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"EARTH DAY & The Rainbow Swell"
And this last swell? The EARTH DAY-Rainbow Swell? It was in my humble opinion, a bona fide 3 day barrel fiesta. Man...I don't know how many of you missed it, but I do know, ,that this last swell was one for the record books. Why? Well, the whole Earth Day thing for starters is kind of special, and then the way the Rainbow appeared on the Big Night was all time. It was magical. And it was captured by every angle and by every photographer around. Nevins, Carden, O'Connell, Doherty, Nichols, and yours truly. Nothing got by any of us. I saw so many smiles this past week, from so many surfers and photographers, it almost seemed like, we were living in another part of the World. You know what I mean. Places where there's surf all the time. Where you don't have to risk losing your job, or girlfriend, or flunking out in school. Because there's always surf, you can actually work around the swells.
It felt like New England was, a REAL surf destination. And damn it felt good.
But consistent surf can also be a double edge sword. Well, it can for us in the media. The influx of digital cameras have made it both easy, and cumbersome for us photogs. And throw in the web guys on top of it all, and man...it's hard to keep up. It really is. In the old days, we had to wait for the film to get developed, and then we had to scan the images. Today it's instant. I can't tell you how many times, guys like Nevins, or Carden, or O'Connell will send me images that they just shot, less than an hour before. Most times, I'm still in the shower when this shit hits my inbox. It blows my mind. The other day, Ed sent me a photo of myself, while I was out surfing a fun little reef break by myself and I swear, I was still in my wetsuit when I opened it on my computer. That's fast. And therein lies my dilemma. Because of the speed and quality of digital images, it's hard to wade through all the hundred's, of thousands, of surf images. And I am the absolute worse. I can easily shoot a few hundred photos in a typical photog session.
And the problem is, more than half of them, are keepers. It's true.
Some of my peers seem to forget, that I've been shooting surf images since 1971. It's not like I just picked up a digital camera this last year, and decided to become a surf photographer. Hardly. I've been documenting surfing since 1971. I think I have a handle on it. I have to keep reminding one of my fellow photogs that little tidbit. So when I shoot that many images, I am looking at stuff that I consider 'web worthy.' Besides, the whole concept of my weekly blog is, I want to be able to shoot, anyone and everyone- who can surf. And that's the bottom line. You have to know how to surf. If you are a beginner, who can't keep out of your own way, let alone those who know what they're doing, chances are, you won't get posted here. But if you can surf, and honestly, most people I know can surf. Then you stand a good chance of getting posted. You see my friends, I have certain criteria in my mind.
But for the most part, I'm pretty damn liberal when it comes to posting images.
So, if you've not been posted here on this site, and you know how to surf. Hang in there. Chances are, your day is coming. And if you're a beginner, hang in there as well. If you really like this thing of ours, you too will only get better. In other words, you won't be a beginner (kook) forever. Unless, you are one of the less than 5% who just never got it. In which case, there's always Golf. And if you are one of the better surfers, who just so happens to be at a different spot than the photogs...well, you know the drill better than most. Besides, chances are, you guys could care less if you get your photo taken or not. And that's cool.
Meanwhile to everyone else, we can only shoot so many surfers in one day. Hang in there.
OK so let's talk about that Rainbow. Or more precisely, that double Rainbow. I was at Cementland that night chatting with Nevins and O'Connell when Brian spotted the first mini Rainbow. It was small compared to the larger one about an hour later. But it was a sign of things to come. I was genuinely surprised and pleased to see Brian's reaction to this natural display of colors. He just lit up. He was like a kid. I say I was surprised because, he's normally very laid back and unflappable. But with this first mini Rainbow showing some color, he just stepped up. He was shooting the fading color bars as Ed and I just sort of sat back and watched him work. It was neat to see. The first mini Rainbow dissipated as fast as it appeared. Before you could say 'Pot Of Gold'...it was gone.
Ed eventually left and Brian and I hung around. We walked down onto the sand at the Wall to shoot some of the action. Some rain clouds were moving in quickly from the West and Brian mentioned that we were about to "Get pissed on". He was right. It rained and it rained hard. We jumped back into our vehicles and waited. It was at that time that I noticed a break in the clouds. The sun would be shining bright in a short time. Brian saw it as well. But he was way more tuned into than me. When the sun did break, so did the Rainbow. Suddenly he was out of his vehicle in a flash. Firing away. Changing lenses as he walked by. I grabbed my video camera to try and capture some of it. It was breathtaking. Then it doubled up on itself.
A double Rainbow arced completely over the entire line-up.
I would of loved to have witnessed the Rainbows out in the water. It looked so unreal. People were stopping their vehicles and getting out to stare at it. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, John Carden was down a few openings after having it seen it from his home. He too was firing away. Lenny was up at Slabbys shooting his son Kai when the thing popped out. And Ed was driving home when he saw it, and tried to pull over to shoot it. But by that time, it was gone. So Brian and John got the best of it. I shot a few with my D-90 but I was not patient enough, to wait for the right waves to peel off in the background. "Be patient grasshopper" I told myself (again). There will be other rainbows I'm sure. And when they do come, I will exhibit the same calm and composure that my peers have done.
