with Emmett.

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Archie was in town from Thailand. He had a stroke a couple of years ago, and, though he recently surfed some small waves there, he fears his days of hitting the waves in the cold Strait of Juan de Fuca may be over.

Friends of Stephen actually came into the area early, and, because it’s what surfers do, they went looking for waves.  And they found some; glassy, long walls; one of those rare, brief, and magic windows on the fickle Strait.  Cap, here from the Big Island, credited Emmett for sending the waves.

I met Cap, who introduced himself as Brian, at a beach north of PT where Stephen was preparing to kitesurf. Not being a photo/journalist, I did not take any photos.  Supposedly, Stig, who, like Cap, I had heard stories about but had never met, a friend of Steve’s from Oahu, was in town but not there at this time.

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Okay, let’s look at photos I did take.

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Local ripper/librarian Keith Darrock, left, media darling and local wherever he goes, Adam ‘Wipeout’ James.

 

People I don’t know, or didn’t know, and Stephanie Moran, who Steve and I have both done work for, and who Trish is great Facebook friends with, though they have never actually met (yet).

Top, then clockwise- Archie and Cody Caputo (who I haven’t taken off in front of in quite a few years); the same shot twice of Cody, Archie, and Keith (I’ve never, to my knowledge, burned Archie, though I did totally ding one of his boards once, I think Keith and I are about even on wave usurping); and a photo of kitesurfer/SUPer/long-or-shortboarder Derrick Vandersurfer (I swear, no one can really get through his real last name, Wipeout, All-board (formerly shortboard) Aaron Lennox, and Archie.

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Stephen R. Davis.  I heard one of Emmett’s friends say “He’s dressed up, looks like one of my professors.”  If it doesn’t show up, there’s a matching blue tie in this sartorial mashup.  If one gets strength from hugs, Steve should be powered-up for a long while.

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Bob. Not a surfer. Everyone seemed to know Bob except me. When I was introduced, he said, “Oh, you’re Erwin. Some people thought I was you.  Some woman in Town, every time she’d see me, she’d say, ‘Erwin… love your column. Erwin.’ (I had a column in the Port Townsend Leader for about ten years) Finally, I said, ‘Thanks. Where’s that forty dollars you owe me.’  She never called me Erwin again.”

I don’t really have a right to be offended, but I don’t really see the resemblance, and,  should add no one has ever said to me, “Hey, Bob; how’s it going?”

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Steve with Cosmo. Cosmo is a landscaper from Chicago and made leis for the paddleout.

People headed toward the lighthouse for the paddleout.  That’s Michael Morrow top right. Raised in Panama, he’s surfed all over, lived for a while in Hawaii.  Has some great stories.

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Emmett’s sister, Katrina. She took some of Emmett’s ashes out to the circle.  I had never met her, and her expression might be explained by saying I had just introduced myself.  “Oh, you’re Erwin.” I’m not sure what she heard about me, but I held back from saying, “Yeah, often confused with Bob.”  I actually considered asking, feeling somewhat guilty for not participating in the paddle out, if I could hop into the canoe.

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This isn’t the end of this. While working on this, and I apologize for not having a closer shot of the circle, Adam called me.  A tanker’s passing pushed some waves into the bay, described as ‘perfect little peelers’ by Mr. James.  He sent photos.

Later.  It was, for someone who avoids these things, so worthwhile.  Archie met a guy who married into a Japanese family, Adam, who claims not to be a fisherman, regaled Aaron with a well-told fishing story as well as asking Aaron if he had, indeed, been hiking in the hills down around HamaHama (he had), and gave him some pointers on climbing spots in that area.

At one point I asked a young man across the picnic table what his connection to Emmett is: It was more his wife, but he was from Seattle; he’d seen the local news coverage.  He started talking about another incident where a young person tragically lost his life in an accident.  That was the closest I came to breaking out the tissues Trish made me bring.

I still never met Stig.

Emmett, rest in peace.

 

Pay-back and Pay-for at the Hama-Hama Oyster-Rama

Abigale said she would buy one of my t-shirts if I promised not to ever drop in on her again.  “Wait. Me?” “Uh huh; you.” “No.” “Yes.” “Is this a [spot name redacted] thing?”  ‘Uh huh.” “Well, I must have thought you weren’t going to make the section,”  “Oh,” raising her voice noticeably,  “I was totally going to make the wave.”

“Oh.”

So, I’ve decided, here is how life goes: We have to pay back favors given, and pay for mistakes made.

