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February 20th, 2011-The RUN has ended... Now we wait for the next swell that is Waist high or better. And start over.
"Have you ever surfed Big Waves?" The man asked me on Friday morning as I addressed a large group in Portsmouth. It's a question that we have all been asked. As surfers, it comes with the territory. Surfing and Big Waves. But for the last 10 years or so, I have a ready made answer. And quite frankly, I am not ashamed to admit it.
"Yes I have surfed Big Waves. But I am NOT a Big Wave Surfer."
To quote an old friend of mine, Sam George, I have been out in some big surf but I am not a big wave surfer. And really that just about sums it all up for me. I have paddled out into some big surf, but I hardly think of myself as a big wave surfer. I have been surfing for a longtime, and this year alone marks my 210th consecutive day. So all those big winter days this year, well I've been out there. I caught waves. I just don't consider myself a big wave surfer.
Certainly not in the way that the "Real" big wave surfers are. Strapped or un strapped.
I will never experience that in my life. And I'm cool with that. I will never surf some slab a million miles out to sea with giant sea serpents underneath my board ready to snatch me when I mess up. I will never sit in the pack at Mavericks and wait for a set wave. Same with Todos and Waimea. Not gonna happen with me. Not now anyway.
So how did my lack of desire to surf big waves happen?
Well, there was that one big day on the North Shore of Oahu that comes to mind. A day when the locals were calling it 8 to 12 foot Hawaiian. Now for all intents and purposes, I'm assuming that most of you who read this column know that the Hawaiians, and other macho chest thumping surfers, have a different measuring system than the rest of the world. I remember my first trip to the Islands in 1979. Whenever they were calling what was CLEARLY a 6' plus day- three feet! I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
"You got to be shitting me?" I said to my friends.
"Those waves were way over head. How could anyone call this 3 feet?"
I was exasperated. But alas my friends, that was the my introduction to the Hawaiian scale of measuring waves. So if we fast forward to the mid 80's and the the locals were calling the surf 8 to 12' Hawaiian. Well you do the math. But I have no problem and will stand my ground and say that some of those wave faces were easily 25 feet. I know this because I was out in that surf. That HUGE scary surf.
So was Kevin Grondin, Lenny Nichols, Mike "Zappy" Paugh, Harry Manzi, Mike "Iron Balls" Baytoff, and a few other local New England boys. Ask them. They will tell you. They may throw the 8-12 Hawaiian scale at you. But you guys are all smart enough to now know what that scale means. Suffice it to say, that I was not comfortable. In fact, I was anything but. Throw in the overcast skies, and a slight chill in the air, and well, you're getting the picture. It was a knot in your stomach, sphincter tightening kind of a day. The kind of day, where I should of been on the beach with my camera.
The details of that session are not necessary. I obviously lived to talk about it.
What is important is, that on that day, I made a secret pact with God. And I've been true to that pact on my end. That I would never knowingly paddle out into surf that was 15 to 25 feet again.
My comfort range in big surf is 8 to 10 feet. That's as big as I want to go. Now, I mean. Where I'm at in my life today. Back when I was younger I would be tempted to see how big, and how scary I would paddle out in. Those days are behind me. Way behind me. Thank God.
And speaking of never experiencing certain surf related endeavors. There's a clip I posted on the column this week. It's a short clip of Julian Wilson. I suggest that you all watch it. It is without question some of the most mind boggling antics I've seen on a surfboard. Look, I am old enough to have seen a lot of new trends come and go in our beloved lifestyle. And I can recall cursing and snickering at the first early attempts at the "Airborne Assaults" of the kids boosting and punting airs.
But to be fair to myself and my other like minded friends. We only saw wasted waves.
Because in those days , 99% of the attempts to boost airs, ended in some flailing disaster. In fact, that percentage has only come down to about 75%. But I have to admit, I am truly impressed with what some of these kids can do. Julian Wilson is one of them. Surfing is all about that sensation we get when riding a wave. Can you imagine (because most of us can only imagine) what it must be like to launch yourself 6 to 10 feet up and out of a wave, spin completely around and then land back in the face of the wave without skipping a beat? That has got to be one of the GREATEST Surfing sensations on the planet. It has to be.
I can only imagine what that feels like.
