This is a photo of me taking a photo of Max. My wife Cory shot this on her cellphone. This was one week ago today. Easter Sunday to be exact. We had a short window before we were all going to head down to my sister's home for and Easter dinner/gathering. Traditions run deep in our family.
Max would be leaving for California in a couple of days.
He was heading out on his own to surf as much as he could in the week he has off. Shortly after I had taken this pic, Max walked up to me and said.
"Dad is there any chance you could hook me up with the Phantom next week?"
And I was like, "The PHANTOM??? The Phantom? NOBODY is allowed to see the Phantom? Max he's like the Wizard Of Oz! Nobody sees the Phantom. He's an enigma.
Where the hell did that come from? Besides, it's been years since anyone has heard from him."
We all remember the Wizard Of Oz. The Great and Powerful Oz.
"Pay No Attention to that man behind the curtain!" It's the same
with the Phantom
My mind started to race back in time. The first time
I met the Phantom was in 1979. I was with my late friend "JT" deep down in the Caribbean. That was 40 years ago. JT passed away in 2014. Prior to his passing, our contact with the Phantom had been spotty at best. This is the stone that rests in place at JT's favorite wave. His dear friend Johnny had this done. I found myself thinking about JT and the the great times we had. Especially that special surf trip we took in 1979.
But Max was persistent. "Come on Dad. You know where to find him.
I know you do. Please, just see if he's around. I know you can do it."
Well, it had been 15 years since Max was in California. Back in 2004 I took him out there with me. He got to surf some pretty special places out there. In fact, Max's first surf in California was at a remote
spot that only the elite have access to. And of course, those who have boats that can navigate their way through the red tape, treacherous waters, and the heavy locals.
The Phantom was one of these. In fact, he was the best.
The Phantom and his crew have been heavily influenced by George Greenough and the special little boats that he had designed and perfected. If you don't know who George Greenough is, you should just "Google" him.
Because to know and understand George Greenough, is to get a clear insight to what The Phantom is all about. The Phantom and his friends have taken the little boat scheme to a whole other level. And make no mistake about it, they all march to the beat of a different drummer. Or as the Phantom is fond of saying "When the Herd goes right, you go left."
So I made some queries to the last known email and phones numbers I had.
And as luck would have it, I connected with my old friend, and to my surprise he was ready, free, and able to put something together with Max.
He said he only needed 48 hours to make something happen. So I passed on the info to Max and sat back and waited to hear back from them.
It wasn't long before I heard that they were to meet up on Wednesday afternoon and
pack up the little boats, and get ready for a total covert strike mission. Destination: CLASSIFIED. Suffice it to say, it would require a team of individuals who are well versed in these covert missions.
Max being the "boot" was the low man on the team. The Phantom kept me posted on all the details. They woke up at 2:30AM and moved into the vehicles that would haul the boats to the harbor. They left the dock at 4:30AM.
The last report back that I got before they departed was. "We're going straight out. 40 miles."
Whoa, 40 miles straight out? They must be hitting some remote Island chain, or some unknown deep water reef pass maybe?
I was in the dark. But I trusted The Phantom and his partner Brad. They were to take two boats. The team consisted of 5 surfers. They were all skilled enough on their preferred crafts, so there was no dead weight. They all knew how to surf. I'm sure there was some skepticism with having an Eastie (East Coast Surfer) in Max.
But I know Max can surf. He's traveled enough in his 27 years
and he can handle pretty much whatever is coming his way. I was not worried about Max's ability to keep up with the crew.
Hours across the open sea on semi glassy conditions made for an easy passage. The Phantom knew exactly where they would be surfing. They found a remote left reef/point break that reeled down the line offering several hollow sections, and plenty of room for cutbacks and turns. The size ranged from head high to slightly overhead. In total glass. Wow.
But the best part? They had it to themselves! Here it is 2019, and to be scoring perfect surf with just you and your buddies was still a viable
solution to the masses. They were all in the water in a flash. Sharing waves with each other and hooting each other into set waves. It was a total love fest. They surfed from 10:30AM to 2:30PM.
The Phantom was impressed with Max's surfing, but more importantly, he was impressed with his character and conduct. I've been aware of Max's maturity for quite sometime. But it had been 15 years since The Phantom last saw Max and surfed with him. He was only 12 years old back then. Still a kid. But the potential was there. He has since grown in height and weight and a boatload of wisdom. I'm not gonna lie, I was proud to hear what The Phantom was saying about Max.
