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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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

August 26th, 2007

There are moments in my surfing, when I seem to get a burst of adrenaline and energy, that seems to come from somewhere deep in my past. Like some, caked up residue, that breaks loose from my brain and settles into my current state of reality. In other words, sometimes I do and try things on my craft that I really shouldn't. Well, at least for my age. I know there are plenty of surfers both on the local level, and beyond, that are doing things on surfboards that are just mind boggling. That's not me. My surfing nowadays, are reserved to doing smooth (but stylish) turns and cutties, head dips, and the occasional lip bash. There are no AIRS in my repertoire, or the flying through the air drop floaters. At least not any more.

Those days are behind me. Way behind me...

Or so I thought. This past week we had ourselves a late summer swell that capped out around chest to head high. Not bad for a late summer run. Still, it's not the first big Hurri swell that we are all waiting for. It was and is (there's still surf today) a fun week for cutting loose. Although the water temps did drop. And drop considerably I might add. Still it was fun to see and surf with all my friends. It was like a dam class reunion out there. I had been shooting video from the water earlier in the day and had been dying to get some waves of my own.

I grabbed my Retro Fish out of the garage on Friday afternoon and headed out to join the throngs. That Fish is 6'4" and as thick as a brick. Dam near 4" thick to be exact. Dave Cropper handed it to me a year ago and said to try it out. I've really only had a few good days on it. The Big Red Fish is more of a board that gets me into waves earlier, due to the thickness. As far as it being functional, well, I don't think it is. At least not for me. But for some dam reason, I find myself riding it every now and then. Last Friday was one of those moments.

We were all out at that real popular spot called the Wall. Perhaps you've heard of it? It was congested. Shortboarders, Longboarders, Boogieboarders and the occasional swimmer. The sets were coming through about chest high. The dialogue was entertaining out there. And there was a constant stream of ribbing each other. I don't know why some of my friends have to be so dam hurtful. But they are.

Any way, a set popped up on the high tide sandbar and this little gem of a peak came right to me. Giddy with delight, I spun the Red Fish and popped into the wave with ease. I don't think I paddled more than once to catch it. I was into that wave in one swift move.

The right was lining up perfectly for me, and it was an easy decision to weave my way through the congested lineup as I quickly started to gain speed. I snapped off a quick salute (as I do every session on the best wave of my go out) then drove into the upcoming inside section. (This is where I tie in the beginning of this column). Faster and faster the Red Fish went. Then I gave two or three mini pumps to get the thing moving even faster.

Suddenly, up ahead, a section was fast approaching that I would of recognized years earlier. The perfect section to launch a "Ride The Roof" Floater. Was I really going to attempt this? I asked myself. Was I really going to launch my tired old bones into a potential lip launching Floater? What if I fell? And let me tell you kids, that possibility was way up on that ladder. Still I kept up the momentum. I heard a hoot or two. "Dam" I thought to myself, "there's no turning back now". Once someone hoots, you have to commit. It's like, when your the only one sitting outside when a big set comes. And everyone starts hooting. If you don't go, it's nothing but shame and catcalls. Same thing here. I had to go.

I was committed to this Floater. I pumped one last time and launched the Big Red Fish along the roof of the wave. My speed was carrying me far enough across the section that I actually felt comfortable. In fact, I didn't just feel comfortable. I felt young and alive again. It was like I had rolled back the clock and it was 20 years ago. The speed, the hoots, the excitement, it was all swirling in my head as I came back down for the landing.

And how about that landing?

I landed in the shorebreak in about 12 inches of water. I landed so hard that my teeth cracked. I had hit the sand and was thrown back off my board and hit my back. I felt like I knocked 10 years off my life. Which is not bad, because, I had just told you all, that I had gained
20 years on the initial launching.

So the way I look at it ...I netted 10 years.

A big Happy Birthday to little Veda Day Cropper. The little Surfer Girl turned two this past week. It's hard to believe that all these little surf babies are growing up so fast. What am I talking about? It's happened to all of us. Enjoy them while you can. They'll be driving vehicles before you know it and worse, they'll be dropping in on you out in the water. All you surfers who read this every week who have young children might want to check out our annual surf party for families. SURF FAMILY ROBINSON. It's been 16 consecutive years now. Check it out. Saturday, September 1st, 2007...

The local ESA District NNE run by director Lenny Nichols and family had their 4th contest of the summer at the Wall this past Saturday. It was well attended by the local competitors from Mass, NH and Maine. The surf was great for contest surfing too. I mean isn't that what anyone wants for a surf contest? Surf. It was that and more.

Everyone was happy.

Except maybe a few non-competitors who drifted into he contest line-up. Still, this time of the year is the best. Why? Well the Lifeguards are gone and that opens it up for all of us. That long stretch of cement can hold quite a few surfers if you really think about it.

It did on Saturday during the contest.

I have not seen the weather in a few days so I don't know what's cooking in the tropics. I do know that we've had waves for about 4 days now. And even though the water got colder it was still some late summer fun. But summer is leaving kids. I've seen the signs. We've all seen the signs. I watched and shook my head as several flights of Cormorants headed south. I tried yelling at them to turn back, but they ignored me. And as I was rinsing out my wetsuit tonight I heard a sound that startled me.