I will become one with the Rainbow.
Speaking of rainbows, I bet Dave Cropper does not remember this, but it was after either his first opening, or his second opening of Cinnamon Rainbows at the new location, when we both went surfing at the Wall. That night, a magnificent Double Rainbow arched completely over the entire 2.5 miles of cement. I can remember telling Crop that "This has to be a good sign for you." Turns out, it was.
we talk about what I would call ,an "Anatomy of a Rumor".
Seriously, this is how this one particular "surf related rumor"
got started this past Thursday. In fact, it was the Rainbow day.
Here's how it happened. I was sitting under the Wall at 10th Street
shooting the new swell around 9:30AM on Thursday, when
I heard sirens go whipping by and stopping around 18th Street.
I looked up and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. In fact, my
first thoughts was, it was just a fender bender. Maybe someone had a
bloody nose and had to go to the hospital. I don't know. I do know,
that I had been there for about and hour before I heard the sirens go
by. And I didn't hear any sounds of screeching tires, or metal hitting
metal. I paid
"Looks like one of your surfer buddies drowned down there." He said.
"What? Who? Where? What are you talking about?" I jumped up asking. "Down the street. I got it all on video." He says showing me his little pocket camera. "Are you sure it was a surfer?" "I saw his little booties on. I don't know who else would be wearing booties." He says matter of factly. "Shit. This sucks. Could you tell who it was?" I asked again. "Now I don't know who you guys are. You all look alike to me." He answers. Then he went on to tell me that they were doing the full on chest compression's, trying to revive him, but it was no use. "Damn...I can't believe someone died out there." I was shocked. Then I thought about some of the waves I had shot, prior to the sounds of the ambulance. I know I shot some waves of some guy on a longboard who ditched his board a few times. Was it him? Did I inadvertently shoot his last wave? Shit. This was really bothering me. I of course, shared this information to others who came and went through the opening at 10th Street. Kevin Grondin even said that he had stopped to ask the police, if they needed help, because Kevin was in his wetsuit. They shook their heads at Kevin ,indicating that it was a lost cause.
I saw Stevie O'Hara and told him what I knew. Stevie was equally bummed out. Then a reporter came by and asked me what I knew. I shared the info, that you all now know with the reporter. Then I shared the info with Dave Cropper at Cinnamon Rainbows. And this is where the Rumor stopped dead in it's tracks. Crop said he had seen the fire truck and ambulance at 18th street, but they were working on an elderly man who had suffered a heart attack. Clearly this is what happened. I asked if he saw, if the man had a wetsuit on. You know, the "booties" theory. He said, the man had dark socks on, and was laying face first.
Dammit. This is what happened. A surfer didn't drown.
An old man had a heart attack walking by the Wall. Not that this made it any better to the family and loved ones of the victim, but it did to me. A surfer didn't die. I called Pioneers and spoke with Brian and made sure he told Stevie the truth and how it really went down. Then I called my non surfing friend, and told him what he had videotaped. "You bonehead!" I yelled. What the hell? He said he was sorry, and was just sharing what he thought he saw. Meanwhile, the surf network was lit up for hours after.
I guess it's true. Bad news travels fast.
Well the good news is, we didn't lose one of the tribe. Of course, we all saw some of the humor in the story later on. And as Tony put it..."It didn't take long for the Gallows humor to come out." I guess, I was part of that. I was kidding saying, that at one point "I thought I had taken a photo of this guy's last wave, and may have the Ultimate Parting Shot for my column". Does that make me bad? Yes. Even though everyone laughed. And I do mean everyone. I was sorry I said it. But, I said it only after knowing, that no surfer had passed away. As far as the elderly man, who died while walking the wall. I do hope he rests in peace. And according to those who actually saw the man, he was elderly. So he lived a good life. And the last thing he did see, were those waves at the Wall. And those waves, were special. So, maybe that double rainbow was for him. Rest in peace Wall walker.
for some of my weekly Global observances:
President Obama is coming up on his first 100 Days in Office this coming Wednesday. In my opinion, the jury is still out.
Swine Flu is coming. Are you kidding me? And there's no vaccine?
Huh? What the hell is going on the world? The Swine Flu is killing people
by the dozens in Mexico. Isn't Obama in Mexico?
Shouldn't he come home? The Swine Flu...it even sounds nasty.
If there was ever any doubt about traveling to Mexican surf destinations,
this should seal the deal.
