I know Toots from his Instagram feed, @mr._t00ts, a chronicle of stylish, playful longboarding and gorgeous, hand-shaped surfboards. The wonderful thing about Instagram is you get to project; you the viewer get to finish the story. I imagined Mr. Toots, aka Arthur Toots Anchinges, as a modern-day Waikiki beach boy—fluid in body, mind, and spirit, biologically aligned with swell, tide, and wind. I saw him in the surf at first light, shaping boards throughout the day, back in the water in the evening, spending a lot of time on the nose, occasionally riding on his butt. I called him on the phone to get the real story.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in the Philippines and moved here 23 years ago. I live right in Waikiki. It’s like a three-minute walk to the beach.
What is a typical day like for you?
I still have my regular job, which is Monday to Friday, get up at five-thirty or six o’clock, go to work seven, come home at four, paddle out. If it’s flat I go to the shaping room and just mess around in there.
What kind of job do you do?
I work for the State of Hawaii, Department of Education. I do custodial work.
Who are your inspirations in surfing?
Mostly the ‘60s guys from California, like Dru Harrison, Phil Edwards, [Mike] Hynson, all these guys. Nat Young in Australia, [Bob] McTavish.
Where do you surf mostly?
Just right at Queens or somewhere in Waikiki, ‘cause I don’t drive. I just keep it simple, right in front.
How old are you?
I’m going to be 45 this next month.
Do you shape all your own boards?
How many boards a week do you average?
Sometimes none, sometimes I would do five boards a week. I do boards for friends, for my friend’s shop, Salvage. Sometimes when I have money I just spend it on blanks and make it for myself, just experimenting, feeding the addiction.
I like the logo on your boards.
A lot of people ask me why I choose that gold square logo. I don’t even sign it, and some people ask me, “Why don’t you sign your own boards?” I’m just taking all the good stuff from design history, because everything has been done before. Now I’m just discovering it for myself. I’m not going to put my name on something that’s been designed by someone, so I just use the gold leaf.
What do you love most about shaping?
It’s really meditative for me. When I get really into it I can shut out everything around me and go into my own little meditation and come out with something that’s actually rideable. Right now I’m playing around with different rails and bottom contours on my longboards.
What have you been riding?
Right now I ride mostly nose riders, and now I’m into the gliders, and just loving it. When it gets a little juicy I ride my Fish. I just made a 5’7” duo fin set-up with a mix of George Greenough edge. I’m so excited to ride it, just need to get it in some waves.
Did you start surfing in the Philippines or in Hawaii?
No, here. I moved here with my first wife, we were pregnant so I had to find a job right away. Only after my daughter was almost a year old I picked up longboarding, which I really love. Just something to do.
Is there a big longboarding scene on the south shore?
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of people still into the high-performance longboarding, but I think people are seeing the stylish look of the old-school logs and how to ride it. I have a lot of friends that order logs from me so I keep making them.
You seem profoundly stoked.
Yeah, everyday I wake up and check the forecast. Even at work, in my downtime, I’m always sketching something on a notebook, what I think would be a good design for something. It just keeps it going.
It sounds like you’re living a really good life.
It is, it is. Child life.