I will NEVER be able to experience that. Just as the Surfing 60 foot giant slabs. I won't be included in that unique group. But I can certainly appreciate watching it. I guess watching surfers like Julian launching themselves into the great beyond is a sensation within itself. Same with watching the new crop of BIG wave surfers like Greg Long. I will always enjoy watching these innovative young athletes doing remarkable things on a surfboard. Whether it's on "YouTube" or "Vimeo," or in person. I'll never be too old to appreciate what these kids can do.
Now I can't really say the same about SUPS. Don't get me wrong, I can tolerate them.
But I just can't see the visual attraction with them. I guess I felt the same way about WindSurfers when they first came out. I remember thinking back then. OK they go fast, but they can't fit those damn things in the barrel. I guess to a certain extent, that's what's troubling me about the SUP. You really can't get barreled on them. Now I know some of you SUP guys are steaming right now, so just calm down. I said I can tolerate them. I just don't see the attraction in real surf. And by real surf, I'm talking around here. Not in Hawaii. Or some other tropical locale. I'm talking here in our neck of the woods.
I can see SUPPING on a hot lazy summer day along the coast. But when the surf gets big and there's already a crowd. The SUP brings a whole new wrinkle into that crowd situation. Maybe it's because I am an old school purist. I love watching longboarding and I love watching shortboarders.
Gee I'm beginning to sound like one of those old crabby skiers back in the day when we first hit the slopes on our Snowboards. The skiers hated us. And some of the older skiers still do. But there's no denying what snowboarding has become. Especially for us surfers.
It's just that SUPS seem to be going backwards in the evolution of surfing's progression.
Uh oh, did I just write that?
I know my SUP buddies are sharpening their paddles into spears and ready to stab me when I paddle by. But pay attention here kids. I don't mind the SUP. I have SUPPER friends. We kid each other all the time. I do NOT mind the SUP.
I just don't see the visual excitement and pleasure of watching them. I know there are some who can ride them. Hell, I ran a whole Bernie Baker photo gallery of Kai Lenny last week. And that kid was ripping. I also have a SUP section in my new movie. I don't mind the SUP. It just for me personally, I think it looks weird with that damn paddle in your hand. And that goofy buddha stance? Come on people.
Though, I wouldn't mind it if the SUP would secretly let me know when a set was coming. After all, they can see them way before we can.
for some of my Weekly Global Observances:
OK, so the protests in EGYPT sparked a series of similar protests in the Middle East that has many concerned worldwide. None more so than Israel and the United States. In fact, I think the protests in Egypt also sparked the protest in Wisconsin. The whole world is protesting. It's like we're living back in the late sixties and early 70's. Seriously this is serious stuff. People are dying voicing their opinions. The patience is wearing thin on some of the powers that be. Because until recently, they never had to deal with such uprisings. They are now and something's gonna give. Keep your fingers crossed.
66 years ago yesterday February 19th 1945, the US Marines hit the beach at IWO JIMA.
On February 23rd they 5 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman raised the flag on top of Surabachi.
The battle lasted more than a month later, and we had over 6,000 Marines killed trying to take that Island. Remember those who fought and died there.
The World War II Vets are not long for this world. If you have one in your life thank them.
Now for more important news. The Justin Bieber fans are in an uproar over their teen idol not getting any awards in the 2011 Grammy Awards. Is there NO justice in this world? How can the GRAMMY Big Wigs be so blind to this great talent? The Baby baby baby baby fans are so distraught. The twitter lines are all lit up.
Hey pop fans not to worry, the NEW Brittany Spears video and record is coming out!
ANNOUNCEMENTS: THE RUN REDUX IS OUT! Pick one up in the shops or email me and order one directly or go to www.surffreeordie.com
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike O'Neill February 23, 2011!
Congrats to Mr and Mrs Wes Osswald on the birth of their Baby boy FINN.
Born on Wednesday February 16th, 2011. What a cool name huh. Finn.
Don't forget to Check the DAILY BLOG on My CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY. (Click
On the Banner on this page.) Started on July 26, 2010 ENDS July 26, 2011. A Wave
a day for 365 consecutive days. Just click on the banner ads on this page.
OUT THE NEW/Old YESTERDAY PAGE! ALL OLD New England and
beyond Surf Pics! *NEW PICS added each week!
*Check out the NEW updated DROPPING
IN ON RALPH blog Section. ALL of December and January will be up before the end of this month . The DROPPING IN ON RALPH section will be up to DATE as soon as I can find the time to do it. There's just so much a man can do in a single day. But I do want to update that as it is entertaining to say the least. Because there's some great letters from you guys from all over the world. (And a few hurtful ones too). But check it out.
