13th, 2007 Mother's Day
One thousand, five hundred and fifty three miles made all the difference
in the world this past week. Huh? The massive extra tropical storm that
formed off the Carolinas mid-week and then hit Florida with
a four day swell is what I'm talking about. That thing sent waves into
South Beach and beyond that looked like (dare I say it?), Backdoor.
Or something like it. I mean the shots that were coming into my mailbox
were downright disturbing. Check em out below.
Florida was getting unreal overhead surf while we were getting
dribbly skunk. Piddly, little, weak smush. That's right,
'smush'. It didn't even warrant to be called mush, it looked that bad.
It was hard to look at those photos from Florida. But, I knew I
had a job to do, so I got them ready for you to look at. But I must warn
you, it is very disturbing to see. Be careful. Make sure you have someone
nearby, in case you start Jonsesing.
Trust me it's not easy to view.
The ESA's biggest Northeast Regional contest was in town
this weekend. It was a very bitter pill to swallow. For me personally,
I was stuck between a rock and hard place. My old allegiance to the Soul
Surfers, was battling with my new allegiance with the contest surfers.
I was walking the fine neutral line all weekend. One part of me was almost
glad that there was no surf, while the other part of me was bumming, that
there were no waves.
I wanted surf for two reasons.
I know how much work goes into these major contests. And make no mistake
about it, our NNE directors work their asses off trying to make
the whole thing go off without a hitch. Lenny & Arlene Nichols
and volunteers like Bob McNeil work around the clock to get these
events organized, and it's heartbreaking when the surf does not cooperate.
It really is. There are so many behind the scenes volunteers working to
pull this off. They do it without pay or fanfare. They do it for the kids.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. It's so hard to predict
when the surf will be here. Like anyone of us has any control over the
ocean and storms in general. I think there's going to be surf on Tuesday
(of course the show has left town) of this coming week. Will there be
surf? Hell if I know. Like I said...it's a dam crap shoot.
I tell non surfers all the time when they ask me about surf contests.
"It's not like any other organized sport you know, like Football,
B-ball, Hockey, LAX and Soccer. You just can't count on the "field"
being there on Sunday. Sometimes our "Field" does NOT
show up. Or worse, sometimes too much of it shows up." That's surfing
in a nutshell. And that's been the attraction for all of us, whether you
surf in contests, or not. It's the never knowing, where and when it will
Still, I wanted there to be waves for all the young groms. They wanted
to perform in their own waves in front of their invited guests from down
South. Instead, they had to grovel in the smush. Some of our Northern
boys and girls did well, some did not. I will say that, I can't believe
that some of those southern Jersey boys can surf the shit out of
smushy, pudding waves. I think it was on Friday late in the day,
when Anthony, Nick and myself were watching some OPEN heat.
Some guy was absolutely killing it on a wave that couldn't have been bigger
than knee high. We all looked at each other and shook our heads. "How
the hell did he surf that wave like that?" we all asked ourselves.
I think it was Rob Kelly. I mean the wave he was riding was a crumbling
1' smushymushyburpingfart of a wave and this guy was hitting the 'make
believe lips', he was throwing mini buckets, and cutting back two or three
times on each wave. It was weird to watch.
This guy could not have weighed more than 30lbs tops. I mean, he was a
dam pencil in a wetsuit. I could only picture myself on the same wave,
cursing and sinking up to my eyeballs. Yet, this guy was able to surf
it, like it was a head high day at Rincon.
How do you compete against that? I mean really. How do you? It's like
seeing future Kelly Slaters in our front yard. Remember, Kelly
could surf anything. From 1' mush to 30' Waimea. Kelly Slater
was a lifelong member of the ESA. He surfed all these contests.
I remember the first time I ever heard about Slater. Kevin Grondin
had come back from some surf contest in the 80's and he was talking
about this Florida kid who could surf circles around everyone.
And, he was doing it, in all kinds of conditions.
It was Kelly Slater. The ESA Surf Champ. The next time someone
gives you shit about the ESA, bring up Kelly. That'll shut
you all remember your Mothers today. If you're one of the lucky ones
whose mother is still alive, I hope you called her. Or dropped by with
a card and some flowers. If your mom lives far away I hope you didn't
call collect. And if your Mom has passed...well, I hope you had pleasant
memories of her today. I know how hard it is on days like today. Hell,
it's hard on most days I'm sure. But special days like today make it
also hope that if there are any of you out there who do not get along
with your Mother that you will try and make an attempt to rectify things.
Don't let these regrets haunt you after she's gone. If it's as simple
as saying "you're sorry " then might I suggest that you do
just that. Say you're sorry (even if she should be saying it to you!).
Don't let these future regrets ruin your life. Do it.
Look, she carried your lard ass around for 9 months. She nursed you
and fed you. She cleaned your stinky diapers and loved you every step
of the way. She fed you and clothed you and loved you like only a mother
can love a child. She drove you and your loud ass goofy friends to the
beach every day. You owe it to her and to your fond memories to make
up and say your sorry.
You can do it and you'll feel better doing it.
Hey last week I might have ruffled a few feathers with my column. And
while I hate to keep repeating myself, I feel that I might have to here.
This column is my own personal opinion. I'm not trying to convert any
of you. I'm not trying to Change The World. I'm just sharing my opinions
with you. Most of you agree with what I have to say. While a small percentage
of you do not. But that's cool.
While I get about 95% positive feedback from you guys, there's
that 5% that don't seem to like some of my babbling. And look,
while I'll be the first to admit this, I'm not afraid to reiterate it
again. My writing is based on my personal opinion and my personal experiences.
Or from firsthand accounts. If it's surfing, politics, or whatever...it's
just me saying this shit. I'm not pontificating. Just giving my two
cents worth, as it were. Me, "Ralph." That's my name.
Last week, someone wrote me and went off on some of my talking points
in last week's column... While I respect the opinions and feedback from
most of you, I have a hard time respecting anyone who hides behind some
fake email address. Now Look, I'm not saying that all the phony ID's
out there in cyberspace are bad. Hardly. The surf forums for instance.
I find them to be mildly entertaining. I get the humor, and the phony
handles, on the daily blogs and message boards. What I'm talking about
is, when someone singles me out personally, with a direct email to me.
And how they don't have the balls to use their real name.
I don't have much respect for that kind of feedback.
If you have something to say, whether good or bad. Use your real name.
Don't be afraid. I won't bite (much).
And one more thing, if you don't like what I write...Don't Read it.
Just look at the pretty pictures.
The NOR'EASTERS played the other night at the ESA Banquet/Award
ceremony. It dawned on the band that night that the Nor'easters
are turning 20 years old next Fall. Whoa! How did that happen?
Me and my brother Johnny and bassist Whitey and Lenny
on drums have been playing this guitar driven sound of Stevie Ray
meets Jimi Hendrix for dam near 20 years. We had so much
fun rehearsing and playing on Saturday that we're thinking of
recording a new CD. The Nor'easters 20 years later.
What do you think?
Happy Mother's Day again to all the Mothers. Both living and
those who have passed. A special prayer and positive thoughts to John
Bocko. John you are completely surrounded by love, and that
will help you here, and on your next journey. Love will help you...
Please Remember The Danny Miller Foundation.
Donations for Late Surfer Danny Miller's 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
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.