Roark Welcomes Harrison Roach
Every once in a while you stumble upon the unexpected. A few months ago Roark tripped on a Harry. What the hell is a Harry? We’re not completely sure yet, but his path reveals much. We’d heard whispers of where he’d been and what he’d accomplished both in the water and with a pen, but he’s a rarity. Part feral and part sophisticate – operating between the lines, playing his own notes.
Over the years tidbits of his exploits had made their way to America, sort of a mix between a rumor and warning. During my last visit to Australia while chucking tins in Byron, I mentioned to a friend of a friend that I’d just come from Noosa. Straight off he asked if I had seen Harry surf the point two weeks before? I hadn’t, and I wasn’t used to that immediate line of questioning when I went through my itinerary. He went on to describe this single-fin’d takeover of one of the biggest swells in years on the Sunny Coast. Taking off deeper and deeper on weirder and weirder boards making longer and longer tubes with this scholarly like approach. Well studied and accurate as much as it was improvisational. Later that year in Indo, somewhere West of Jakarta I sipped a beer amongst travelers. There were a few Aussie’s amongst us. I asked the dirtiest one of them, “Do you know Harry?” He replied, “The best right-hand tube rider in Indo?” I added, “Rides a motorbike pretty good too?” “Yeah, that’s the guy. I’ve seen Mate ride a single fin, twin fin and a thruster in the same day on the same wave and ride the barrel 3 different ways. Can’t touch Harry on a drainer.”
I had met Harry once before, his calm demeanor and oxford-like presence had me wondering what it would be like to have him on a Roark trip. Well, we know now. Harry ventured North with us for our Winter trip to The Arc of Aleutia with Parker Coffin and Nate Zoller. He came ready. Having read a few old books chronicling the Aleutian Islands in preparation, Harry had significant insight into the remote chain and was a step ahead of most of the crew. The rumors we’re true, he did know how to ride the tube, but more interestingly Harry’s presence was even richer out of the water. We often joke when looking at new ambassadors, “If we airdropped him into Mongolia with a nothing but a pocketknife and a bottle of Bourbon, could he find his way out without calling his Mother?” The answer in this case is a resounding yes! But we worry that Harry might choose to lose himself for a while in the process – taking residence in a mountain village writing poems, befriending gauchos in hopes of learning how to prepare obscure chimichurri rubs or delay departure to surf by himself on a righthand point somewhere North of danger.
So, what is a Harry? It’s TBD for now, but we sure as hell can’t wait to find out. Welcome to Roark, Harrison Roach.