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January 17, 2010 46 out of 48 weeks of surfable waves.

The other day, Julia Nichols sat in my studio with her sister Nohea and asked me "When was
the last time you were in Hawaii Ralph?"
I was working with Julia trying to extract some amazing photos she had recently taken on the North Shore of Oahu out of her stubborn laptop. But the question hit me hard. I knew it had been some time. But I was not sure just how long...then it hit me. 1989. 20 years ago. Wow. Twenty years ago. This, from someone who used to go to the North
every winter for years. My first trip was in January - 1971. And my last trip was January 1989.

But 20 years? Is it possible? Yes, it's possible.

There were changes happening in my life twenty years ago. Cory and I were expecting our first child, and we were trying to buy a home. That required making a few sacrifices. One of those sacrifices was my annual Hawaiian Surf Trip. Granted, I had stayed with both Kevin and Lenny every time I went, but the cost of the plane ticket, and other stuff that always comes up, would have to take a back seat to other more important things in my life.

Like, buying a home and raising a family. My annual Tropical Surf Trip would have to be put on hold.

*Actually that's not entirely true. When Cory and Kim were pregnant with Gabby and Leah in the winter of 1990, Kevin somehow managed to to convince me (and our wives), that a Trip to Puerto
would be just what we all needed to re-charge our batteries, and begin our new lives with our pending new families. Hey that sounded good to me, and apparently our wives. Because we went.
And don't get me wrong, we have traveled to the tropics many times over the last 20 years, but it's been on this side of the planet. Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and other spots.

But getting back to Hawaii. I remembered that I had a photo, of the last wave I ever caught on the North Shore. It was at Rocky Point. It was taken by Kevin Grondin. We used to carry cheap water cameras out in the water with us and take turns snapping pics of each other. Long story short. I found that dusty pic. It was taped to a lamp on my old drawing board. That's how long ago we're talking. Drawing board? I have not used a Drawing board in so long. So I ripped it off and scanned the photo.
It's the YESTERDAY photo this week. My last ride in Hawaii. Rocky Point. I remember the session.
It was overcast and the surf was head high. Me, Baytoff, Lenny, Kevin and Zappy. We were having
a blast. And I secretly knew, that this trip would be one of my last trips here. It was one of those bittersweet surf trips.

There is something about Hawaii that stays with you.

Less than a week later, Julia's dad Lenny was sitting in the same chair that Julia sat in, and the subject of Hawaii came up. I asked Lenny the same question. He said he had not been back since he moved here. And then he said this..."If I go back, I won't leave." I knew what he meant. I also knew how much the Islands had a hold on him. He and Arlene lived in the Islands for many years. Kaneohe was their home. They surfed, fished and raised their family there. Then Hawaii's economy got tough and they moved here, to the frozen Northern New England and settled in for the long haul. But Hawaii is never far from their dreams.

And I know what he means.

Whenever I see a photo, or hear a story, I think about that magical stretch of sand and surf on the North Shore, and I find myself dreaming about going back there. Someday I'll go back with my family, and show them the spots we all surfed as young Surfers. Only this time, I'll be shooting the action more than I'll be surfing. But I'm cool with that. In fact, I'd love to see how Mackey V would do at some of those infamous lefthand breaks. And there's a bunch to choose from. But unlike Lenny, I will come back here. Hawaii is not my home. New England is. I love it here. But when the temps drop to 20 below zero, and it's nothing but ice and snow...well my mind wanders to the tropics.

Hawaii I will see you again...someday.

I made a decision this week to continue to count the RUN of surf we've been having and it was based on several factors. First I want to go the full year, seeing how we are so close. The RUN had started on February 18, 2009. So on February 20, 2010 we will add it all up. Right now it's 46 out of 48 weeks. And you all know, we're gonna have surf later today and into tomorrow. So by next week, it will be 47 out of 49. We are 3 weeks away from the final year end tally.

It's kind of exciting to think that we are in the 90% mark of consistent waist high or better surf for a year! Well, it is to me. I know there are some who don't buy into this waist high rap. That's cool. It's kind of like what that old negative cynical CRACKIE thinks. By the way, I could not help it. I posted
the ASK CRACKIE section of the movie here this week. You might want to get the small children out
of the room before you watch that.

Remember when in doubt, just Ask Crackie.

Now for some of my weekly Global observances:

The tragedy in Haiti is beyond sad. It is hard to watch. But on the other hand, it is equally as encouraging and heartwarming to witness the outpouring of help and support, that most human beings are capable of doing, when something of this magnitude strikes. The people of Haiti need our help. And President Obama and the last two Presidents Bush and Clinton have stepped up to the plate and are making a difference. The whole world knows of our compassion.

The whole world knows of our Military Might and now they all know, that the same Military, can also come to the aid of stricken nations, and provide humanitarian needs just as well. It is amazing what some people have done already. I have always been proud to be an American. I am just as proud today, seeing the good that we all are, underneath the political clothes that we wear. There are bigger and more important things in our world than politics and the BS that goes with it. Thank God for that.

But please lend a hand. Give to the RED CROSS or some other trusted organization to help those people. I gave to the Red Cross yesterday. Don't get fooled into the scams that are out there. If you want to help, give to the legitimate organizations such as the RED CROSS. And please, let's all say
a prayer for those who have suffered and for those who lost loved ones.

