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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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week from past weeks click here.

January 6th, 2008

I surfed on the very last day of 2007. I almost missed it completely, but at the last minute I decided it was worth the effort. And by all intents and purposes it was a fitting end to a year that I am personally glad is over. Not so much because of the surf (or lack of), but the incredible losses we all suffered.

We lost some good people in 2007.

That cold water hitting me in the face on New Year's Eve Day was a sobering, cleansing of my personal loss, combined with the local surf community's loss. I'm glad 2007 is behind us all.

And honestly, it was not all bad in 2007. There were plenty of good things to be thankful for. Starting with the RED SOX, PATRIOTS and CELTICS and a very good November and December of surf. And on this last day of December I was there to take it all in with some good friends and family members.

But I must say, I was somewhat surprised that NOT a single photo came through of the last day of 2007. Including myself. I did not take any photos or video that day. I elected to surf instead. I assumed that someone did somewhere. But I never received a single photo in my incoming email box.

So how good was it?

I guess that depends on who you ask. It was fun for me. In fact, it was real fun for me. Especially in light of the fact that I almost didn't go out. Max and I had checked it earlier in the day. We had just finished shoveling snow for what seems like the 100th time this winter, when we decided to drive down the street to take a look see ourselves. What we saw was a still somewhat unorganized swell. It was a dull overcast gray sky and it was dead low tide. Still, it looked to be about shoulder high. But it was hard to tell without anyone out.

"This will be good in about an hour or two". I said to Mackey V. "No it won't." He shot back. "We need to surf the Wall."Now, this is not the first time the lad has disagreed with me on this touchy subject of where we should surf. Hardly. It is however, so typical of where we are today. If I say "Black" he says "White". No matter what the subject. He goes the opposite of where I am.

I call it the Big Brain vs the Small Brain syndrome.

It has become somewhat common as of late. And I guess it's typical of most teens. I do remember being like this with my dad when I was 16. I thought I knew it all too. But this is surfing. And clearly, I must have some knowledge of something that I've spent my entire life doing.

Especially surfing here in New England.

And honestly, I love surfing the wall. But this day, the waves seemed better where we were parked. Max could not see what I could see. Why? Because his brain is smaller than mine. I have a larger more developed adult brain. He has a young growing teenage brain. Clearly my brain is more knowledgeable. My brain was better on this day, in making the call of where we should surf.

Exactly two hours later, I walked out of my office and said "I'm going surfing. If you want to go, we need to leave now." He jumped up and we both got into our wetsuits and drove down the street. At the point where I would normally turn, to head to the wall, I went the opposite direction. "Dad why are we going this way?" I didn't say a word. When we pulled up to the spot I wanted to surf. I simply said "I'm going out here. If you want to surf the wall, you can walk from here."

Just then one of his friends pulled up and said "It's really good here! I mean really good!" I didn't say anything. I knew it was good. So did he. "I was wrong" he said under his breath. "What's that ?" I asked. "I was wrong." He answered. "You mean, you were wrong again."

We looked at each other and smiled. Then we went surfing and had a blast, on the last day of 2007.

I forgot to mention that I almost got barreled on that last day. Oh yea. Almost. I got bombed off my board instead. You see my friends, Lil Ralphie was on the wrong board. Clearly I should of had a shorter board under my tired ass. Instead, I had my Longboard. And while I have many friends who ride longboards in every condition our coast throws at us, I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong. I have been riding my longbaord more times than not (and yes, for all the obvious reasons), I really don't enjoy riding a longboard when the surf is bigger than say, head high.

I'd much rather have a board that I can duck dive, and maneuver better in and around the pocket. I have enough shorter boards in my quiver to use, and I would of grabbed one, if I didn't have that argument with Mackey earlier. Somehow, I let him convince me that surf was not that big.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. I should of been on my Rusty or my Fish. Instead I had my 9'0". Yes I could catch waves earlier, and it paddles and floats me better than my other boards, but dammit, I don't enjoy getting caught by a set on one, nor do I think they handle late drops better than a shorter board. None the less, I was out there riding it and I was getting cocky. And that my friends, is where the "almost barrel" comes into play.

I was sitting outside when a a nice set came up on the horizon. Being on the LB, I was able to see further out. Everyone else was either sitting somewhat inside of me, or they were paddling out. (There were only about 10 of us out there at this time). Any way, the set came and I spun and paddled for one of the nicer one's. I got into it early and went straight to the bottom (my first mistake. I should of angled my drop). When I got to the bottom I did a casual lazy backside bottom turn. (My second mistake). I should of hit that bottom turn faster and shot myself into the upperface. I could see a bunch of paddlers out on the shoulder paddling back out. I heard a few hoots, including one from my son.

