August 14th, 2005

We've had so much surf this summer, I'm starting to lose track of where they're all coming from. If someone knows where this last batch of (Thursday, Friday & Saturday's) waist to chest high waves came from, please let me know. I do know however, that there should be a decent swell from Irene in the next few days. And I do mean decent. Take your pick in New England and you should find waves. Mostly, South Facing beaches at first and then...well you get the picture. Or rather, I hope you get the picture and send it to me so we can all see 'em and get jealous.

The water temps once again fluctuated between; too dam cold to not so bad. Wha? You want numbers? Use your imagination. Put it this way, it was your typical summer water temps. The heat and humidity has been harsh this week as well. I'm not a big fan of the heavy humidity. I don't know many people who are. Do you? It just saps the life out of you.

We had some oily glassy conditions this week too. Some days looked a lot like those Southern Cal photos you see of those semi foggy/smoggy pics from the Left Coast. In fact, we have had a house guest staying with us the last 2 weeks who now lives in Southern Cal and he was commenting about the glassy conditions. He had the typical West Coast comment of..."I didn't know New Hampshire got this Glassy!" I just smile when I hear this kind of stuff. I mean, here it is 2005, and some people still don't get it. They don't get the fact that, we have all kinds of world class waves and conditions during four distinct seasons. Including our current Summer Season. The summer season by the way, that may just end up being one of our best ever. That would be nice.
My point is, we get glassy conditions. You know it. I know it. But apparently, not everyone knows it.

I do know, that we're going to get some real good conditions in a few days. So stay tuned kids...and start Screaming for Irene!

The third ESA-NNE contest of the season just went off without a hitch (almost) this weekend at the Wall at North Beach. The age old problem of having a contest at the Wall during a Summer weekend is going to cause someone, somewhere to get upset. It's usually, the non-competitors who have problems. You see, for those of you who don't know, running a contest at 10th Street means, that from Jetty to Jetty, only those in the contest can surf there. For everyone else, it's OFF limits.
Therein lies the friction for dissent. Most times, the non competitors adhere to these rules and paddle away. Sometimes, they do not. And as a result, words get tossed out that really shouldn't, Feelings get hurt and the next thing you know, there's a bad vibe in the air. I suppose the non-competitors feel they have as much right to surf as the contestants. Well, they do. Just not in the small designated area for the contest. It's not that big of a deal moving down the line. Thank God the Lifeguards have been so good to us all Summer by opening up the Surfing Area. Otherwise, we'd have ourselves a massive problem.

You know, I've mentioned before, that I've never entered a Surf Contest in my life. However, I've also stated that, I think and believe, that the environment that these contests create, have been for the most part, a good, clean, positive beach scene for these young surfers.
I've seen it first hand. I'm watching these kids bond before my eyes as they hang around with each other all day encouraging each other throughout the day. Aside from the actual award ceremony, the vibe is nothing but upbeat all day long. So...what am I trying to sell you here? Nothing. Except, if you have young surfers in your family, you wouldn't be doing them any harm by having them get involved with the ESA-NNE. Besides, how bad can it be? Surfing perfect waves with just 5 other people in the water? Who cares who wins. You're surfing in less crowded conditions all day.
Are you kidding me? No wonder the Pros surf in contests. Can you imagine surfing Pipeline, Chopes or Sunset with just two or three guys out? Hello? Where do I sign up?

You don't have to be a Math wizard to figure out those numbers. Twenty minutes in perfect surf. Just you and 4 of your friends...that's the ESA.

Got good surf pics? Send em off to me directly.
(See link below) Just make sure they're NOT huge files.
In fact if you have any questions about the size, email
me first and I'll write back.
Start shooting crackie!!

Ralph Pic Of The Week

If you want to access the Pic of the week from past weeks click here. Archives

Yesterday 1950's USCG Drills at North Beach
My guess is these guys were having the times of their lives running this drill. You don't have to be a surfer to get this feeling. That's a "DUCK" Boat. It was used in WWII and the Old Coast Guard Station (across from Cinnamon Rainbows) had a few on hand for water rescues. Look at the glassy waves. Now think about this. When this photo was taken back in the 50's, NO ONE WAS SURFING around here. Where's the dam Time Machine?

Photo courtesy of Hampton Public Library

Looks like the SOX are back on track again. And it looks like The PATS have NOT skipped a beat since the last time we saw them in the Superbowl. In fact, the NEW QB Matt Cassel looked like a young Tom Brady. My guess is, Rohan Davey may be hitting the road. It's a cruel world the NFL. Or as they say...the NFL stands for "Not For Long". You hockey fans should be happy now that the NHL is back on track. I'm happy for you.

Some of you know that I play guitar. I love playing the blues and blues/rock. Well, I'm going to suggest to some of you to check out this guitar player from NYC named Joe Bonamasso. If you like Stevie Ray Vaughan and the blues/rock sound of that style of music, than pick up his CD entitled Blues Deluxe. You won't be sorry. Joe smokes on both the guitar and his gritty vocals.

