But they were helpless. There was nothing they could do, except notify next of kin if he didn’t make it. There were no jet skis to come zipping in and save him. He was on his own. And once again, he got hit by another wall of whitewater. That’s the thing about surfing in big waves. There are no referees to blow the whistle and stop the play. The waves are going to keep coming, no matter what is going on in front of them. Thankfully, after the third thrashing, he came back up and somehow found his way into the channel. Exhausted and spent, but he was alive. I’m sure he thanked everything and everyone under the sun, after that experience. But that day stayed with him. It was an awakening for Peter. Time waits for no man. We all get old, and we all slow down. And every single one of us, is going to eventually get our ticket punched.
NEW MONTHLY FEATURE STARTING TODAY March 20th, 2022.
LOCAL LEGENDS March 20th, 2022 Volume I
This is the first in a series where every month I will do a feature on one of the local Surf Legends here in Northern New England. There’s quite a few of them. I’ll do 12 Local Legends every year. In addition to this monthly feature, I also plan on creating a page called IN MEMORIAM for all the local surfers who have passed away. Lord knows we lost so many souls that used to surf here. So look for that page to start in May of this year. Meanwhile, let’s get started with Peter Stokes.
Peter Stokes is 72 years old and started surfing in 1961. Think about that for a minute. That’s 61 years of surfing. And that would be an incredible number if he didn’t surf anymore, but that’s not the case with Peter. He still surfs. Almost every single swell of significance, Peter is out there. Year round. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Some of you know him, and some clearly do not. So for those who don’t, and for those who only know a little bit about him, this is his story.
Peter Stokes (and yes, that’s his real last name) starting surfing in 1961. His early years began in of all places, the Mecca of Surfing. Oahu, Hawaii. More specifically Oahu’s South Shore. The Stokes family moved to Hawaii in 1961, because Peter’s father was a world renowned Doctor of heart research and worked at Queens Hospital. Peter became good friends with Jeff Hakman and the two of them surfed all the breaks on the South Shore 61-63.
Peter told me a truly horrifying story when Jeff Hakman’s father drove Jeff and Peter to the North shore, and made them go out in macking Sunset beach. Peter was only 12 years old and he was both terrified, but strangely excited. He was riding a 10’ longboard with zero rocker. He and Jeff made the best of that first time situation. Ironically, Jeff Hakman would later become known as “Mr. Sunset.” But can you imagine being forced to surf macking Sunset on one of those old logs? No leash. No way of knowing how to line up at Sunset. The combination of fear and excitement would plant the seed for Peter and his future big wave cravings.
Another notable classmate of Peter and Jeff, was Gerry Lopez. Mr. Pipeline.
Those early days of surfing Ala Moana with Jeff Hakman really set the tone for young Peter. He loved surfing both those bowling lefts and the rights. Alamo was one of the most premiere breaks on the South Shore. So for Peter to be able to navigate his way around the bowl with the locals was quite the accomplishment for the young Haole boy. Those formative years paved the way for his future surf trips. He told me how he rode a “chopped” down 6’ 6” shortboard in 1962 and got laughed at out at Bowls. This was 5 years before the shortboard revolution. That was mind blowing to hear.
Peter moved back to the East Coast in 1963. He spent many days surfing on Cape Cod and the Islands and really developed and smooth longboard style. These early B&W photos of Peter will attest to his stylish stance and positioning on the waves.
He surfed both the East Coast and the West Coast 64-65-66. He attended Berkley in California and graduated from U. C. Berkeley with a degree in Design and History of Art in 1973. The whole time he attended Berkley, he was surfing La Jolla and Wind and Sea among other breaks. On a return trip to Oahu’s South Shore, Peter found himself in front of the lens of Bruce Brown as Brown was shooting footage for THE ENDLESS SUMMER. Surfing his favorite wave, Ala Moana. That’s like me being an extra in the “Godfather” or “The Sands Of Iwo Jima.” In other words, that’s pretty damn significant. He was also filmed by the late great Leroy Grannis.
Peter has found himself hanging and surfing with some of the true greats in the history of Surfing.
