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Ralph Pic Of The Week

If you want to access the Pic of the
week from past weeks click here.

April 20th, 2008

OK so check it out. I was gliding down the hallway in my home on Monday night heading for the kitchen, the TV was on in the Living room and some local weather guy was on. Actually, I was surfing down the hallway. That's right. Sometimes when I walk through the house I pretend I'm surfing. I do it when I drive as well. You know turning down a narrow hallway, I pretend to pull into a deep barrel. Or when I'm driving in the summer, and some big tree is hanging out over the road, and appears (with a little imagination) to be a large giant Barrel, I like to pull in and pretend I'm getting inside this Giant Chope's like tube.

Am I alone here?

I think being a surfer requires 100% of the Lifestyle to spill over into our daily routines. You know, when we are not out in the water. Surfing in the home, or on the road. I do it when I'm snowboarding all the time.

I'm surfing through life.

OK back to my original thought. I was not paying full attention to anything the weatherman was saying on TV. In fact, I had already reserved the time away from the ocean in my mind this week. I was actually looking forward to not surfing and just cleaning up my office and finally settling in with my new system of New computers and new scanner.

I was only concerned about whether or not, it was going to be sunny or not this week.

The weatherman was doing his routine and this is basically what I heard..."Blah blah blah blah...Ocean Storm blah blah blah..."...."What the? I ran back in to the living room and his report was just ending. I frantically looked for the remote and tried a couple of other stations.

"Hey!" I yelled out to no one in particular. "I think this guy just said something about an Ocean Storm" I got no response from anyone. I went looking for Max and found him downstairs engaged in combat on his PS3 game, I told him what I thought I heard. He seemed only somewhat interested. "Dad I'm in the middle of this online battle.I can't really talk now." I looked at him and said. "I think we're gonna get some serious surf."

He just concentrated on taking out insurgents.

Look I've been around long enough to know, that when a local weatherman brings up an Ocean Storm it's time to take note. These guys may be corny 90% of the time but when they actually mention a storm that's sitting out at sea. Well, I'll put up with the cornball antics..

So I did. I paid attention. By Tuesday I had an idea that we were all gonna be into something good. Again. I figured by Friday or maybe even before. I was really surprised at how many of my friends did not know about this pending swell, or simply didn't care.

Have we gotten that jaded with this incredible run of surf, that it was now just a given that we'd get surf? Or were they like me, figuring that it was finally over? I'm telling you all...I thought we were done, at least for a while.

But I was wrong.

Thursday late morning showed the first signs. At first it was small...about knee to occasionally waist high. But it was glassy and there were long intervals in between the small but consistent sets. I watched it all morning from my office. I'm lucky that I have two machines on my desk. One always has the wave cam on.

I guess it was around noon when I saw something that really caught my eye. It was a glassy set, with what appeared to have, two birds in the wave face. On closer inspection, I realized that those birds, were in fact people.

They were people on surfboards!

I called my buddy Jacko "Hey I think it's here." He told me he was gonna check it in person. There's nothing like actually getting down to the ocean and seeing and smelling it for real. The wave cams are great (hell we'd be lost without em) but getting down to the ocean's edge is the ultimate surf check.

An hour later he called back. "I'm heading out. Are you gonna join me?" ..."Yes. I'm on it." I replied. And within the next half hour, I was down at that stretch of cement that we all love and respect. I made a few calls before heading down. A few of them were actual wake up calls.

"Hey there's surf." I said.

"You're kidding." Was their answer. "No I'm not. There's surf, and it's only going to get better." It really blows my mind that some of my friends who live about 1 -2 minutes by car from the ocean had no idea about this swell.

No excuses. Not in this day and age.

When I pulled up at 10th street it was pretty evident that it was in fact here and getting better. I was struggling to get into my 5/4/3 when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A "dude" was coming out of the water with NO suit on. I mean no wetsuit. He had a pair of trunks on but that was it.

I had to walk up to him and ask.

