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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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week from past weeks click here.

August 12th, 2007

Danny Miller
is gone. But this morning, at 10AM his family and friends paid a loving tribute to him that would of certainly warmed his heart. Lord knows it did mine.
About 100 of his friends and close family members came out on this beautiful Sunny Sunday, and honored him with a memorable Surfer's Paddle.

Memorial Paddles have become all to frequent as of the last 10 years or so, around these parts. While each and every one is a sad affair, it's always particularly sad, when someone as young as Danny Miller is taken away, before his time. As a surfer, it's hard to fathom. I mean surfers are not supposed to pass away. They are supposed to be young at heart, and surf forever. At least, that's what we all want to believe. Unfortunately, that is not case in the real world. In the real world, things don't always go according to plan.

The passing of Danny Miller, was a shock to the whole community last February. But none more so, than to his family and close circle of friends. It's been a tough 6 months. One can only imagine what they've been through. Our hearts are heavy, with the knowledge of their personal grief. But like all sad and tragic events, some good always seems to surface to alleviate the pain.

Today was one of those.

The surf community all came out together, and sealed that bond even stronger. Young and old alike. Male and female. Longboarders and shortboarders. They came to show their solidarity, to one of our own. And in doing so, they all became that much closer to each other, and to a greater extent, this sanctuary we all thrive in. The ocean.

Our Mother Ocean. She has given us the fountain of youth, and she has taken away, some of the best and brightest among us. Yet, we find no fault in her mystique and power. If we did, we would of all met somewhere else today. No, we all came together today to pay tribute Danny and to share our love with the same ocean that claimed his life.

I stood there today and looked around me, and wondered how many of the non surfers, could really grasp what this watery playground really means to all of us. How we've altered our lives, so we can find the time and energy to play in her vastness of power, and beauty. How we really are the closest to those, who feel and breathe the same.

I was proud of you all today. I was proud to be a surfer and more specifically, a New England surfer.

My friend Jeff Chamberlain who lives in Central California, is well versed in all aspects of this lifestyle of ours. And he is convinced, that there is no heartier a group of hardcore surfers than us. The New England Tribe.

And don't think for a minute we are not a tribe. Because we are. We have our old chieftains, who we seek advice from. We have our young warriors, who travel and perform brave acts in treacherous surf and conditions. We have our women, who now join us in our surf rituals. Oh, we're a tribe all right. No question about it. And like every tribe, we have the young, who are eager to learn.

Danny left behind a young son. Landon. He was there today with Danny's parents and Landon's mom. I know his parents and his brothers find solace when they look into Landon's eyes. It's hard not to see the resemblance. I watched young Landon take this all in today as he gazed out to sea and watched the waves break on the shore. He seemed intent, viewing the milling around of all these surfers. Did he know they were there for his dad? I don't have the right answer for that.

I do know, that someday he will know. He'll look at the photos, and video that were shot today, and he will see images of himself, and he may remember. Then again, he may not. That's not important now. What is important is what we all did today for Landon, for Danny, his brothers, his parents and other family members. For his close knit group of friends. For the surf community, for the reputation of surfers everywhere.

Surfers have been portrayed by the media as a bunch of lowlife losers, and by and large, the general public buys into that concept. Today, you proved them wrong. You showed everyone present, what surfers really are. They are thoughtful, caring, human beings who share the love and the respect of the ocean with one another.

I was proud to be a member of your tribe on this special day. A Day for Danny.


*To those who sent photos the last few weeks. I will be posting them soon. Today's column is all about this weekend. Thank you for being so understanding.

I'm being told that there is tropical activity again. I do know about that monster storm heading for the Hawaiian Islands. But there are rumors about our coast, and our windows of swell direction. Yet, I am reluctant to start the ritual. Ritual? What ritual you ask? Oh come on. The same dam ritual we all go through this time of year, whenever this shit pops up on the radar screen. The plotting and planning. Or should I say, the lying and scamming? Cause you all know dam well, them little white lies, will be flying out of your lying mouths to someone, when that first storm of the year gets closer to us. Your parents, your boss, your teacher, your coach...whoever.

You know what I'm talking about.

Hey, I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty here. Just pointing the obvious out to you. I'm guessing, that most of you have already, been found out about being a surfer and they (parents, bosses, girlfriends etc etc) are already hip to your BS. Lord knows they should be.

My advice to you all is simple: Wait until it's a given that the storm tracks right into our window, before you blow off work, school or whatever. Choose your lies wisely. Don't go blowing good, thought out lies, only to have them wasted on small surf. Be smart. Be patient. But not too patient, be smartly cautious. Look ahead, little grasshopper, try to see where, and when, the storm will go. And when you know for sure that there will be surf, email me, so I can join you.

So tonight is the grand finale of JOHN FROM CINCINNATI. I swear I will go through the roof if we don't find out just what the hell is going on there. That show is driving my family and friends crazy. Dam that show is whacked. And once again, Hollyweird is depicting surfers as a bunch of losers.

