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Start shooting crackie!!
Ralph's Pic Of The Week

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

February 1st, 2009

Friday morning around 8AM the phone rings. It's my buddy Tony's wife Lynne on the other end. "Good morning Ralph." "Morning Lynne. What's up?" "Let me ask you a question" she asks, "do you shoot Seals?" "You mean as in hunting? Harvesting Seals? Actually, we still club 'em." I shoot back (pun intended). "The reason I ask is, there's a beautiful Hooded Seal on the Beach. I mean he's gorgeous. You should really take a picture of him for your column."

"Yea sure...I'll take a pic of the seal. Where is it."

"He's down off Jeness, nestled in the rocks. My dog found him around 6AM this morning." She replied.

A half hour, later I pull up and slide across the frozen tundra. I walk about 200 yards south to where Lynne said the seal was lying. Sure enough, he's hanging out in the sun and sand, just chilling by himself. There was no one around. I pull out the Canon G5 point and shoot digi and start snapping away.

He got upset almost immediately.

I looked at him and said "You seem naturally agitated. Relax. I'm just gonna take a few photos, and I'll be on my way." He was snarling at me, and making Young Seal aggro sounds. Trying to assert his alpha position on me.

"Look" I said, "You're out of your element". He just snarled at me. "Out there" I motioned with my head to the ocean, "You're in control. You're the alpha dog. But here...well, I have the advantage." I tried to calmly tell him. "But I'm not going to harm you. I'm not going to try push you back into the surf." For the record: If you ever find a seal on the beach, you are supposed to leave it alone. Typically, Seals will rest on the beach for upwards of 2-4 days.

Just leave 'em be.

So I took a few shots, and said good-bye. He was straining trying to check me out, everywhere I stood. He looked uncomfortable. Rolling around, trying to position himself in a defensive posture. I had to admit, he was pretty cool looking. I was glad that Lynne called, and I got a chance to meet this little pup. All 50 lbs of him.

The male Hooded Seals can grow up to 9' long. That's a lot of beef. And they can live up to 35 years. The seal I saw was only a few weeks old.

It got me thinking about all the things we get to see as surfers. I'm sure you've all seen your share of Seals.

I remember this one seal back in the winter of 2000-2001 when I was on my Catch a Wave for Gus Fundraiser. Surfing everyday, for 365 consecutive days, around these parts, you tend to see and notice things, that you would not normally see on an average day at the beach.

I became friends with this one big Seal. He would show up everyday for about a week. Right there at 10th Street. I would talk to him, much like I spoke with the seal pup on Friday. I told him what I was doing, and why I was doing it. He would just look at me. Staring.

Blinking his eyes and staring.

I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie "Cast Away". When Tom was talking to a soccer ball. Except, I was talking to a live seal, and I was also able to drive home everyday. I looked forward to seeing him that week, during that cold winter. He would pop up next to me, look at me and blink his big eyes at me. Then he would dive under, only to pop up on the other side of me.

He was very friendly.

Or at least, he seemed friendly to me. Hell, for all I know, he could of been sizing me up, trying to decide whether or not I was worth biting and eating.

Oh yea. Seals have teeth. Nasty sharp teeth. And some seals can be aggressive. I've been bumped by one before. They can really get up a good head of steam out in the water. I remember sitting on my board about 25 years ago. I was surfing this reef in Massachusetts, when a seal bumped right into me. Dam near knocked me off my board. The Pirate sitting next to me, almost started crying. He was so scared. I just laughed it off.

But I never forgot it.

If you find a seal on the beach and it looks fine but tired, Leave it alone. If he's distressed, or hurt, call the New England Aquarium. Otherwise leave em be. The ocean and the beaches are their home. They are the real locals. Besides, it would be like someone trying to help you get to your feet if they found you lounging on the couch after a hard days work, or some other strenuous ordeal. You wouldn't want to be hassled if you were trying to rest.

Speaking of seeing things as surfers.

I went snowboarding on Thursday with two other local surfers. John and William. It had snowed all night Wednesday, and we knew the conditions would be perfect. Powder and sun. What none of us knew (and didn't want to know), was what the surf was doing. Look, I've said this before, and I will say it again. For me personally...

Snowboarding is an alternative recreation to surfing.

However, and I do mean 'however.' Once I find myself on the mountains, I can't help but marvel at the sheer beauty and wonder of the winter scenes in our New England Mountain Ranges. It truly is breathtaking.

There were a few moments on Thursday morning when it was just William, John and myself in the knee deep powder. Seeing the views from the top of the mountain, and and taking in the pure rush of "surfing" down the trails makes for an amazing day of pure unadulterated stoke. And I can't stress this enough.

