We talked about mind surfing waves, and looking at old photos of our ourselves, and friends. It takes us right back to those glorious days. When we were all young, and healthy. Before cancer. Before drugs and alcohol. Before the hands of time caught up to all of us. Those old photos and videos, help us remember. I remember it all. And so does Allen.
photo Ron Freeman
I’ve known Allen Bigbee since the early 70’s. Even though, we more than likely have surfed together since 1966. I say ’66, because that’s the year Allen started surfing. Allen will be turning 70 in January of 2023. So he’s been surfing for 57 years (59 years for me), and we have clearly surfed the same breaks in New England. And it’s important to point out that these LOCAL LEGEND Blogs are all about the Northern New England surfers. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Why not Rhode Island Ralph? My answer is, they have their own tribe down there. And they get plenty of coverage. Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Sid and Pan and the rest of the Rhoady boys and girls. But those guys live in the tropics compared to what we deal with. No sir, we are talking about Northern New England.
Allen Bigbee was born in 1953. He lived in Dracut Mass and like most youngsters whose parents loved the Atlantic ocean, they found their way up north. Allen first caught wind of surfing by watching the HUNTINGTON BEACH SURF Contest on WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS on a Black and White TV. He was freaked out by it and wanted to try it in the worse way. The summer of 1966 Allen tried surfing for the first time at of all places, Hampton Beach. No NOT North Beach (The Wall) but Hampton Beach. The main beach. His parents let him try surfing at the southern most end of the main Beach one August morning. The waves were only knee high at best, but it was big enough to move the scrawny little Allen along and have him feel that sensation that so many of us have felt for the first time. The riding along on a piece of foam and fiberglass, on top of living liquid matter, sent shock waves into young Bigbee. Unlike many of us, he was able to stand up his first time surfing. Suffice it to say Allen was stoked. And well, he was all in after that first wave.
Allen would hitchhike to Hampton at every free moment. He didn’t have his own vehicle so he did what was very popular back in those days. He hitched hiked. I laughed when he told me this because I did the same thing. We all did. In fact, I bet that the last 9 Local Legends I have interviewed, would all agree that they too had hitch hiked. It was our only way of getting to and from places. Stick your thumb out and hope that somebody stopped for you. He did not play school sports (like most surfers back then) he had found the only sport that mattered. Surfing.
And as all you surfers will agree, once you have tasted the salt water and felt the sensation of riding waves, you are going to do whatever it takes to get you back to that place where you can catch waves and ride with your friends. And everything else would fall by the wayside. And I do mean everything. Allen was no different. Girlfriends/boyfriends, holidays, meetings, special occasions, you name it. If the surf came up, when any of these things were happening? Well, surfing always won that coin toss. Allen was no different. In fact, in the summer of 1970 Allen missed his own High School Graduation because there was surf, and he was late hitch hiking back to Dracut, MA from Hampton because there was surf. Broke his parent’s hearts. “I remember getting dropped off at the High School, only to find out that I had missed the entire graduation.” He told me.
They never got over it. But Allen did. Because just a few weeks later, he was on his way to California to spend the rest of his life pursuing the art of riding waves. Because Allen Bigbee is a surfer. Plain and simple. He's a Surfer.
Photo by Jerry Law.
I think I know a thing or two about style and ability when it comes to riding waves. I’ve seen and documented some of the best surfers in the world since 1964, and I can tell you all, that Allen was one of the most stylish longboarders I had ever seen in person. He had/has grace a style that can’t be taught. He was a natural regular foot, who knew how to drop into a wave, pull off a nice bottom turn, and them project himself up and into the pocket, where he would casually pull up and into the tube, and then exit smoothly, only to do a smooth cutback, and then walk to the nose, cross stepping all the way to the nose, and cross stepping back to the tail, before gracefully kicking out. And he did all this without wearing a leash.
Allen has rarely used a leash in all the years he has been surfing. Truth.
And he has surfed all over the place. Up and down the East Coast and West Coast. Baja, Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. His early years in Hampton he surfed on Randy Radkay’s Surf Team and the PCSC. His early surf brothers were Michal Van Doren, Steve “Neddie” Nelson, Paul Linstrom, Jay Hammer, Chris Casey, Robin Rowell, Kevin Grondin, Greg Smith, Joe Somogyi, Eddie Conare, myself, and so many more.
When I asked what and where were the biggest waves he has ever surfed he said SWAMI’s in California at 15’. Which translates to 20’ plus faces. He was riding a 9’ 6” Gordie. His worse wipeout was at Maria’s where he almost drowned. And his favorite waves are at Dogman’s and Rincon (California), the Rocks, and of course The Rivermouth.
Somewhere along the journey, he married Sandy and they have one son, Matt. He eventually ended up meeting and marrying a local artist, Claire. He lives in Ogunquit Maine and he has been a very successful master carpenter. I mean, he is a true artist when it comes to his woodworking skills. His talents are sought after both here and on the West Coast.
Allen is also one of the nicest individuals I have ever met. His compassion and love for the surfers we have lost over the years is pretty evident. From Michael Van Doren, to Greg Smith, to Robin Rowell. He also knew the late Neddie very well, and the late Joe Somogyi. He has a special place in his heart for all of them. As he does his faithful canine companions. I remember his beloved Woody. In fact, I have old super 8mm movies of Woody.
