29th, 2007 SURF ART Column
As long, and as far back, as I can remember, I have always been a doodler.
A what? A doodler. You know, someone who draws on everything and anything.
A doodler. In grade school for instance, when I was a young Gremmie
(they called young surfers Gremmies in those days), I was always
drawing stuff. Usually it was cartoon sketches. My friends would get a
kick out of them. I'd do the usual goofy ass stuff that young kids did.
Drawing cartoons of my teachers, friends, girls and some other stuff,
that got me in trouble more than once. But the images, that I remember
drawing the most, when I was in my day dreaming mode was...Surfing.
I was always drawing empty waves, or surf related art.
It was always some dream wave, that didn't exist anywhere on this planet,
except for in my imagination. You know, the perfect wave. Not a drop of
water out of place. Just a perfect well groomed wave. I'd stare at my
doodle and imagine myself or my friends on that wave. I'd get lost in
that transparent world. Then I would inevitably get caught and get in
trouble. I'd draw on my book covers, my homework, my tests. I couldn't
help it. I'd draw on my bed back home, the walls, you name it...if there
was a flat surface, I'd draw on it. And 90% of what I drawing was
surfing. That's the kind of hold that surfing had on me when I was a kid.
I couldn't stop thinking about it.
all time favorite report card that I ever got, when I was a young boy
had this comment from my teacher. "Ralph spends most of his time
in class day dreaming and fooling around, especially in art and music,
where he does absolutely nothing." Those who know me, know that
I am both a musician, and an artist.
I'm sure that there are many of you out there who did, or still do the
same. Doodling. Drawing waves, and or surfers. I know my own son Mackey
V is doing it. I crack up at some of his cartoon surfers. I certainly
don't discourage him. And I certainly would recommend to any parent out
there who has a child who's interested in art, not to discourage them
as well. In fact, if anything, I'd encourage them to continue to explore
the wonderful world of art. There's something very special about creating
art that is almost impossible to describe. But one thing's for sure, art
has it's rightful place in world culture and has been studied and dissected
And SURF ART has it's own niche in that culture.
Most surf artists that I know, are thoughtful, caring, compassionate human
beings, who have a mutual thirst for mother ocean and a hunger to create
from her gifts.
Like the photographers who capture surf images with their cameras every
week for you to look at, the surf artist capture their images through
their art. The dedication it takes, and time they put into their art is
almost a burden.
Because, like their artistic counterparts who use photography as their
medium to create surf images, the traditional artists, who create their
artwork, get little or no recognition. And unfortunately, get paid very
However, just like the photographers who shoot surfing, they are undeterred,
and their love for both the surfing lifestyle, and their art, is all they
need to continue this pursuit of creating these wonderful images for all
of us to admire and cherish.
Now I am not saying that Surf Artists are not successful, and I'm certainly
not saying that surf photographers are not successful. Hardly, there are
many from both sides of the lens and the brush, that have attained success.
And there are several from right here in New England.
This column is just a salute, a nod, an acknowledgment if you will, to
the many surf artists on this planet, and to those who have either lived
here in New England, or have just visited us, and still have the
fire in their bellies to create surf art for all of us who really appreciate
This annual SURF ART column is dedicated to all of you, who create and
love surf art.
Thursday was a bittersweet day for me. It was on July 26,
2001 that I had just finished my year long undertaking of surfing
everyday for 365 consecutive days here in New England.
I started on July 26, 2000 and 365 days later ended on
7-26-01. To those who don't know or remember, I was trying to
raise money for the American Diabetes Association in memory of
my father "Gus" who passed away in February of 2000
from that awful disease. I did this because, my father turned me onto
surfing (and music and art) and I thought this was a good way to honor
Why am I telling you this (again)? Well I was out surfing this past
Thursday (7-26-07) with just a couple of friends. Bill
Morrissey and Bryon Rivers. We were sharing these
thigh high, glassy, warm waves when I casually brought up the significance
of this day. It was around 7:15AM...suddenly at exactly 7:26AM
on 7-26-07 a wave popped up on the horizon that was easily twice
as big as any wave that had come through all morning. And we had been
out since 6:00AM. And guess who was the only one outside to greet
this wave? Bam! Both Bill and Bryon had just caught a
couple of waves and were paddling back out when this one "Rogue"
wave came through. It was a beautiful looking right. I let the first
wave go, and paddled further out to meet this one wave.
I was almost was too casual, as I spun to drop in, and as a result of
my casualness, I almost blew it. I barely made the steep drop. Right
after recovering, I was able to put it all together. I rode that wave
for quite some distance, and I was beyond stoked, You know that feeling
of getting "The Set Wave" of a session. It was Bill
who pointed out the exact time. I told them both, that they were now
on the Witness Protection Plan. Bryon asked if that meant
he had to move. "Hell no," I said, "if anything,
it means you to move closer to me, the Witness Protection Plan means
you have to remember what happened here today, because I will surely
We all had a good chuckle.
though boys...don't forget what you saw out there that morning..cuz
I hope you all had a chance to meet some of the endless line of surfing
legends who came through Cinnamon Rainbows this past week. From
Danny Fuller, Michael Barron, Reef McCintosh, Robert "Wingnut"
Weaver to the legend himself...Robert August. Clearly, you all
know the impact that Robert August has had on our special lifetsyle.
He was one of the two stars of THE ENDLESS SUMMER that came out
in 1966. The other surfer was Mike Hynson. The movie that
Bruce Brown made back in the early to mid sixties is still the
movie that all others think about when you mention surfing. It was hands
down the one movie that launched a million surfers to take up surfing.
So that's who we blame for all of this...I'm kidding.
He and Wingnut also starred in ENDLESS SUMMER II.
The other mention-ables have also contributed to this lifestyle in more
ways than one. Danny Fuller and Reef McCintosh are a couple
of Hard Charging, Big Balls, Big Wave Surfers who have blazed a trail,
of blood and guts across the reefs from Pipeline to Cloudbreak.
They are both great friends to Dave and Phil and they
love coming to the shop and hang out with all the locals and visitors.
MB is one of the world's BEST surfboard shapers on the planet.
MB shapes and makes BYRNE Surfboards. He's also a HOT
surfer for any age, and he will be featured in next week's Clip of the
So look for it.
Please don't forget...
The Continuing Fund for the Late Surfer Danny Miller's young son
Landon can be made to The Landon Miller Fund through
ANY Citizen Bank. Or send your donation to:
Landon Miller Foundation
83 South Road
North Hampton, NH 03862
below to see Danny Tribute or see Danny Surfing
Tribute to Danny.
North By Northeast
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.