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.’

archiepapt

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.

PA and PT 024

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.’

Running Over Archie Endo

Running Over Archie Endo

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.”