Leaves were blowing up my street. Dead leaves. Red, orange and brown. It looked like Fall. I almost called the kids out to check it out. But thought that might be too cruel. After all, they are going back to school this coming week. Which is, in itself, a tragedy. I mean really....

NO Kid should have to go back to school in August. I'm sorry, but that's wrong. It should always be after Labor Day. August and school? Homey don't play that game. I just don't buy into it. I feel bad for the kids.

But then again...all those kids back in school could be a God send if a swell hits during the week. Think about it. In fact, now that I am thinking more like an adult, and not a child, they should go back to school after the 4th of July.

Those kids need to learn stuff.

Get out of the lineup and get back in school. I'm kidding. I do wish you'd all stick around until the first week of September. And then head back to the school grind.

This past weekend was the Cinnamon Rainbows Surf shop Midnite Madness sale. And, it was, by all indications a HUGE success. So, on behalf of the shop and all those who work here, a BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALL For your continued support.

The Red Sox are 7.5 games up on the Yankees. I would not be too concerned. The Patriots looked real good on Friday. It was quite the clinic on running the ball and throwing the ball. Laurence Maroney was a welcome addition to the backfield. In fact, he carried the ball 9 times in a row on Friday.

The Paddle for Danny Miller 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 1973 Is that Kevin or Kody Grondin?
(Below) I don't know how many of you know Kevin Grondin, but I'm guessing quite a few of you do. If you know
his son Kody, you might think that's Kody standing there on the right. It's not. This is a pic of young Kevin and
Ric Aho. They were surf buddies down in Florida along with Lenny Nichols. Ric used to make boards for NOMAD.
Lord knows I had a few myself. Any ways, this is a look back at the Summer of 73.
Photo courtesy of The Grondins

Today 2007 This Photo was SHOT TODAY

(Above) I shot this photo this morning. Still looked fun to me. It was because I went right out after and caught some
fun little cold peaks my dam self. Check out the wrays of light. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 These Photos were SHOT Saturday and Friday

(Above) I shot this last night at the Madness. Crop still smiling his way through the Madness.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Same with Phil. The end of summer tradition lives at Cinnamon Rainbows.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) The boys working the surfboard room.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) The Billabong crew was on hand to show the latest surf flicks on the outdoor screen.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Saturday Morning before the contest. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Mr Coates taking the LB out to the jetty. Saturday Morning before the contest. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) The Rafferty family reunion at 10th Street. Good to see Kevlar back in town with his family.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) New photographer on the scene John Nuzzolo sends in these new photos.
Ryan rips the lip off this fun little wave during his semi Jr Men's heat.
Photo by: John Nuzzolo

(Above) MVF in between heats and meets. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) Jesse Gould hard off the bottom. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) Alex Cavilieri on a nice lefthander. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) Jesse Gould in mid-360 attempt. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) Mackey V heel to toe with a finger jive turn in between heats and meets. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) Boys Winner Jared Velstos finds a hollow section in the early morning heats. Photo by John Nuzzolo

(Above) The 10th Street Under The wall Gang. Photo by Kim Grondin

(Above) Chris Valhouli leaning left both in and out of the water. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kai Nichols on his birthday...Happy Birthday Kai! Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kai's daddy Lenny smacky da lippy! Photo by John Carden

(Above) Billy Ritchie from way down south...oh I'd say, about 6th street. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Determined longboarder stretches one out. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Unknown Shortboarder re-entry. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kevin "Doc" Grondin still pushing the envelope in his 50's. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Same with this guy... Photo by John Carden

(Above) And ditto with this guy. Bob McNeil on the wave of the night. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Garrett gouges a wicked cutty. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Unknown Goofy footer mid float. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Garrett "We're Number 1!". Photo by John Carden

(Above) Nick Miller cutting back the summer. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kevlar just back from Hawaii picks up where he left off. Photo by John Carden

(Above) GK fins out! Photo by John Carden

(Above and below) Leah Grondin, from "Miss Hampton Beach" to "Miss North Beach." Photo by John Carden

(Above) Good guy, Mike Taylor cutting back with another of his retro boards. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Unknown Haircutback. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Casey landing one from outer space. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Phil in a full on power turn. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Jared Velstos coming in under the coping. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Lenny leaning in on a lean yellar board. Photo by John Carden

(Above) RGF skates across a section on the Big Red Fish... Photo by John Carden

(Above)...and floats the boat on the Big Red Fish. Photo by John Carden

Today 2007 The following Photos are from local New England surfers

(Above) Laurie Meyer sends in this photo of J-Beach clean and hollow.
Photo by: Laurie Meyer

(Above and below) Lenny Nichols rock series. Photo by Lenny Nichols

Above) And so is this. Fire cloud on Oahu's North Shore. Photo by Bernie Baker

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

Adam, MVF, Casey and Mike Moran
. VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 Parting Shot..."Think I can Toss her over Diamond Head?"

(Above) This is waaaaaaay harder than it looks. Tandem Surfing is NOT a dying art in the Islands.
Photo by: Bernie Baker
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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