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June 26th, 2010 The Surf Count of Waist High Or Better is now 17 out of 19 weeks...
Last week I wrote about my late father. It was Father's Day and I was feeling melancholy and well, I still miss him. The fact that he's been gone 10 years has not been lost on me. 10 years is a long time. In fact, it was 10 years ago this summer, that I stepped off the beach at 10th Street at the Wall here in Hampton, and paddled out and into one hell of a major undertaking, that would ultimately change my life. Forever.
It was my "Catch A Wave For Gus" Surfing 365 consecutive days here in Hampton, NH.
As I recall this time with close friends, none of them can believe that was 10 years ago. But it was. July 26, 2000. Right there at 10th Street. North Beach, The WALL, in Hampton, NH. It was hands down, one of the most trying times in my life. It was both rewarding and taxing on so many levels that it's hard to put down in words. Surfing is such a major part of my life. I'm sure it is for you as well. The year I surfed everyday for a year, surfing became something bigger than I had ever imagined it would.
My good friend Jeff Chamberlain, from Central California wrote a story about that endeavor in SURFER Magazine back in 2002. Jeff was able to put down in words the entire story and what it meant to not only me and my family, but what it meant to surfing and surfers in general. The issue was in March 2002 Volume 43 Number 4.
He called it SEMPER FI with the Sub head "Keeping The Faith, In This Surfer's Opinion, Is A Life-Long Endeavor". If you have any old SURFER Mags around check it out. Jeff did a great job with it.
The fact that it was 10 years ago, has not erased some of the most amazing things that happened to me during that year. Like that day in August when I met Thomas.
I first saw Thomas as I raced down to the beach that hot August morning to catch my wave. It had only been a few weeks into my journey, so I was just getting acclimated to a daily routine. I noticed a couple sitting in beach chairs that morning reading. There was a boy in a baseball hat, and a large oversized Tee-shirt playing in the wetsand. I gave them a quick glance and smiled. I paddled out, caught a few waves and then headed back up the sand towards the opening at 10th Street. As I got closer to the family, I noticed that something was wrong with the boy.
He was dragging himself across the sand. His legs looked lifeless.
"Good morning! It's a great day, and my name is Thomas!" He shouted as I got closer. "Good morning Thomas, it is a great day, and my name is Ralph." I nodded at the parents who had now lowered their books to get a look at who Thomas was talking to. They smiled. I looked back at Thomas who was now eyeing my board under my arm. I could see it in his eyes. He was staring at my board with a longing that only a child could have that wants something. "Well, have a nice day Thomas." I said as I watched him stare at my board. "You too Ralph!" And then I was off.
Except, I couldn't get that kid out of my head, for the rest of the day.
I had decided later that day, that if I ran into Thomas again, I was going to ask him if he wanted to try surfing. The very next day I went down to the beach determined to make it happen. But they were no where to be found. I thought maybe they were just in town for the day. I was having deep regrets for not asking when I had the chance. Oh well. Then on Friday of that week, I spotted them down by the water's edge. They had Thomas in a stroller, and they were pushing him along, so his feet could feel the cool ocean water.
I was both excited and apprehensive.
I mean, who the hell was I to offer something like surfing to a total stranger who was handicapped? I had cold feet as I approached the family. Thomas saw me and lit up. "Good Morning!" he shouted. I smiled. "Good morning, it's Thomas isn't it?" "Yes my name is Thomas..." his parents looked at me skeptically. I could see Thomas eyeing my board again. "You like my Surfboard Thomas?" He looked at me and smiled "Yea.." then he looked at his parents, who were now looking directly at me.
Then I blurted it out.. "Would you like to try surfing Thomas?"
His Mom immediately shook her head no. But his dad leaned over and looked at his son and asked, "What do you think Thomas, would you like to try surfing?" "YEAH! Can I Dad? Can I?" the boy yelled. His mom was starting to freak out. "It's OK I'll be with him the whole time. I promise you nothing will happen. I'll have a hold of him the whole time." But she was still agitated. And it was too late Mom. Sorry.
Thomas was going to try surfing.
His dad lifted Thomas up and carried him to the water's edge. I told Mom to grab a camera. The surf was small. Maybe 1-2'. But plenty big enough for Thomas. I placed Thomas on the longboard and positioned him so he wouldn't slip or slide off. I moved him out to waist deep water and climbed on the back end of the board. A set was coming. I told Thomas I was letting the first wave go by. I motioned to his parents that the next wave would be his. The wave hit the right spot and I shoved off and paddled. We caught that wave and angled right.
