Of all the hundreds of photos I've seen of HUMBERTO in the last week or so, this one is by far, the most dramatic of the bunch. That's newly crowned ESA MEN'S Champion Kainalu Nichols deep inside a heaving barrel somewhere in New Jersey during the peak of HUMBERTO. The second I saw this, I knew it was the Best water shot I have ever seen of Kai. And I was so stoked and proud of him. Especially in light of his most recent success. For him to pull into a barrel like this, and the timing of having pro photographer Timmy Torchia sitting in the pit snapping away, is more of the luck and talent that Kai has been experiencing as of late. Look at this pic! Are you kidding me??
Holy Crap Kai! This is KILLER!
I had sent him multiple text messages asking him where he was surfing during HUMBERTO. Whenever he sent me this pic, all my inquiries fell by the wayside. It's all par for the course for this talented 20yr old from Hampton, NH.
Funny thing is, I was not at all surprised by the photo. I have been watching and filming him for 20 years. He's ready. So all you hotshot competitors on the WLS tour better take note. Kainalu
Nichols from Northern New England is coming. So buckle up fellas. It's gonna be a dogfight when he paddles out in your heet. Don't say we didn't warn you.
This week's Blog has some great leftover pics from HUMBERTO.
Be sure to check them out. Like this one from Peter Bauer.
After having the great waves from Humberto we were ready for the next swell. Hurricane JERRY was looking pretty good. But then he was downgraded to a Tropical Storm. And by the time he came into our window he was downgraded to a Post Tropical Depression. This photo (above) was taken on Friday September 27th, 2019. It's only waist high. Still, it's a pretty wave. But let's face it, Humberto was a tough act to follow. Especially seeing how Dorian was another great Tropical Swell. Regardless, I had to surf "Jerry."
I paddled out and caught five waves before the tide filled in.
It was just me out there. I was lying in the prone position, drifting on my board, in an air of melancholy, as I thought about my late father-in-law "Jerry." He passed way too soon in life. Heart attack at age 64 in 2005. I've outlived him by 4 years now. He never got to meet his great grandchildren. He was the best "Grampy" to our kids, And the best father to his only child Cory. And as far as father-in-law's go? He was great. I was fortunate enough to have known him for as long as I did. I'm lucky that I still have my Step Father-in-law John. But this swell named "Jerry" got me thinking about him. I'm 100% sure that he would have loved and adored his great grandchildren just as much as he did his grandchildren.
And so, just as I started to feel this immense sadness come over me, this large seal popped up next to me.
We looked at each other in complete silence. Then I finally said, "Good morning." He blinked his eyes, and went under. I caught one more wave and went in. I miss you Jerry.
This was the last Thanksgiving we spent with Jerry. The year was 2004.
Less than a year after this photo was taken he was gone. Life is short
and getting shorter.
On September 11th, 2019 a friend that I had known since 2016 slipped into the darkness that is depression, and took his own life. Steve Folan. That same night in Hampton, NH we were adding six new names to our Global War On Terrorism Monument. Two of the six fallen, were by suicide.
Typically I would never write about something this personal, but the family has gone out of their way to not only talk about his suicide, but to actually do something about it. I took this photo of Steve during our Memorial Day observance a couple of years ago. Steve was a retired Marine Corps officer who got out of the Corps as a Lt Colonel. He was married with three sons.
His taking of his own life was both shocking and incredibly sad. Suffice it to say that his family was completely devastated by his suicide.
They say he hid his depression well. And that sounds all to painfully familiar.
Most suicides are like that. Shocking. Out of the blue. No signs of depression.
This is Steve (and from the left) with his wife Sharon and mother-in-law Dottie seated
in front at the HIT THE BEACH in 2018. You'll notice that he is smiling in both photos. I've never not known him to be smiling. So he hid his depression well. His son Tyler is a Major in the Marine Corps and he's a wonderful Marine, husband, and soon to be father.
That's Tyler in the middle with me on the left and Gunny Mike MacDonald.
They (The Folans) are related to a local Hampton family The Lessards.
