January 1st, 2006
Well friends, it's behind us now. The year that brought us the most consistent, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall that most of us can recall. 2005. It was also the year, that also brought us the most Natural Disasters that the world has ever recorded. And these same disasters had Surfing ties to them. How's that? Tsunamis, Hurricanes and Massive Ocean Storms. We all live for the "BIG" Wave. But that Tsunami killed over 350,000 people. We all live for "Hurricanes". Look what the Hurricanes did to all of those people right here in America. I don't know about you guys, but, I felt a bit guilty when all these horrible Wave Making Disasters were unfolding on all those innocent victims. I felt selfish wanting the surf that caused all that misery.

Remember the old saying. Be Careful of what you wish for. Well...I wonder how many of you would trade any of those Big Swells we got from those storms for the lives of all of those people lost? I'm hoping all of you would. There's no wave, or swell worth some child dying for.
And it wasn't just one child. It was thousands.

Yes, those storms brought us waves. But, they also took away more than we had bargained for. This my friends, is yet another dilemma of being a surfer.

But, having said all that. There were waves and swells we got, that didn't come with any major price tag. And those are the swells, that I will remember from 2005.

Let's hope and pray that 2006 is just as good wave wise, but more forgiving in the death and destruction that is typically accompanied with them.

2005 saw the passing of many of our friends and relatives who have Surfing ties. Ray Hackett, Ted Hamblet, Mrs Polychronis, my Father-in-law Jerry, Heather's dad and many more. Let's all reflect on their memories and be thankful for having known and loved them. I know I've said this before but, it's worth repeating. Don't wait to say I Love You to someone, and don't wait to say I'm sorry. And Don't take anything for granted.
And I do mean anything. Especially Surfing.
Do these simple things and you will feel better about yourself, and your life, and those around you, will be better off because of it.

2005 also saw the beginnings of new Surfers. The births of Veda Day Cropper and Isabella Beauchesne. Two little Surfer Girls born into loving Surf Families. We wish them and all the other new Surf babies born in 2005 the best of health and happiness.

I want to take the time to acknowledge all of the ex-New Englanders who I have seemingly connected with through this weekly column. From Stan Chew down South to Nick Valhouli, Tony Szabo, Steve Dillon and Mark Sarcusa out West. From Cindy Dickens in Chicago to Phil Beauchesne and Art Driscoll in Florida. And everyone else out there. You are not forgotten. And the door will always be open to you whenever you return for how ever long.
We are a special breed here in New England and unless you've lived and surfed here it's hard to explain to the other surfers all over the world.

Thanks to all of you who read this column every week and check out this website. Your support over the last 12 months is greatly appreciated by all at Cinnamon Rainbows. Speaking of which. Thanks to the entire CR crew. From Dave, Heather, Phil, Kevin, Crytsal, Nohea, Julia and webmaster Paulie B!

Finally the most thanks of all goes to...

The contributing photographers. Who without, this column would be an absolute snore. What's Ralph's Pic Of The Week without a Pic? Not much.

Nick LaVecchia, Skye Nacel, John Carden, Jamie Wade, Jeff Crawford, Jeff Chamberlain, Justin Lamkin, The Phantom, Ed O'Connel, Bob Consentino, Lenny Nichols and of course SFOD.

Thanks to all of you (not just the ones listed above) for taking the time to snap a photograph and send it in to me. You guys are the best.

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

PIC OF THE YEAR from Yesterday 1976
Perfect Position on a Dream Wave.

This wave and this ride could easily be from last week. But it's not. It's from 1976 and the wave and the rider are in a timeless position. Anyone, anywhere can relate to this photo. If you can't, take up Bowling. This wave and this stance is timeless. 20 to 30 years from now, if you find yourself in this position, on a wave like this, then you have made the right choice in life. Good for you. Pat yourself on the back. You have succeeded in life.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Crawford

This final week of 2005 saw two distinct swells. The first one hit on Monday night and lasted all day Tuesday. The second hit on Friday and lasted into Saturday morning. Both were clean and fun. It was a good way to end the year. I even went Snowboarding in between swells. Snowboarding is a good alternative to Surfing. But make NO mistake about it. It's an alternative. Same with Skateboarding. You're not a real Surfer if you'd rather Snowboard or Skateboard over Surfing. And, if I may be so bold here, you're NOT a real Surfer if you gave it up. Surfing is a way of life.

You CAN'T just take it up and let it go, like Bowling.