OK how many people asked you if you knew the guy from New Hampshire who was bit by a shark in Florida? Seriously. How many? The guy's name is Bruce Klinker and he lives in Candia. Not exactly surf city. So my guess is, he surfs around here, when ever he travels down out of the mountains. I guess he got bit on the foot by a shark, while surfing with his daughter. Look, no one wants to see anyone get bit by a shark, regardless of what he or she does. But just because he's a surfer, does not mean we all know the dude. But, just in case some of my readers knows this guy, please tell him, we all hope he has a quick recovery and is back in the water real soon with his friends and family. And remember Ralph's Most Important Shark Rule. How To Avoid Being Bitten or Eaten By a Shark. Always go in the water, with someone who swims slightly slower than yourself. Works every time.
Speaking of sad pathetic stories. The Craig's List fiancée is still standing by her man. In fact, she plans on going through with the August Wedding. Huh? Oh yea. This poor woman is delirious. Look honey, your boyfriend is a wack job. He killed some poor Prostitute. And he robbed a few others as well. Besides he's wearing a damn Snuggie that is held together by Velcro to keep him from hurting himself. How's that gonna look at the alter? Your man in a Velcro snuggie taking wedding vows. Someone should talk to this woman before she makes another embarrassing announcement. Wedding is still on...? Puhleeze.
a good note. Is everyone still buzzing over the Susan Boyle sensation?
I admit I was moved by the You Tube video. But I also admit, that I'm
over the hype. Especially in light of the fact that she's changed her
natural look. She actually reminded me of my late grandmother. And I
loved her. I just hope she does not get turned into some here today
gone tomorrow singing sensation. I hope she makes lots of money, and
falls in love, and lives happily ever after.
in Peace Ken Annakin (Directed Swiss Family Robinson, Battle Of The
Bulge and the Longest Day) he was 94 years old.
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) This is Kody Grondin. Kody showed
up at the Cementland opening with his sister Leah (below) to check the
surf. I convinced them both to go out. The camera in hand was the deciding
factor. Check out the rest of the gallery by clicking on the photo.
Photo by RALPH
(Above) Leah Grondin. Surfing The Wall.
The For more photos of this gallery click on the photo of Leah.
Photo by RALPH
(Above) The SHOREBREAK Series. The more
I shoot surfing, the more I see of surfing that I may have overlooked
in the past. Check out my Shorebreak series by clicking this photo to
take you to my Shorebreak Gallery Earth Day Gallery. Photo by
(Above) This is Kyle Linseman looking like he's at Kirra. But he's really at The Wall. Click on the pic for more images from this insane day. Photo by RALPH Click on the image above.
(Above) Kevin "Doc" Grondin
in the barrel for the 1,000,0000,000th time. Click photo to
see more of Doc and others. Photo by Ed O'Connell
(Above) Stevie O'Hara. Yes Stevie
can ride deep too. Check out more of Stevie and others by clicking the
damn photo. Photo by Ed O'Connell
(Above) Our main man Brian Nevins was
out shooting all day, and had a hard time finding people to shoot. It's
true. Check out Brian's empty wave gallery from 4-23-09 Click photo
to see more. Photo by Brian Nevins
on the image above.
(Above) Casey Lockwood . Pulling
under a very thick lip. Yes he made this. Click on photo to see more
of this outrageous session. Photo by Ed O'Connell
(Above) Casey Lockwood . Again...
Yes he made this. Click on photo to see more of this outrageous session.
Photo by Ed O'Connell
(Above) This is The Rainbow. And yes, this the
Rainbow Shot that tells the whole story. Click on pic to see more of
this night. 4-23-09 Photo Brian Nevins
(Above) This is also from The Rainbow session. Click on pic to see more of this night.
4-23-09 Photo Brian Nevins Click on the image above.
(Above) From the Rainbow sesh. To see
more click on this photo. April 23rd 2009
(Above) Kai Nichols. To see more of Kai
and Wild Skies click on this photo. April 23rd 2009
(Above) This is from the Rainbow night as well.
This my friends is The Empty Wave. And Lil Ralphie loves Empty
waves (if they are perfect). Click pic for more April 23rd, 2009.
(Above) This is Duffy McCarthy from Hampton.
Duff is now 40 years old and by the looks
(Above) Billy Ritchie after the Rainbow. Click on pic for more insane pics.
Photo by RALPH
Click on the image above.
2009 Day Three. The End Of The RAINBOW SWELL. Friday Morning April 24th,
(Above) All by himself for an hour and a half...and then Skip, Eric and Josh came out and I left. That's right, I took my ball and went home. Click photo for more from this last Day. Photo by Ed O'Connell
Click on the image above.
(Above) Click on this image for VIDEO Clip
shot on April 23rd 2009
2009 Local CR Team Crop & Phil in Fiji
(Above) Dave Cropper in the barrel in
Fiji last week. Click on photo for more beautiful Tavarua
images. Photo by Steve Lee
(Above) Phil Carey in Fiji last
week. Click on photo for more beautiful Tavarua images.
Photo by Steve Lee
2009 PARTING SHOT- Gobblers & Turkeys
cursor over image to see the real Turkey...*Jon check it out!