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April 12, 2009 "Easter Sunday and Passover"

"There's always waves on Easter." A friend said to me the other day. I thought about it for a little bit. And I guess, he was partly right. I mean, the chances of there being surf on any particular day, is a stretch. I've had other friends claim, that there's always surf on Christmas. Or, there's always surf on Labor Day weekend. I may have made similar claims myself. But the point is, these individuals, were equating these significant Christian Holidays, with their own passion for Surfing. I suppose my Jewish friends have made
similar claims. And they more than likely, get that same spiritual connection. Passover. Chanukah. I wonder if other surfers, who practice other religions, look for surf on their special days as well. As a Christian, I can honestly say, that surfing on Easter morning,
has always been a very spiritual experience.

This particular Easter/Passover will be a tad chilly. But there will be surf. So have at it kids. And renew your faith in your religion, and renew your faith, in the passion of riding waves.

So this week, was another incredible week of surf. I did call it, the Easter Week Swell.
And, it was another consistent week of of waves, in a consistent month of surf. For reasons unbeknown to me, and my less than knowledgeable brain, about weather patterns, and surf forecasting, we have lucked into a pattern, of weekly swells. And these swells, show no
signs of slowing down. And, head high or better surf, is pretty damn good, any time of the year. And while I'm not keeping score, I would have to venture to say, that it has to rate right up there, with other good Spring Seasons of the past. It's almost getting to the point, that I'm just assuming, there will be waves every week. And that's a good thing, and a bad thing.

The good thing is obvious. The bad thing should also be obvious. That make any sense?

If there's surf, there's not a whole lot of work getting done. And that stands true in every line
of work. Same with school. Can't be a whole lot of studying going on, if there's surf every week. School sports will also suffer. It's the old, dammed if we do, and dammed if we don't rule. Don't get me wrong here kids. I want surf. And I think, (hell I know) that the good things outweigh the bad, when there's consistent surf. If we all knew there was going to be surf
every week, I think we'd be better at allocating our surf time, and work/school time a bit
more efficiently. As it stands now, we have to scramble, and move things around, to get in the water. But alas my friends, this is another reason why, more people don't surf. And, it's also a big reason why, we all do. Because we know, just how special and fleeting a swell
can be. If you snooze on some swells, you will miss it. With constant wind and tide
variables, it forces you to become a damn Chameleon. You've got to be able to adapt here
in New England, or you will miss it every time.

But when it all comes together for you, it's a truly magical experience.

This Easter week has also been a week of recognizing some individuals who have made some significant progress in our world. Brian Nevins and Nick LaVecchia did a
photo/essay about Northern New England and Iceland in the new Surfer Magazine.
You have to admit, it's always kind of neat to see your home break in the mags. And it's
also a little scary. I know this feeling first hand, because I have written an article about Northern New England myself back in 1989. In fact, the photo in the Yesterday slot this week, is from that article. To credit Nevins and LaVecchia both, they were way more
vague about naming spots than I was. Way more. In fact, aside from the WALL (and
please, who the hell does not know about the WALL on this planet please raise your hand...put your hand down Kevin) the article is about Northern New England.
And it's really well done. Brian is one of the world's best photographers. And his images
of our waves and surfers are works of art. Seeing his shot of Mike Moran perched high on the nose, during last Thanksgiving's swell, is inspiring to all of us. Surfers, photographers, and to those who live here. *That same photo of Mike Moran also ran in ESM last month as a Full Page photo with a cool little story and quotes from Mikey himself. And it's also the cover shot on GROOVEMASTERS my Longboard DVD. His black and white Wall shot
taken from his apartment is destined to be a New England classic as well.

Remember, you heard it here first.

