46 out of 48 weeks of surfable waves.
other day, Julia Nichols sat in my studio with her sister
Nohea and asked me "When was
the last time you were in Hawaii Ralph?" I was working
with Julia trying to extract some amazing photos she had
recently taken on the North Shore of Oahu out of
her stubborn laptop. But the question hit me hard. I knew it had
been some time. But I was not sure just how long...then it hit
me. 1989. 20 years ago. Wow. Twenty years ago. This,
from someone who used to go to the North
Shore every winter for years. My first trip was in January
- 1971. And my last trip was January 1989.
But 20 years? Is it possible? Yes, it's possible.
There were changes happening in my life twenty years ago. Cory
and I were expecting our first child, and we were trying to
buy a home. That required making a few sacrifices. One of those
sacrifices was my annual Hawaiian Surf Trip. Granted, I
had stayed with both Kevin and Lenny every time
I went, but the cost of the plane ticket, and other stuff that
always comes up, would have to take a back seat to other more
important things in my life.
Like, buying a home and raising a family. My annual Tropical Surf
Trip would have to be put on hold.
*Actually that's not entirely true. When Cory and Kim
were pregnant with Gabby and Leah in the winter
of 1990, Kevin somehow managed to to convince me
(and our wives), that a Trip to Puerto
Rico would be just what we all needed to re-charge our batteries,
and begin our new lives with our pending new families. Hey that
sounded good to me, and apparently our wives. Because we went.
And don't get me wrong, we have traveled to the tropics many times
over the last 20 years, but it's been on this side of the
planet. Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and other spots.
But getting back to Hawaii. I remembered that I had a photo,
of the last wave I ever caught on the North Shore. It was
at Rocky Point. It was taken by Kevin Grondin. We
used to carry cheap water cameras out in the water with us and
take turns snapping pics of each other. Long story short. I found
that dusty pic. It was taped to a lamp on my old drawing board.
That's how long ago we're talking. Drawing board? I have not used
a Drawing board in so long. So I ripped it off and scanned the
It's the YESTERDAY photo this week. My last ride in Hawaii.
Rocky Point. I remember the session.
It was overcast and the surf was head high. Me, Baytoff, Lenny,
Kevin and Zappy. We were having
a blast. And I secretly knew, that this trip would be one of my
last trips here. It was one of those bittersweet surf trips.
There is something about Hawaii that stays with you.
Less than a week later, Julia's dad Lenny was sitting
in the same chair that Julia sat in, and the subject of
Hawaii came up. I asked Lenny the same question. He
said he had not been back since he moved here. And then he said
this..."If I go back, I won't leave." I knew what he
meant. I also knew how much the Islands had a hold on him. He
and Arlene lived in the Islands for many years. Kaneohe
was their home. They surfed, fished and raised their family there.
Then Hawaii's economy got tough and they moved here, to
the frozen Northern New England and settled in for the
long haul. But Hawaii is never far from their dreams.
And I know what he means.
Whenever I see a photo, or hear a story, I think about that magical
stretch of sand and surf on the North Shore, and I find
myself dreaming about going back there. Someday I'll go back with
my family, and show them the spots we all surfed as young Surfers.
Only this time, I'll be shooting the action more than I'll be
surfing. But I'm cool with that. In fact, I'd love to see how
Mackey V would do at some of those infamous lefthand breaks.
And there's a bunch to choose from. But unlike Lenny, I
will come back here. Hawaii is not my home. New England
is. I love it here. But when the temps drop to 20 below zero,
and it's nothing but ice and snow...well my mind wanders to the
I will see you again...someday.
I made a decision this week to continue to count the RUN
of surf we've been having and it was based on several factors.
First I want to go the full year, seeing how we are so close.
The RUN had started on February 18, 2009. So on
February 20, 2010 we will add it all up. Right now it's
46 out of 48 weeks. And you all know, we're gonna
have surf later today and into tomorrow. So by next week, it will
be 47 out of 49. We are 3 weeks away from
the final year end tally.
kind of exciting to think that we are in the 90% mark of
consistent waist high or better surf for a year! Well, it is to
me. I know there are some who don't buy into this waist high rap.
That's cool. It's kind of like what that old negative cynical
CRACKIE thinks. By the way, I could not help it. I posted
the ASK CRACKIE section of the movie here this week. You
might want to get the small children out
of the room before you watch that.
Remember when in doubt, just Ask Crackie.
for some of my weekly Global observances:
The tragedy in Haiti is beyond sad. It is hard to watch.
But on the other hand, it is equally as encouraging and heartwarming
to witness the outpouring of help and support, that most human
beings are capable of doing, when something of this magnitude
strikes. The people of Haiti need our help. And President
Obama and the last two Presidents Bush and Clinton
have stepped up to the plate and are making a difference. The
whole world knows of our compassion.
The whole world knows of our Military Might and now they all know,
that the same Military, can also come to the aid of stricken nations,
and provide humanitarian needs just as well. It is amazing what
some people have done already. I have always been proud to be
an American. I am just as proud today, seeing the good
that we all are, underneath the political clothes that we wear.
There are bigger and more important things in our world than politics
and the BS that goes with it. Thank God for that.
But please lend a hand. Give to the RED CROSS or some other
trusted organization to help those people. I gave to the Red
Cross yesterday. Don't get fooled into the scams that are
out there. If you want to help, give to the legitimate organizations
such as the RED CROSS. And please, let's all say
a prayer for those who have suffered and for those who lost loved
did I miss something or has the world gone Vampire crazy? What
the hell is up with that? I mean really. From the ridiculously
popular teen flicks to the HBO series TRUE BLOOD,
it seems we're all about Vampires. I don't get it. Although, I'm
surprised that there's not a new SURF FLICK about Vampire surfers.
SURF SUCK. Or something like that...
hope Conan O'Brien makes a bundle of money walking away
from that absurd mess at NBC. Is that one of the most juvenile
episodes you have ever witnessed in your lifetime? No offense
Jay Leno, but I hope you fall flat on your big ass chin.
And David Letterman falls on top of you. In my opinion...the
only three top late night shows that matter are Conan, Jimmy
Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. Those two boneheads Leno
and Letterman should retire. Idiots.
Mark McGwire has finally come clean. You know, I was a
huge Roger Maris fan. It bothered me when McGwire
beat his record. And it really bothered me when the first rumors
of his Steroid use came out and he denied it. I guess he called
Roger's widow and apologized and she accepted it. I guess
we should all accept it, but he should lose that title of holding
the single season Home Run record and he should NOT get into the
Hall of Fame. As far as him getting to be a batting coach...well,
it seems strange that he would want to do that, but whatever.
"I have a dream..." Dr Martin Luther King.
DR Martin Luther King this Monday.
Rest in Peace Magilla Schaus former ESA Director for the Great
Get Well soon Artie Lang.
Congrats to The COLTS for beating the Ravens.
And congrats to the Saints for beating the Cards.
Congrats to the VIKINGS beating the Cowboys.
Wait the JETS won? Please say
it ain't so...that's just wrong. I blame the Bengals and
The Colts for letting them into the Play-Offs. They
needed to win both those games to get in...
I HOPE the JETS beat the COLTS next week. Teach 'em all
a lesson about letting teams win.
PLEASE HELP THE NH SURFRIDER FOUNDATION.
*Check out the updated January 2010
IN ON RALPH blog Section.
I finished all of December and we are up to date as of today.
*Molly Video by Joe Carter has been moved to the Community
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic
Of The Week
every week for the last 6 years. **Think about BUYING a Photo
from any of the weeks
on RPOTW as a GREAT Gift Idea. A nice framed photo of your favorite
my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.