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Ralph Pic Of The Week

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April 23, 2006

When someone walks up to you, and claims that the surf is "The Best Waves I've Ever Surfed" you take note. Especially, if that someone has some credibility in your local surf domain. You know, if one of the local Rippers starts talking about the surf in those terms, you will pay attention. If you don't, then you really don't understand the true scope of what was just said. Now imagine if you will, that someone, with the world renown credibility of a Shane Dorian, Reef McIntosh, Danny Fuller, Jeff Booth and Tom Servais says the waves they just surfed and photographed were the BEST WAVES OF THEIR LIVES...well, you'd have to be a complete moron to Modern day Surfing not to understand that statement. I don't mean to be crude here kids, but Shane Dorian and Reef McIntosh are considered by many in the sport/lifestyle, to be two of the TOP 5 BIG WAVE BACKSIDE BARREL RIDERS IN THE WORLD! The other 3? Slater, and both Iron brothers, Andy and Bruce. What am I getting at here? Glad you asked bunky.

Last week, our own Dave Cropper and Phil Carey just happened to be in Tavarua Island in Fiji with the aforementioned crew above. And...and, they just happened to be there when the BIGGEST EVER SWELL EVER SEEN AT CLOUD BREAK HIT THE ISLAND. And...Dave Cropper just happened to have his Video Camera with him, and with a few helpful hints from yours truly, he brought back to the United States (and the world), some of the most impressive surfing ever seen on tape.

It is in a word. Shocking.

You will see this footage in person, in just a few days when Dave and I finish editing it. It will be played in a continuous loop at the Shop for all of you to see and gawk at. Your jaws will drop. You will utter non syllables. You will point and hoot. And, you will leave the shop knowing that you have just witnessed History in our sport. You will hear and see, the likes of Dorian and Fuller, say on camera, that those waves "Were The BEST They have ever Surfed". And come next Fall, when I put my new movie out, you will be able to see some of these INSANE Waves and Rides in the comfort of your own living room. But, for the time being, the only available viewing, will be at Cinnamon Rainbows.

Dave Cropper has in one week, become my NUMBER 1 Videographer at the Surf Free Or Die studios.

He's My Ace Boon Coon.

Dave was not the only one who shot images. Phil had his trusty digi still camera and he managed to snap off a few of his own. Phil who is still nursing a nasty cut he received on his right arm after pulling into a barrel and having the world implode all around him considers this trip "The Trip of a Lifetime". Well really, how could it not be? Cloud Break and Restaurants are two of the most Famous Breaks on the Planet. To be there and witness the best it's ever been? Well, those are lucky odds for sure.

I can almost relate to this story first hand. I have witnessed the BEST EVER several times in my life. Mostly from these here parts in New England. I witnessed (along with a host of others). The Perfect Storm Swell in October of 91. When we had 3-5 days of INSANE surf. I've witnessed the BEST EVER Tortola Surf in 1975. I've witnessed the BEST EVER North Shore of Oahu Surf in 1983. The latter two have since been beaten. But, up until that point, they were the BEST Ever. We have still not seen waves like we got in ' 91 around here. Don't get me wrong, we have had some truly memorable New England Swells since then, but nothing the likes of that freak magnitude.

I guess I'm saying, or rather, suggesting to you all, that it wouldn't hurt to carry a camera around with you to document these significant swells when they hit. Why on earth Dave Cropper from Hampton New Hampshire was the ONLY Surfer with a video Camera at Cloud Break on the Biggest Day ever, is beyond me. And I'll never understand it. Thank God I convinced him to take his camera and to shoot with a tripod. In fact, he's taken his video camera the last few trips and it's been paying off. But you know what? Don't take my word for it. Ask Dave what he thinks of having the camera with him in the boat as HUGE 30-40 faces went reeling by him with his friends stuffed way back inside the pit. Ask him.

Meanwhile...there's surf out there today. There was some decent surf yesterday. The wind dropped off in the afternoon and everyone had their 4/3's on as they hit the glassy shoulder high swell. Spring has sprung and Summer's coming.

Remember my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace.
Surf For Fun.



Yesterday 1975- The BEST Ever Tortola?
No, not really. But at the time, they were calling it the Best Ever. Hard to find anything before this date to compare it to. I do know that it's gotten Bigger and Hollower since then. But, back "in the day" this was a day for the record books. 8-10' faces and just a handful of us out. A young Vince wishing he had the keys to the way back machine.
Photo by Jeff Chamberlain

A paddler's perspective of the BEST Swell prior to 1975. John Taylor from Rye leads the charge back out.
Photo by Jeff Chamberlain


These are NOT even the BIG days. These are the cleaner fun days. These are video frame grabs from the Historical Cinnamon Rainbows Footage.

Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Above and Below) Pipe Master Danny Fuller on the Inside.
Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Below) Sequence of Reef McIntosh Stand Up Barrel.
Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Below) Shane Dorian Barrel sequence.
Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Below Sequence) Pipe Back Side barrel Master Reef McIntosh stalling on a significant Cloud Break Wave. Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Below) Sequence of Reef on one he didn't make.
Video Frame Grabs by Dave Cropper and SFOD

(Below) Danny Fuller Pulling into a Pipe like Dream Barrel at Cloudbreak
Photo by
Phil Carey

(Below) More of Phil Carey's Still's from the "Trip of a lifetime".
Photos by Phil Carey

Today 2006 Best Ever in Taiwan?
This was sent in over the secret express network. Apparently these waves are somewhere in Taiwan. Maybe the president of China had these pics with him when he was here last week and sent them into the mag to expose this fickle break. Then again, maybe not. Better hurry and get it while you can. Next year, the Red Star Flag of China could be flying over this break. And then it's off limits to everyone.
Photo Courtesy of The Phantom

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