*This is the blog section of this website
where you can write in and comment. The only downside of this
blog is, you actually have to use your REAL Name. No hiding behind
some fake handle and name. If you want to comment, you have to
man up, and be yourself. I will post all comments, both good and
bad. You just have to be yourself.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic
Of The Week
everyweek for the last 7 years. **Think about BUYING a Photo
from any of the weeks
on RPOTW as a GREAT Gift Idea. A nice framed photo of your favorite
my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.
CLICK ABOVE for DAILY "Catch A Wave For Molly" BLOG
Click YESTERDAY Banner Below to see new Old Surf Pic Page
Yesterday 1983 Jesse QWILL's first time on a Surfboard.
(Below) The year was 1983. Or rather the summer of 1983. And old Uncle Ralph thought he'd introduce his nephew Jesse to surfing (and music). Well he took to both like a duck on the water. The rest they say... is history. Photo by RALPH
Click on the photo above to see the larger version.
Today-An Ode To The Empty Waves from this past year... Why Empty Waves? Because Empty Waves are timeless moments
in our wonderful world of surfing. Use your imagination. Where would you be on these waves?
by Ralph, Ed O'Connell, Brian Nevins, John Carden, Ben Ginsberg, Stan Chew,
and Bernie Baker
(Above) From the BIG December 14th, 2010 swell. Photo ByRALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole RALPH Empty Wave Gallery.
(Above) From another December 2010 swell. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole RALPH Empty Wave Gallery.
(Above) From March- 2010 swell. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole RALPH Empty Wave Gallery.
Ed's Empty Waves
(Above) From the December 14th, 2010 swell. *You can see this in POSTER size at Cinnamon Rainbows. Photo By Ed O'Connell * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Ed O'Connell Empty Wave Gallery.
(Above) A nice shot of Lumpy's. December 14th, 2010 swell. Photo By Ed O'Connell * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Ed O'Connell Empty Wave Gallery.
Brian's Empty Waves
(Above) Bronze and gold medal waves. Beyond beautiful.2010.Photo By Brian Nevins * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Brian Nevin's Gallery.
(Above) Nevins is the master of the Ice Wave. Shot last month2011. Photo By Brian Nevins* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Brian Nevin's Gallery.
John's Empty Waves
(Above) The Rainbow wave.2010.Photo By John Carden * Click on the photo above to see the Whole John Carden's Gallery.
(Above) The Main Beach wave2010.Photo By John Carden * Click on the photo above to see the Whole John Carden's Gallery.
Ben's Empty Waves (Above) The Californian empty wave.Photo ByBen Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Ben Ginsberg's Gallery.
(Above) The big Californian empty wave.Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Ben Ginsberg's Gallery.
Stan's Empty Waves
(Above) There's empty waves in Panama SHOT THIS WEEK.Photo By Stan Chew * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Stan Chew's Gallery.
(Above) There's PERFECT empty waves in Panama taken this week.Photo By Stan Chew * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Stan Chew's Gallery.
Bernie's Empty Waves
(Above) There's an occasional empty wave in Hawaii.Photo By Bernie Baker. * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Bernie Baker's Gallery.
Today-The Molly Week Saturday February 19th, 2011
"NUKES" By Gabby
(Above) Take a close look, I am standing in front of the Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook. I had to surf here because of the wind and NO WAVES. Check it out.
February 19th, 2011. Photo By GABBY
* Click on the photo gallery of the craziest day so far for me.
Today-The Molly Week Saturday February 17th, 2011 By Ralph (Above) The small glassy warm day that fooled us all. February 17th, 2011. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see this week's Molly Wave Gallery.
Today-More From The Phantom's Wave Hunting Journal February 2011 Photos by The Phantom
(Above) This small glassy peak was minding it's own business when the Phantom and
his crack crew snuck up on it. February - 2011. Photo By The Phantom
* Click on the photo above to see the Phantom Gallery.
(Above) The Phantom uses stealth tactics as to scare away the lonely peak.
February - 2011. Photo By The Phantom
* Click on the photo above to see the Phantom Gallery.
Click above graphic for Daily BLOG or to DONATE to the Fundraiser.
CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON BELOW
Scratching The Surface - Julian Wilson - Indonesia
Witness moves that most of us will NEVER be able to do.
Tubular swells of Gamede SA. If you like super hollow waves...
check this out. It's short only about 2 minutes. I'd love to surf
this spot one day in my life.