Something else happened with Peter in the early to mid 60’s. He discovered the guitar and music. Listening to Arnie Woo Woo Ginsberg on his little transistor radio. In December of 1963 he heard LOVE ME DO by the BEATLES. Like a lot of teens back then, he saw the BEATLES play live on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964. The guitar was now one of Peter’s main focus in life. Or more specifically, the acoustic guitar. So while other teens were going crazy over the Beatles, Peter really took a liking to folk music, and he really loved Joan Baez. But it was Peter hearing Chris Smither for the first time that really caught his ear. Hearing the Blues for the first time was like an epiphany for Peter. It really changed the course of his life. He eventually became good friends with Smither. Around this same time, Peter himself had taken up playing the guitar. Peter’s first real guitar was an Epiphone Texan. The same guitar Smither played. In late 1966 Peter started to get into the guitar repair trade. Working at first with Larry Jameson in Berkley (later in Austin Texas), and then later back East, with the late Ed Murray from E.U.Co. Fretts. Peter was well on his way in the guitar repair business.
The whole time Surfing was never far from his mind. Although he admitted to me that surfing had taken a back seat for certain periods of time during the guitar and the repair business, it was never completely out of his mind. And he mentioned that in 1964-65 he was on the G&S Surf team and had competed regularly. Placing 2nd in Juniors in 1965 and 4th in Seniors where the late Dewy Webber was a judge. And he was the ONLY East Coast Surfer invited to the Morey Pope Noseriding contest.
Peter graduated from High School in 1967.
The summer of 1968 he worked with Chris Smither fixing guitars for Bonnie Raitt. In 1973 he started his own business THE BROKEN NECK GUITAR REPAIR while simultaneously working with Ed Murray at E.U. Wurlizter (E.U.Co. Fretts). It was during this time period that we met. While my memory is hazy about that time. Peter remembers me from E.U. Wurlitzers. Being a young up and coming rocker myself, I was always in that building. Buying guitars and strings and just hanging out there. They were located on Newbury Street in Boston and I was recording my music at Intermedia sounds which was right across the street. Small world for sure, but as I have always said, I'd hate to have to paint it.
Peter and I knew each other back in the day, but neither one of us knew that the other was a surfer.
What I do remember is surfing at PI and seeing him out there. Peter was never one for speaking up and getting loud in and out of the water. While I was just the opposite. But I did take note of this tall regular foot with a clean smooth style. And we both knew some of the biggest Rock Stars of the day. Peter did work for the following musicians: J. Geils, Boston, The CARS, Morphine, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Edge from U2, Ronnie Earle, Johnny A, Mick Jagger, Leon Redbone, The Clash, Indigo Girls, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and so many others. Including yours truly. He did an amazing job on my two Stratocasters. And he’ll be doing more work on my Gold Top Les Paul.
He worked out of his home for years until he opened his shop in Boston in 1995. January 1st, 1995 on Mass Ave in Boston, MA to be more exact. He moved around town for many years at different locations in Boston. 2019 was the last year his shop was located in Boston.
He currently has a new shop right here in Newburyport, MA.
THE BROKEN NECK GUITAR REPAIR is located at 39 Liberty Street in Newburyport, MA 01950 *click on the pic above to browse his website
Peter has been married for 41 years to his wife Susan. They have two children Emyln and Gwyneth (both surf) and they have 4 grandchildren.
Peter has been to Tavarua Island in Fiji 25 times. His favorite wave there is Cloud Break. Peter has surfed some of the biggest waves of his life out at Cloud Break. I remember his first trip there. He went with Johnny Meehan, Jay Gould, and the late John “JT” Taylor. Peter tries to go every year he is physically able to. He shared with me one hellish experience while surfing macking Cloudbreak when he was 69 years old. He says that Cloudbreak is a mix between Pipeline and Sunset. And this one particular day has stayed with him to this very day.
