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March 22, 2009 Spring Is (Finally) Here

I had this whole week's column, all planned out days ago. Everything was all set, and
I was basically "good to go". All I had to do, was post it all last night (Saturday). I had all my ducks lined up. And then this morning, this new swell hit. And because I am trying to keep things fresh for you guys, I had to make a decision. Do I run the pre-planned pics and topics? Or do I shoot the new stuff, and push the other stuff back? Well, I chose the latter. And although it was twice as much work for me, I think you will all agree, that the photos are rather impressive. And it's fresh. Right out of the oven. This was the first Real Swell of this 2009 Spring Season. And it was, more ways than not, a sort of an Opening Day at the Seacoast.

You know, the people were out in full force, walking the wall, stopping to watch the surfers, cheering whenever someone would eat it. "Oh Look Timmy that surfer just wiped out!" "I saw him daddy! He got killed!" Followed by laughter and wild screams. "Here comes a big wave. Let's see how many of them get wiped out!" I looked out at my friends duck diving the big set, and then cringed, when a beginner took off on a set wave, and bailed halfway down the face. "Oooh wow, did you see that guy get killed Timmy?!!!" I could only shake my head. There were dogs chasing Frisbees, there were kids running amuck up on the Wall. There were elderly couples, out for their first stroll of the season. And of course... There were surfers, from every walk of life, pulling up at the Wall today.


So how did we all fair today? Not bad, not bad. The swell was running at a head high or better, so the pace at the wall ,for anyone paddling out for their first time this year, had to work hard, just to get out, let alone shake off the cobwebs, and actually try catching and riding a wave. It was not an easy paddle. Case in point. I watched my son Mackey V, attempt to jump right back into the surf, after a couple of months of a strict wrestling program. At one point, he was caught inside and he was taking a beating. Duck diving 39 degree water in just a 4/3 was a rude wake up call. But in true Warrior (His team) fashion, he did not give up, and after a few ice cream headaches, he did manage to get his skinny little butt outside. And the reward, was some clean, head high rights and lefts, that were absolutely perfect looking. I mean it was pretty out there.

I'm sure it was good everywhere today. All over New England.

No matter where you were today, you can take solace in the fact, that Winter is Officially over. Although, about an hour or two ago, I looked out my window, and like some cruel joke from the heavens, it was snowing! It was. And not just lightly, it was blowing hard, and snowing pretty good. Albeit, nothing stuck. But damn, if it didn't just give us, one more little shot. Like don't put away those shovels and snowblowers just yet.... Speaking of Winter, my buddy Gary Ritchie informed me today, that last winter we had 16 storms in 14 weeks. That's 16 snow storms that required Plowing in 14 weeks of winter. Are you kidding me? Well, I can't say I'm surprised. Hardly. Look, I halfway expected to be staring at snow banks well into June. And honestly, there's still snow out my window in my office. Mostly due to the fact, that the sun does not hit my back yard like it does our front yard. I full well expect to see snow somewhere in my yard in the month of April. Oh yes I do. But I'm cool with it.

I think today was such a major turning point for so many of us Northern New Englanders. It's like, we were stepping out of our caves and cabins, after a long winter Hibernation. And all across this sleepy, seacoast town, the sights and reminders, of what kind of winter we just experienced is everywhere. I see branches and trees, in almost every yard, just strewn across the brown lawns, and remaining snowbanks. I had almost forgotten the week of darkness back in December. The downed trees are still vivid reminders of that hell week. But 16 snow storms? Damn. Well, all I can say is, it's a good thing Al Gore has us all tuned into being prepared, for the inevitable Global warming issue. Because my friends, one of these Winters, it might not snow, more than a dozen times. And then what are you going to do? Global Warming. Give me a break. It might be happening somewhere, but it sure as hell is not happening here where we live. And if it does? Well, I might be able to handle a few less snow storms a year, as opposed to the amount we've been getting. What say you?

Being cooped up all Winter does not bode well with our patience level. The other morning, as I was driving down to check the surf, I got behind a vehicle that was acting erratic. At first I thought there might be a problem. And, I was preparing to offer assistance. But upon further inspection, I could see that the driver was distracted. It was a female. She was looking down at something instead of driving. I could see her poking at something. And she kept looking up every now and then to see where she was driving. By now, most of you can guess what she was doing. She was texting. I mean come on. Texting? While you are driving? Look, I am all for technology. Are you kidding, I'm all over it. Including cell phones, blackberries, etc etc. But this texting thing? I'm sorry. I don't get it. Or rather, I don't get it while you're driving. Especially when I'm trying to check the surf. Look, I've had, maybe two speeding tickets in my life. Both times, while I was driving to the ocean, to either go surfing, or to check the surf. I admit. I get impatient when I'm driving down to the ocean.