We surf down the mountains.

We're surfers who snowboard. There's a big difference in those who surf and snowboard and those who skate and snowboard. Surfers surf down the mountain. Skaters look for things to jump off of and crash into down the mountain.

I'm a surfer who snowboards. I like being connected to the wave and the mountain. Call me old school. Or just call me old. But the fun, and stoke, 'we surfers' get when we surf down the mountains is, 'where it's at' for this traditionalist.

Now as a filmmaker, I see it quite differently. I welcome the radical approach on both ends. Surf and snow. The bigger the airs, the better. Both in the water and on the slopes. In fact, if any of you have some harebrained, whacked out mission that you're planning on doing locally here in New England, please call me. I want to be there to capture it.

Just because I personally can't do it, does not mean I don't want to shoot you doing it. Hell no. Call me. Let us record your feat for all to see and cringe over. I know some of you younger guys are getting ideas. Some deep water shelf/slab that you want to tackle on the next macking swell. I know you're thinking about it.

The Devil's A_ _s is one. That deep water break off of Rte ripe for the picking. Just strap on the Big Brass Gonads and give me a call. You surf it and I'll shoot it.

By the way...there was surf on Thursday. I know this, because Kevin Doherty sent me the photos he shot down in southern New England to prove it. Doh!

Now why ya gotta be so hurtful Kevin?

Speaking of being agitated...and honestly, I have been known to get agitated at times. But I'm trying, lord knows I'm trying. Last week I drove my son's vehicle to get a quick oil change. The month prior to this, his vehicle had been inadvertently beeping it's horn every time he pulled into the driveway. I found this out when I asked him one day "Why the hell do you beep your horn every time you come home? What is this Mr. Roger's neighborhood?"

"No dad, my horn is broken!" he says. "How the hell did that happen?" I asked (slightly agitated.) "I stuck a quarter in the steering wheel and it fell in. But the horn only beeps when I take a sharp turn." He explains. "You stuck a quarter in the steering wheel? What the...????" I answer clearly agitated.

"It only beeps when you turn the wheel at a sharp angle?" I ask agitation growing more intense at every revelation. "Yes dad. It's no big deal" he replies trying to move along to another subject.

So his horn goes off when he turns the steering wheel. That needs to get fixed. I offer to take his vehicle in to get the oil changed, and fix the incessant horn beeping.
All was fine until I backed out of the driveway and proceeded to drive up town. The horn that "Only beeps when I make a sharp turn" is randomly beeping.

I can't stop it. It's like the dam thing is possessed.

It not only beeps when I turn, but when I travel on a straight away. In fact, the horn never stopped beeping. I'm thinking to myself, "how the hell did he drive this thing for a month like this?" And of course, other motorists are giving me the, "What's up?" look. They think I am impatient and want them to move faster, or get out of the way. It's too cold to lower my window and explain to them that I have no control over the horn. So I just shake my head. And I become very, very, very agitated.

In fact, I am beyond agitation.

The only thing that pulled me out of my funk, was my wife who was following me to the service station, she was laughing hysterically at my situation. And it was at that moment, that my agitation became funny. I laughed too.

Then I looked down at the gas gauge, and saw that Max had about a breath of gas, left in the tank. Agitated, I stood there in the bitter cold, and filled the gas tank.

The latest Surfers Journal is out, and there's a great story and photos by New Hampshire's own Brian Nevin's amazing Nicaragua experience. I highly recommend you picking one up and reading it. It covers the whole Nica scene that we've been talking about the last few weeks.

The story and photos are well laid out in the classic Surfers Journal style. Brian's writing is as good as his photos. Good on you Nevins for helping to bring this must needed story to light. The children of the dump are a long way from being OK, but at least now the story has some legs. With the 10,734 plus readers who read this blog every week, and the Surfers Journal subscription list, the Children of the darkness may one day see the light.

Once again, the websites to help the Children:

The websites are
This organization deals directly with the plight of the children of the Dump. There is plenty of info for anyone looking to donate or get involved.

This is the other great organization that helps poor farmers in Central America, including Nicaragua. was founded by NH native and UNH grad, Florence Reed (read about Flo in UNH magazine: SHI provides tools, knowledge, and assistance in implementing sustainable farming methods that dramatically improve people's lives.

And remember, if any of you readers of Ralph's Pic Of The Week would be willing to donate to SHI, an anonymous donor, would match these donations up to a total of $5000.
Readers can go to for more information or to donate. PLEASE put a note in the comments section of their online donation page saying this donation generated from "".

