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.

February 18th, 2007

It had all the markings of a spectacular storm and swell. I was already thinking of titles to this potential Massive Swell. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Swell. Feb.14-15-16. 3 Days of Snow, Chocolate and Glorious Barrels. All my batteries were charged in all my cameras. The players were all lined up. Everything was in order. And then it hit. The wind and snow was more than we had anticipated. Suddenly we found ourselves up here in New Hampshire with over a foot of that white stuff. The winds howled out of the North and Northeast and just as quickly turned to the Northwest just as hard...if not harder. What swell we had all expected occurred during the middle of the night. Because come daybreak on the was dropping faster than you could say "I Love You" to your sweetheart. I mean by midmorning, it was waist to chest high and the wind was killing it.

And if that wasn't harsh enough for you. The air temp dropped to single digits, with the wind chill factor bringing her way below zero. Ouch.

It was freaking freezing.

The color of the water looked like chocolate. It was brown and ugly looking. It looked as cold as it really was. Yet, some people went out. I guess being out of the water so long this winter has really taken it's toll on a lot of surfers. They pulled their 5 and 6mil suits on, waxed their longboards and shortboards, and paddled out up and down the coast.

Were there any moments?

I'm sure there were. I never saw any. Or rather, I never shot any. Everytime I'd pull up to a spot, I'd think I'd see a wave. So I'd unpack my gear, and setup on a spot that was somewhat protected by the wind. And then...I'd wait. And wait. And wait some more. My hands went numb. No one was catching anything worth shooting. So I'd pack up and move to another break and repeat the process.

I did this for about 2-3 hours before realizing that it just wasn't going to come together this swell. I looked at all the unused DV tapes in my case and shake my head. All three batteries fully charged and I barely used an 1/8 of power on the first one.

'The Valentines Day Swell was like a box of chocolates. You Never Know what You're Gonna Get.'
That's right, I felt like Forest Gump with all my camera gear. And so didn't those who paddled out.

I went back to the office to catch up on the latest news about the Anna Nicole saga. At least it was warm.

I remember a few years ago when I surfed everyday in New Hampshire for 365 consecutive days. It was cold on a lot of those days. Real cold. And yes, some of those days it was Flat and cold. Some of you may remember that winter of 2000-2001. I did this Year long undertaking in memory of my late father. He had turned me onto surfing, and I wanted to do something to honor his memory as well as raise awareness to the disease that killed him, Diabetes. I raised over $33,000 for ADA with a lot of help from local businesses and lots of friends.The reason I'm bringing this up now is the swell on Feb14-15 2007 reminded me of that winter. I had committed to surfing everyday during that winter. But my rules were simple. I only had to catch at least One Wave and Ride it. On the flat days I had to ride the wave to at least the size of the board I was using. Some days it was my 9'0 longboard and some days it was my 6' 10".

The guys out surfing last Thursday were out there because of one thing. They loved surfing that much, that they were willing to forego, the use of their limbs for several hours after, just so they could catch a few waves

Are they nuts? Yes and no. Did the waves really suck that bad? Again, yes and no. Look, if those same waves hit in the middle of Summer, there would of been 100's on it. I mean it. 100's of surfers, of every age and ability, would of been elbow to elbow, struggling to catch one of those blustery, wind whipped, bottomless brown waves.
And they would of been stoked.

Those that paddle out in sub zero conditions, around these parts, know that at the very least, there will be less crowds and, they do stand that slim chance, of catching that "one wave", that will make their session worthwhile, if not at least, giving credence to the lifestyle they have chosen.

I discovered that feeling the winter of 2000 and 2001. There were many days that I found myself surfing alone in perfect surf. I mean, I had rejuvenated my own surf stoke. I was as alive as I've ever been that winter, with my rediscovery of surf stoke. I kept a journal of that year. And I may write a short story/book on it some day. That is, if I thought anybody would be interested in reading about it.

But having said all that. I still couldn't bring myself to stick my tired ass into my 6mil and paddle out with my friends.
But I was stoked watching them from my warm JEEP Commander. I even laughed when they went over the falls. After all, what are friends for?