When Colonel Lessard passed away I got to meet the Folans and we all became good friends. Tyler volunteered to help out at the Wounded Warriors a couple of years ago. He's a combat veteran who fought in Afghanistan. He's one hell of a Marine. And I can only imagine the pain his whole family is feeling.
Tyler and his brother Evan smiling during happier times.
Suicide has a terrible ripple affect lasting a lifetime for those left behind. The pain and suffering only ends for the one who takes their own life. For the family and friends left behind it is only the beginning. Why can't they see that?
Because, that darkness of depression and mental illness is real.
I know this firsthand, because I too had once walked up to the edge of darkness and looked down into that dark spiraling tunnel of depression. Only I was able to walk away. To step back and re-group. Mine was a result of a few demons that had been following me around. The War. Alcohol. Failed relationships, and a few other things. They all just added to that already mounting pressure. I sought out and found help on my own.
Surprisingly, Surfing helped save my life. I have said this many times before.
If it wasn't for surfing, I'm not sure where I would have ended up. The early 70's was a dark period in my life. But I survived. I'm 31 years sober today. I'm happy and content with my life. And I can handle anything that comes my way.
That's not the case with everyone who suffers from depression.
There is help. There is light at the end of that dark tunnel. Suicide is not the answer. It never is. It's exactly what we all know it to be. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you know of anyone who is suffering from depression, reach out and help them. They need to know, that there is a tomorrow. There is happiness up ahead. It's not going to be easy. But the right medication, and the right people to talk to, can help get that person back on the right track.
There's no shame in asking for help. None whatsoever.
If you need help, or you know someone who is suffocating under that dark weight of depression, PLEASE seek help.
Click on the smile of Steve smiling here, to help contribute
STEVE FOLAN MEMORIAL FUND.
Thank you, and SEMPER FI Steve.
"Surfing, Love, and Family Heals All Wounds."
Because my HUMBERTO video has so many waves from this particular spot, I wanted to run this pic that ed shot back in 2013. If you look closely you'll see Ed's shadow in the lower right hand corner. 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
Look the last thing that any decent American wants to see is our country failing. That means the office of the presidency. Nobody wants to see the constitution being abused. Nobody wants to see the president acting like a bully. Nobody wants to see what is happening now. But this president has put himself between a rock and a hard place. And whatever happens next is all on him.
He is the proverbial bull in a china shop. He can't help himself.
Connect the dots kids. Unfortunately, it looks and sounds like the Teflon Don has finally run out of bully excuses.
CULL (KILL) THE FRICKING SEALS!! Something MUST Be Done about the Seal Population on the Cape. It's time to cull the Seals. *I came up with I think might be a good solution. Why Not get robotic ORCAS and have them putter around the beaches of the Cape? Great White Sharks are terrified of them. Hell the mechanical shark (Bruce) in JAWS terrified an entire generation. Let's try the motorized ORCA and terrorize the White Sharks!
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.
If You Love The Beatles...This show is worth seeing.
COMING FATHER'S DAY 2020.
While I was making the GRANITE GIRLS video I came up with this project and concept. It's never been done before. As hard as that seems to be. I'm onto yet another never been done before Surf Movie concept. This will be an overview of Surfer dads and their sons. It's a work in progress and I'm hoping to get as many dads and their sons as possible in this movie.
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
This week was all about the mysterious "whistle-blower". Who could it be? Was it a party operative? Was it a wayward referee? Who could it be that would Blow the whistle on 45 and possibly be the individual who brought his empire crashing to the ground? Well, I'm not surprised by this revelation and neither should you be. It is after all Khaliddy. Look at him blowing the whistle at the orange haired conman. Why you little sneaky bastard.
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 Whistles at Home Depot this week.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Patch September 23rd, 2019!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AVERY September 25th, 2019!
GET WELL SOON Brylee "Peanut"!
GET WELL SOON Jody Wiles Goucher!
GET WELL SOON Kim Grondin and Lilly too!
REST IB PEACE Ric Ocasek.
REST IN PEACE Eddie Money.
REST IN PEACE "Yellow" Beloved Cat of Jack and Kate.
REST IN PEACE Francois Viau's Mother.
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.