"So did you win the bet? This had to have been a bet." "Yea." He shook his head, with his teeth chattering.
" How much did you win?" I asked. "Five bucks." He sheepishly answered. "Five bucks??? Are you kidding me? Dude that's nuts. Your friends won this bet. You
just don't know it yet."

I looked over and saw my friend Adam Coates heading out and we just shook our heads.

And so it begins.

So the surf on Thursday late day was sooooo good. I mean, it was Fun Good. We were all out there getting really long rides and just soaking up our good fortune in the waning light. Jacko, Billy, Adam, Mike Moran and everyone else I paddled by. It was a field day of waves. The paddles were a bit of a struggle that night out there. But nothing could of prepared us for the next day..

I awoke at 5AM and went and got the lad out of bed. The sun was peeking through the clouds and when I let the dog out I could hear the surf. It sounded solid. Like a ground swell. "Oh this is going to be a good day" I thought to myself. I could just feel it.

My batteries were charged in both cameras and we were good to go. We went straight to the Wall. Oh oh it got a bit bigger. And Mackey's window was short. He is after all still in High School. And I am after all still a parent. So we looked elsewhere. We ended up at one of those other spots.

It was good. Real good. And the day was just starting. I shot for a couple of hours and dropped Mackey off at school. I had a few appointments that I had to attend in Massachusetts. By the time I got back, the surf was reeling. I went straight to the Wall. The tide was high and the surf was unloading a good 300-400 yards off the beach. I could see a three guys way out. I knew they were either three guys who knew what they were doing or three guys who somehow got sucked out to sea.

In either case, I knew I was in for a paddle.

The night before I rode my Long board. My 9' 0" (Semper Fi). And let me tell you, it was a struggle paddling that thing in a rising swell. Today I was riding my 7' 5". At least I could duck dive this board. And make no mistake about it. I'd be duck diving today. The sets looked big. Clearly overhead. Maybe even double overhead on the sets. It was hard to tell.

By the time I got about 200 yards out, I realized that this was going to be a bitch. And don't think for a moment that my words about the metaphor of Life Being One Big paddle from last week's column wasn't ringing in my head. Because it was. Loud and clear. I'm telling you that on Friday afternoon, April 18th, 2008 the paddle out at the Wall was hell. I paid for all my sins that afternoon. In fact I paid for all of our sins.

I got about 350 yards out when a macking set came in and who should take off on the first wave of this big set? Adam Coates. He swings his big board around and strokes into this beast of a wave and grabs a rail. He's heading straight for me. But I'm cool. I'm ready to paddle into the white water and let him go by. Instead he kicks out. Why? Behind him is a Massive 10 wave set. Every single one of those waves land directly on me. Oh yeah. One of those waves went by me and it actually hissed at me.

Punishment was the order of the day out there.

I was happy that the three surfers out there were my friends. Adam, Brian Tabor and Mike Moran. It's always better surfing with a few friends than not when in these kinds of conditions. Later when those guys went in I stayed out and actually met a guy who reads this column every week. I think he said his name was Todd. We shared a few waves and then he was gone. I was hoping he didn't die out there. My guess is, he caught a wave and just didn't want to deal with the paddle again.

The dam paddle...why did I write that last week?

There is some good news to come out of this 3 day swell. What's that? Well, surprisingly, the 5/4's can be put away. Yep. I wore my 4/3 yesterday and I was fine. Take those 6mil and 5 mil suits and hang em up till next December. You don't need em. I just wished I had my 4/3 on Friday. Although I was really getting worked out there. I'm sure the 5/4 kept me warm and afloat. Still, wearing that 5/4 on Friday felt like I was wearing a soaking wet Afghan Rug with a hole cut in it for my head.

The water is warm enough for a 4/3.

But not warm enough for my visiting buddy from Hawaii. Jason "Rat" Hammer was in town on official business this week. Jason is a longtime surfer from Hampton who is now a Lt.Col in the USARMY. He's stationed in Hawaii and it's always a pleasure to see him when he comes home. Jason served in IRAQ in 2006 and we are all very proud of him and his service. But man was he cold surfing this weekend.

