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"Greek Easter "
"Nothing like surfing on your birthday!" I said as I walked in the wet sand.
And really, there is nothing like it. Getting waves on your birthday. Talk about cool gifts. I think we can all say with good reason, that it's a special feeling to get good surf on your birthday. My own birthday is in the middle of the Summer, so it's a crap shoot getting waves on my special day. However, I have gotten my share through the years. And there's REALLY nothing like getting barreled on your birthday. That has got to be the ultimate birthday gift. And, I have to say, I have experienced that as well. Getting barreled on your birthday. What else could top that? I mean really. Keep the cake and ice cream and festive gatherings. Give me a good swell any day. I don't know how many of you have experienced waves on your birthday. But it's pretty special. Especially the big birthdays. 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. So Chris getting good surf on his 40th was pretty special to him. And I was happy to have actually shot him, without that knowledge, and made his day with my revelation.
Later on as I was getting ready to leave and go for a surf myself, another friend pulled up at the Wall and laid claim to the same announcement. My friend Patrick Hall was all excited to tell me it was his birthday. And he was less than subtle at hinting that he would love a photo of himself surfing on his birthday. Because I was also amping to get wet, I yelled at him "To get the hell out there" so I could snap a pic or two of him. He did just that. However, he also left his surf buddy Mike O'Neill to fend for himself and his new wetsuit. Which meant that Mike would be calling for me to assist him. "Damn. I just want to go surfing! " I yelled. "The last thing I want to do now, is get you in a freaking wetsuit!" I said to Mike, who was basically suffocating trying to stuff his large frame, into this sausage casing of a wetsuit.
"Why do they make these things so small?" he asks. "They don't." I answered. Clearly the problem was not the suit being too small. It was painfully obvious, what the problem was. I know, because I am suffering from the same problem. The winter hibernation, has suddenly become an issue with a bunch of us. Peeling away the winter clothes, and winter wetsuits, has revealed our winter look. In short. A bunch of us, need to shed more, than our winter suits and winter clothes. We need to shed some winter body weight. Somehow, I was able to get Mike zippered up and sent him out to sea. And, I was able to get a few waves of Patrick. So Patrick Hall and Chris Shipley both got waves on their birthday. And I was there, to capture them both on this special day.
You guys owe me. And don't think for a moment, that I won't remind you.
don't know where you were on Friday, but it was such a good day
both here on the Seacoast and in the Mountains. I had several close
friends hit three different mountains and report back to me that it
was all time. My buddy Geoff Haenn and his lovely wife Lori
had invited me to Stowe for a few days of boarding and free room
and board. And my other buddy Rich Appel invited me to Sugarloaf
for some of the same. I regret not being able to participate with either
one, but I was more than stoked, to score some great waves down the
street from my home. And with the sun shining bright, and the wind offshore
all day long, and the air temps hovering around 70 degrees...well?
I know we all scored. Unless you missed both. In which case, I'm not
trying to rub it in. I'm just trying to report what went down here in
New England. Surf and Snow. It was Spring Conditions at both
So this week, was yet again, another incredible week for surf. And really, what is is this, week number 8? It is. 8 weeks of surf. That's insane. Since the last week of February, we've had consistent weekly swells. I'm almost afraid to say it out loud for fear of the inevitable flat spell that will eventually come. And it looks like more coming Tuesday, Wednesday, and into Thursday. The good news is...put away your 5/4/3 suits. It's clearly 4/3 time. I saw many riders with no hoods. I even rode a wave or two at the end of my own session with no hood. It's getting warmer all the time. Warm weather, warm water, and more swells. My brothers and sisters you've got to love this pattern we're in.
Speaking of surfing the other day. I was paddling by this guy who looked very familiar to me. I thought he was the surfing dentist I know in Exeter. I said hello, and asked him if he was in fact, the surfing dentist. "No. My name's Michael" he says "I'm the tallest surfer in Hampton!" "Really?" I answer. "How tall are you?" I ask. "I'm 6' 7" he answers. "Damn...that is tall! How long is your board?" I asked."Same size". He says. "I don't know anyone taller than me." He states. "Yea, me either. I guess you are, the tallest Surfer in Hampton." I reply as I paddled for a wave. So, if anyone is taller than 6' 7" let me know. Otherwise, Michael is the tallest damn surfer we have around these parts.
