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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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May 27th, 2007 Memorial Day

I waved at a boogie boarder. Repeat. I waved at a Boogie boarder and I did it without sarcasm or ill feelings. This all happened on this past Tuesday. May 22nd. It happened at the Wall around 11:30AM.

Why did this happen you ask?

Well...I had just finished surfing a 2 hour session in waist to shoulder high surf, with total glassy conditions, under a cloudless blue sky with NO ONE out. Repeat. NO ONE OUT...not even anyone walking on the beach. Now, I guess I should be backing up a bit here, to around 8:30-9:00AM that morning. I was sitting in my office working away, when I noticed a wave pop through on the wave cam. I looked on intently as another one came through. It looked like it was about waist high. So I leaned back in my chair, took a sip of coffee, and waited. Sure enough, another one came through. I glanced at the clock on my wall and thought "what the hell, it's worth a first hand look" so I got in my vehicle for the 2 minute drive down the street to see what was cooking.

I pulled up at that cement barrier like I had a million times before and noticed there was not another vehicle anywhere in sight. Or rather, another surf vehicle anywhere. Which made me think," this can't be good." I stepped out of my vehicle and walked up to the wall and almost spit my coffee through my nose.

There in front of me, was a beautiful set just pouring in and peeling down the line for about 75 yards. I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing this. But there was no one. I grabbed my longboard and 4/3 with NO hood and ran down the clean untouched sand.

There were no beach walkers. No dogs. No sun worshippers. And most importantly, there were NO surfers. I almost tripped several times thinking that it would only be a matter of time, before they would show up by the hundreds. I mean clearly, someone else must know about this swell. The swell had to have been the last gasps of the weekend swell we all just had. It had to be. There have been times in the past when I've gotten waves the day or two after a decent ground swell. Most times it's only a handful of surfers that even knew about it.

I quickly did my stretches and paddled out. My very first wave was a beautiful, walled up, shoulder high left, that peeled for about 75 plus yards. I saluted and kicked out. Normally, I would only salute a wave at the end of my session. But this wave was such a surprise and treat, that I saluted it right then and there. The first ride.

Besides, NO ONE was watching, because NO ONE was there. I was alone. Nobody in the water, or on the beach. "How the hell can this be happening?" I thought to myself.

I must of caught a dozen waves before I lost my board the first time. I swam in after it, as happy and as stoked as I've ever been in my life. I mean here it is 2007 and I am scoring a fun sized swell, in glassy conditions, with NO ONE else around. Whoa.

I asked myself out loud..."What did I do to deserve this?"
I mean seriously, what the hell did I do to have this kind of luck? Especially after my last encounter with some surfers on Sunday...I was at a loss for my good fortune.

But not enough, to not take advantage of it. So I continued surfing for about 2 solid hours and finally called it a day. As I proned in on my last wave I noticed a boogie boarder walking down the stairs and sitting down to put on his fins. I grabbed my board, and headed in the opposite direction to where my vehicle was parked. I stopped to look back at the waves (that were still pouring in), and pointed to the surf. The boogie boarder looked at me, and then pointed to the spot I was pointing to, as if to say..."There? I should paddle out over there?"

I nodded my head and then....I waved. He hesitated at first, and then, he waved back.Yes my friends, I waved at a boogie boarder and he waved back.

And dammit, it felt good.

As I got to my vehicle, Chris Valhouli pulled up and asked me how the surf was. Before I could answer, the wind suddenly came on strong, and blew a straight hard onshore, completely blowing out the remaining swell.

I looked over my shoulder at the now crumbling swell and said..."It was alright."


While I was surfing during my ultimate soul session I thought about what I would be writing this Memorial Day Weekend. I thought about my friends who have died in different wars, and about the surf connection to several of them. I know how hard it is for some of you to connect to this day, and what it means to some of us. I know that most of you have Veterans in your family. In fact, I know some of you are Veterans. But to those who have never served and have Veterans in your family, imagine what your life would be like, if that Veteran in your family had died in a War.
Most of us would not even be here. Think about it. If your dad, or grandfather had died in the war, you more than likely would have never been born. You guys getting this? This is the surf connection to this special day. It's the one day each year, that we stop and pause to reflect and remember those that lost their lives for our country, and the very freedoms we all enjoy and take for granted. Memorial Day. So I'd like to share two stories with you, about a couple of my friends.

