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September 2nd, 2007

You know that old saying about "stopping to smell the roses", I'm sure you're all familiar with it. My version of that, is to stop and look at an empty wave going by whenever I'm paddling out, or just standing on the beach with friends and family. I can't pass up a chance to look at an empty wave. I love to look deep into hollow waves and try and see things I've never seen before.

I guess, it's mostly because of my age, that I do this.

I suppose there aren't too many amped young surfers in New England taking the time to watch an empty wave go by. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe there are plenty of young surfers stopping to smell the roses, or stopping to watch an empty wave. The point of all of this is, to remind us all again, that life, is indeed too short. We really shouldn't have to constantly remind one another, that life is short. But we do. And because I write this weekly blog, I will gladly take the time to remind you all again.

Life is short. We are here on this planet for a very short time. Where we all go from here, is a subject for another day. I'm talking about the living. Today, in the "now."

Last weekend, a very good friend of our local surfing community took ill for what could of been the worse possible outcome. Longtime surfer and friend Gary Ritchie suffered a Massive heart attack after surfing on Friday. Only he didn't know it until Monday. He felt sick all weekend and by Monday he couldn't stand the pain and being sick anymore, so he drove himself to the local hospital. Once he arrived there, they did a quick scan on him and realized, he was having a massive heart attack, and they immediately transported him to a larger medical facility. Thank God.

A triple by-pass later, Gary was in a medical induced coma, and for the next 48 hours it was a wait and see for his family and friends.

I'm happy to report that Gary is doing better. He's not completely out of the woods just yet, but he is on the road to recovery. The power of positive thinking and deep prayers by his family and friends have worked their positive force into Gary's subconscious state and gave him the strength to fight back.

His family and friends are beyond happy today. His brother Billy and his wife Alex, his daughter Jessica and son Eric, his Mom and everyone else close to him have all been very thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers.

I like to think that, Gary's late brother Mark may have had something to do with his recovery process, as well as his late Grandfather. There are forces and things, bigger and more beautiful, than any of us can ever imagine out there. And it's there for those of us, who have done good things, during on our short visit on this planet.

But like I said earlier, that's a subject for another time.
This is about a local surfer, here on this earth, who went through a very difficult time and survived. And he did it, because of the reasons I had mentioned above.

One thing's for sure. He's going to need help when this is all said and done with. The road to recovery will be a long and difficult one. We'll be talking with Gary's family in the near future, and when we have more information, we will once again, come together as a community, to help one of our own get back on his feet. Maybe we'll even call it, "Get Gary Back On His Feet Fund". Whatever we call it, we'll be getting you all the info as it comes in.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the entire Ritchie family, and friends of Gary, we thank you for all your well wishes and positive thoughts, and meaningful prayers. They worked.

Now, don't forget to smell the roses. To watch an empty wave. To call an old friend, or family member that you have not spoken with in some time. Don't leave any regrets behind. Our time here on this earth is very short.
The surfing, and everything else we do, is fine and good, but the love and friendships, that we have for each other, is just as, if not more important.

"Look at that perfect empty wave!"

Speaking of local Surf families and friends, we had another great turnout for the local SURF FAMILY ROBINSON beach party. For 16 consecutive years now, the local New England surfers with children have gotten together on the first Saturday of Labor Day Weekend to enjoy each other's company. We did it all for the youngsters, Crab Racing (both using Real Crabs and then human crabs) and Pin the Surfer On The wave (a Pin the tail on the donkey offshoot), there were Outrigger rides, boogie boarding, surfing and even some SUPB'in going on.

And of course, the ever popular Silver dollar hunt followed by the appearance of Pirate Jonas ( the most despicable, most disliked, stinkiest, smelliest pirate on the seacoast) and the subsequent sword fight against the outgunned, under sworded, underweight, poor Capn' Vince look-a-like Capn' Ralph. And then the huge treasure hunt. Sound corny? Well, if you're a young surf child with an active imagination, it is anything but. It is in a word...FUN.

This was, and is, a concept that a bunch of us Surf Families came up with 16 years ago. My daughter Gabby was 2yrs old, and Max was not quite a year old, during the very first one. Now, they are all grown up and there are new kids from younger surfers with kids who show up each year.

And so the spirit of Surf Family Robinson lives on.

If you have a young child who lives in a surf family atmosphere, you should really try and come next year, You'll be glad you did. But more importantly, your kid will be glad you did. Just ask any parent surfer you know who's been to this yearly event. The first Saturday, Every Labor Day Weekend since 1992.

OK back to reality. The Cold Harsh Reality.

Hurricane Felix is following the same path as Dean last from the week before. That's got to be bad news for all those poor people down there. Just terrible. These wild weather patterns, have no rhyme or reason, to what's fair and not fair. Lord knows those people have suffered enough already.
And how about those Grass Fires in Greece? Over 60 people killed in the fast moving flames and wind.