But texting while driving? When I'm behind you, trying to get to the beach?

That has problems written all over it. Nothing became of it. I mean really, what was I supposed to do? Freak out and take her texting/cellphone away? Make a citizen's arrest? Nah...I shook my head and drove off. Maybe I'm out of touch. Or maybe, it's because my thumbs are too big to be texting. Do they have spell check? Besides, isn't speaking to a person much easier, than texting? I don't know. Maybe I'm just too old school. Or maybe I don't want to get into a car accident

So when I got to the ocean that day, I was genuinely surprised to find just one person out. And it was a woman. Noreen. A friend's daughter, who I have seen round these parts for years. She's always out. Sometimes she wears a hat. You've seen her. Red hair, goofy foot. Well, Noreen was out at the Wall on Thursday all by herself. Now for the record. I have heard people say how "Over" our sport/lifestyle is. That it's too crowded and the soul is gone. Well, the surf on Thursday was about waist high. It was glassy with a slight offshore breeze. Granted it was overcast. But waist high glassy surf at the wall and NO ONE else was out? What is the Wall about 2.5 miles? I was impressed that Noreen had this little special moment in the ocean by herself and decided to hang around and shoot a few of her waves. I was happy I did. I posted some of the shots below. I hope Noreen likes them. *Note the NEW SURFER'S JOURNAL has I believe, the First Female on the cover in the New Issue. *Also note that the Surfer's Journal and ESM are our latest sponsors. Both are GREAT Surf publications. The Surfer's Journal is the Heart and Soul of our Global Surf Community and Eastern Surf Magazine is the Heart and Soul of the Entire East Coast. They both come on board to RPOTW the heart and soul of New England.

That little tidbit of a story, involving a lone surfer, scoring waves would be special enough, but a couple of days later, Saturday, I witnessed it again. This time is was a guy named Lenny. Now, Lenny is a longboarder, and he was out riding, with the sun coming up in a big Red Ball out of the East. I was there again, and I shot a few of his special solo scenes. And it was pretty neat (again) seeing one body, on a surfboard, in waist high surf again. This is 2009. And I just told you a story about two solo sessions. Those would be cool enough, if not for this other story, that sort of revolves around surfing. Snowboarding. I went snowboarding with Mackey V and his friend on Friday. And yes, there were times on the Mountain, when we were the only ones on the trail. We never waited in a lift line, and there was not a cloud in the sky, all day. What does this all mean? I don't know for sure. Because I know crowds do exist. I saw some today. But I just think, that every now and then, it is possible, to score some surf, or some snow, and have it to yourselves, or, to share with a few friends.

In other words, it's NOT OVER. Life can still be fun, and memorable.
You just have to open your eyes.

My eyes were wide open on Saturday afternoon at KB's in Hampton, as I witnessed again, the goodness in our local Surf Community. First and foremost, a big shout out to Joe Titone owner of KB's for hosting this latest Lil Miss Molly Fundraiser. I feel a sense of both pride and compassion, when I witness these types of events. I can only imagine what Buck and Meghan feel. The outpouring of love and positive vibes towards this little sweetheart Molly Rowlee is inspiring to say the least. Kieran was there dressed in his Spiderman suit. And I think, I may have been webbed. Buck was being his usual ball of energy, and the high flying, positive antics were everywhere. It was great.

And it really does fill your heart with hope and love.

The weekend before, had the local crew shaving their heads in support of Lil Miss Molly. Salt and Skip being two of those who gave up the locks for Lil Miss Molly. It seems like everyone is sporting this new Marine Corps Look. And I for one, think it looks great.

Like I said last week, Miss Molly has a treatable and curable cancer. And, she will be cured by the power of prayer and positive thinking. Please don't stop praying, and do not stop with the constant positive thinking. It works. It has been proven many times over. Positive thinking works.