THE "CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY" video
by Joe Carter and GITV (Get In The Van)
This video clip was done by my friend Joe Carter and my friends at GET IN THE VAN
It is a short video clip that was shot on DAY 172 of my daily undertaking. Joe did an amazing job on this piece, and it has already been seen by many on the internet. From the Facebook crew to GITV site and beyond. I could go on and on about Joe and the GITV trio of Joe Carter, Brian Nevins, and Nick LaVecchia. I love those guys.
They are part of this surf community and have a tremendous amount of talent and heart and soul as any group of individuals I have ever worked with. I am both proud and humbled by their creation. My daughter Gabby also contributed to this piece by shooting the day before.
But what Joe did with this video clip was in short; Help put surfing up onto another level. By making surfing bigger than how it is portrayed within the industry, and outside of our surf world. Dealing with cancer, and the lives of the children and families suffering through it, and using surfing as a vehicle to create awareness was no easy task.
But I think that after watching this video, you will have a different outlook on both cancer, and of surfing. That was our goal. And I think we did that.
Thank you Joe. Thank you GITV. And Thank you Buck, Meg, and Kieran. And to you Molly, who I know is watching me every day I'm out there.
Surfing Heals All Wounds...
THE RUN REDUX RALPH INTRO Trailer JUST RELEASED!
For those of you who have seen my movies before, you know, that I am notorious
for these quirky Intros...well, the RUN Redux is no different.
Though this is a first. Using my young GSP pup Cpl. Patch and my guitar. Oh yea this intro is unique to say the least. It's also serious in tone. I bring up the "Catch A Wave For Molly" fundraiser I'm doing. And that my friends is serious business.
The movie itself is chock full of surf action by local surfers, and local photographers, as well as local musicians. It's along the lines as the original RUN that came out last year by keeping it local.
The RUN Redux is available at your local Surf Shop or by emailing me at: email@example.com.
Hope you all dig the flick. And May The Run Be With You.
THE NEW RUN REDUX Trailer . JUST RELEASED!
December 2009 to December 2010
OK it took me five attempts of rendering this puppy but I finally got it.
I have footage from the GREAT DECEMBER TO REMEMBER Swell.
Dec.-14 & 15th 2010 as well as all the other big swells of 2010 and let me tell you, there were a bunch.
Great local music. Great local photographers. And Great Local Surfers...I apologize for the delay...but it's here. And I did finish it before Christmas albeit the day before.
Better late than never, besides you guys that are buying this thing are surfers. Surely you can all understand the reason why I had to have that last swell in this movie.
Happy Holidays Kids! I hope you like it.
Street District Court of Surf Justice
is now in session, the
Ralph G. Fatello presiding. CASE
#97 BLATANT DROP IN OF
THE WEEK-The PRE BDI case. CLICK and SEE the verdict.
Photo by RALPH
(Above) While we were freezing back home, Tom Shapiro was bouncing from
California to Hawaii and scoring some great surf. Winter NH 2011. Photo By Tom Shapiro *Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery
(Above)Tom Shapiro shot this in Hawaii. Winter NH 2011. Photo By Tom Shapiro *Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery
(Above) Meanwhile down south in Panama, Stan Chew is scoring every single day.
Winter NH 2011. Photo By Kurley Chew
*Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery
(Above) Emlyn's Stokes Big Wave Gun.Sent in from proud papa Peter Stokes. Photo courtesy of Peter Stokes.
(Above) With the NEW flat spell we are forced to dig into the archives and pull out some images that have not yet been seen from this past year. Look for a batch of shots from the main shooters. COMING NEXT WEEK! Photo by RALPH
(Above) Stevie O'Hara about to take the drop. COMING NEXT WEEK!
Photo by RALPH
(Above) Kyle Linseman from last December. Look for a batch of NEVER before seen shots from the main shooters. COMING NEXT WEEK! Photo by RALPH
*Click masthead above to read the original
(Above) Put the cursor over the images above to
see happens when you DROP in on someone. You
become Invisible. Simply put the mouse over the photo to see the
original photo and then marvel at
the results of what happens when the criminal
becomes invisible.*Put the cursor over the photo to see the Real
image. Photos by RALPH
Today 2011 "The PERFECT Day."
(Above) Conversation between these two surfers...
SURFER 1: "You know what I miss?"
SURFER 2: "What?"
SURFER 1: "Close outs."
SURFER 2: "Really?" SURFER 1: "No not really."
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