When I asked him if he still surfs at 70, he told me his health has gone through some serious changes as of late. With his bad back and hips keeping him from riding and paddling a longboard, his only time in the water these days is on a SUP. But he told me that he will paddle out if the surf is small and clean and catch a few on his SUP. When he said that to me I told him, “Allen if you’re riding waves on a SUP you are essentially still surfing.” He looked at me and paused before admitting, “Yeah I guess you’d call that surfing.” To which I said “Allen if you are riding on a wave on a craft that is shaped like a surfboard guess what? That’s surfing!” He looked at me and smiled. And when he did, I could see a spark ignite in his eyes.
He told me he still lives and dreams about surfing. Of course, all of us old surfers do that. It’s in our DNA. Whether we want it, or not. It’s who we are. It’s part of our very soul. It’s part of God’s plans. Allen has always had a special relationship with the Lord. He is a good place spiritually. And his love of surfing and his fellow surfers is a direct result of that love of Jesus.
And if I close my eyes and use my imagination, I can still picture Allen with his unique and creative stances, flying along on a well groomed wave at the Rocks, or seeing him streak across a big section at the River. Allen, out there all alone. Bobbing in the lineup. Waiting for that big set wave. Waiting, with the Lord at his side. Life is good for Allen Bigbee. Life is very good. There's a whole gallery of Allen Bigbee's surfing life down in the photo section. He's also featured in the YESTERDAY section and...The BLATANT DROP IN OF THE WEEK. Be sure to read that one. It's pretty funny.
"SERVING THE LORD AND SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
Mikey Moran on a wave of significance at the Wall in November of 2008. Mikey always surfs without a leash. He was and still is to many of us, the ultimate longboarder. He has always surfed with grace and style and would surf any size and any conditions on his longboard. Mikey is in the video at the top of this page. OCTOBER GOLD. There's like three waves of his in the video. And his style and knowledge of the longboard is still very evident. And Ed knew that to train his lens on Mikey, he was always gonna get something good. 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 True Holiday Season is upon us. And that means Joy and Celebration. My friends The FOOLS are playing on Saturday November 26th, 2022. If you have never seen the FOOLS you owe it to yourself to see them. They are a GREAT Rock and Roll band that will have you smiling and laughing all night long. And really, isn't that what we all need? Hell yes it is. Go See 'em!
THE PATRIOTS are now 6-5 for the season.
They beat the JETS 10-3 thanks to Marcus Jones returning a kick off at the 16 yard line for a stunning TD with just 26 seconds on the clock. The game had been tied 3-3 for what seemed like an eternity. Nobody and I mean nobody saw this coming. It was windy and cold at Gilette as both teams battled it out in a defensive match on both sides of the ball.
The other Jones (Mac ) played good enough to win. He completed 23 out of 27 passes for over 200 yards but was also sacked 6 times. Zac Wilson QB for the JETS was actually worse. The JETS have now lost 14 consecutive games against the Patriots. Ouch. But the REAL bummer is, we lost Dave Andrews our center and the Backbone of the entire O line. That is gonna hurt. And we have a short week.
We're playing the VIKINGS on Thanksgiving Night. Ugh. But hold on just a second. The VIKINGS lost to the COWBOYS today 40-3. Ouchie wa wa. That has got to hurt. Regardless, the Pats are back in it.
Run Marcus Run! Don't Look Back! Keep running Marcus!
PIONEERS SAVES CINNAMON RAINBOWS
THANK YOU ALL WHO MADE SUCH GENEROUS DONATIONS BY HELPING CINNAMON RAINBOWS.
*Click on the photo above to make a donation
The HISTORY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE SURFING DOCUMENTARY. 58 years in the making.
This should be ready by next Spring/Early Fall 2023. This has been 58 years in the making.
Dave Chappelle was brilliant on SNL last week. I think he's one of the most prolific comics of our times. POTATO HOLE? Google it and prepare to be very surprised at what it really means.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
So we all know about Taylor Swift and the debacle of her ticket sales through Ticketmaster. Well, Ole Khaliddy was just as upset as those crying teenage girls we have been seeing on the news. Turns out that Khaliddy had bought tickets to her THE ERAS TOUR only to find out that his tickets were VOIDED. Suffice it to say that the Sheik was beside himself. He went crazy at GITMO when the guards told him he would not be going to see his idol. It's no secret that KSM has a huge crush on Taylor. He has several Taylor Swift Posters in his cell next to his CAMEL OF THE MONTH Calendar. I was thinking of starting a GoFundMe page for the Sheik to be able to buy one of those $20K tickets but then i remembered that KSM is a scumbag Terrorist who isn't deserving of anything. Including a Taylor Swift concert.
Sorry Sheiky. Have a nice Thanksgiving at GITMO.
Please pass the Goat Cheese.
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 used TAYLOR SWIFT CD's at Home Depot this week.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL!
BEST OF LUCK TO CINNAMON RAINBOWS WHEN THEY MOVE INTO THE OLD PIONEERS BOARD SHOP!
GET WELL SOON Dave "CROP" Cropper!
GET WELL SOON Ryan Jackson NH2O!
Please keep local surfer Mike Keefe in your thoughts and prayers in the next few months. Keep fighting
Please keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers. SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS!
Please Keep local surfer Bill M. in your thoughts and prayers.
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.