It becomes a part of you. It's who we are, and it dictates every move we make, for the rest of our lives. I'm not saying you have to be a Big Wave Surfer, or a Hard Core Winter Surfer to be a REAL New England Surfer. You just have to sleep, drink and eat it. I know plenty of REAL Surfers who only surf in the warmer months. But, they STILL Surf. And when they are NOT surfing, they are thinking about it. That's being a Surfer. Talking the talk. Walking the walk.

Hope I didn't offend any bowlers.

Speaking of hard core. On Tuesday of this week, Max and I were getting ready to paddle out at the Wall. It was cold. The wind was blowing hard offshore making it seem colder. I was waxing up when I saw them leaning against the Wall looking at us. Who? Civilians. You know, Non Surfers. They stood there, all bundled up in their scarves and woolen hats, with those infamous incredulous looks on their faces. I knew what was coming before they opened their mouths. "Isn't it cold out there?" Now typically, in the years past I'd be polite and say something like, "No, not really." But I thought, on this day, I'd tell the truth. Now for the record, only true New England Winter Surfers can relate to this. Because, we've all been asked this question a hundred times before. I looked the couple in the eyes and said.."Of course it's cold. It's 30 degrees out. The water temp is freezing and certain parts of our flesh will be exposed to these extreme conditions." They looked at me and said..."We thought you were going to tell us that it's not cold. That it only looks cold." "Well mam", I said, "that would be lying." They both thanked me for being honest and wished us luck and good fun. I wished them the same.

My SurfFreeOrDie Winter Surf movie WINTER 05 has been doing great in the Shops and on the Shopping Cart on the Cinnamon Rainbows Online Shopping!
The WINTER 05 success is all because of you, the local surf crew. Thanks so much for your support.
*Note we have decided to hold off on the release of SUMMER 05 until a later date sometime in late winter. So stay tuned.

Ok (drum roll please) now for the BIG WINNERS for last year's BEST PIC of the WEEK for 2005. First I want to THANK all of you who took the time to actually VOTE.
I especially want to Thank (again) the Photographers for their hard work and dedication to Surf Photography.

Two categories YESTERDAY and TODAY
First the Pic of the Year in the YESTERDAY Category goes to...JEFF CRAWFORD from 1976 (April 17th 2005)
Title: Perfectly Slotted in a Dream Wave

(see below) By your Votes. Jeff gets a FREE DVD (Winter 05). Congrats Jeff.

The Pic of the Year in the TODAY Category goes to...NICK LAVECCHIA November 28th 2005
Title: Unknown Heading Home for Turkey

(see below) By your Votes. Nick gets a FREE DVD (Winter 05). Congrats Nick

Thanks again to ALL the photographers for a GREAT year of photos and to all the surfers for a great year of surfing! Can't wait to see what the new year brings.

Good Luck to the Patriots in the NFL Playoffs!
Happy New Year to you all!

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


Click On Wave to Go Back to The Top.

Heading Home For Turkey
This photo from the November 28th Posting was shot the day before Thanksgiving. Somewhere in New England. Look at the homes dotted along the coastline. The old Victorian houses that you only find around here. The angle of the swell, the positioning of the Surfer. Who among us wouldn't want to claim this neighborhood as our own. Imagine for a moment living in any one of these homes...knowing that Mom was busily preparing the Thanksgiving Feast. That soon, you'd be staring out the window at the new swell, while Uncle Ned passed the Sweet Potatoes, asking you if you still Surfed. And all you could do, was smile and wink.
Photo by Nick LaVecchia

Today December 30th, 2005 The Last Swell of '05
Pic of the year receipient Nick LaVecchia sent these in from his neck of the woods. On the Last Day...
Click on photo for the rest of the LAST SWELL batch.
Photos by Nick LaVecchia

Today 2005 December 30th, 2005 The Last Swell of 2005
My friend John Carden took these photos from Friday's swell. This first shot is of shop owner Dave Cropper leaning into another wave at his favorite break. Crop is a funny guy. His surf sessions usually last about 20 minutes to a half hour. He's so committed to the shop that he can only slip away for these short but significant sessions.
In short, he makes the best out of each session.
Click on photo for the rest of the LAST SWELL batch.
Photos by John Carden

Today 2005 December 30th, 2005 More from The Last Swell of 2005
This year was special. And this last swell was equally special. Let's hope we have another year like this (wave wise).
Photos by SFOD

The line-up shot has always been a favorite of mine. The pulled back look leaves the viewer with the Big Picture. You know, taking it all in. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

The WALL. December 30th, 2005. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2005 PARTING SHOT- Spead Out!
Where I come from, we call this a Cluster...oh never mind. Pretty clever. Like to see the outtakes
rom this session.
Photo courtesy of ASPWORLDTOUR.com