It's hard to believe, that the article that I wrote, is now 20 years old. Damn. Where has the time gone? Time waits for no man. I recently re-read my article, and found that Brian and I had a lot of the same comments. Mostly about Nor'easters. There can be no denying what
a Nor'easter means to all of us. Those violent storms are our little swell makers. Blowing
up the coast for hundreds of years. Think of all the past Nor'easters that came and went,
and no one surfed them. Not even the Native Americans (true locals), who stood on the beaches and watched those huge swell lines wrap into the beaches, points and reefs, only
to unload in total perfection, with no riders. All those beautiful empty waves. I often wonder,
if any of the early Native Americans stared out into those empty waves, and wondered,
just what it might be like, to ride along with them? On a canoe? Or some other craft? It's possible. Some active imagination, on a young man or woman, staring off into those, mesmerizing hollow waves. Wow...can you imagine?

One other individual I want to mention is, our friend Duffy McCarthy. Now most of you younger surfers might not know who Duffy is. But trust me, he's been around these parts for 40 years. I know this, because Duffy just turned 40 this week. Duffy was one of the original Groms back in the day. And boy did he suffer the Grom treatment. In fact, it took years for me to finally realize that Duffy was a responsible adult and that I should probably stop treating him like a bewildered grom. Last night at his party, his family and friends were all telling old Duffy stories. I had one, but I couldn't really tell it last night in front of his family.
I can now though. It was a classic. And it's 100% true. Before I continue, it's important to know, that before there was this Ralph's Pic Of The Week Feel Good weekly Blog, I was
a bit more ...oh what's the word I'm looking for? Oh I know- testy. Yea that's it. I was testy.
Oh who am I kidding? I was a jerk. But, I had a sense of humor. So Check it out.

The year is 1989. And I have just discovered a new break. The location of this break is unimportant. But I will say this. It is between Rhode Island and Maine. One day, Duffy overheard me describing this new discovery with some of my friends. "Can I go there with
you Ralph?"
he asked. "Say what?" I answered. "Can I go with you?" He asked again.
"Sure, but I'll have to blindfold you first, you little twerp." I answered. "OK" he says. So off
we went. Driving for about an hour with Duffy, I pull the vehicle over. "What's wrong?" he asks. "Nothing, it's time for the blindfold." I answer matter of factly."What???? You can't
be serious???"
he pleads.

"Oh, I'm serious all right. Put this on!" I said, as I handed him a towel.

At first, he tried to plead his case with me. When he finally realized, that I was not going to drive another inch, unless he put the blindfold on, he reluctantly tied it on his head. With the blindfold securely in place, I drove on. I stopped after a short drive, because I realized that he looked like a hostage victim or something, so I made him get down on the floorboard on the passenger side. Again he resisted. "What is your problem Duff? Stop resisting. I'm going to take you to a perfect reef break!" "This is ridiculous!" he yelled. Then he tried to get back up onto the seat. That's when I had to take action.

I put my foot on his head, as I drove past all the points of interest, that he would recognize.

I kept the pressure on his head with my foot, for about 5 miles. It was difficult, but it worked. When we got to a spot that I knew he would never recognize, I let him back up into the seat. "Now that wasn't so bad was it?" I said to him, as I brushed him off. "F___k you!" he yelled. "What? Now why you gotta be so hurtful Duffy? I said you could go, but you had to wear the blindfold. And you agreed" He just folded his arms and pouted. I would be lying, if I told you all that I didn't almost piss my pants from laughing so hard. Because I damn near did. It was the making of a classic local surf story. And honestly? I couldn't wait to get back to Hampton to share it with everyone. Oh and by the way, I made him put the blindfold back
on when we left. Hey, what do you think I came down with yesterday's cold front? Give me some credit here.

Happy Birthday Duffy
! I love you like a brother...a little brother!