REMEMBER All the shops are STILL collecting cards, gifts, and other provisions for the Rowlee family. PIONEERS , CINNAMON RAINBOWS, BRICKHOUSE, ZAPSTIX and many more shops are drop off points of interest for Miss Molly. Skip Brunette has opened a Little Miss Molly account at the SEACOAST CREDIT
UNION on 887 Lafayette Rd, Hampton NH
. (see poster below for info). There are several more fund raisers in the making as well. There's still plenty of things going on for Lil Miss Molly and you can find out most of it on the Ralph's Community Page.

This is the info for the ONLINE Auction.
Little Miss Molly Fund Auction

Now for some of my weekly Global observances:

The Space Station flew over my house and I was the only one who cared. Max sat in the house while I was out in the front yard with my video camera and still camera capturing the moment. My wife and daughter were at the health club and I was alone out there. And you know what? It was great. I mean it was freaking awesome. I actually got some footage of the thing. And it was moving at a pretty good clip there too. When I asked Max if he wanted to step out and watch it with me, he said he'd wait and see it on the news. Say what? "Dude the Space Station is flying over our house!" I yelled. "The Damn Space Station!!!" He just looked at me.

Ticks are out. Huh? I said The Ticks are back. Ticks? Yes Ticks. The kind that bite. How do I know this? Well, I have two Tick bites. I swear. I took my dog for a walk in the woods on Wednesday . There was still snow everywhere. And apparently, there are ticks. I got bit by two Ticks later that night. The dog was fine, but somehow they got me. I'm not happy about it. And, if I get Lyme disease I'm going to scream.

OK the AIG Bonus pay-off? Huh? You know, it's times like this when all you can really do is shake your head. I mean it. Shake your head and go surfing. Those people are so out of touch, with the rest of us, it's just not funny. Not even close. Then Nancy and company decide to Tax their bonus payoffs at an alarming 90%. Look I don't really care how they get back our money. But is it just me, or do some of you find it scary as well, that the Government can raise a tax that high overnight? Yikes.

Did you hear that President Obama went on LENO last week. Really? Huh.

The Celtics
have KG back. Thank God. The Sox...beat the Phillies. Beckett is looking good, while Lowell is the Man! The Bruins down the Devils and clinch the Division. The NBA and NHL play-offs are almost here and it is getting pretty dam exciting if you're a New England Sports fan.

Last night a friend of our family passed away. Michael St. Gelais of Hampton. He passed away from a Heart attack. He was way too young to leave this world. He was married to Mary and was the father to Jeff and Jake. Our extended family send our condolences to the St Gelais family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of sadness and loss.

Happy Birthday Noelle. March 27th! We LOVE You!

Check out the shout out in the NEW ESM magazine about my two latest releases. "GREETING SEASONS" and "Groovemasters" both are in the shops!

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week.

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


Little Miss Molly Fund Auction

Yesterday- 1979 Jeff Chamberlain Charging The Bay. (Little Apple Bay that is...)
(Below) Last week I posted a photo that my good friend Jeff Chamberlain took of JT and myself 30 years ago. This week, I return the favor by posting this photo of Jeff that I took. Put your cursor over the image to see why Jeff was wearing a bathing cap. Sam George's board hit Jeffy smack dead in the head while Jeff was taking a water shot of Sam. I took this photo using Jeff's camera and lens. It's hard to believe this was 30 years ago. Photo by Ralph

Today- 2009 This Morning. Sunday, March 22, 2009. The FIRST SPRING SWELL of 2009 in NH
All photos by RALPH

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(Above) Garrett Krapf The Wall on March 22, 2009
Video Frame Grab by Ralph

Today- 2009 KB's Bagel Lil Miss Molly Fund Raiser
All photos by Ralph


Today- 2009 This Week in New England. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. March 18-19-20, 2009.
All photos by RALPH

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Today- 2009 Brian Nevins Snowboard Madness
All photos by Brian Nevins


Today- 2009 New England Scenes
All photos by John Carden

Today- 2009 Cape Cod
All photos by Ron Stella


Today- 2009 West Coast Southern Cal Action

Today- 2009 NE Boys & Girls In Hawaii
All photos by Julia Nichols


Today- 2009 NE Boys & Girls In The Tropics
All photos by Ross Kunkel & Heather Day


Today 2009 PARTING SHOT- "Represent!"

(Above) Kalani lays it down with the "First EVER CR tat!"
Photo courtesy of Kalani


































































































































































































































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