I couldn't help but notice how many waves Noreen was catching out there on Friday. She was catching quite a few. And I also couldn't help but notice how many female surfers were out there as well. I counted 5 women surfers. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but it is at this time of the year. Clearly, Noreen was leading the charge taking off on most set waves, and having herself a fun day at her homebreak. Her dad Jack Cadignan is a good surfer, who I have known for many years. I'm guessing that Jack was instrumental in Noreen taking up the surfing lifestyle. Passing on the surfing genes, and sharing the pure stoke with family and friends is (for some of us), a great pleasure. For others, it's a curse. The negative minority who feel that surfing is already too crowded and anymore surfers will only ruin it for them. I can't help them. I do know, that a smile and a nod, to let someone else get a wave pays huge dividends in this lifestyle. Besides, surfing is not for everyone. And I think we can all agree that, that's a good thing.
Speaking of women surfers. Have you all seen the cover of the latest SURFERS JOURNAL? It is by far, one of the most poetic, soulful, surf images I have ever seen. And it is a historic cover as well. How's that? Well, it is the first cover with a woman surfer on the cover. The woman's name is Belinda Peterson Baggs. The photo was taken by Dane Peterson. It is a stunning photo. Seriously, you should check it out, in fact you should pick up a copy or get yourself a subscription. The Surfer's Journal is by far, the most well put together magazine out there. Each issue is like a coffee table book. And I'm not just saying this because they are an affiliate of this column. I'm saying it, because it's true. TSJ is in a league of it's own.
The same with ESM. The FREE Magazine for the entire East Coast. Eastern Surf Magazine is exactly what it says. It's a mag all about the Right Coast. I've known Mez for many, many years. And when he Dugan and their crew decided to launch a mag for all of us, we all hoped it would last. Well, it's done more than that. Since 1992 these guys have been passionate about our coastline. They knew well in advance of anyone else, what a rich wave field we have for surf. And they knew what kind of talent comes out of the East Coast. Hello? Kelly the Animal Slater Mr 9 time World Champ, is a product of the East Coast. Today Matt Pruett and Nick McGregor carry the ESM tradition on keeping it fresh each month with stories and pics of your coast. Our coast.
No sir, you can do no wrong with a copy of ESM and TSJ in your home every month.
Hey speaking of the Surfers Journal, a few months ago, there was an article about Vietnam and Surfing. They mentioned the movie Between The Lines. That movie is featured here on this page and the DVD just came out. In the movie is a section about the Memorial Paddle for Vietnam Veteran Surfers. Well, there's an interview in the film with our own Tom Woods and myself. Tom and I traveled out to California in September 2007 and took part in the paddle, that another Vietnam Vet /Surfer -Jerry Anderson put together. To say it was a moving experience, is an understatement. It was unbelievable. The guy behind the whole movie project is Ty Ponder. Ty's is a great guy and he has made himself, one of the most important surf movies of our time. I can't tell you enough of how good it is. And if you have any knowledge of this time period, both in our nation's history, and the history of surfing, you need to get this DVD. Besides I'm it it! Seriously, it is a very well done documentary of this tumultuous time in our lives. John Milius is the Narrator. John Milius did BIG WEDNESDAY and a bunch of other movies including: CONAN the Barbarian with Gerry Lopez. Seriously, click on the Between The Lines ad to order your DVD copy for a fascinating look at Surfing and the Vietnam War.
week I wrote about my friend Duffy, and the episode where I blindfolded
him to take him to a secret spot. I got quite few comments about it.
My dear mother-in-law, asked me why I didn't write about the time, I
had Duffy sit in the child's safety seat? I didn't write about
that because, I forgot about it. Long story short. Duffy needed
a ride somewhere, and my vehicle was full of children's car seats. Because
I was new at parenthood, I couldn't (or wouldn't) take the seat out.
So...I had Duffy sit in the child's car seat. Aside from hitting
his head on the roof, he was plenty safe enough. Another classic surf
story? I guess so.
for some of my weekly Global observances:
President Obama made a few more heads turn this week, when he shook hands (3 times ) with Chavez from Venezuela. Shaking hands with a guy who called BHO an "Ignoramus" last month and a few months before that, he called Obama a nasty racist remark. And last year he called President Bush Satan? Even that comment pissed off a few Democrats. But Baracky must have thick skin. Because he was not only shaking hands with Chavez, but he was also offering to turn the page on US- Cuba relations with the Castro boys (even though the human rights issues have taken a back seat) and he's extending a sit-down with Iran. Even though Iran is the biggest sponsor of worldwide Terrorism.
Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Council report this week, has labeled all returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as potential Right Wing Extremists/domestic terrorists? And last month, this administration suggested that all wounded Veterans pay for their own medical insurance??? Baracky...what the ???? I've said in the past, that I am supporting the office of the Presidency, but with each passing week, it's getting harder and harder, for me to agree with some of this stuff. Am I alone out here? Could someone please enlighten me. Seriously.
And honestly, I don't care about that freaking dog. Bo-bama. Does that dog hunt?
of wacky stuff. Did I miss something here? Craig's List is where
you go to find Prostitutes? Huh? I thought you bought stuff on that
site. I had no idea you could get a massage with a Happy Ending. Now,
there's some wack job on the loose who's killing these prostitutes by
answering Craig's List Ads. What the hell is going on in this
40th Birthday Chris Shipley!
Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 6 years.
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
(Above) Yep there was every conceivable craft out there on Friday. Click photo to see more. Photo by RALPH Click on the image above.
(Above) Chris Shipley turned 40 years
old out there. Happy Birthday Chris. Click photo to see more
of Chris and others. Photo by RALPH
(Above) Patrick Hall was also celebrating a birthday
on 4-17-09. Click photo to see more. Photo by RALPH
(Above) My man John Carden in a rare photo
of him actually surfing. Why is it rare? Because like me, he's always
taking pics. Oh by the way, he made this wave. Click photo to see more
Carden and others at Cementland on 4-17-09. Photo by RALPH
(Above) These are lenticular clouds from winds
coming over mountains, 20-40,000 feet
(Above) Noreen looking like the woman
on the cover of the New Surfers Journal. Great photo Johnny.
April 17th, 2009 at Cementland. Click on photo to see more.
(Above) Brian Tabor throwing it up at
the lip. April 17th, 2009 at Cementland. Click on photo to see more.
Photo John Carden
(Above) Nate Schontag was gliding all
over the place out there. Really light on his feet Nate was taking these
nose rides for long distances. To see more Nate click on this
2009 Local New Englanders Snowboarding
(Above) This is Brian Nevins. And this
(sorry Brian) is a great shot snowboarding shot. Hell yea it is. Click
on Brian to see more from this Special Day. April 17th, 2009.
(Above) And this is Mikey Moran. And yes, I'm
calling this a GREAT snowboard shot as well. Click on Mikey to see more
of this day. 4-17-09. Check that cloud out!.
(Above) This is a shot of LOON Mountain where only Brian and a few others had it to themselves for the day. Can you say insane SPRING Snowboarding? Click photo to see more from this day. Photo by Brian Nevins
Click on the image above.
(Above) LOON Mountain insane SPRING Snowboarding session. Click photo to see more from this day. Photo by Brian Nevins
Click on the image above.
(Above) Check out this wild time lapse affect. Yo Brian! How did you do that? Click photo for more from this Sunday River Day. Photo by Brian Nevins
Click on the image above.
(Above) Tony Berardini at Snowbird
in Utah on Monday April 13th, 2009. Tony says they scored the best
and deepest powder ever! Good on you T.
(Above) Click on this image of Vince for VIDEO
Clip shot in April of 1983
2009 Local New Englander in Hawaii
(Above) There are sunsets. And then, there are
sunsets in Hawaii. Local Hampton girl sends us a few sunset shots from
the Islands. Photo by Julia Nichols
2009 Master Lensman Bernie Baker Returns with the Gem of all breaks.
(Above) V-land is one of those waves that you might never get to surf in your lifetime. Still the photos of this place have instilled a yearning in so many surfers hearts and minds.
Photo by Bernie Baker
Click on the Photo above to see more of V-Land.
(Above) Does V-land get hollow you ask? Yes and that's another reason why it is so protected. Hollow and fun. Just an amazing high performance wave. Click photo to see more.
Photo by Bernie Baker
Click on the Photo above to see more of V-Land.
(Above) RIP - MARK "THE BIRD" FIDRYCH
2009 PARTING SHOT- "Hit The Deck!"
like this guy is taking on small arms fire as he hits the deck. I'm
sorry if I know this guy. But damn what would you do if you were me?