Peter typically sits way out the back at Cloudbreak. He likes to pick up the big set waves that swing way to the right. On this one particular day he paddled into a beautifully lined up left that he could see was going to wind all the way through to the inside. He took off deep and made his way through the initial section and everything was going to plan when he eventually kicked out. The crew in the boat could see him as he kicked out of the wave. They could also see the set that had swung wide to the left and was now bearing down on Peter. He paddled up the face of the first wave and barely made it over the top.
That’s when he saw it. The wave in front of him was easily 3-4 times overhead and had already broken. A wall of whitewater came steaming towards him. He had no choice but to bail his board and dive deep. He dove as deep as he could but the whitewater was too much, and it was able to reach down and grab his body, and throttle him to within an inch of his life. He got pounded unlike any other time in his life.
That wave dragged him forever. And when he finally surfaced? Yup, you guessed it. There was another wave just like the one that just beat his sorry ass. Once again, he went through the horrible ritual of being flung around like a ping pong ball with pipe cleaners for arms and legs. In other words, he had no control of his body and strength. He had nothing left to fight with.
When he resurfaced from the second thrashing, he motioned to the boat that he was in trouble.
I asked him if he was going back, he said, “I’m going back when I turn 75.”
He knows he has to train hard for that trip. He knows what’s at stake. Meanwhile, he’ll continue to surf here locally for the next 2-3 years, while preparing for his return to CLOUDBREAK.
Having known Peter for years, I’ve surfed with him, and photographed him over the years. I’ve watched him surf the biggest waves we get around here. So I have no doubt he will go back there when he turns 75, and he will drop into waves that most of us would be hiding under our beds, rather than face them. And he will ride those massive waves, and once again, feel like the ancient Hawaiians in the “Sport of Kings.”
I asked him if he had any advice to share with you surfers out there.
This is what he said. “You gotta go til you no can go.”
Godspeed Peter. Godspeed.
*Check out the photo gallery of Peter down in the photo section.
I took this photo last week during that full moon. Once again, I used my handy little cellphone. Say what you want about these hand held devices, but I sure love having mine with me. They take great pics and videos. And one of these days, I plan on making a Surf video using my 13.1 iPhone.
"PETER STOKES, GUITARS, and SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
This is Perry Reynolds who recently celebrated his birthday. It would have been great if today was his birthday. But it's hard to time these things. In any event, it's a great pic of Perry by the legendary lensman Ed O'Connell. March 19th, 2009.
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
The Madman Of Moscow held a massive rally the other day that was downright frightening. How could all of those people fall for this lunatic's outright lies. The mere fact that Russia withholds the truth about the war in Ukraine is scary. The Russians are committing war crimes every single day. And this Hitler like idiot has them all fooled. They are killing women and children. As a war history buff, I have always been fascinated by how so many people, could follow and believe Adolf Hitler. Free thinking human beings all over the planet have tried to point out the truth about Hitler, and yet he still had their adoring love and support.
He was like Svengali. He had them all under his spell.
And today? The Putin lovers all fawn over him.
They love him.
The crowds at his rally were sickening. Just like Hitler's crowds.
And for those who can't see what we see? How do we educate and or fight that mentality? We have our work cut out for us.
But to do nothing will only give Putin more leverage in his self proclaimed war against Ukraine. If only Ukraine had not given up it's nuclear arsenal to Russia in 1996. And at the time, Russia had guaranteed Ukraine's security. Boy have things changed. Because today, Putin has actually threatened Ukraine with their Nuclear capabilities. This is serious stuff here kids.
The threat of Nuclear war is real. The threat of China joining forces with Russia is real.
These threats affect us all.
How this will end is anyone's guess. President #46 is going to meet with NATO leaders this week. I hope, we all should hope, that these world leaders come up with a plan. And a solid plan that can be implemented quickly. Because each day a child dies. Each day a family is destroyed. Each day a building that once housed civilians is demolished. Each day hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians are fleeing their homeland.
We need to act now. Quit complaining about high gas prices.
Personally, I would pay $10per gallon if I thought it would save innocent lives. Hell, I'd pay higher if that were the case. NATO needs to get their act together this week. Godspeed NATO.
MEANWHILE, TB 12 IS BACK. SAY WHAT?
