PATCH ON THE BEACH
January 21st, 2020
I have a self regimented workout program where I will do 1,500 push ups every week. I do 500 on Monday, 500 on Wednesday, and 500 on Friday. I carve out an hour on each of those days, and do 50 push ups at a time, stopping at 500. Why am I telling you this? Well, I think that most older surfers like myself tend to slack off when there's no surf. So we need to stay in shape. I've been doing this for years. It works for me.
Part of my weekly workout program also includes taking long hikes with my dog Patch. Typically, I will run Patch on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We will go about 3-5 miles each time. I try to average 10-15 miles per week. I walk/hike hard. And Patch just runs like the wind, and averages about 10 miles to my 5. (I'm not kidding). I usually run him in the woods. But when the snow gets too deep, it's harder for both of us. So, the beach is our next best option. The beach walk is about 4.2 miles.
Tuesday January 21st, 2020 was a perfect day to "Walk Hard" on the beach.
It was dead low tide, and Patch was firing on all cylinders straight out of the gate. It's important to know that Patch doesn't run on the beach, he flies on the beach. We always start on the North end of the beach and walk to Boars Head and turn around and head back. It's always a great walk.
We hit the beach and within 20 yards, we came up on these flowers. Now, I've done enough "Surfer's Paddles" over the years, so I instantly recognized that some sort of a memorial service had just taken place here.
I wasn't sure who it was for. But I instantly felt a sense of loss and sadness for whoever it was. I took these photos of the flowers in the sand. And I hope I am not intruding on someone's grief, but I thought these images were so powerful, and I just wanted to share them with you. We continued walking to Boars Head and then started our way back.
When we came back up on the flowers in the sand, I saw the hand written sign in the sand, and this rubber ball. I now assumed that "Greta" was a dog, and she loved this stretch of beach. My heart sank. Oh no...
Patch is 9 yrs old, and I know that his time is running out.
He has been running on this beach since he was a puppy back in 2010.
I gave "Greta" a salute, and tried to imagine what she was like as a puppy.
Our pets get ripped off in the big picture. Their average life expectancy is far shorter than we humans. Yet, we all know what we buy into, when we bring them home. And none of us would trade a single second of our time spent with our pets.
As I loaded Patch back into my vehicle, I gave him an extra hug, told him I loved him, and called him my "puppy". Because, they are all puppies. Even
at the end.
Keep dancing Greta. Keep dancing girl.
MY FRIEND JOHNNY. January 24th, 2020
Let's face it, sometimes life can be a kick in the teeth.
People get sick, or hurt, and things can really knock you down. Still, most of us fight back. We tend to overcome these obstacles that life throws at us, and we do what we need to do get by. My friend Johnny is one of these people.
He's been dealing with an ankle problem for a very long time. A debilitating nagging injury that has curbed his surfing to the point where he has to wear a cumbersome ankle brace. It's a hassle
to put on, and it's really just a band-aid. It's not the end all to his situation. The only sure cure is surgery. Well, like most of us who have had to deal with sickness, injuries etc etc, nobody wants surgery. Nobody. It's always the last resort. Johnny had been putting it off for a couple of years.
But last year he and his wife decided to bite the bullet and have the surgery.
I share an office with Johnny and he has been present for many of my editing sessions over the last few years. I've shot a ton of video and stills of Johnny over the years as well. Last week we were talking of the possibility of him surfing one last time before the surgery, and the 4 to 6 month recovery period.
As luck would have it, the surf forecast was calling for a 2-4' swell on the morning of his surgery. He needed to be at the hospital by 10:45AM. That trip would be about an hour's drive. So he could feasibly get into the water at 6:15AM and surf to about 7:30AM, get home to shower, and he and his wife Lynn could make it to the hospital in time. And I would be there to capture his last surf session until he was strong enough to surf again.
Problem was he was getting resistance from home and I wasn't helping.
only Surfers know what surfing is really all about. If you don't surf, you just don't know. And Johnny is one of the most hardcore surfers I have ever known in my life. Nobody surfs this particular break more than Johnny. Nobody. So I knew what he was thinking. I prodded him all week long. We would both smile and laugh, but I knew if there was any chance to pull this off, Johnny was gonna pull the trigger and paddle out.
Friday morning at 6:05AM my phone dinged. "Suiting up." It was from Johnny. I wrote back a one word reply. "BAM!"
I rolled out of bed, got dressed, and drove down to the beach.
It was still pitch black out by the time I pulled up to the beach. There was Johnny's truck. There were No other vehicles insight. I pulled up next to his truck thinking he would be there waiting for me, but he was not inside. "He paddled out in the dark?"
Yup. I looked out and sure as shit, there he was. I could just barely make out this dark figure paddling over these dark shaped waves. I started laughing. "You crazy bastard Johnny."
For one fleeting moment I felt guilty. "Shit, what if he gets hurt?" I mean it was dark. My idea was to wait for first light. But this? Oh what the hell, I grabbed my camera and made my way down across the rocks, slipping and sliding on the wet kelp beds.
The first few photos were too dark. My camera could not pick him up in the low light. This was one of the first where you could see him. Still, it was blurry and out of focus. But I didn't care and I knew Johnny didn't care. He was getting his last surf session in, with or without my documentation.
I knew that these photos would be special, like this morning sunrise.
Waiting for a wave and contemplating his near future.
I captured every single ride he got. And he caught so many waves.
Once the light got better I was able to get some decent shots of him.
Eventually he was joined by his close dear friend Markey J. I waited for this shot because I've gotten so many of these in the past. Two close friends splitting the peak. Just a classic image.