So, yeah; I gave Abigale a discount on a shirt, five bucks off, and promised not to drop in on her ever again.  “Well,” she said, obviously thrilled with her new, limited-edition, Original Erwin shirt, “I did pull your leash.” “Oh? Um, did that stop me, or did I keep on surfing?”  “It stopped you.”

Oh. So, a little background: Abigale, who I actually met a couple of years ago when she was involved in running the SURFRIDER FOUNDATION Cleanwater event in Westport (I think it was the year I was given an opportunity to judge some heats, irritated the shit out of the head judge [mostly, my opinion] because I talked way too much- wasn’t invited back into the booth); was in the booth at behind and kitti-cornered to mine, doing some promotion for the upcoming (May 4th, I believe) WARM CURRENTS event.

I will insert photo of REGGIE and me when I figure out how to get it from hotmail.

REGGIE SMART was displaying some of his art along with my stuff, and is involved because he’s working on some surfboards CHRIS BAUER, Port Angeles shaper plans on having at the event.  I walked over to the WARM CURRENTS booth with Reggie to see if there might be an opportunity to push some of my stuff when I was confronted with my nefarious past.

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SO, that was the ‘pay-for’ portion of the day. The ‘pay back’ was giving a discount to a woman who works at the HAMA-HAMA store down SURF ROUTE 101, and was very helpful to me when I painted the interior a couple of years ago; and actually remembered me, out of my usual painting outfit, when Trish and I stopped in more recently.

AND, I guess I should add, in one of these two categories, that I did (and, begrudgingly, will) discount the remaining baby-poop-colored shirts.  Hey; I liked the color.  All of this is a learning experience.

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That’s Reggie’s art on the, um, ground, out of the salty puddles, but, yes, on the oysters.

Having a booth at the HAMA-HAMA OYSTER-RAMA was also a learning experience.  I’ve always felt a bit sorry for folks sitting in booths at events where people were there for some other purpose than buying some awesome drawings.

Most of the day, not knowing whether (or exactly how) to engage the passers-by, I felt sorry for myself.

Not so much.

SURF-SHELLFISH CELEBRITY ADAM ‘WIPEOUT’ JAMES is my contact, His sister, LISSA MONBERG, was running the event.  I saw Lissa once, Adam several times, though he was usually a blur passing quickly, schmoozing the paying attendees. Fist bump, hug, medium five; Adam, the most gregarious person I have ever met, has skills.

WHAT the participation (I punked-out last year) forced me to do is to organize my artwork, cull a percentage, push myself toward a more polished and professional approach.  My daughter, DRUCILLA (or Dru), recently moved back to the northwest from Chicago.  She went to Loyola University, 21 years ago, graduated, worked in new business acquisition for a major advertising firm.  More recently she worked for (and is continuing with some freelance work for) THE ONION.

She’s settling into a house in the historical district of PORT GAMBLE, and is working on making my website better (I have no skills) as well as the business end (even less skills) of trying to make some money from art.

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Here’s Dru in the booth.

I must also thank Dru’s pretty-much lifelong friend, MOLLIE ORBEA, for her tremendous help in this endeavor.  Mollie has a sign company, ORBEA SIGNS, is most of the reason Dru lives in Port Gamble, and lives two doors down from Dru.  Mollie supplied the tent, a table, the banners, the table runner, the easel, the table easels that kept falling over, and the beach chairs that, once seated in one, one would naturally assume the posture of a booth person who really doesn’t give a shit if you buy or not.

I, of course, was half-expecting complete failure.  I participated in a STARVING ARTIST sale once, in 1972, next to the Green Stamps Redemption Store in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego where we lived (LOCALS!) at the time. I think I paid ten bucks to participate, got sunburned, sold one original drawing for fifteen bucks.  SO, YEA! SUCCESS!

I was also quarter-expecting (so, less) complete success; upper-crust Seattleites lining-up, adorning their bodies with ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirts, adorning their walls with limited (by me) edition illustrations.

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They were lining up all right.  For ice cream.

I don’t want this to sound like I didn’t make any money.  I did sell some stuff, did learn a lot; like, next time… Original Erwin cookies.  Pay For and Pay Back.

 

 

Rumors of a Perfect Wave Poster…

…and more!

Here’s a shot of Little Reggie Smart (he adds the ‘little’, I wouldn’t- it would be rude) when he was actually little. before he became a tattoo (and otherwise) artist, a surfer, a painter (house and otherwise), well before I met Reginald Little, a person I sometimes refer to as, “kind of a pretty boy with neck tattoos.”