The poor guy who bought TB12's last TD pass just threw up all over that football. It's not whether the idiot who bought the ball for $518k is poor or not. "F" him. It's the fact that TB12 went through all that freaking drama two months ago, only to turn around, and come back? Come on. That's messed up.
It ain't like he needs the money. He caused a major uproar with all the fans in New England when he retired, and didn't thank them.
And some people and organizations, took out full page ads in major newspapers, thanking him for 21 years of playing the game, etc. To me? It's embarrassing. Humiliating is more like it.
And talk about egos. I mean, he did this on the day that KG was being honored at Boston Garden? Stealing KG's thunder. Why Tommy? So yeah, he should buy back the LAST TD PASS FOOTBALL by TB12 from that sap, and then turnaround, and donate money to a more worthy cause. Because he can afford it.
And when he "retires for good" the next time? Well, I've already said what I had to say about him, two months ago. I'm not writing another "glorious greater than thou" piece. Look I love the guy and everything he ever did playing the game. He will always be the GOAT. But enough is enough.
I just had a sinister thought.
What if, the clown who bought Brady's LAST TD PASS FOOTBALL for $518k, turns around and sells it for $50k (or less) trying to recoup some of his money. And then, on opening day this coming September, Brady on his very first play, gets hit with a career ending injury, without having thrown a single pass.
I told you this was sinister.
SAY IT AIN'T SO. JUICY JUICE RELEASED FROM JAIL.
And in the more disgusting news department. This lying sad individual was released from jail while awaiting his appeal to last week's sentencing by Judge James Linn. Defense attorneys for the most part, all suck. Not all, but most do. This lying piece of human garbage should spend MORE than the 150 days that he was sentenced to. Isn't it funny that "Juicy" Smollett and OJ Simpson (who was nicknamed the "Juice") are the two most GULITY of all the African American Celebrities on the planet, who both played the RACE card and got off scott free. When there are REAL RACE issues out there. They both took advantage of the system. If you don't think for one minute that they are both Guilty? UNFRIEND ME FOR LIFE. Disgusting.
Dan Lanio Memorial Scholarship Fund
This community is amazing. The outpouring of support for Dan “Desi” Lanio has been emotionally overwhelming. It warms our heart to see all of the tributes and memories that you all have shared over the past few days. Many out there have sought out ways to honor the man who brought so much joy to all of us, and Experience Hampton has been working with people from all over the Town of Hampton to create the Dan Lanio Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Experience Hampton offered to accept donations to create this fund, and ensure that the donations being made were channeled to the official “Dan Lanio Memorial Scholarship Fund”. Please know that we will ensure your contributions will only benefit the student recipients of this fund, and not be used for any other operational expenses.
As our way to honor Dan “Desi” Lanio, Experience Hampton will be contributing $2,500 as the initial opening donation. Desi was a key member in creating Experience Hampton, and we are truly grateful to the legacy he left behind, and we will do our best to honor his memory moving forward.
If you are interested in donating, no matter how big or small, please send and make out all checks to:
Experience Hampton, PO Box 444, Hampton, NH 03843
(Please indicate in the memo portion that the check is for the Dan Lanio Memorial Scholarship Fund)
Please Donate to this Timmy Sheridan GO FUND ME page.
THE GO FUND ME PAGE in Memory Of TIM SHERIDAN
Timmy passed away very suddenly in June, 2019, and is now riding the eternal wave. Timmy had a passion for surfing. He taught friends and relatives how to surf and volunteered with Surfing with Smiles, a non profit organization that gives those who may otherwise not get a chance to be out on the water, the thrill of a lifetime. It is run solely by an amazing group of volunteers, three times a summer.
Surfing with Smiles is an organization near and dear to our hearts. We are fundraising in Timmy’s honor with the goal of providing scholarships for lessons and equipment rentals to assist Surfing with Smiles participants and others who may not be able to afford lessons, the opportunity to get out on the water.
*Please click on the image above to read more and to make a donation to this GoFund Me page in memory of Timmy Sheridan.