How soon we forget en Jason?

OK so the Bruins came back from a 3-1 deficit to now tie up the series 3-3 against the dreaded but talented Canadians. Marco Strum's late 3rd period goal got the place rocking! I have to say. I watched the game last night and didn't once think about that other New England team. You know the one who's name is synonymous with this holiday we are honoring. Patriots Day.

And the Sox are kicking butt again too! David Big Papi" Ortiz has finally found his swing again and has been connecting with the ball as of late. Manny is slaying them as well. And all you Celtics fans have to be excited as they start their run for a Championship ring tonight against Atlanta. Pretty exciting stuff.

Things are looking good again in New England Sports.

Speaking of looking good, if you could help out Local Surfer Mike Keefe's Granddaughter and Jacko Keefe's niece Bella by sponsoring this Fundraiser we would all be grateful. She's one of those cute triplets that you see walking along the ocean. Just click on this link. Thanks

Happy Passover. And God Bless the Pope. He prayed today at Ground Zero. Pretty moving scene.

Please support all the VERY talented photographers who contribute their work here every week.

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


Yesterday 1978 Kevin Grondin Inside Speed Line on a single fin
(Below) No leash. No fear. Rocky bottom. Young Kevin Grondin out racing the heaving lip line
of this Northern New England Wave. Kevin is still one of the best surfers we have in our midst today.
30 years ago and lord knows how many more.
Video Frame Grab from Super 8mm movie R. Fatello SFOD

2008 Photos BELOW taken Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 4 17-18-19th 2008.

(Above) This is from the "It's a Beach" cam. I grabbed this frame before heading out on Thursday afternoon.
Photo Image by "It's A Beach".com

(Above) New Photographer Bryan Nicholson shot this image on Thursday late afternoon.
Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Early Friday Morning.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Friday morning. And it would only get better throughout the day.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) A closer look. Friday AM.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Any second now, the cutback. Friday AM.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) MVF drops in, while dropping out of Muffin making 101.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Dougie Fresh lip locked blast (he made it).
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Backsider just getting going.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Early morning Friday fun. Who da guy?
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Johnny Meehan, Friday morning.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) After surf check. Go back out? Or head to the Wall? Friday morning.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) A pulled back look of Dougie Fresh. Friday, April 18th, 2008.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) A photo for Lenny. Friday morning.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Thanks to Lenny Nichols I find myself looking down as well as out.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) We went to the Wall. This is Jane McCarthy. A true local Icon on this beach. Mom to several local
surfers over the years she and her husband Alan love the ocean. And Jane, you look GREAT!

Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Doc Grondin holding court. Jon and Mackey politely listen.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Mackey and Jon head out. Friday morning, April 18th, 2008.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Jon Gozzo in a blue green haze is more than likely thinking about his new venture down the
street. A New eating spot that will be called SECRET SPOT will feature smoothies and salads for all the
surfers who surf here.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) MVF setting up on an inside section. Wishing he could have a smoothie after this sesh.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Every good bottom turn deserves a halfway decent cutback. MVF.
*Ed told me he had the settings on his camera out of whack.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Green zone ahead. April 18th, 2008.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Jack Cadigan. *Jack's first wave of this session was probably the best wave I've ever seen him
surf. And I've known Jack a long time. I had just shut down my Video camera when he went out.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) I think this is Dougie. Hard to tell in the color scheme.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Unknown Friday morning Wall.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Chris Valhouli, once again silently acknowledging his smart decision to move back home.
Been a good year eh Christos? Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by Ed O'Connell