His last wave before surgery and months out of the water.
Paddling in and feeling good about what he had just done.
We both looked back at the surf one last time.
I wished him a quick recovery and hugged him. "Love you Ralph" he said, "I Love you too Johnny." Then we both drove off. I later texted him: "That was a special session. I'm glad you went out. I'll email you the pics. Things are going to be alright. This is just a bump in the long road of life. A temporary setback. Heal up and get stronger. You have a wonderful wife in Lynn who will be by your side every step of the way. Your family and friends love you. Godspeed.
With love and respect,
I heard from Johnny today. His surgery went well. He's a bit uncomfortable, but resting
and taking it easy. Four to six months? I'm not sure the doctor knows Johnny well enough. Bottom line, he's going to be better than before. Maybe I'll let him use one of my cameras while he's in rehab. Nah, that would be asking for trouble. I'm just stoked that he's going to be fine.
"Surfing, Pets, and Friends, Heals All Wounds."
This is Mike Stanek who was a favorite subject of Ed's. Hell Stanek was/is a fave subject of all the photogs in this area. There's nobody like Mike both out in the water and on land. I have footage of him riding that board. He rides boards that he shapes himself and rides them like nobody else. I'm sure he missed Ed as much as well all do. Thank God I have an almost endless supply of Ed's pics. January 20th, 2010. 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
I'm guessing that you all are aware of the impeachment hearings. This guy has a job that I wouldn't want right now. We are living in historical times. There's no telling how this will all end up. But I'm hoping that whichever way it does end up, we will all start the path back towards healing. Because right now, there's so much hate in this country that I fear it will take years to recover.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts holding court.
My take on all of this is, if this is really a "Hoax and a Witch Hunt" why not let witnesses and documents be presented so you could prove your case? Allow them and let the chips fall where they may. That seems to be the only honest way to go about this trial.
Allow them to be heard and then let's be done with it. Good Lord.
I'm personally sick of it all.
I'll be posting the next Blog on February 5th, 2020.
So here we are. SUPER BOWL 54. The San Francisco Forty Niners vs the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes it's still a bitter pill to swallow, but alas my friends, I'm getting over it. After all, you can't win them all. Though we almost did in 2007. Oh there I go again, slipping back into the past. Any way, my heart is into the 49'ers.
For two reasons. First reason Jimmy G. Yup...Jimmy G.
Jimmy G as most of you already know was the heir apparent to Brady's throne. But somehow some way they traded Jimmy G off to the 49'rs. Now isn't it ironic that we (Patriots Nation) are sitting home watching the game on TV while Jimmy G is playing in his first ever Super Bowl. Just two years after we let him go. Oh the horror. The inhumanity of it. Why oh why does stuff like this get on my nerves? Why? Because I'm a fan of the game.
Now the second reason? Mosert's Surfing celebration.
I've been a fan of this game since Bart Starr and Johnny U were playing. And I have to say, I have never ever seen anything like what I saw last week during the NFC championships. A surfing celebration in the End Zone! I damn near fell out of my seat when I saw it. I guess Mosert was or rather is a Surfer. Rumor has it that he was offered a contract at age 14 to surf. Now, I don't mean to be mean here, but I have seen him surf and seen him play football. he clearly made the right move by staying with the NFL.
And I will be rooting for him and Jimmy G. GO NINERS!
This man Don Gavin is the GODFATHER of Boston Comedy and he currently has the Number 5 Comedy Record in the country. I've seen Don Gavin a few times and he is very funny. He's also a good friend and equally funny man of Jimmy Dunn. Now I ask you all. What else do you need to know? Buy this album.
Click on this ad image and buy DON GAVIN'S new album.
Hey we all need to laugh.
ESM (Eastern Surf Magazine) using a READY MAG format did the Best of Ralph's Pic. And while they couldn't possibly use everything thing I've ever done, they did manage to put up some 50 pics of mine, plus two videos. And I was truly humbled by their intro. Mez said some nice things about me. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE WHOLE Spread.
COMING FATHER'S DAY 2020.
Before the Fathers and Sons movie I'm planning on another release. This too will be unique.
I'm calling it "FOR LOVE AND WAVES."
The story of couples who surf. Married couples. Single couples. Gay couples.
Lovers who surf together. From SURF FREE OR DIE and RALPH'S PIC OF THE WEEK.
Posting on Valentines Day February 14th, 2020.
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.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
Now what in Sam Hill is going on here? KSM as a Supreme Court Justice Judge? Oh hell no. Can you imagine? No neither can I. This kind of shit only happens here in my Wacky KSM fantasy World. Khaliddy is like a modern day Charlie The Tuna. Sorry Charlie. Sorry Khaliddy. You're a POW at GITMO. And that is FOREVER. You are never getting out.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of Black Robes
at Home Depot this week.
Each winter I run these promos form our friends in the mountains. LOON, CRANMORE, and PAT'S PEAK. Just click on these logos below to see what's happening up north.
New England's Most Accessible Resort
EXIT 32 off of 1-93
North Conway's Family Mountain
Located in North Conway, NH
Voted # 1 Ski Town in the country by USA Today
Southern New Hampshire's Family Friendly Mountain
Close To Home!
HAPPY Martin Luther King Day January 20th, 2020
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kody Grondin January 25th, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kelly Ciarmataro January 28th, 2020!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Shelly Berardini January 29th, 2020!
Heal Quickly Jacko Keefe and Johnny Meehan!
REST IN PEACE Walter Helfer January 14th, 2020!
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Prayers.
Lenny Nichols & Colin Madden
Co-Directors, NNE District
Eastern Surfing Association
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 13 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.