…whatever wishes those who don’t pray can offer. The Strait of Juan de Fuca longboarder, known for long rides on long walls, the Japanese-American guy with the classic American cars, ten foot boards, the parallel stance, knee paddling into waves from tiny to slightly-bigger, who can milk a wave at Archie’s Reef from the boil to the river; yeah, that guy, is in a hospital in Bangkok, in need of an operation on his brain.
Information is sketchy, but the situation seems dire. Archie, who learned to surf in his native Japan, and, in a show of independence, never had an interest in shortboarding, was raised a Buddhist, no doubt, but is willing to embrace all religious experiences. As part of our ritual in heading for surf together, particularly when going down those winding curves on 112, I’d cross myself, traditional Catholic symbol, with an extra throwout of my right hand; just for a little extra; and Archie would repeat the gesture.
First, waves; then, size; then, lack of side or onshore wind; then, lack of crowd; then, maybe, a little more size. “It looks… surfable.”
Archie, a salmon roe expert, has been around the world working in the industry; and, for the last two years, has been working in Thailand, with a recent and prolonged sidetrip to Mozambique; coming back to Discovery Bay once or twice a year. This was a big break for him, part of a larger plan. Hopefully this is just a setback. I love going surfing with him; his mellow attitude (oh, he’ll go for a wave) seems to balance my own non-mellowness.
Yeah, that guy; Atsushi “Archie” Endo. Offer what good thoughts, and prayers you can to whatever gods you believe in. “I think this day, maybe it wasn’t quite ‘surfable.’ Or maybe this is a lull.
UPDATE 9/27: Archie may have suffered a stroke, fallen, hit his head. He was able to move, good sign, semi-conscious, but unable to speak as of the last report.
UPDATE 9/28: According to Facebook, with a lot of his friends from around the world commenting and ‘liking,’ word coming from Archie’s daughter, Lillian, is that he won’t need an operation; he still can’t speak, but has been able to smile; so, maybe the trauma is relaxed a bit, but the drama continues. I was working with our mutual friend Stephen Davis yesterday; couldn’t help but recall a few Archie adventures. Steve, who has actually known Archie longer, Lillian being the same age as Stephen’s son, Emmett, spoke of a trip he and Archie made to a difficult-to-access rivermouth break on the Strait that helped solidify their friendship. I can’t help remember the first time I saw Archie, one of those mid-winter crystal days, the only one out, knee-paddling into a peak, standing up, dropping-in, turning into the face, riding it all the way to the shorebreak. Not having surfed the place for twenty years or so, I ran over to meet him. Having worked in Alaska for months, this was Archie’s season. “I take a break,” he said, “then I go back out. And you?” “Can’t wait.” And I can’t wait for our next session.