This is a photo of my friend, Archie, known along the Straits for his classic longboarding skills, his polite demeanor, his classic rides (as in vehicles- this being one of several).
This is a typical day on the Straits of Juan de Fuca, so, if you’ve heard there are sometimes waves, sometimes great waves there, no; rumor; don’t bother.
In many ways Archie is a throwback to a time when surfing was about the flow, the style; any aggression aimed at the waves rather than other surfers.
Archie learned to surf in his native Japan, and, though riding a nine foot plus board was out of fashion when he started, he never wanted to be a short boarder.
Archie, now long-but-selectively Americanized, is an expert on salmon production, specifically salmon eggs, and has been all over the world, always near a coast; usually spending the summer in Alaska, working long, long hours.
This gives him some freedom, when home, to look for waves along the points and rivermouths of the Olympic Peninsula.
He owns a classic Dewey Weber Performer and another ten foot board. That would be the one I ran over on our last session. Having been skunked the previous two trips (see, skunked?), we were delighted to find rideable waves, and, even rarer, some rights.
Paddling out, I watched Archie catch the first one… knee paddle takeoff, drop, turn, glide.
In my usual over-amped mode (knowing the waves could just stop coming), three waves later, a little too far up the reef, I thought for a second about going left, then right, then… there was Archie, evidently confident that I had some control.
Nope, already dropping, I ran straight over his board as he bailed. I heard a solid ‘thump,’ figured I’d ended my session with a broken fin.
Nope; but I did put a four inch cut into the nose of Archie’s board. Luckily, on this occasion, he was riding with me. Otherwise, and it might have been fitting and just, I’d have been be hitchhiking home.
Nope. Archie chuckled about it; told me how he’d fix it. “Sort of a memento,” I offered.
“Um,” he said, “may be.”