This has got to be one of the craziest weeks in our local and national
history. Where to start? I guess we start at the beginning of the week.
Sunday April 15th. The wind started to howl and the skies darkened.
The surf came up overnight and stuck around for 7 days. In fact, there's
still surf today. Granted, it's nothing great, but it's surf. The Marathon
Monday/Patriots Day Swell rivaled all the big name storms that came
before it. The Blizzard of '78, The Halloween Storm of '91...it
was right up there with the best of them. As far as wave size and ocean
damage, it was on par with the big boys. Don't know where you were during
the height of the storm on Monday, but I can tell you first hand.
It was impressive. How impressive?
Well let me share a story with you all.
Knowing that surfing on Monday might be a bit hectic, I opted for
getting some memorable surf footage. I shot during the Halloween storm
of 1991 and got some great stuff on tape. Kenny and Kevin
called me that morning to tell me to try and get to Kenny's house
to shoot from the inside and dry safety of Kenny's home. Well,
long story short. By the time I got moving down my street to the beach
(2 hours before High Tide), they started to redirect traffic. Dam. I had
to move parallel to the ocean and take a side street to reach my destination.
This was around 9:00AM.
I could tell by the amount of tree limbs and branches flying about that
this was going to be something. I ended up on the high ground of Rte111
overlooking the ocean. I stepped out of my vehicle and shot some footage
from that high point and got some impressive wave footage as well as some
great action footage. What kind of action? Waves hitting homes. Waves
hitting vehicles and spinning them around. I even have footage of a wave
hitting a small compact vehicle and slamming it into a telephone pole.
I was giddy with excitement. But I wanted more.
I needed to get closer. Now those who know me, know that I have some reasonable
sense about the ocean and it's dangers. Lord knows I've had my share of
close calls in my younger days. But I've since matured (somewhat), being
married with three children and all. My risk taking days are basically
behind me. I'm embarrassed to say, my common sense skills were not working
I parked my vehicle up on higher ground and made my way across Ocean
Blvd and into the abyss. There were no blockades up yet. The National
Guard had yet to arrive as well. I was on my own, under my own supervision.
Or was it 'Stupidvision?'
I ran out in front of the soaking fish shacks and cottages that were taking
a beating from the pounding surf. It was madness out there. The sound
of the ocean's fury coupled with that stinging rain was lighting up all
my senses. My heart was pounding with excitement. It was intense.
I had both of my cameras with me, and my main concern was to try and keep
them dry. Turns out, that was next to impossible. I remember asking Kevin
earlier if I should grab my other video camera and housing. I don't recall
his answer. Not that it made any difference now. I had my good camera,
my trusty GL1 with no protection.
I was faced with a 50 yard window to run a gauntlet style path
to safety. I wanted the action footage and I got it. The ocean appeared
to be burping and heaving as the water level was way beyond anything normal.
And this was 2 hours before high tide. I ran through foam that was waist
high. With the buildings a mere two yards to my right, and the raging
ocean a mere 10 yards to my left, I ran shooting as I zig zagged through
Then I heard a loud thump.
I turned to see a wall of whitewater 20' high rise up out of the
sea and unload on me. The force of the wave slammed me face first up against
the cottage. I tried to keep my cameras dry by covering them with my body.
By the time the water receded I was down and actually getting sucked under
the building. The water was rushing under the cottages and rushing out
into the street. I cursed my self and this absurd situation. When suddenly,
another wave came and hit me. Adding insult to injury. I managed to free
myself and pick myself up. I ran to the open parking lot that was being
rained on by huge rocks and boulders. I stood there soaking wet and numb.
I was panicked thinking I had killed my camera. My GL 1...my livelihood.
What was I thinking? I placed my cameras under my soaking wet jacket and
made my way through the parking lot that had turned into a river.
A Friend of mine who is a Police Officer drove by and saw me standing
there. He rolled his window down and had this look of total, incredulous,
I shook my head and shrugged my shoulders. What else needed to be said?