Thank you again for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact SHI by email or 207-669-8254.

Now for some of my weekly observances:

Beatle Governor Rod Blagojevich was Impeached by a unanimous vote of 59-0 and was unceremoniously tossed out of the office of the Governor of Illinois. Word has it that he may now try to start a Beatles Cover Band with a new video of "I'm a Loser." And I for one say good riddance. That guy was getting under my skin.

By the time most of you read this, either The ARIZONA CARDINALS or the PITTSBURGH STEELERS will be Superbowl 43 champions. I want the CARDS to win. But everyone says the STEELERS are going to win.
Just like they all said the PATRIOTS were going to win last year. Remember? Please don't make me go back there Lord.

Help me forget what I've tried to forget all year.

Please God, I don't want to revisit that bad place. When the Patriots were 18-0 and on the verge of becoming the GREATEST Team in the History of the NFL!!!!
.Lord...please don't make me remember that awful day.

I'm ok...I just need a second here...I'll be all right. OK. I'm good. Where was I? Oh yea...the Superbowl.

I'm trying to face this game like a mature adult. And I think I can do this. Except you and I know, that those announcers are going to bring up last year's game. They have to. It's too monumental not to. But my brothers and sisters, you are not alone. We are with you. Tommy boy is coming back next year. We still have Gil Santos and Gino on WBCN doing the games. All is not lost. Keep yer chins up. Be strong. Especially in front of your children and non Patriots fans. Don't let them see you weeping in the corner.

It's time to Man-up and face the truth.
The Giants beat us last year. Time to move on. Amen.
Seriously, good luck to both teams. (Bastards.)

Don't forget "GREETING SEASONS" and "Groovemasters" are in the shops!

There's still time to score one of Brian Nevins's canvas print orders. Brian Nevins 949.295.9390

Kevin Doherty and Chris Shipley both have 2009 Calendars in the Shops Check em out!

QWILL is available on

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week Especially: Ed O'Connell, John Carden, Brian Nevins, Bernie Baker, Jamie Wade, Kevin Doherty, Lenny Nichols, Chris Shipley, The Phantom, Ross Kunkel, Bob Consentino, and Chris Thompson and all the others.

Happy Birthday to my niece Kelly January 28th!
A BIG shout out to my brother MARINES at the Embassy in Dublin! SEMPER FI boys! Thank you for your service. And a special hello to Marine Dan Boyd. Semper Fi.

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




Yesterday- 1976 "Little" Geoffy Haenn (Middle) or Billy Mumy?
(Below) Geoff Haenn is an East Coast Surfer who has traveled up and down this coast of ours, a thousand
times. I don't remember the first time I ever met him, but I do recall that he was turning quite a few heads
with his radical surfing. A Jersey boy who's had a thing for our New England waves all his life. But I must
say, Lil Geoff looks like Billy Mumy from Lost in Space here. And Geoff, what the hell kind of a nickname
is "Little"? Photo courtesy of Geoff Haenn

2009 Today Friday January 30th 2009 New Hampshire

(Above) This is the Hooded Seal Pup I met on the beach Friday morning. He looks like he's related to
Little Geoff Haenn above.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) This Seal was "Naturally Agitated. " Check out his teeth. Friday morning, January 30th, 2009
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Hooded Seal Pup checking the surf Friday morning. *If you find a seal on the beach, leave it alone.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Seal Beach. Friday morning. 01-30-09
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Steve Rafferty and his two pups. Friday morning. 01-30-09
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Thursday morning looked good. Of course I missed this, due to the fact that I was knee deep in
powder with my friends John and William. Mike Bushey with a shoulder to lean on. 1-29-09
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Wait...this is Head High! We thought the storm was moving too fast to produce any surf.
We were wrong. 1-29-09
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Southern New England coming to life for this Goofyfooting longboarder. 1-29-09
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) The winds may have been a bit crossed but this guy had no problem with the spray. SNE 1-29-09
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Dam! This was Thursday? You guys seeing this? SNE 1-29-09
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Thursday, January 29, 2009. William, Ralph and John. What fun we had.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) This photo of William does not show what kind of day we had except that there were no crowds.
Taken late morning. I have no photos of the powder runs. *William was a very stylish "surfer/snowboarder"
Thursday, January 29, 2009.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) We left in the afternoon and it was till empty. January 29, 2009
Photo by John Carden


(Above) I'm surprised to hear how many surfers either used to wrestle, or still do. MVF (right) today 1-31-09.
Before the take down and pin. *Lil Geoff Haenn was a wrestler in High School.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

2009 Today This week January 2009

(Above) Homage to the Rock. January 2009
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Homage to the Sun. January 2009
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Hampton surfer Trevor Leahy has turned the hockey world upside down this week with the article in
the Boston globe about his invention "goalieflage"! He's been all over the radio and TV. Including Keith Olbermann calling him the "third best person" in the world.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe

(See Below) When our friend Jimmy Dunn is not telling jokes, he likes to restore
old pinball machines. He's got this one close to finished and is
looking to sell it for $750 if anyone is interested.