Now for some of my weekly Global observances:

What the hell is going on off the coast of Somalia? Pirates? Freaking rag tag Pirates are causing this much trouble? Attacking an American Ship and taking the Captain Hostage? What the...? That's bullshit! Why don't these cargo and humanitarian ships have arms? Or better yet, why don't they hire Armed security guards? Where do I sign up? I'll put together a crack security team, that will send those pirates to Pirate Hell! Remember, I've had some experience with Pirates. I've had to fight the most stinkiest, dirtiest, cowardly, pirate of all...Pirate Jonas. The Big Gas Bag Pirate who comes to Surf Family Robinson every year. Seriously though...this Pirate crap, it has to stop. I can't believe these losers have
been getting, actual ransom money, from other countries. I mean, are you kidding me? Pirates? On top of everything else we have to worry about, these bony ass Pirates, are causing all kinds of trouble. My suggestion? Get a few of those CIA unmanned drones
and fly em over there, and take those SOB's out! Pirates...? Give me a break.*This JUST IN. US NAVY KILLS 3 SOMALI PIRATES and FREES CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. Chalk one up for the good guys, and take away three scumbag Pirates. Listen up Pirates! Don't Mess with the USA! President Obama signed off on the mission this morning. And by this late afternoon US NAVY SEALS (Snipers) Killed three out of four loser Pirates. With the fourth Pirate onboard the US NAVY Destroyer the USS Bainbridge working on negotiations. Can you imagine the look on that clown's face when the US NAVY had to tell him that the talks were off. And when he found out why? "Ahhh OK forget the $2million will you take accept $50 dollars and a one way ticket to Bermuda?"
Click here for Boston Globe Graphic. What a Happy Easter!

President Obama made a surprise stop in Iraq this week. He praised the troops for their sacrifices in freeing the people of Iraq, and basically thanked them, for Winning The War in Iraq. Then he went back to sending more troops into Afghanistan and bombing the Terrorists in Pakistan. Which I support 100%. He was sounding an awful lot like the old CIC with this destroy all Terrorists talk. But I like it. Call me old school, but I agree with Baracky. Let's kill all Al Qeada and Taliban. I do however, think the President got a raw deal, in the latest scandal of him "bowing to the Saudi King." I mean honestly, who cares? I don't care if he bent over to shake the Saudi King's hand. Big deal. There's bigger fish to fry in the world than that trivial piece of garbage. He should just make that same Saudi King give him a
high five, when he comes to visit us here in America.

A massive Earthquake killed almost 300 people this week in Italy. The damage and grief was overwhelming for the people who live there ,and for the rescuers. Ironically, the Catholics are celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their faith in this most holiest of days, should sustain them at least temporarily.

So did anyone see the frail Kim Jong Ill in North Korea last week? Whoa. He looked a
little unsure of himself. Like, where to put his feet. He's not long for this world. But don't get too excited, his son is next in line. And he's just as wacked as pop. I think North Korea is
in trouble with either one of those nut jobs.

Speaking of weird. In today's Boston Globe there was a front page story of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston performing a Face Transplant? I the only one who thinks that's a little on the creepy side? They said it was a first. But wait a minute didn't Michael Jackson have a few face transplants already? When he had his original face replaced with Barbie's Ken doll's face??

Sasha Cohen (Borat) has a new movie coming out based on his other alter ego character BRUNO. And my God is it over the top. I saw a trailer, and it's a wonder how he didn't get his ass kicked making this movie. Cohen is clearly cutting edge comedy.

The Sports world
has some sad news out of the West Coast. 22 year old pitcher for the LA Angels- Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver just a few hours after pitching as a starter with the Angels. He pitched 6 innings with his dad there to see him. Drunk drivers. The loser who hit him tried to get away too. The loss is unimaginable on so many levels. Suffice it say, that our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Adenhart and with the Angels. Not that you didn't already know...but PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

RED SOX won their Opener at FENWAY. B
ut have been spotty ever since. But then again, the season has just started. GO SOX! Hey! The Bruins are kicking butt too. Really kicking butt as in well...Kicking Butt. The other night, I saw some the fighting highlights against Montreal. Reminded me of the old days. Celtics are doing well even without KG and they should only get better when Garnett returns.