(Above) Unknown. Friday 4-18-08.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Unknown. Friday 4-18-08.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Jack? Friday 4-18-08.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Friday April 18, 2008. Longboards had fun too! Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Nice section. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Nice set. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) The sweet spot. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Having fun in the sun. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Can you believe it? How many weeks? Months? Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Just a little off the top please. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Yes they were hollow too. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Nice. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Either way you went. It was good. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Kevin Grondin (1) from a 4shot sequence. Yes the same Kevin as the YESTERDAY shot. 30 years ago.
Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Kevin shot #2. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Kevin shot #3. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Kevin shot #4. Any questions? Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Kevin Doherty's last image. Friday April 18, 2008. Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) John Carden woke up just in time to shoot this. He also surfed both days.
Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Glassy little backside fun. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

Above) Backside lip compression. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) I think this is Mike Stanek. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike Stanek. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike can fix any ding anywhere. Something tells me he's put a few dings on his own boards.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike Stanek. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike Stanek slaying the white stuff. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike Stanek was telling me on Saturday morning how much he loves to find the hole.
Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Mike Stanek in the hole. Friday April 18th, 2008.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Dougie Fresh knock knee glide.
Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Dougie Fresh kick out.
Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Early Friday morning goofy turn. There were four goofy footers out there. They were all
killing it. Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Friday glass. Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Casey hopping for joy.
Photo by Bryan Nicholson

(Above) Jon Gozzo surfing like a man possessed. Possessed with selling Smoothies to all of us.
Look for the Opening of SECRET SPOT right next to Cinnamon Rainbows and 931 Ocean.
Photo by Cris Dow

(Above) Stevie O'Hara pushing hard off the bottom.
Photo by Cris Dow

(Above) Mike Moran taking a familiar stroll. Saturday morning 4-19-08
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) I've said it before, I'll say it again. No one surfs like Mike Moran. Saturday morning 4-19-08
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) The end of the day. Friday evening April 18, 2008.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) CLICK ON Video (photo) Frame Grab of MVF from Friday April 18, 2008.
Video Frame grab by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) This is somewhere South of here and north of where you are. Thursday April 17th 2008.
Photo by Jeff Crawford


2008 Photos of Nicaragua by Brian Nevins

(Above) There's a reason why Brian Nevins is the most successful Surf
Photographer to ever come out of these parts. This is Surf Art.

Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Are you kidding me? What a set-up.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Factory barrels. Nicaragua.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) When man and nature meet.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Check this wave out. You got hollow?
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Pull in and go.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) This is a dream set up. Nicaragua magic.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Pulled back look of the same spot. Nicaragua 2008.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) How would you like to wake up to this every morning? Nicaragua 2008.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) A room with a view. The dream is alive in Nicaragua .
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Check the track of the wave before. This sun set turn will take you home.
*Check out the surfline portfolio and audio interview with Brian Nevins.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) This is also the reality of Nicaragua. These Dump scenes have caused many of us back home to stop
and appreciate how truly blessed we are to have what we have. Talking with Brian recently, I know how deeply
affected he was by this experience. It changed him forever.

Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) To smile in the face of adversity. The other dream in Nicaragua .
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) The photos speak for themselves. The other Nicaragua .
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) If you feel sad and sorry. You're not alone. Nicaragua .
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Bringing hope and happiness is a long hard road. But, it can be done. Nicaragua .
Photo by Brian Nevins


2008 A few More Hawaii Pics from Bernie Baker and his
not so young Apprentice Jeff Crawford

(Above) OK these kinds of photos make me really question why I live here. Tropical dreamworld.
Photo by Bernie Baker

(Above) Don't look back.
Photo by Bernie Baker

(Above) Perfect slot rider
Photo by Bernie Baker

(Above) Rad bottom turn. Backdoor.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Is this what they mean by a stand-up barrel? Backdoor.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Before there was a "Chopes", A Lances Right, Cloudbreak...there was this. Perfect pipe.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

Today 2008 Parting Shot... Aloha Nosah!

Above) By the time he reads this he'll be back in Hawaii. Longtime local Jason Hammer visiting from Hawaii.
After his first session in a very long time in a wetsuit.

Photo by R.Fatello SFOD




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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