*To order by check go to
*To order by credit card go to

Movie to see Trailer. Poster Design By ADLANTIC

*To order by check go to

*To order by credit card go to

Movie to see Trailer. Poster Design By ADLANTIC

2008 Last Summer The Brickhouse Gang on the boards of length

(Above) Mark or Jamie from Brickhouse riding the nose last summer.
Photo courtesy of BRICKHOUSE

(Above) Trippy underwater blur of either Mark or Jamie from Brickhouse.
Photo courtesy of BRICKHOUSE

(Above) Five over for Mark or Jamie from Brickhouse.
Photo courtesy of BRICKHOUSE

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) CLICK ON Video (photo) Frame Grab of Frankie Walsh from Greeting Seasons for a clip from the
NEW SFOD Movie. Video Frame grab by R. Fatello SFOD

2009 Beyond New England by New Englanders this week January 2009

(Above) Somewhere in Iceland.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Iceland Niceland.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) Jon Gozzo is in Costa Rica while we're sitting in the coldest place on earth.
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above) Gozzo in Costa Rica setting up for some fun shaped barrels. I hate you Gozzo!
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above) How much fun does this look right now? Gozzo taking it all in and then some.
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above) Within the fold. Jon Gozzo in Costa Rica.
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above) How low can you go? Jon Gozzo in Costa Rica.
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above)What you got to turn too? Jon Gozzo in Costa Rica.
Photo courtesy of Jon Gozzo

(Above) Ex-New Englander James Reidy, now living in Ireland taking the plunge in South Africa.
Photo courtesy of James Reidy

(Above) James Reidy shot number two. No turning back now James. South Africa.
Photo courtesy of James Reidy

(Above) James Reidy shot number three. You couldn't pay me enough to do this. Wait, I'd do this for
a $10,00. Easy Ten grand I'm jumping. Can't afford it? How about $5 grand? A thousand? Ok a 100 bucks.
Photo courtesy of James Reidy

(Above) James Reidy shot number four. On second thought...I don't think so. My question is...How the hell do
you get back up or out of that thing?
Photo courtesy of James Reidy

(Above) Phil Beauchesne loves to call me and tell me about his fun little sessions at his new break.
Here he is riding the New/Old Mini Sims fish.
Photo by Marie Beauchesne

(Above) Phil Beauchesne Mini Sims fish this last week in Southern Cal.
Photo by Marie Beauchesne

(Above) Phil's favorite new board the Mini Sims fish works in all sizes. Southern Cal.
Photo by Marie Beauchesne

(Above) Phil lives 5 minutes from this famous break.
Photo by Marie Beauchesne

2009 The Westies and The Phantom

(Above) The Gigmeister getting a good one at Old Creek.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Dave Giggy about to get Jiggy with it.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Pat was down from up North and left with a smile on his face. Why was he smiling? Look below.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) The Expressway. Blue green, clean and mean.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Somewhat crowded, but worth it, if you can nab one of these babies.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) The Californian wave.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) It's not always about the boat trips with the Phantom. It's about the treasure.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Look at this glassy set.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Pat, a long way from home but loving every minute of it.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) The Little Boat that could.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) This mug's for you.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom

(Above) Woodies in California.
Photo courtesy of the Woodie Net

(Above) Hard to find a vehicle that's better associated with Surfing than the Woody.
Photo courtesy of the Woodie Net

(Above) Classic California Woody.
Photo courtesy of the Woodie Net

(Above) Except maybe the Hot Rod. California.
Photo courtesy of the Woodie Net

Today 2009 PARTING SHOT- ..."Here Tommy Try This Fudge"

Above) Please in the name of Steve Grogan, Drew Bledsoe and Babe Parelli! What the hell is Tom Brady
doing? Dude you cannot be caught being spoonfed by your girlfriend. Come on Tom! Matt Cassel you seeing
this? Get ready Matt, we may need you again next year. Tommy's gone soft on us.
Photo courtesy of the Internet.












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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