For those of you who have been paying attention since grade school, 52 weeks is one year. We have now surpassed ONE YEAR. Now if you want to call me on this, might I suggest that you go through the last 53 weeks here in the archives section, and see for yourselves. You will clearly see that there was in fact, at least one day out of the week for the last 53 weeks, where there were waist high waves.
WAIST HIGH OR WASTE HIGH?
My criteria of waist high or better at least once a week, starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday, has from time to time, garnered some negative feedback. And it really stems from the age old dilemma of, calling out the actual size of the surf. Since the very beginning of surfing, man has argued with his fellow man about wave size. It’s been hashed and rehashed Ad nauseam. Lord knows that subject has been beaten like a rented mule around these parts. All you surfers know what I’m talking about.
The photo above and below is of Jack Madden taken on 8-3-2021.
Clearly you can see that these two waves are, at the very least, waist high.
There are different scales that surfers use to describe wave heights. From the simple metric system of 1-3’ to 3-4’ from 5-6’ 8-10’ and 15’ plus to the ridiculous Hawaiian scale. Three feet in the rest of the world, is only one foot in Hawaii. For instance, I once surfed in 8-12’ Hawaiian which was really 20’ to 25’. Go figure. It’s a total mystery how that all works. But like most surfers, I’ve stopped debating this subject and just use the tried and proven way of measuring waves.
Waist high-chest high-shoulder high-head high-overhead-double overhead-triple overhead. Then the absurd HUMONGOUS. Re JAWS, CHOPES etc.
This simple measuring system works best all over the planet. And if we were all to agree and assume, that the average surfer is between 5’ 5” to 6’ then this system works best. Is it 100% accurate? Hell no. But it’s a system that works for most of us. Everywhere but Hawaii that is. Let the Hawaiian’s have their own scale. The rest of the world can deal in reality.
And speaking of reality. This week marks the 53rd week of waist high or better at least once a week.
Based on the measuring system that I just described for you all.
It’s all there in living color. This is encouraging news. It’s never happened before. I know there will be those who sneer at this report, and deny it happened. There are those who will disagree with my measuring of waist high. I can’t help those people. I set the criteria years ago, and I follow it every single week.
But for those of you who adhere to my criteria, rejoice my brothers and sisters. Rejoice! 53 weeks!
Late yesterday afternoon (August 1st, 2021), I received a phone call from my then Assistant Drill Instructor, SGT DC Berryhill. 52 years have passed since I heard his voice. As you can imagine, there was a wide range of emotions. Every single living Marine remembers their Drill Instructors. We all remember. The Marine Corps DI’s were the toughest in the business. If any of you saw the movie FULL METAL JACKET you will remember the first half of that movie was all about Parris Island and Marine boot camp.
The Marine Drill Instructor was played by R.Lee Emery. Turns out he was a REAL Drill Instructor and a REAL Vietnam Vet. He was NOT acting. He was being a Drill Instructor. The 2nd half of the movie was about Vietnam. And in my honest opinion, it was inaccurate, and really disappointing. But those boot camp scenes were straight out of the book of what Parris Island was really like during the war in Vietnam.
(Below) I belong to this Facebook page and posted this. As of today I have over 700 likes and hundreds of comments.
Turns out Sgt Berryhill had read some of the excerpts from the book I am writing, and was very complimentary on the Parris Island memoirs *I had been sending excerpts to a fellow Marine who was in my platoon in boot camp for accuracy. David Miller was in my platoon in 1969. We all went to Vietnam, and David had stayed in after Nam and went on to become a Major. He also had crossed paths with Berryhill who also stayed in the Corps. And unbeknown to me, Miller had been sending those same excerpts to Sgt. Berryhill. I had a hard time not saying "SIR" to him.
In fact, when he called and said “Is this Ralph Fatello?” I answered “Who’s calling?” And he replied “This is Sgt Berryhill.” I was stunned.
Then I asked him if I should be standing at attention? He laughed.
There were so many things I wanted to run by him. One of them I needed to get off my chest. I reminded him how he collected on an IOU, of 3,000 "Side-Straddle-Hops" (those are Marine Corps Jumping Jacks. Where we did four of them and counted them as one. “One two three one-one two three two etc) the day before graduation. He walked into the squad bay (inside the barracks) the night before we graduated. “ATTENTION ON DECK!” we yelled when he stepped out and stood in front of us all.
“DO YOU LADIES THINK I FORGOT WHAT YOU OWE ME?”
We were out on the Rifle Range three weeks prior and we had owed him 3,000 side straddle hops. We couldn’t complete them at the time, because we were too busy qualifying with our M-14’s. So he made us do them that night. The problem is, when he picks one of the recruits to count out loud and they mess up the count? He makes us start over. We ended up doing over 5,000 of them. The night before we graduated. Ugh.
He laughed and said they were "training us for war," and war was no joke.
He was one of the toughest Drill Instructors on the Island. Hands down one of the toughest. All three of our drill instructors were combat vets. They had all served in Vietnam the year or two before we went there. Hearing his voice after 52 years, it felt like it was yesterday.
I told him that he made a difference in my life. Then I thanked him for helping me become the man I am today. And that I still use those same Marine Corps standards, and values that they taught us in 1969. “Everything I ever did in my life was based on what you all taught us. I can’t thank you enough. I became a businessman, a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and more importantly, a faithful husband and father, and now grandfather. All because of what you instilled in me.”