Donations for Late Surfer Danny Miller 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

Click below to see Danny Tribute or see Danny Surfing
Tribute to
North By Northeast

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



Yesterday December 1968 on the North Shore of Massachusetts

(Above) Michael Normand (left) and myself (*note the same board from last week's shot of my nephew) the winter
of 1968. I remember this day. We had surfed off the main drag in Mass and had just come out of the water. *Note
the NO leashes. (How can you surf without a leash? Ha!) Plus...We NEVER wore hoods in those days. Can you
imagine what that would be like? Actually, some of the kids did. I was not one of them, and neither was Mike.
This was right before I shipped off to the War in Southeast Asia. My life was about to change forever, and so was Mike's. He and I, along with Jeff Crawford, Peter Tilton, Jay Wilbur and Bruz Bowden had ourselves a cool little
Surf Club in the mid to late 60's. We shaped and made our own boards and traveled all over New England surfing different breaks. When I joined the Marines, they all wrote to me, and we kept in touch by writing letters. It was
almost always about surfing. When I came back from the war, Me, Jeff and Bruz made the First Ever foray into
Nova Scotia. I made a movie about it. I called it the SUMMER of 71. The club had long since split up. But we all
still surfed. Just not as a group. Jay moved off and became a minister. Peter was killed in an auto accident in the
late 70's. Bruz got married and still surfs today. I still see him on occasion at the wall in the Summer. Jeff is still
a hardcore surfer, and he still spends his winters in Hawaii with his wife JoAnne and son Everest. And Mike,
pictured here above, a goofy footer, who had the coolest stance, developed a large tumor in his stomach, and
died a short time later. He left behind a wife and two children. Life is short. Be good and Pass it on.

Photo by my late father Gus Fatello

Today 2007 The St. Valentine's Day Chocolate Swell

(Above) Kenny Linseman dropping into a very deceiving looking wave on the Day After The Valentine's Day Storm. Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Cold, empty and perfect on the Day After The Valentine's Day Storm. Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

(Above) Cold and crowded on the Day After The Valentine's Day Storm. Think these guys are cold?
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

Above) Cold, empty and perfect? Depends on who you ask. The Day After The Valentine's Day Storm.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

Above) Looks like it would be better sledding, than surfing.The Day After The Valentine's Day Storm.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

Above) You can't get there from here. Chocolate brown lines...The Day After The Valentine's Day Storm.
Photo by R. Fatello SFOD

Above) Ok so it was good in New Jersey. You can't beat this wave or it's color.
Photo courtesy of Michael Ames

Today 2007 Meanwhile Back on Oahu...

(Above) Jamie O'Brien pulling into a gaping hole at Pipe.
Photo courtesy of Bernie Baker

(Above) Jamie O'Brien contorting to slip under this pitching lip. He made it.
Photo courtesy of Bernie Baker

Today 2007 The Phantom And His Henchman Pull off yet another
Nautical Foray Into The Great Central Cal Unknown...

(Above) Unknown Phantomite slipping into the Phantom's favorite right on the West Coast.
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) Unknown Phantomite picking the last, of what looks like, four different take-off slots.
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) There's Strength in numbers. "Reinforcements arriving on the Portside sir!"
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) Phantom's favorite right, winding and grinding along the scarred cliff face. If these hills could speak,
imagine the stories they could tell of swells from yesteryear
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) "Alright let's break fer lunch. Then I want you sons of bitches back out there and ripping! I gotta
send my man Ralph back East the goods!"

Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) The outside looks good. Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) "Get yer ass over there and pick that peak off! Hurry UP!!!!!" Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) Oh yea...that's what I'm talking about! Photo courtesy of The Phantom

Parting Shot 2007 Jimmy Dunn's Valentine's Day Massacre
Jimmy Dunn is a funny bastard. He's also crazy. I don't care who you are. This has got to hurt.
Jimmy tells all (in his own words) in the last photo check it out.

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Dunn

Between headlining shows in the big room on the largest cruise ship in the world, Jimmy Dunn logged some time on
the flowrider machine on deck 12. The resulting wipe out was so substantial, the flowrider staff, (including Hampton's
own Kiley Hard) had to reset the pumps because Jimmy's 225lb wipe out so significantly impeded the flow of h20
that the 1.2 million dollar wave collapsed.


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