OK kids, it's time for the 9th Summer Installment of:
"Ralph's Tip of the Week".
The last 8 weeks we've talked about Holding On To
Your Board,
Paddling Common Sense, DROPPING IN, Knowing a Left From a Right, How To Use That Leash, How To Wax Your Board, HOW TO TALK TO A LOCAL
HOW TO GET BARRELED. See archives for past Tips.
This week's Tip Which Board Is Best For You?
It has occurred to me over the last few weeks that I might be doing the community a favor by putting these TIPS into some kind of handbook that the local Shops could hand out with every rental. You know, like some kind of a Surf Tip Handbook. Heck, I'd even do illustrations. You know, kind of like those Wilbur Kookmeyer drawings you see in SURFER magazine. . I'd make sure they were plenty detailed and humorous. Who knows, it may help someone from getting hurt. I'd be doing a community service. What do you guys think? Let me know.
OK back to my TIP of THE WEEK.
Which board is best for you? You more experienced Surfers need not read this. You already know which board you should be riding. (Although, I've seen some of you on the wrong board.) I want to start by saying, EVERY Shop I know, has MORE than enough skilled employees to set you up with the right board. And I know of NO shop, who would ever sell you a board that was NOT right for you, just to make a sale. So having said that, let's take a good look at ourselves.
How experienced are you? What is your age? How often do you surf? Where and what kinds of waves do you surf?
1. If you're a beginner. You should not be on some tricked-out flyweight board that was meant for some Grom who's launching airs all day. You need a board that can do the following: Float you. That you can paddle. And ultimately Catch waves. won't kill you if it hits you, or someone else. Like me. It may be a longboard you're looking for, or what is known as a "Fun Shape". Most of the beginner boards today are made with soft tops. So when (not if) you fall face first on the deck, you get to keep your teeth. Keeping your teeth is a good thing. Like for eating.
Again, talk to a Shop person. THEY WILL HELP YOU FIND THE PERFECT BOARD FOR YOU. Don't just walk into a shop and buy a board off the rack if you know little or nothing about surfing. Do us all a favor and ask someone to help you.

2. If you're a Experienced Surfer. I'd seriously suggest talking to both your peers and a shaper as well as a Shop guru. Let's face it. If you're serious about your surfing, you should have more than one board. There's too many different conditions, and in our neck of the woods different seasons to deal with. Don't think for a moment that most of us ride the same boards in the summer as we do in the winter. Hardly. You need to keep an open mind when it comes to adding boards to your quiver. Talk to the right people. Take your time to think about what and where you want a new board to take you.
Every well rounded Surfer should have in his quiver the basic three types of boards:
1. Longboard. 2. Shortboard. 3. Big Wave board. Most of my friends have many variations of all three. But those are your basic three. If you have these three boards that can get you through a typical New England year, then you're on your way to finding the perfect
quiver. Good luck.

Next week's Tip: Wet suits. Which one is best For You?

As always my friends...
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Click On Wave to Go Back to The Top.

Today 2005. Two Summer Surfers at North Beach
This is Alex and Lars goofing on all of us. They are both good surfers who are about to move to Hawaii. Although we'll miss them both, it's hard to feel bad for them. I mean Hawaii? You boys be sure to send us photos so I keep the public informed of your surf antics. Lars said he's going to send me a video of himself dropping in on Kelly Slater at Pipeline. I can't wait to see it. Have a safe trip guys and we'll see you when you come home for annual visits. Aloha.
Video Frame Grabs by SFOD from the upcoming Fall Release SUMMER 05

This sequence of Alex is from last week.
Video Frame Grabs by SFOD from the upcoming Fall Release SUMMER 05

Here's Lars from yesterday's Contest. Lars was eating up every heat he was in and having a blast. Here we see the lad cross stepping his way to glory.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

This is Mitch Repucci from York Maine. Mitch has been killing it in the Boys Longboard Division all year. He's a good kid and his dad John is a longtime New England surfer and a good friend.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Below) is Chip Thompson the local Pastor who surfs. Chip is a great guy and a fair judge for the local ESA-NNE district. Chip's also a good surfer. Here he is between judging heats and praising the good word of the Lord. God bless you and your family Chip. (And I hope you NEVER starve in the winter).
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2005 Bob McNeil Still Standing and Surfing Since 1964
Every now and then, it's good to throw out a compliment to those who work behind the local surf scenes. Bob McNeil is one of those people. Bob's been surfing since 1964 (and he can still surf) and has been working his butt off helping out with local ESA contests as long as I can remember.
Photos by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2005 Setting Up Camp Westie Style
Surf Adventures vary from Coast to Coast. My buddy Jeff is a stickler for getting in and out of some of the most fickle breaks on the West Coast. This was one of those times. I have no idea where this is, and Jeff won't tell me. Which is fine with me. It's all part of the mystique of Surfing.
Photo by Jeff Chamberlain

Today 2005 Panama Pete
I don't know who Pete is or where in Panama this was shot. All I know for sure is, he's a friend of Dave and Cinnamon Rainbows and this is one fun looking wave.
Photo courtesy of Peter Conway

Today 2005 Watch Out For Tony The Tiger (Shark)
They hauled this monster out from the waters off of Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket. This baby weighed in around 1,200lbs. Tiger Sharks this far North? How come I didn't know about this? I knew we had Great White's but I swear I did not know that Tiger's came this far North. we all know. Not that we can do anything about it. I guess it's just one more reason to be uptight in the water. Man...Tiger's in New England?
Photo courtesy of AP

Today 2005 Tropical Storm Irene