Mike Guezzetti was from Cambridge MA. He was my "Homey". That's what we called anyone who was from the same neck of the woods as you in the Marine Corps. Mikey was my homey cause I was from North Shore of Massachusetts. And Cambridge was close enough for both of us. I went through training with Mikey. He had a baby face. In other words, he didn't need to shave. We sat on the plane together for the long 18 hour trip overseas.

We talked about everything under the sun on that long flight. I mean everything. Girls, home cooked meals, girls and... we talked about surfing. I was going to take him surfing when we got back from the war. I was going to take him to Hampton Beach and teach him how to surf. He seemed pretty excited about learning how to surf. I don't think he really believed there was surf in Hampton. (Sound familiar?) I convinced him there was surf there and there were girls in Hampton, and we would be going surfing after our tour.

When we landed, we both got our orders. I shipped off with the 3rd Marine Division, and Mikey went to the 1st Marine Division. I said good-bye to him in that blazing heat and humidity, and told him to "watch his ass and keep his head down and I'll see you in one year." We both laughed.

It was the last time I saw him.

He died a few days later in an ambush. I was devastated. How could they kill Mikey? I thought about him on Tuesday as I was surfing those waves by myself. Every time I go Washington I've looked up his name on that black wall there. I have several other friends on the "Wall", but I always take the time to look Mikey up.

The other story is about Joe Somogyi. I've posted his photo below. Now Joe died a few years after the war, but he died of the wounds and cancer (Agent Orange) that he developed while he was there. Joe was a special person.

You might not know who he is, but you've surfed some of the breaks that he's personally named and discovered around here. I won't bother going into naming them, but suffice to say, many, many of you have surfed these breaks.

Joe named them and pioneered them. I know, because I was a reluctant participant. I though he was crazy at some of the spots he first dragged us out to. Keep in mind, Joe was a very tough cookie. He was an ARMY Ranger who was involved in some hand to hand combat with the enemy. He was also credited with saving the lives of 40 orphans when the bad guys had rocketed the orphanage they were staying in. Joe was a hero. He was a Surfer who served his country, and was awarded some of the nation's highest awards. Like: The Bronze Star with V device for valor.

The day he died, he told me he was ready for a new adventure. I believed him. In fact, I would not be surprised if Joe Somogyi has discovered and already surfed some new hairy breaks in heaven.
My friends please Remember all of those who gave their lives for our country this Memorial Day.

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

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 1977 Joe Somogyi, War Hero/Surfing Pioneer at 10th Street
Joe hated having me take his photo. See the disgust on his face. I'm glad I shot the photos and the movies I did
of him when I did, or we'd have nothing to show any of you today. Joe surfed and pioneered a lot of the breaks
you all surf today. He was also a War Hero who died from his war related wounds and disease.

Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 Shot This Afternoon
in Hampton. There is at least one
Surfer listed here. Dan Healy was from Exeter he was a Navy Seal.
Like Joe (above), Dan was also a Hero.

Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 The Following Pics were all shot last weekend in
Northern New England

(Above) Unknown skirting the coping of a NNE wave. Photo by Mike Labrie

(Above) Another Unknown hoodless surfing in Mid May. Photo by Mike Labrie

(Above) Unknown Bottom turn at an unknown NNE locale. Photo by Mike Labrie

(Above) Unknown Burying the forward aft section of his craft in hopes of pulling it off.Photo by Mike Labrie

(Above) Wait? Same wave? Nah...same guy different wave, but same spot. Photo by Mike Labrie

(Above) Unknown Northern New England break...looking a lot like Bali...Photo by Ross Kunkel

Today 2007 Last week in Bali...John Carden Returns with the goods

(Above) This my friends, is Bali. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Bali Secret Spot # 1. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Another shot from Bali Secret Spot # 1. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Bali AIR at Secret Spot # 1. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Bali Babe...check out this unique parallel with her wrinkles and her head gear.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) Bali Secret Spot # 1 wipe with the green light for the inside man to go. Photo by John Carden

(Above) Bali Bomb. Photo by John Carden

(Above) The results of a real Bali Bomb. I hate F---ing Terrorists! Photo by John Carden

Today 2007 The Phantom Weighs In Again

(Above) Perfect even if it's overcast.
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) ..."Smoke on the water...a fire on the beach!"
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) A burning turning Phantom Phaithphul.
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) Perfect clean and green (ish). Photo courtesy of The Phantom

(Above) I'll never get used to the Westies wearing hoods when they don't really need them. They'd all die out here.
Photo courtesy of The Phantom

Today 2007 Parting Shot...."I waved at a Boogie Boarder..."

Above) Boogie Blasting Hawaii. Photo by Bernie Baker







































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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