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YEAH, he was a towhead, couldn’t help that.  I actually thought posting this might be a bit of revenge for his posting a video of me on his Instagram.

OF COURSE you will have to check this out, as Trish did.  Her first reaction as I broke into song was, “What a dick!”  Not that she didn’t know this already, but, when I explained that it wasn’t staged (not by me, anyway), and was secretly taped by Reggie, and that several folks in the Peninsula surfing community commented on it; she was almost all right with the whole thing.

I think he’s under “Reggie Smart” on Instagram; not too hard to find.

MEANWHILE, here’s my latest effort in the Positive-to-negative genre:

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OH, AND ONE MORE THING:  My latest t-shirt design is at the screen shop, DL Logos in Port Townsend, and will soon be available.  I am selling these shirts as limited editions (because they are), and tried to add a bit of information to the actual image.

For these shirts it would be something like: Original Erwin- Series 4- Edition 1- “Lightfoot’n it” (title refined by comment on the illustration by Drew Kampion, the need for a title for the various projects of mine at the screen shop, and the way they wrote ‘lightfoot’n it’)- Copywrite Erwin Dence, 2019-  Run of 30.  Printed at DL Logos, Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.A.

Maybe it was a good idea, but the image was already on screen when I got to the shop.  SO, new idea. I’m making tags to go with each t-shirt, with the image of the shirt, the above information (not the stuff in parenthesis), a number (ie; 2/30) and a signature.

SURE, that’ll make your shirt more valuable.

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I AM LEARNING a lot from this process; who like what, what works, what sells; and, other than the sales part, I totally enjoy the drawing, hanging out at print shops desperate to see what the negative image of what I’ve drawn looks like, going over shirt and ink colors and stuff with the guys at the screen shop.

Our daughter, DRUCILLA DENCE, has moved back to our area from an extended time in Chicago, where she most recently worked for, and is freelancing for, “The Onion.”  Since my stuff is massively disorganized, Dru can, hopefully help in the sales and distribution (and, of course, organization) of my, um, stuff; years of stuff.

SOME OF THE SHIRTS are already spoken for, but the rest, white on a dark blue, will be available soon at Tyler Meek’s DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.

MEANWHILE, as always, I’m checking the buoys and working on other stuff.  “Swamis” the novel, is up to somewhere over 48,000 words (and I still haven’t figured out whodunnit), I’m trying to get some stuff ready for the HamaHamaOysterRama down Surf Route 101 on April 20th (“Four-twenty, man,” Adam ‘Wipeout’ James told me, with the same insider-ness as when I tell someone my age that I graduated in 1969, as in, “class of ’69, man!”)

And, as always, I have to go to work.  Rumors of a perfect wave. Memories of a perfect wave. Anticipation for more of each. Here are the first three t-shirt designs.

 

Throwing a Wake

Throwing a Wake

Stephen Davis texted this recent photo with the message, “Emmett is on the left.”

Stephen’s son, Emerson, and Porter Hammer’s son, Ulysses; Emmett and Uli at some beach in Oregon. “Ulysses,” Steve said, isn’t that the best name?”

“As is your son’s name.”

 

IMG_2260Here is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

When each of us pass through the water, or, through extension, through life, we leave a path, we throw a wake. Outward. Outward and behind us; molecules disturbed and pushed into motion; people we pass by, interact with; there is a reaction to our actions, there is a difference because of our existence.

A wake (different definition) is an ancient tradition; honoring those who died; telling tales about them; celebrating their existence, the difference their passing by us made. Emmett Davis died, tragically, just a few nights ago; and the word spread quickly.

Seattle TV news, social media, cell phone memorials, a story shared with people who didn’t know Emmett by people who did. There was cell phone footage, fire, that couldn’t be unseen, there was disbelief and grief that couldn’t be held by only one person.

A path and its wake.

Twenty-two years old, Emmett was part of many communities. There is an admittedly-loose surfing community of those who live and surf on the Olympic Peninsula and Washington coast. Rather than cell phone conversations and texts with the topic usually centered on waves scored and waves missed, on skunkings and forecasts; the unfathomable loss became the topic. Dealing with the impact.

Impossible. Incomprehensible.

Though we have all experienced the loss of those we love, we do not understand tragedy. We don’t have the whole story, can’t see even a corner of any sort of supposed bigger picture, can’t rationalize grief away, can’t untangle one story from the many. So many stories, pushed forward, bumping and twisting and knotted; it becomes so difficult to believe they all meet on some horizon beyond that which we can see, difficult to believe there even is some sort of reason or order to the universe.