There are no photos of Max surfing. Mostly due to the fact of where they had to anchor the boat. There are only a few pics of Brad surfing. But Max was fine with it all. "Dad I have it all in my head." Plus I took photos of the entire trip out and back." That was the other thing that impressed The Phantom.
Watching Max with a camera. No surprise there with me. I learned from my father, and Max learned from his father. It's what we Fatello boys do. We document.
These are the waves that these 5 surfers had to themselves. Head high to slightly overhead.
This is a photo that The Phantom shot of Brad zipping along on the inside track while Max paddles back out. .
I found this pic (below) on the Internet to show the potential.
So yeah, it's a Goofy foot dream wave. And Max was totally prepared to surf rights the whole time only using his backhand. But whenever the Phantom took him to this spot? Where he could face the wave? It just made this mission go from a 10 to a 20 in a heartbeat. He was beyond stoked.
After they surfed and had some lunch, the Phantom took Max on a little tour.
Later that night when they got back (10:00PM) Max sent me a quick text.
"Just got back. Completely epic day.
We went out to the _________. The waves were head high to overhead. Only the five of us out. I'm passing out, I'll call you tomorrow."
He sent that text at 10:30PM Pacific standard time. Yup, woke us up. But you know what? I woke up with a smile. As did Cory.
There is a whole gallery of photos that The Phantom shot as well as his buddy Brad down in the gallery section. There are NO surf pics per'se. But plenty of beautiful photos to share about this incredible adventure.
Thank you Phantom. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you brother.
THE PHANTOM LIVES!
"Surfing, Adventure, Friends, Family, and LOVE Heals All Wounds."
This is some lucky Goofy foot from the winter of 2013. Ed shot this pic from his favorite perch. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
You can't be surprised at this announcement. Joe Biden is running for office. He's joining the other 500 democrats that are all bumping elbows to unseat 45. And you really can't be surprised at 45's juvenile's tweet. "Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty-you will be dealing with people who truly have some sick and demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting gate."
45 even called Joe too old. Joe is 76 and 45 is 72.
Why anyone would want to get into politics is a mystery.
But, here we are. Joe's got some skeletons in the closet. But in my honest opinion, they pale in comparison to what 45 has been dealing with. Hugging some woman is a little different than "grabbing them by the p***y!" Am I right people? Good luck Joe. My vote will go to ANYONE BUT 45.
The Boston Celtics lost a legend this week. John Havlicek or as he was fondly known "Hondo" I didn't realize that Havlicek scored more points than any other Celtic. He was 79 years old. RIP
He will never be forgotten! "Havlicek Stole The Ball!"
Well the last two weeks on The Game of Thrones has been building up to tonight's episode. Tonight they (and I do mean they as in ALL of Them) will do battle against the frightening White Walkers. Unfortunately, a lot of favorite characters will die tonight. It's inevitable. This is the 8th and final season and it has been an absolute pleasure to watch. I realize these fantasy themed series are not for everyone, but once we got sucked into to it, we were all in. Whatever happens tonight, I will accept it. It is after all make believe. Or as 45 calls it "Fake series."
Winter Is Coming...
But so is SUMMER and KING's X!!!!
This my friends is a MUST SEE SHOW! I have seen these guys every year since 1990. True. I love this band. Always have always will. I was trying to describe them to a friend the other day and it really is almost impossible. I mean there is no definitive record that I could recommend you to listen to. You'd have to do a series of them. Like GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA, followed by FAITH HOPE AND LOVE. Then the self titles LP KING'SX. Then you'd have to pick up DOG MAN and EAR CANDY. Oh what am I saying. Go buy them all! They are all GREAT. But if you had to select a few. These would be the ones to buy.
The DVD's are available at all the local surf shops. Or by
sending me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check for $20.00 made out to ADLANTIC and send it here:
c/o OC Studio Suites
703 Ocean Blvd Suite C-4
Hampton, NH 03842
Or RENT or BUY it Online. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND.
On Monday April 15th, 2019 the BLOG officially turned 15! FIFTEEN YEARS without missing a single week. This was the BIG Blog that I was mentioning weeks ago. HUNDREDS of NEW Pics and Old ones too. There's at least FOUR NEW Videos.
It's all in celebration of 15 years.
I've enjoyed every single week, every month, and every year!