Finally, I think we are settling on a look for the blog. And it's going to be like this week's. Larger thumbnails, with photo galleries on separate pages. You can scroll thru thumbnails or thru the larger pics. It's the Best of Both worlds. Old school and new school. Look for many updates in the weeks to come. The Rules page, the Bio Page, the Classified page, the photog page, the artist page, and finally, I plan on creating a web gallery of all the
Yesterday Photos.
I know how popular that particular genre is.

T he Weekly FLATBREAD Company Benefit Nights for April 14, 2009
Click here for directions to each Restaurant
Amesbury, MA-
April 14th, Amesbury High School All Sports Boosters
Portsmouth, NH-
April 14, 2009 S.A.S.S. (Sexual Assault Support Services), resources and help for victims
Portland, ME-
April 14, East End School PTO
North Conway, NH-
April 14th, The Fryeburg Academy Ecology Club
Bedford, MA- April 14th, “Kitty Angels,”
Canton, VT-April 14th is for the National Kidney Foundation of Connecticut.

More Lil Miss Molly FUND RAISER Events: Dr. Brent Reinheimer, local surfer and Exeter Hospital physician, is leading the charge for the "Stash for Cash." Dr. Brent says, "Anybody that is interested in participating in the "growth" will decide on a facial hair distribution and shave it out next Friday. We will keep it until the NE Regionals (May 15th). We will have the participants submit their "stash" and we will have viewers decide which is the "cheesiest". That person will get a prize. Also, the person who gets the most sponsors, will win a prize as well." This is pretty cool idea and we're sure that we can rally some folks to kick in some insane prizes. Please stay tuned as we'll offer more info next week.

Don't forget All the shops are STILL collecting cards, gifts, and other provisions for the Rowlee family. PIONEERS , CINNAMON RAINBOWS, BRICKHOUSE, ZAPSTIX and many more shops are drop off points of interest for Miss Molly. Skip Brunette has opened a Little Miss Molly account at the SEACOAST CREDIT
UNION on 887 Lafayette Rd, Hampton NH
. (see poster below for info). There are several more fund raisers in the making as well. There's still plenty of things going on for Lil Miss Molly and you can find out most of it on the
Ralph's Community Page.

Little Miss Molly Fund Auction

Happy 40th Birthday Duffy McCarthy!
Happy 24th Birthday Christopher Nichols!

*Chris I can't believe you're 24! Hope you have a great day!

Rest in Peace Ralph O'Brien.
I will miss you, my dear old friend.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover.

Check out the shout out in the NEW ESM magazine about my two latest releases. "GREETING SEASONS" and "Groovemasters" both are in the shops!

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 6 years.

Remember my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Yesterday- 1989 Lil Duffy McCarthy at The Wall
(Below) A couple of weeks ago, I posted a photo of Kevin Grondin and said it was one of the most consistently over used photos in the history of New England surfing. Well, here's a close second. This is Duffy McCarthy and it was shot by Michael Baytoff. Well this damn photo ended up in more magazines, newspapers and other media sources almost as much as Kevin's shot a couple of weeks ago. The pose, the wave, the haircut. It was all so Duffy back in those days. And it's hard to believe, that this photo is over 20 years old. But looking at this photo, if someone were to strike this pose today, and I was shooting? Hell, I'd pull the trigger as fast as Baytoff did back in 1989. This image is timeless. So is Duffy. Happy 40th Birthday brother! Photo by Michael Baytoff

Today 11:00AM Easter Sunday 2009 An Empty Wall Set
(Below) We pulled up to the Wall and saw a small set break. You could of surfed it if you
had a longboard. But that's about it. Still there were waves on this Easter Sunday and
here's the proof. Photo by RALPH

Today- 2009 The Easter Week Swell- APRIL 7-8, 2009.
*Click On This Images below of the first Day April 7th to take you to a NEW Photo Gallery That will Allow you to see either Thumbnails or Larger images That you can forward or reverse. Click images below.