I had messed up in more ways than I care to think about. Was I in danger
of drowning? No. Well...I guess I could of if I got stuck under the
house. But later as I drove back around the seacoast towns assessing
the damage, I realized that I was in real danger of being hit by one
of those massive boulders or huge driftwood logs that slammed into all
those homes. That's when the lights went on in my head. What if I had
one of my kids with me? I was taking chances trying to get footage for
a surf movie. Was it worth it? Well, turns out, my camera seems to be
working. I had taken it back to my office and bathed it in warm water
and dried it pretty good. It's the salt water that kills those things
more than anything.
Saltwater and sand. But so far, so good.
But yea, it was worth it. I shot some impressive video.
Then I went home and got into some dry clothes and turned on the news.
That's when I first caught wind of the VT shooting. Like I said.
That day was Madness. The Ocean's fury and the Evil Fury in Virginia.
I'm not going to waste time elaborating on this crime. There's been
more than enough coverage on the whole thing. I will say that, once
again Evil has shown up in our country. I've said this a hundred times
before. There is Evil in this world. There is Good and there is Evil.
The good news is, there are more good people, than there are bad.
I feel bad for all of the victim's families and friends. If you have
room on your prayer list, say a prayer for them.
The week was not all doom and gloom. The surf hung around for days on
end. I mean, there was still surf today! Granted it was not all-time,
but clearly, there was surf.
Seven days of surf. In April? You have to love that. And the
water seems to be getting warmer too. My winter suit is officially retired
for the season. I felt loose as a goose in my 4/3 although I
still had my hood at the ready when I needed it. Usually paddling back
out I'd slip it over my head. I did get a couple of waves on my exposed
cranium that caused the proverbial "Ice cream" headache.
The warm water also opened the flood gates to the bizarre and unusual.
Huh? You know, a couple of days of sun and surf and you have the early
markings of Summer Madness. I saw a guy in the water today with no hood,
no gloves and...NO BOOTS! I had to tell him to get his ass down to the
shop and pick up a pair of each. He seemed to agree. Let's hope so....or
Last week I complained openly about American Idol and the contestant
from wackworld Sanjaya. Well, I am happy to report that the Idol
Voters have awakened from their mean and hurtful vein and voted
that fool out on his ass. I mean, that boy was about to drive me crazy.
I know I'm not alone. There are many of us out there who are pleased
to see this freak back where he belongs. Hanging out with Michael
Jackson at Neverland.
The Red Sox beat the Yankees two days in a row. The Red
Sox Nation are all a giddy. They play game 3 tonight. Be
nice to sweep the dreaded Yanks. Keep yer fingers crossed.
And before I forget. Put May 11-13 on your calendars. Why? Those
are the dates of the ESA-NNE Regional Surf Contest. Yea so what's
that got to do with us you ask? Well, the Regionals are being
hosted by the local branch of the ESA...NNE (Northern New
England) . In Other words, the local boys and girls are hosting
this event right here in Hampton. Now, I don't know how many
of you have ever seen a surf contest of this level, but I will say this.
Some of those Jersey and New York boys (and girls) can
surf their asses off. I mean those guys rip. Trust me, it's worth seeing.
This will all take place (hopefully if there's surf) at the Wall...10th
St. The show is coming to town.
Check it out... www.esa-nne.org
Oh and one more thing. Some of you may have noticed me sitting in the
passenger seat of my Jeep recently while checking the surf. The
reason? Mackey V is old enough to start driving...he's 15.5
(sounds like a movie title) and I've been teaching him how to drive.
I've only had to cuff him a few times so far. He's slightly erratic
behind the wheel...Lord help me. Give me the strength.
Remember The Danny Miller Foundation.
Donations for Late Surfer Danny Miller's young son can be made to
The Landon Miller Fund through ANY Citizen Bank.
Or send your donation to:
The Landon Miller Foundation
83 South Road
North Hampton, NH 03862
below to see Danny Tribute or see Danny Surfing
Tribute to Danny.
North By Northeast
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.