"Go dad!". Then I saw the wave start it's vortex thing and start to get concave. So what do I do? I stall. I lean back and stick my right arm into the face and put the brakes on. ( My third and final mistake). Still, it's all coming together. I get into a semi pig dog stance and wait for the moment we all live for. The hollow section. The hole. The freaking barrel. It was a satisfying moment for sure. My friends and son out on the shoulder taking it all in about to witness the most glorious moment in surfing. The true barrel ride.

That's when it happened.

My board shifted just a little too far out. When the pitching lip came down, instead of going over me, it hit me dead on. Blowing me up in front of the same audience. It was a groaning moment. But alas my friends, I came up laughing and sputtering. "What the hell just happened?" All I could hear were the hoots and laughs.

And really, isn't that what surfing is all, about. Getting barreled in front of your buddies, and or, getting worked in front of them. It's all part of it. Both ends of the spectrum. But man we are a lucky bunch. Our tribe.
We are so dam lucky to be able to do what we do.

OK so now we know who the Patriots are going to Play. The Jaguars. The Jacksonville Jags. Can our boys beat them? Well, hell yes we can. Hello? Bill Belichick is the man. He will have them so prepared and so disciplined that by the time the Jags show up next Saturday Night they will have everything down to their amazing NFL science. And we will continue this quest as we go forward.
One week at a time.
Tune in next week...

Don't forget to check out Brian Nevins NEW Website.
Brian's work is insane.

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 1972 Steve "Neddie" Nelson in full praying mode.
(Below) Neddie was one of the most colorful characters to ever surf this coast. Hands down, a classic individual.
His style was more than flamboyant, it was downright hysterical. We all had some laughs back in those days.
My favorite line to use on Neddie whenever I came out of the water was..."Neddie, tell me the truth, how does
my hair look?" We would just laugh ourselves silly. Silly I tell ya.
Video Movie Frame Grab by Ed O'Connell

2008 Today The First NEW ENGLAND Surf Scenes of the season

(Above) Kai Nichols first wave of 2008
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Kai Nichols second wave of 2008
Photo by Lenny Nichols


(Above) Smoke on the water...a fire in the sky. January 2008
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Very Pretty. January 2008
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Planet Ice...this is where we live. January 2008
Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) Mike Moran knee paddles through the sea smoke. As cold as this looks, Brian was
colder taking the photo. This day was FREEZING!
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) The Frozen face of Mike Moran tells it all. "How much am I getting paid for this Brian?"
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above) All you warm water West coast boys, all you Hawaiian tropical big wave riders...take a good
look at this. That's ice that Mike Moran is walking through. When salt water freezes? That's cold.
Photo by Brian Nevins

(Above and below) January 1st 2008. Sunrise in the New Year.
Photo by Rich Harty

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) CLICK ON Video (photo) Frame Grab of Shop man Phil Carey . FOR a SHORT
VIDEO clip courtesy by SFOD R. Fatello

2007 Today NEW ENGLAND SURF Pics from December 2007

(Above) Adam Miller streaking on one of 2007's last waves.
Photo by Evan Nunez

(Above) Joel Fied one last smack for 2007.
Photo by Evan Nunez

(Above) Eric takes a steep and late drop.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel

(Above) And Ross Kunkel does the same.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel

(Above) Ross Kunkel on the same wave? Maybe.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel

(Above) Ross setting up.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel

(Above) Ross sticks one last one in 2007.
Photo courtesy of Ross Kunkel

(Above) Adam Gustafason. Pulls in for the boys on the beach.
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Dan Bailey finds a nice left before the year closes out..
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Dan Bailey finds another nice left...
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Craig Jackson backside perfection.
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) It was truly, a December to remember.
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Seth Bilodeu cutty.
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) All lined up for Dan Bailey...Happy Holidays.
Photo by Kevin Doherty

(Above) Brendon McCray. Somewhere between NH and RI on Christmas Eve Day.
Photo courtesy of covert email snatching

Today 2008 Parting Shot...Last week's parting shot drew many
comments...people thought it might be real. It was not. This however
is real...somewhere south of where I'm sitting right now.

(Above) This is REAL. PACK YOUR BAGS...! "
Photo courtesy of Ben Forsyth


Today 2008 EXTRA Parting Shot...Hey All You New Hampshire Voters Surfers Don't Forget To VOTE on 01-08-08
You'll never know what you'll get if you don't .



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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