We grieve, and we have stories.

Stories of Emmett; Emmett at the Port Townsend Skate Park, Emmett playing with the children of his parent’s friends, stories of Emmett at school, at work, stories we haven’t yet heard, haven’t bumped into the person who can tell them.

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Here’s mine: “Eager,” I told Steve; “that’s how I would describe Emmett.” I saw him with a friend, out on a point where, sometimes, west winds funnel into and blow the entire fetch of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; long period ocean swells mix with chop; tops of waves are blown forward; slower waves are overtaken and become part of larger waves. The water is the easy road for the wind. The waves become just a little more organized. While most of the energy takes that deep and easy forward route, driving down the deeper channels, some turns into explosions against the rocks, protective jetties, rocks moved and piled to absorb that thrust; jetties there to protect that harbor, that bay. Us.

I hadn’t yet made it out the path when Emmett and his friend came, running the other way. So excited, so eager. “Out of control,” Emmett said; “Crazy!” They stopped just long enough for Emmett to tell me they were going somewhere else; just to see. Somewhere else.

There are stories of surf spots around the corners, around the points, out of the wind, protected; where out of control energy becomes organized, where it all makes sense; fine lines wrapping, wrapping, wrapping; wrapping toward some farther horizon.

Peace.

 

 

 

Numbness Isn’t…

…insulation.  It is a sort of temporary relief, at best, but the pain returns. Stinging, tingling, nerve endings shooting messages across revived synapses.

Paralysis. Blindness, self-induced or the reaction to tragedy one’s mind cannot process; not all at once.  Temporary. Some images won’t be erased.  They won’t remain, locked in some file, some separate place.  No. This file must be filled with better images.

Happier images.

Time. There is the split second before any loud, harsh sound hits, before our mind can identify what it is and what to do. There is the wave, softer, a cushion perhaps, just ahead of the wave that no one can stand against, the one that will push you back, knock you down, roll you, hold you down. Energy, greater forces. Irresistible.

“I… I have some really bad news…”

Dot dot dot.

Not enough time, not enough of a cushion.  Impact.

Eventually the wave will release you. Time. Not yet. You’re still caught in the swirl, still holding onto disbelief, some hope that this isn’t real. Nightmares fade, the details drop away, they don’t make sense when we try to retell, or even remember them.

It takes longer for reality.  disbelief. Numbness. Paralysis. then anger. So much anger, thrown in all directions. All directions.

Time. Hope. If there is a reason and a plan we cannot comprehend, then… No, even then, the anger must be hurled back at whatever or whoever. No. This was a mistake in the plot. This wasn’t right.

No. No. No.

No, we don’t get to write the script. Bad people would suffer, young people wouldn’t die.

Time. Time. Time.

Image (16) Knowing they can’t offer more than words and thoughts, friends want, desperately, to relieve some of your suffering. Perhaps a word by someone searching for the right words, when there are none, perhaps a wave of truly-felt condolence will relieve a portion of the pain.

Perhaps. That is the hope. But the pain will be real, full force, and you will endure it. 

You will look to the horizon, the waves forming, you will feel the warmth of the earth and sky, step back into the water, open the file, now over-filled  with snapshots of a life too-short.

You will no longer be numb. Not in that moment. In that moment.

Time. All wounds. Memories. Love. We throw out prayers in all directions.

 

Stephen Davis and Cap Score… Maybe

Stephen Davis is, no surprise, on the Big Island; missing out on really cold winds blowing over always-cold water.  So, what you see below is Cap (Steve has never given me his real name- maybe it’s Cap) captured mid-turn on his Go-Pro.  So, Cap in a cap, jauntily turned sideways.

cap with cap

The spot is called… I’m not trying to be coy here, Steve told me the name of the place he and Cap scored, alone (I forgot it), for three hours; after surfing another, well-known spot (Pine Trees, I think) where Stephen, unable to find the keyhole while trying to come in, got all cut up.  Ow!

So, what to do?  Neosporin, hockey tape, and a drive to this spot, waves accessible by paddling for fifteen minutes or hiking for a longer length of time.  Steve paddled; not sure about Cap.

Meanwhile, the cold winds keep on blowing; and, hey, I hit the rocks a few times last time I surfed, but I was wearing booties, full suit, hood.  Go Stephen, go Cap!

Oh; Stephen said the next day the spot was cr-ow-ded.  Timing is everything.