(Above) This wave was captured at 1/1000 of a second. This was the Back To Health session. It was just Dr. William Haffenreffer out by himself and me with my cameras. Eventually one other guy came out. Yes I said, "one" other guy. For a total of two surfers. Who say's it's over? Not me. Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Dr. William Haffenreffer bottom turns at Goose Cove. Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Dr. Brent Reinheimer's vertical lip bang at Cementland later in the day. It was a day of Surfing Doctors. Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Billy Ritchie in a sequence at Cementland later in the day. . Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Adam Coates in a sequence at Cementland same time of the day.
Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Billy Ritchie in a 360 sequence at Cementland . Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Zach Bro's ripping cutback at Egg Rock Beach. Photo Ed O'Connell
Click on the image above.

(Above) Kevin Doherty pulls in under a greenish grey lip. Click on image for more.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Doherty
Click on the image above.

Today- 2009 The Easter Week Swell- APRIL -8, 2009.
*Click On This Images below to take you to a NEW Photo Gallery That will Allow you to see either Thumbnails or Larger images That you can forward or reverse. Click image below.

(Above) Two sunrise surfers walking out in the empty line-up during this Glorious Easter Week Swell. Click on image for more of the Sunrise session. Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Red Fish gliding during the Easter Week Swell. Click on image for more .
Photo by RALPH

(Above) Jon Gozzo on the wave of the day. Photo Ed O'Connell
Click on the image above.

(Above) Chris Shipley puts the camera down for some fun of his own.
Photo Ed O'Connell
Click on the image above.

(Above) This is a short series of images that was inspired by my friend Lenny. Click on image for more of the Sunrise Lenny Tribute. Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.

(Above) Black and White Peak. Click on image for more of Lenny's images.
Photo by Lenny Nichols
Click on the image above.



(Above) Click on image of William Haffenreffer for VIDEO Clip shot on 4-7-09
Video Frame Grab by Ralph


Today- 2009 Local New Englanders Back Home and in
the Tropics.
*Click Image below for Thumbnails and larger viewing

(Above) Ross Kunkel forgetting about PR for just a moment as he cuts back to the Island in his mind. Click on image for more photos of Ross and others.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel
Click on the image above.


(Above) Brian Nevins helps little Wendy with her first ever Surfing experience in and out of the horror of La Chureca in Nicaragua. Click on image for more heart warming photos of Brian and sweet Little Wendy. Photo courtesy of Brian Nevins
Click on the image above.

(Above) Lt. Col Jay Hammer longtime local NH surfer was visited by John Savastano another longtime local NH Surfer in Hawaii. Col Hammer was briefing his troops as they had just returned from a long deployment in Iraq. Don't forget to think about the Troops this Easter and Passover. They are the REAL reasons why we have the freedoms to do the things we love. Like eat and surf. Photo Courtesy of Jay Hammer

(Above) My lifelong friend Lt. Col Jay Hammer also has a sense of humor. He said Pipe was real tiny this day. Ha ha ha...very funny. Photo Courtesy of Jay Hammer

Today- 2009 The Phantom Returns with another Soulful Boat Trip to uncrowded Perfection. April 8th 2009.
*Click below for Thumbnails and larger viewing
All photos by the Phantom

(Above) Doug Hendry joined the Phantom and his crew and scored some fun waves this week. Photo by the Phantom
Click on the image above.

Today- 2009 Scary Kalihiwai on Kauai's North Shore
Photos via the Internet

(Above) The BIGGEST surf in 30 years at this notorious scary Kalihiwai on Kauai's North Shore. Photo courtesy of the Internet. Click on the image above.

Today 2009 PARTING SHOT- "Happy (Hoppy) Easter"

(Above) Come on...I came home last Friday and saw this guy sitting outside my office door. I had to shoot him. It's Easter! My kids would of thought this cute a few years ago. Maybe they still do. I think it's cute. Happy Easter and Happy Passover. God Bless you all this blessed holiday.
Photo by RALPH

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