I started hooting, and then lo and behold, so did Thomas!
Hearing young Thomas hoot will stay with me for the rest of my life. He felt the sensation of riding a wave. He also experienced the lip hitting us both in the face and soaking us. It's a good thing too, because it hid the tears I had running down my face. His dad was hooting and his mom was sobbing. And it was a moment in surfing, that those of us who witnessed it, will never forget. Thomas had surfed.
Thomas was a young boy who suffered from Spina Bifida. A debilitating disease that took young Thomas's ability to walk, stand and do most things that a 10 year old boy should be doing. But on that day in August of 2000, Thomas got to go surfing. That was 10 years ago this summer. I never saw Thomas again. My hope is that when he went home to wherever he was from he told his friends that he went surfing in Hampton, NH and if they didn't believe him, they could ask his parents and they could show them the photos.
Wherever you are Thomas, I hope it's a Great day!
The reason I told you this story is two fold. Yes it was 10 years ago that I surfed every day for one year. Back then I did it for my dad and Diabetes. This Summer on the exact day, I plan on doing it again. Only this time I'm doing it for Lil Miss Molly Rowlee and anyone else who has lost their battle to cancer, or is currently fighting cancer, or is a Survivor of cancer. Im calling it "CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY!" There will be more details as the day gets closer. But it's a done deal. I am committed once again to Surfing at least one wave, every Single Day for 365 Days, 52 weeks, 12 months, One Year. From July 26, 2010 to July 26, 2011.
I hope I see you down there for the first surf.
And on this day 40 years ago. June 26, 1970 I lost a good friend. Mike Guezzetti a young 19yr old Marine was killed in action along with two other Marines this day, as they were ambushed
by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army RE: enemy soldiers) in Vietnam. I still have survivor's guilt as I wonder about the what if's in life. Why did Mikey die that day and not me? What would his life had become if he lived? What would life for my family been like, if I didn't come home? It's both perplexing and sad. And it all happened 40 years ago today...
I wish there waves today...I need to cleanse my soul again with ocean water.
I know...Surfing heals all wounds.
for some of my weekly Global observances: The BP oil spill will be reaching Day 70 by the time you read this. And TS Alex is dangerously close to the spill area. I guess we all knew that was a possibility. It's supposed to be an active Tropical season. That's good news for us-but bad news for the Gulf. What a dilemma for East Coast and Gulf Coast Surfers. Honestly? I'd rather see the Gulf get cleaned up and not get a single Hurricane. Sorry guys.
OK, the big story of the week was the General Stanley McCrystal story. And lord knows I was asked by so many friends and Veterans what I personally felt about it all. Look it's no secret that I'm not a big Obama fan. However, he is our President. And I have always said that I support the office of the presidency. Regardless of who's sitting in the oval office. I support the President.
I may not agree with him on most issues, but I support him and the office. Having said that, McCyrstal messed up. I mean are you kidding me? You say shit like that to a reporter and think it's not going to get reported? And not just a reporter, but a Rolling Stone Reporter? Dude you gotta be kidding me? This is the guy who's in charge of our men and women in harms way in Afghanistan? Rolling Stone? Hello?
I'm sorry sir...but it's time for you to step down.
And long before I heard that General Petraus was taking over, I thought he was the only General that could not only finish the job, but actually win the war. His SURGE in IRAQ worked. Even though most people said it would not, including (ahem) ...the current administration. Life sure is funny once you get to the White House.
Speaking of White things...and on a more lighter note. My buddy Phil loves to surf at Trestles. Well, this week he was a mere 6 feet away when a large juvenile White Shark tried to snatch a bird in the water. He said it was right out of National Geographic. I bet. A six foot white shark is nothing to balk at. We all know there's sharks out there, or put it this way...you better know.
Rest in Peace Dave and Heather's Grandfather and Aunt.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Cory Fatello, June 30th.
HAPPY BIRTYHDAY Dave Cropper, June 30th
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kyle Linseman, June 30th.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike Tyson, June 30th.