OK did I miss something or has the world gone Vampire crazy? What the hell is up with that? I mean really. From the ridiculously popular teen flicks to the HBO series TRUE BLOOD, it seems we're all about Vampires. I don't get it. Although, I'm surprised that there's not a new SURF FLICK about Vampire surfers. SURF SUCK. Or something like that...

I hope Conan O'Brien makes a bundle of money walking away from that absurd mess at NBC. Is that one of the most juvenile episodes you have ever witnessed in your lifetime? No offense Jay Leno, but I hope you fall flat on your big ass chin. And David Letterman falls on top of you. In my opinion...the only three top late night shows that matter are Conan, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. Those two boneheads Leno and Letterman should retire. Idiots.

So Mark McGwire has finally come clean. You know, I was a huge Roger Maris fan. It bothered me when McGwire beat his record. And it really bothered me when the first rumors of his Steroid use came out and he denied it. I guess he called Roger's widow and apologized and she accepted it. I guess we should all accept it, but he should lose that title of holding the single season Home Run record and he should NOT get into the Hall of Fame. As far as him getting to be a batting coach...well, it seems strange that he would want to do that, but whatever.

"I have a dream..." Dr Martin Luther King.

Remember DR Martin Luther King this Monday.
Rest in Peace Magilla Schaus former ESA Director for the Great Lakes.....
Get Well soon Artie Lang.
Congrats to The COLTS for beating the Ravens.
And congrats to the Saints for beating the Cards.
Congrats to the VIKINGS beating the Cowboys.
Wait the JETS won?
Please say it ain't so...that's just wrong. I blame the Bengals and The Colts for letting them into the Play-Offs. They needed to win both those games to get in...
I HOPE the JETS beat the COLTS next week. Teach 'em all a lesson about letting teams win.


*Check out the updated January 2010 DROPPING IN ON RALPH blog Section.
I finished all of December and we are up to date as of today.
*Molly Video by Joe Carter has been moved to the Community Page.

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week
every week for the last 6 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 Surfer!

Remember my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Click above to see trailer.
Yesterday-My Last Ride in Hawaii. 1989 North Shore, Oahu.
(Below) This was my last ride on the North Shore of Oahu. Taken in January 1989. It was at Rocky Point. I remember the session and this wave. I rode it all the way past Kevin who was on the inside.
It has been over 20 years since I've been back to Hawaii. Photo by Kevin Grondin

Today- January 15th, 2010 Mini Waves

(Above) Friday afternoon. January 15th, 2010. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I
was inspired by Brian Nevins Mini Wave shots earlier in the week.
Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Friday afternoon. January 15th, 2010. The End of the day.
Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Empty Mini wave on Wednesday morning. January 13th, 2010.
Photo By Brian Nevins * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Wednesday morning magic. January 13th, 2010.
Photo By Brian Nevins * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.






Ask Crackie from Ralph G. Fatello on Vimeo. We've brought back CRACKIE from the SUMMER 05 Movie. The good news is he's still a negative cynical old Crabby Surfer...Enjoy CRACKIE!


Today 2010- The BLATANT DROP IN of The WEEK.
January-17-2010 CLICK IMAGE BELOW

(Above) All Rise: 10th Street District Court of Surf Justice is now in session, the Honorable Judge Ralph G. Fatello presiding. CASE #39 BLATANT DROP IN OF THE WEEK- Longboarder vs Longboarder. This is like Brother against brother.
Photo By RALPH* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Crime unfold.

Some more Westy Action.
(Above) Hot West Coast Action Friday. January 15 th, 2010.
Photo By Ben Ginsberg* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Super GROM Kanoa Igarashi this week in Southern CAl. Friday. January 15th, 2010. Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
RANDOM Pics from Readers
(Above) Somewhere on the West Coast of The United States of America.
January 15, 2010
Photo courtesy of Man of Free
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

Tropical Madness

(Above) Da Hui Sponsor Me contest at Sunset Beach Friday January 15, 2010
Photo by Bernie Baker * Click on the photo above to see Bernie's Gallery.

(Above) There are sunsets and then there are Hawaiian Sunsets.
Photo by Julia Nichols
* Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.

(Above) Ian drops into a nice green peak in PR.
Photo courtesy of James Frasch
* Click on the photo above to see the whole Gallery.


(Above) Nathaniel Curren slaying this brown Southern Cal burger!
COMING NEXT WEEK!!!! Photo by Ben Ginsberg

(Above) Ryan Carlson HB Katin Pro AM. COMING NEXT WEEK!!!! Photo by Ben Ginsberg

The NEW Invisible Surfer Man Series
*Click masthead above to read the original ISM story.

(Above) Put the cursor over the image to see happens when you DROP in on someone. You become Invisible. Put the mouse over the image 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.


Today 2010 PARTING SHOT-
Frozen Wave
...yes it's real.

(Above) This is a photo of a Frozen wave in Antarctica. You can't make this stuff up.
The water and air temp is so cold that when these waves pop up from under the ice they freeze. Can we talk about Global warming here...hello?
Photo via the Internet

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Think about BUYING a Photo from any of these Great Local Photographers from past weeks on RPOTW. It's a GREAT Gift Idea for any time of the year. Just think, a nice framed photo of your favorite Surfer! Just contact me and I'll contact the right
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