Then I said "God Bless You Sgt. Berryhill and Semper Fi."
And he said the same back to me.
"God Bless You Ralph, and Semper Fi Marine"
I hung up the phone with tears in my eyes.
SURFING WITH SMILES
It’s been a long year. The pandemic had taken it’s toll on all of us, but some of the events that we all look forward to really hurt. The annual SURFING WITH SMILES is one of them. Same with, HIT THE BEACH. But the good news is both are back this year. And although the SWS is typically run three times a summer, due to Covid restrictions, we were only able to run one. And that “one” was this past Thursday August 5th, 2021 at 12th Street.
And Good Lord what an amazing turnout we had. From the hundreds of volunteers to the participants themselves. We had a record breaking crowd. Big thanks once again must go out to CINNAMON RAINBOWS for sponsoring the whole event by providing surfboards and wetsuits.
And Mother Nature provided them with waves. Waist high plus waves!
And of course the two angels who started this wonderful event 12 years ago, Lindsey and Taylor. It is one of the best nights of the summer. This seacoast community is the BEST place on the entire planet when it comes to events like SURFING WITH SMILES and the Wounded Warriors HIT THE BEACH!
"SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
This week's Ed's corner is from the summer of 2009. This is
Mike Rosa and I'm guessing the water was cold because Mike
is wearing booties.
Which is not surprising knowing our unpredictable weather patterns. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local and National News
STAN CHEW’S SURF ART EXHIBIT
I’ve known Stan for a very long time and have been a friend/fan of his work since day one. We are truly kindred spirits, who share the same love of music, art, and surfing. And I was genuinely looking forward to seeing his art up close and in person, since he first sent me his poster promoting the show.
Seeing Stan’s work ,outside of the digital world that we all live in, is such a treat. His use of color and light and his unique style of blending varnish into his paintings, give his work a fresh new glean, that literally shines when you are standing in front of them. And to listen to him explain his talented technique in person, was such an eye opening education for me personally.
As most of you know, I run an annual Surf Art Blog and Stan has been submitting his work from the beginning. Last night I got to speak one on one with him, and delve deeper into his mindset and approach to his work. It was fascinating. I would still be there talking with him if I had my way, but I realized that there were others who wanted to chat with him.
I can’t say enough good things about his beautiful exhibit of 10 original paintings at the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery on 136 State Street in Portsmouth, NH. The show runs from August 4th-29th, 2021. If you like/love Surf Art this is a MUST SEE Show.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
Click on the photo above to see the gallery from the
Reception on Friday August 6th, 2021.
For those who knew and loved Walter Helfer, we are having a SURFER'S PADDLE for Walt on 8-12-21 at 6:30 PM at
18th Street on North Beach, Hampton, NH.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
Well, with all the hoopla about Andrew Cuomo, our boy KSM didn't know what the big deal is. Sexual abuse towards women? In the world of Al Qeada and the Taliban? Please. In his world, Respect and honor starts with Man, followed by a horse, followed by a stray dog, and then finally women. But make no mistake about it, "all the politicians" who have been accused of sexual harassment are more than likely GUILTY of Something. Every last one of them.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of BEDSIDE MANNERS Books at
Home Depot this week.
Our annual HIT THE BEACH IS BACK! August 27th, 2021!
Just when you thought Hollywood
was done with Surfing...
Oh brother...here we go again. August 23rd, 2021 on ABC
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Johnny "SAV" Savastano August 1st, 2021!
HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY Sid "The Package" Abruzzi The TRUE Water Brother. August 12th, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Julia Nichols August 19th, 2021!
HAPPY 16th BIRTHDAY Veda Cropper August 23rd, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hannah Vokey August 24th, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kainalu Nichols August 24th, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Duke Kahanamoku August 24th, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Johnny Fatello August 25th, 2021!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hokulani Nichols September 7th, 2021!
REST IN PEACE Mike "Jersey" Morreale July 23rd, 2021.
REST IN PEACE JoEllen Bunton 72, July 6th, 2021
REST IN PEACE Nash Rogers 8yrs old, July 6th, 2021.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE DIPG AWARNESS TEAM!
PLEASE Keep 90 yr old Chuck Dreyer (Kim Grondin's dad)
in your thoughts and prayers.
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Thoughts and Prayers.
PLEASE Keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 16 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.
Yesterday- CROP, WALT, and LORRAINE Summer 2008.
(Below) This is a photo of Dave Cropper, Walter Helfer, and Lorraine Helfer. I took this during the annual PAPA OOM MOW MO at Rick Savastano's house. Those were always great times. The whole Surf Community would show up. I even played at a bunch of them. Rick has been gone since 2014. And now Walt is gone. We're having a Memorial Paddle for Walt on Thursday August 12th, 2021 at 6:30 PM at 18th Street on North Beach in Hampton, NH. If you're around and knew Walt, please join us. Photo by RALPH
*Click on the pic to see a larger version.
I kept a daily Blog on my CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY surf campaign, when I surfed every single day for 365 consecutive days. Click on the Banner above to read entries of my daily journey. There's some really interesting and true experiences
that happened during that year. Some of which are to this day, unexplainable. Some are just mind blowing. But all true.
I started on July 26th, 2010 and ended on July 26th, 2011.
Some rainy Sunday, pour yourself a cup and go through the journal.
Pay close attention to the month of May in 2011. Read that month and let me know what you think of that. Be forewarned it will change you forever.