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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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

February 17, 2008
The Valentines Day Swell

While a good many of the male (and female) population on the New England Seacoast were preparing for a feast of Love and Candy on February 14th, a hearty group of hardcore Winter Surfers up and down the NE coast were scrambling into their winter wetsuits, for yet another weekly swell, in what has now been labeled as, one of the all time BEST winters ever. But this particular swell, landed on Valentines Day.

OK, you all must realize that I will be throwing out the obvious puns. How could I not? I mean, come on people, sometimes this stuff just writes itself. This is one of them. How can I possible resist calling the waves "Sweet"? Or making references to Love and Hot, and every other Sweet Valentine pun? I can't help myself.

Hey I'd do it if it landed on any other significant holiday. And quite frankly my peeps, I have. From Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, to Christmas, Easter, and July 4th! Hell I've hit em all. This day is no different. There's no writers strike here at Ralph's Pic of the week. Hell no. I'm using material that lands in my lap. And this swell hit like a box of chocolates accompanied by a bouquet of Red Roses.


That's what it was in a nutshell. Sweet. And full of love. I just hope that you guys did manage to get your sweethearts something "Romantic" before the day was through. A box of chocolates. A bunch of wild flowers, or a beautiful arrangement of Red Roses. Something.

Cause if you didn't, and just went surfing...well, there will be hell to pay for some of you. You need to take care of business, before you skip out on responsibility. That's one of the best pieces of advice I can give you younger guys. Take care of business first.

And then go surfing.

I knew, when I woke up that morning, that there was surf.
I mean, the day before was awful. Torrential downpours and a rain that fell for hours. And before that, there was snow and ice. To say the least, it's been a hell of a winter. For both snow and surf. All this surf has numbed my feelings about other subjects that I just as soon forget. Like that football team of ours...I'm through (at least for the time being) talking about them. Nothing I say or do is gonna rewind the clock and have it be the morning of February 3rd again. It's over and done with.

Time to move on.

And all the other BS that's happening in our world. School shootings, wild weather, Global Terrorist bombings, political mayhem, and the occasional interesting tidbit, like the disabled Satellite that's hurtling through space at Planet Earth and no one knows where it's gonna hit. And now, the US Navy is going to try and shoot it down! Whoa! That should be fun to watch on TV.

Yes my friends, the Valentines Day Swell was another pleasant distraction from the wacky world we all live in.

And if I could just say it one more was so sweet! Oh My Dear Valentines Day Swell will you be Mine Forever? Hell yes it will...cuz I video taped it!


How many times have you heard some local guy refer to their surf session, or their homebreak, as looking like Pipeline? I bet a bunch. Truth be told, the day, or the session, that they are referring too, was undoubtedly very good that day. Otherwise, the Pipeline comparison would never have come up. It must of been big and hollow.

But nothing really compares with Pipe.

I've seen Big Pipe. And I can tell you all, in my best days I wanted nothing to do with it. No thank you. There's nothing SWEET about Big Pipeline. Hardly. I've surfed other spots on the North Shore on BIG days, but Big Pipe has always sent shivers up my spine. I've paddled out on small days just to say I did. But I am no Pipe rider.

And that fact was brought home again this week, when my buddy Jeff sent in some photos of Pipe this week. While we were dancing around in a head high and slightly overhead fun waves here in New England, the North Shore was thundering under the treacherous impact of Pipe unloading on 2nd and 3rd reef. It got so big that even some of the hardcore Pipe riders wanted nothing to do with it.

I've posted a few of the photos below. Take a good long look at them. And if you're thinking about making that first trip to the North Shore and you're seriously thinking about paddling out there.

You better have your shit together.

Cause once you're out there, you need to get back in. And let me tell you, no one is gonna blow a whistle and stop the sets from coming, or stop the locals and traveling pros from catching every wave in sight, just so you can catch your first wave there. Please.

That ain't gonna happen homer.

With your girlfriend on the beach, waiting for that glorious moment, with your digital camera in one hand, and your mini video cam in the other. All waiting to capture that special milestone in your life. My friends, People have died out there. Many a surfer caught their last wave at Pipe.
Besides, chances are, she'd get someone else riding thinking it was you.

Don't get me wrong, I think every young surfer should go to Hawaii and experience the North Shore at some point in their young lives. It is a rite of passage in our lifestyle. At the very least, you need to witness Pipe in all it's glory and fury and decide. Do you really want this? Many have tried. Many have turned away. And there's no shame in that. Every surfer has to know their limitations. And if you can save your ass at the same time, well, wrack that up as being somewhat intelligent. Cause if you paddle out at Pipe and then suddenly realize that you messed up...well one can only say..."You're Stupid."

PLEASE SUPPORT ALL THE Photographers who submit their work here every week.

PLEASE 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 1988 Vince's Valentines Day Wave at the WALL
(Below) This is another frame grab that was shot with my Old Super 8 GAF Movie Camera. I believe
Mike Paugh shot this. Me and Kevin were out there sharing waves. I think Mike was hurt or something.
Back in those days we all took turns shooting each other. Sometimes we'd get lucky and actually get
some decent footage of each other. I'm riding a 6' 4" Blue Hawaii here. It was my all time favorite
board. and I bought it off the rack.
Video Movie Frame Grab courtesy of SFOD

2008 ALL Photos BELOW taken on Valentines Day Feb. 14th, 2008

(Above) Ed O'Connell was the first photographer on the scene V-Day. Here's a sampling of the early
bird session. Goofy cutty.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Looking south with a beautiful back lit filter. Valentine Day Sweetness came early for
those who woke up early enough.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Oh the Sweet inside section was delicious. (Look, I told you I'd be making Valentine Day puns).
Lucky Goofy footer gets a nugget to himself. *OK who da guy here?
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Then I showed up across the bay and snapped this. See the dude paddling? Sweet!
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Looking North to where Ed was standing I fired this off. One guy out.

Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Kevin "Doc" Grondin was out and scored this cherry filled chocolate bomb. *See this wave in
this week's clip of the week!
Video Frame Grab by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Zappy was out there too. Thinking about the candy he was gonna buy for his sweet heart Linda.
*See this wave in this week's clip of the week!
Video Frame Grab by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Mackey V thinking more about the New Hampshire States Wrestling Championships than he is
about candy or this wave. *By the way...Mackey made States!
*See this wave in this week's clip of the week!
Video Frame Grab by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Kevin and Zap after the V-Day sesh. That's John Carden with his own personal arsenal
of cameras. Sweet sugar and spice.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) The Sweetness of the day is captured here. Imagine being able to give your sweetheart
something like this on Valentines Day? Nothing says "I love you" more than a hollow right.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) V-Day cuttie. That's one deep gouge here.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) This winter has been...? Oh I know, SWEET!
Photo by John Carden

(Above) I think this is Stevie O'Hara. I know he was out there. But I could be wrong. One thing I do
know is this. All three of the original owners of the local Surf Shops can rip. Dave Cropper, Steve O'Hara
and Mike Paugh. They can all surf. And surf good.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Stevie O again. Like a cream filled sweet V-Day Candy!
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kenny Linseman feeling the "Love" of the day.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) This might be Johnny Reynolds. Or it could be Johnny's son Perry. They both surf the same.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Skip Brunette out of the light and into the sweet shadows.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Johnny Reynolds mouth wide open wanting another sweet bite of the V-Day Waves.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) It wasn't all tube rides. Sometimes you get a piece of hard candy in that candy box.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Come out! Come out! Whoever you are! I love these V-Day waves!
Photo by John Carden

(Above) This might be Stevie O again. But then again, it might not be.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Snow makes it look cold. But to those who live here, this is home. Home SWEET Home.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) This guy was out in the morning getting lots of waves. I know, I know him. But his name
escapes me at the moment. Just like he's escaping this pitching lip.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Same guy. Same sweet spot.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Kevin "Doc" Grondin. No one has gotten more barrels here in Northern New England
than this guy. I mean NO ONE.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Skip Brunette. So compressed you'd never know he stands over 6' tall. Check out this ride
below in the Clip of the Week!
Photo by John Carden

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) CLICK ON Video (photo) Frame Grab of Skip from the Valentines Day swell for a SHORT WINDOWS
MEDIA FILE VIDEO CLIP from the Soon to be released SFOD movie TEMPEST!
VIDEO clip courtesy by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Jack Cadigan dropping into one sweet wave after another. . Jack has not missed a single swell
since last Summer. That's cuz He's Sooper stoked!
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Unknown at a well known spot.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Another being seen by millions. How sweet it is.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) LT bending way over to find the sweet spot.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) So many surfers, so many waves. We can't keep track of em all.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) This is the dude on the semi short/longboard that was having a field day out there. In fact, Ed
wanted to call him the mayor of Tube City. But he can't be the mayor when Kevin, Zap, Stevie,
Stanek, and a shitload of others have already staked their claims here. He's an apprentice.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) The Apprentice in photo number 55.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) The Apprentice in photo number 57.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) The Apprentice in photo number 61.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) The Apprentice in photo number... ?
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) South of the border (but still New England). Not as big but still sweet.
Photo by Jose Galvez

(Above) Clean and green. Sweet and sour candy.
Photo by Jose Galvez

(Above) Like candy stuck in your teeth. This backsider is stuck in the lip, hoping for an extraction.
Photo by Jose Galvez

2008 More Winter NEW ENGLAND

(Above) Less than 24 hours after surfing the Valentines Day Swell, Mackey V wrestled his way into the STATE
WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS and placed! Not bad for a sophomore in High School. Here he is facing down
his final opponent.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

2008 Winter Surf NOT in NEW ENGLAND

(Above) This is Pipeline. The next time someone says their local break was breaking "just like Pipeline"
remember this photo. (Above and below) Danny Fuller in deep at Pipe..
Photo courtesy of the Internet

(Above) BIG PIPE. So big, NO ONE would paddle out. Looks can be deceiving.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) BIG PIPE BACK WASH. Imagine getting caught in this.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Down the Kam Highway at Sunset. While not as hollow as Pipe, still a force to be
reckoned with.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) The Sunset streak. No applying the brakes here.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Back down the Kam Highway towards Haleiwa...a Big Wave Rider getting his gonads
in order as he waits for a lull at Waimea.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Big Wave Riders with Big Balls on Big Waves! No thank you.
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Ben Aipa is in his 60's. Here he is last week at Haleiwa. Any questions?
Photo by Jeff Crawford

(Above) Big Ben Aipa with a Big Board.
Photo by Jeff Crawford


Today 2008 Parting Shot...LT takes a break during the Valentines Day
Swell and catches up with some snooze time.

(Above) Surfers are characters. There's no denying that. LT is a good Long boarder and he does
some quirky things in the water. Here he is catching some rays on Valentines Day. It was after all,
a very sunny day. And it was dam near 45 degrees out. Hell that's tropical.
Photo by Ed O'Connell





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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