Global warming? Who the hell knows. It's just another reminder for us all to be thankful for where we are, and what we have. New England may have cold winters, but at least we don't have to suffer through some of the world's most dangerous storms and firestorms.

We do have to suffer through the Red Sox losing 3 straight to the Yanks last week. Ouch. I mean OUCHIE WA WA.
I'm afraid to ask how many games up they are now. The last time I checked it was 5. I'm sure one of you will set me straight. You always do. But HOW ABOUT THE ROOKIE NO HITTER? That was something special.

And how about Rodney Harrison? Or should we now call him "Roidney" Harrison? I mean come on Rodney! WE NEED YOU! And I just read this morning, that Seymour will be out for the first 6 weeks! Huh??? Are you kidding me? Wait, let me get this straight. No Seymour. No Harrison. For the first 4-6 weeks? And we're supposed to be going to superbowl? Hello? We may be going to the "Stupid Bow"
if this shit keeps up. This is ridiculous.

I guess it could be worse They could be killing dogs.

Don't forget...

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 1985 Gary Ritchie At The Wall
(Below) This is Gary at the Wall in 1985. He still surfs today. And he will surf tomorrow. On behalf of the entire
Ritchie family and close friends we thank you all for all your well wishes.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today Summer of 2007 Gary Ritchie At The Wall
(Below) This is Gary at the Wall this Summer. Gary is coming back. As soon as he is able.
Photo by SFOD Max V. Fatello

Today 2007 The Photos below were SHOT YESTERDAY at SFR

(Above) I shot this photo yesterday morning. The start of the annual Surf family Robinson Beach Party.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Jay Gould one of the original SFr charter members. Out on his SUPB.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Jay Gould negotiates a large mooring on his SUPB.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Are SUPB's fun? Ask Jay Gould. Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Fading was never easier than on one of these babies. Jay Gould SUPB.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Meanwhile on the beach, a Dead Dog Fish (Sand Shark) washes up.
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

(Above) Local New England Surf Families. The crowd changed throughout the day. Put your cursor over this
image to see what group photo you made it into..
Photo by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 Gary Ritchie from this Summer

(Above) My son Mackey V shot this photo this past summer. That's Gary on the far right and Marky J in the middle.
Gary will be back surfing, fishing and smiling before you know it.
Photo by SFOD M.V. Fatello

VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

Billy Ritchie and Johnny Sav from last weekend
. VIDEO by SFOD R. Fatello

Today 2007 More From Last Weekend's Summer Swell

(Above) RGF setting up for a flow and go stance. Photo by John Carden

(Above)...a semi turn on the Big Red Fish. Photo by John Carden

(Above)...a salute onboard the Big Red Fish. Photo by John Carden

Today 2007 The following Photos are from local New England surfers

(Above) From the same weekend swell. This sent in by Northern Surfer Johan Elder.
Photo courtesy of Johan Elder

(Above and below) Lenny Nichols amazing sand series. Photo by Lenny Nichols

Above) This is all about stopping to smell the roses. Photo by Lenny Nichols

(Above) This is a Northern Surf /Food/Snack Shop. No running water. No bathrooms. But full of soul.
Photo by: Jeff Crawford.

(Above) These are the waves that support that shop.
Photo by: Courtesy of...the Internet

Today 2007 Bernie Baker's Labor Day 2007 Work

(Above) This is what we could all use right about now.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) Everything about this guy matches the color and feeling of the wave.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) This girl is in a very enviable position. And she earned it.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) You grow up in the Islands and adhere to the conditions, this all becomes second nature to you.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) There's a free falling feeling here for sure.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) "Town" has always been an urban tropical location. This is why. When worlds collide in the Islands.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) Think she's having fun?
Photo by: Bernie Baker

(Above) It looks like Mr. Baker is pretty close to his shooting subject here. This is when both the surfer and
photographer make eye contact. Just to be on the safe side.
Photo by: Bernie Baker

Today 2007 A Few From The Snow Phantom

(Above) If it looks cold it is...The Phantom was Mum on these...but at least we know where it isn't.
Photo Courtesy of the Snow Phantom

(Above) I mean, it looks like fun .I'm just NOT ready for this just yet.
Photo Courtesy of the Snow Phantom

(Above) The Phantom seeks out perfection all over the globe. This is NO exception.
Photo Courtesy of the Snow Phantom

(Above) Usually this image is reserved for a buddy hooting another buddy deep in some tropical barrel.
Does this wave and ride deserve a hoot? HELL YEA!
Photo Courtesy of the Snow Phantom

Today 2007 Parting Shot..."Thick as a cement lip!"

(Above) This would be funnier 10 years ago. Why? Because there are nuts out there who would actually surf something
this sick and dangerous today. World Traveler Everest Crawford up North.
Photo by: Jeff Crawford
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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