That pisses me off. Sure there are loser surfers, but dammit can't we get any respect for being somewhat normal, some of the time? You know what? Maybe, it's best that the general public thinks of surfers as lowlifes. Can you imagine if every mother and father looked at surfing the way they do, OH MY GOD! We'd all be in trouble.
That's it, I'm writing letters to the Hollyweird moguls and other media types and telling them that their depiction of surfers is right on the money. And that they ought to have more shows about loser surfers. Perfect.

Look I know it's preseason, but the Patriots didn't look like the SUPERBOWL Champs "they are supposed to be" this year. I mean, it was hot (118 degrees humidity) but dam, they looked slow, tired and miserable. We better see a little bit more this coming Friday otherwise, I'm gonna wait until the real season starts. I know that Pre Season is basically to see what the other players have brought to the table, and it's not really about the starters. Still, as a fan, we want to see that first quarter be a tad more productive.

Speaking of productive. Should we be concerned that the Yankees are sneaking up on the Red Sox? Anyone else worried about that?

And did anyone really care that Barry Bonds juiced his way into the record books last weeK? Anyone?

Before I forget again, my band BIG HANDSOME DADDY will be playing at 931 OCEAN in Hampton on Monday, August 13, 2007. From 8-10PM. Big Handsome Daddy (BHD) is a blues/rock based band that is heavily influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
If you dig the guitar driven blues sound of that genre, then check BHD out on Monday.

The Paddle for Danny Miller today should reawaken your commitment to helping out his young son. So if you haven't already, please send a little something for little Landon.

The Landon Miller Fund through ANY Citizen Bank. Or send your donation to:
The Landon Miller Foundation
83 South Road
North Hampton, NH 03862
Click below to see Danny Tribute or see Danny Surfing
Tribute to
Danny. North By Northeast

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



Yesterday 1977 The First Memorial Paddle in NH was for Joe.
(Below) Joe Somogyi passed away in 1978. This image was taken in 1977. Joe was a great guy. He was a good surfer.
And he named a lot of the breaks that you surf today. Our very first Surfer's Paddle was for Joe. We still miss him.
Photo courtesy of SFOD. Video Frame Grab R. Fatello

Today 2007 The following Photos are all from today's Memorial Paddle For
Danny Miller. The Wall Sunday August 12-2007

(Above) Danny's boards. Photo by: SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Pre-paddle sky. Photo by: SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Pre-paddle gathering. Photo by: SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Danny's boards and Danny's brother Sean.
Photo by: John Carden

(Above) The Tribe gathers on the beach as words about Danny are spoken.
Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Danny's Memorial. A water perspective. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Comforting words from a tribe elder. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Danny's Memorial. The pulled back water angle. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Danny's Paddle. Sean Miller and others listen and remember. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Danny's Memorial Paddle. The tribe launches from the beach. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) And so it begins. The paddle for Danny. Photo by: Debbie Crowley

(Above) Danny's Paddle. The unique water angle of the impressive paddle. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Paddle for Danny. They came from every where this day. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) The swell suddenly subsided and allowed the paddlers an easy paddle. Photo by: Debbie Crowley

(Above) Joe Carter paddles for a friend. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Men and women. Young and old. They came to show their love and respect. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Danny's Memorial Paddle was open to all. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) The Hawaiian spirit was present with the local Aloha Canoe. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Then the circle was formed. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) And more words were spoken. Danny's spirit was being felt by all. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Danny's brother and best friend Sean tosses the Lei...and everyone hoots! Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) And on the beach Danny's son Landon hears the hoots for his dad. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Danny's spirit lives on at 10th Street. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Danny's blue skies. Check out the sky. You can't make this stuff up. Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Somewhere in heaven, a young surfer smiles. . Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) Danny's friends. Photo by: courtesy of Brian Nevins

(Above) And then Danny's friends went surfing. Mike Moran styling for Danny. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) If it looks warm, that's because it was. Lenny gets one for Danny. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Kai Nichols following dad's tracks. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) It was clean and green after the Memorial. Jill finds a glassy right. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Danny's buddy Mike Moran having fun. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Mackey Mullet leans into a warm glassy right hander. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Mackey Mullet happy about his new look. Photo by: John Carden

(Above) Everyone seemed to like Mackey's mullet. You know Danny would be laughing at this.
Photo by: Brian Nevins

(Above) After everyone left...around 12:30 in the afternoon this unusual occurrence happened in the sky.
Danny's friend Julia Nichols snapped this photo with her cellphone over 10th street.
Look at this photo..."Earth's Cry...Heaven's Smile."
Photo by: Julia Nichols

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 Papa Ooh Maw Maw

(Above) Bob McNeil, Paul Hamblet and Vince at the Summer Pre paddle party. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Nohea and Steve.. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) There's that dam Mullet again... Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Kings Highway jamming.... Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) The Savastanos...make it happen 23 years running. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 Parting Shot...Starting off on the wrong foot

(Above) Mike Moran's feet with someone else's foot out the back. Photo by: John Carden
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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