Pick up your trash at the beaches. CHECK
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 May and most of June is up. *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
every week 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 YESTERDAY Banner Below to see new Old Surf Pic Page
of 1953...2000 Catch a Wave For Gus
(Below) Another beach photo of my dad at the beach. Except that's me on the left with my sister Donna and my brother Johnny on the right. It was 10 years ago that I surfed every day for a year in memory of my dad. Photo courtesy of G.A.F.
Today- Saturday-June 26th, 2010
(Above) The First in a series of announcements for CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY.
* Click on the image above to see a larger version.
Today- Thursday-June 24th, 2010
(Above) The key to becoming a great photographer is, you have to be able to see things before they happen. All the local photogs agree with me, that Nevins is a visionary who sees things before and during the actual occurrences.
Thursday, June 24th, 2010. Photo By Brian Nevins
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) The glass folds...Thursday, June 24th, 2010. Photo By Brian Nevins
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
Today- Wednesday-June 23rd, 2010
(Above) Birthday boy Kevin Grondin takes the stroll down off the Jetty like he has a million times before. Except on this day, it was his birthday. Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) Kevin Grondin paddles out on his birthday. Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) Birthday boy Kevin Grondin. Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) Finger snapping, cross stepping his way to the Birthday cake waiting at home. Kevin Grondin Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) Soon to be Birthday boy (June 30th) Kyle Linseman taking a page out of the Mike Moran Longboarding book. . Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010. Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.
(Above) The Beautiful sky of June 24th, 2010. Photo By Ginger Nelson Kellar * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
(Above) Todo Bien played under that Beautiful sky on June 24th, 2010. Photo By Ginger Nelson Kellar * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
Today- Thursday-June 17th, 2010
(Above) The West Coast lights up and Ben is there to bring it home. Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
(Above) Is this a cutback or what? Damn. Newport beach action Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
(Above) Slamming in Newport beach, California. June 17, 2010. Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
(Above) Still a timeless photo. The simple act of ducking under the falling lip.
Newport beach, California. June 17, 2010. Photo By Ben Ginsberg * Click on the photo above to see the Gallery
CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON BELOW FOR a VIMEO VIDEO CLIP.
I shot this stuff five years ago. The SUMMER of 05. That was a great Summer.
I thought what the hell, why not show you a taste of what we had up and down the East Coast 5 years ago. That's Mackey (above) at a secret little Hatteras sandbar...those waves were so much fun.
It's a short clip. Under 4 minutes. There's a few of the local boys though. Billy, Casey, Mikey, Kevin, Stanek and Mackey V (looking really young).
The music is by my friend Mr Robin Trower...the song was written back in the mid 70's...but it still works.
Hope we have a Summer like we did in 2005.
This is a video clip from the show that my band BHD (Big Handsome Daddy) just played last month at the WHS Auditorium in Hampton. It was a Fund Raiser for the local Vets Post 35 to raise money for the GWOT Monument. The song is by Jimi Hendrix. It's the blues. If you don't like the blues, don't bother watching it. But if you do, check it out...I figured what the heck, I thought I'd show you another part of the Ralph machine...
I have two friends who love to surf Trestles. Stevie Dillon and Phil Beachesne They love the spot. Uppers and Lowers. This is a cool video clip on Lowers. The surfing is ridiculous, even though it's 2 years old. The shit is off the hook. Anyone who's anyone who stands out at Lowers is here. It's worth watching if not for anything else, just to remind us all how different the caliber of surfing is, between those who surf good waves all the time, and those who don't. I know which category most of us fall into...
Street District Court of Surf Justice
is now in session, the Honorable Judge
Ralph G. Fatello presiding. CASE
#62 BLATANT DROP IN OF
THE WEEK- This
case is another first...Friend vs Friend vs Friend Photos by RALPHClick
on the photo above to see the Whole CRIME.
(Above) Corey Howard at San O's..in Cali. Photo by Kyle Howard Click on the photo to see the Readers
(Above) Shawn O'Shea's Retirement gift...Semper Fi Shawn! OoRah! Photo courtesy of Shawn O'Shea.
Click on the photo to see the Readers
(Above) Can you stand it? More Hot Cali Action from West Coast Lensmaster Ben Ginsberg COMING NEXT WEEK! Photo By Ben Ginsberg
*Click masthead above to read the original
(Above) Put the cursor over the image 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
Photo by RALPH
Today 2010 Oily Glass...what a bummer...
(Above) The Alabama oil spill hit's the beach. Photo via Internet
on Wave to return to top of page
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