Checks can also be made out to Surfing with Smiles, and please note Tim Sheridan Scholarship in the memo. Checks can be mailed to SWS c/o Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Shop, 931 Ocean Blvd., Hampton, NH 03842
KSM Photoshop of the Week
Why am I not surprised to see our boy Khaliddy at "Rootin Tootin Putin's Rally" last week. Though by the look of the Sheik's face, I'm not to sure he's buying into the program. Still, I suppose that any excuse to leave GITMO even for a day, is worthwhile. I just don't see these two getting along for any length of time.
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 Expired Vodka bottles
Home Depot this week.
REST IN PEACE Renny Cushing.
A True Seacoast Warrior!
Renny was a fighter. We did not always agree on the political stage, but at least we were always civil to one another. Not like some out there, who have seething hate for the opposing parties.
Renny was a good man. And the seacoast has lost an honest decent man. Rest in ever lasting Peace Renny.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gale Brunault 3-20-22!
HAPPY SAINT PATRICKS DAY March 17th, 2022!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Noelle Rizzo 3-27-22
HAPPY Heavenly BIRTHDAY Gus Fatello 3-27-22
HAPPY Heavenly Birthday Angelo Fatello 3-27-22
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 18 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- THE YEAR THAT DAVID NUUHIWA ALMOST SURFED ON MY SURFBOARD. 1972. 50 YEARS AGO.
The year was 1972. This was my first trip to Florida to catch some Florida waves. I was aware of Florida and the infamous Sebastian Inlet and Shark Pit through SURFER Magazine. Speaking of magazines, the new THE SURFERS JOURNAL is out and they have a great article on David Nuuhiwa. I was a huge fan of Nuuhiwa as were all the surfers back then. In 1972 he was basically a Surf/Rock Star. So whenever he and Mike Tabeling (another Surf/Rock star) came walking down the path at Shark Pit to check the surf, they stopped when they both saw my board lying in the sand. Tabeling spoke first. "What's this?" When I turned around to see these two bona fide Surf Stars standing next to me, I almost threw up. Oh my God. There was David Nuuhiwa with his perfect hair and sunglasses standing next to the tall and lanky Florida super star Mike Tabeling.
"It's my surfboard." I stuttered. "Me and my friends made it." Truth be told, I was never involved in the actual making of the boards. I was just around to provide comic relief. Besides, I was in the Marines when my friends were making these cool boards.
Then Nuuhiwa spoke. "Would you mind if I tried it out?"
Me: "What? Wait, you want to surf on my board? No. I mean YES! I'd love to have you try it out." He leaned over and lifted my board up, and gave it the once over. He checked the rails, and the rocker, and looked down at the lines.
"Interesting." He said as he walked towards the water's edge.
Meanwhile, me and my friends were sitting there in the sand with our jaws wide open. I had my little Kodak instamatic camera right next to me, but I was too star struck to take any photos. I could only sit there and watch one of the greatest surfers on the planet carry my board down to the water's edge.
Then he stopped. He looked out at the waves. It was only 2-3' but they were glassy. And Nuuhiwa and Tabeling both would have ripped those waves to shreds. He looked back at Tabeling and me
and shook his head. That wild looking lion's mane of hair that was his look in the late 60's and early 70's . He turned away from the water's edge and walked back up to me and Tabeling.
"Maybe some other time." He said and he handed the board back to me.
"Sure man. "Whenever you want to try it, let me know. I'll be here all week. You can just take it, You don't even have to ask me. "
They both laughed and walked off.
Meanwhile, I was still in a state of shock. My friend Jake Sadler knew who they both were but the two kooks that came down from Boston didn't. To them, they were just a couple of long haired surfers.
For the longest time after that day, I would tell that story.
David Nuuhiwa almost rode my board!
Years later when I became friends with Mike Tabeling I would bring that story up. He just laughed. "Yeah Nuuhiwa was a great surfer." He'd say. And I would answer "And so were you Mike. So were you." Mike passed away in 2014.
He was one of the greatest East Coast surfers of all time.
Check out the New SURFERS JOURNAL and read about David Nuuhiwa.
Photo by Jake Sadler
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.