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December 31st, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 159
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

What a difference a day makes. No guilty feelings today. It took me 6 solid attempts to catch and ride my wave today. This Last Day of 2010 proved to be the most difficult. And ironically, it truly felt like Spring or early Fall out there. In fact, I never put on my hood. I actually wore my Molly Hat. So what was the problem? Well, the surf was about 6 to 8" and it was a weak 6 to 8" swell. I just couldn't get a wave to move me the prescribed 9 feet.

A friend in the community, I believe it was Leslie Lafond sat on the rocks and watched me. I'm sure she could feel my frustration. I mean 6 feeble attempts. Finally, I caught a solid 8" right and rode it at least 15 feet. Yea. I stopped and placed my hand over Molly's name that is on the wall at 18th Street. Happy New Year Molly.

So that's it. That's all I have for 2010.

Hard to believe another year is upon us...I hope this mild weather continues, but I also hope the waves come back. It's harder to ride nothing than it is to ride something. (Did I just write that?) Happy New Year everyone! Be Safe. Be Healthy . Be Smart.
I wish you all the best in 2011. God Bless you all.

That's 159, only 206 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 30th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 158
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I felt guilty today. I know it's silly, but I did. Why? Well, I barely got wet today. I waded out into waist deep water and waited for a single wave. One came my way. It was all of 1 foot. I shoved off on Big Black, paddled once or twice, caught the wave and stood up. I saluted and went about 20 feet when I stepped off and picked the board up and headed back up the stairs at 18th Street. Less than a minute.

It was the proverbial "One and Done". And that's what made me feel guilty.

The One and Done. I wondered how many One and Done's I've chalked up since July. There's at least 25...maybe more. Look, I know I set my own criteria. And that is: "I need to catch at least ONE Wave and Ride The Length of the board I'm riding." Seems fair enough. Except today...I just felt guilty...I mean I never got a drop on my face. It took me longer to get in and out of the wetsuit than it did to paddle, catch, and ride that wave. Am I being too hard on myself? Maybe.

Walking by Molly's name on the wall at 18th street got me thinking.

I just thought of the kids going through Chemo, and how hard that is on everyone. And what I did today hardly seemed like a sacrifice. This is not the first time I felt this way. And I know it won't be the last. I just know that what I'm doing pales in comparison to what the children and their families have gone through.

I hope and pray that in the long run when this is over, that I've somehow helped some child or family along the way and eased their pain and suffering. Even if for a short period of time.

That's 158, only 207 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 29th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 157
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

One of the unique aspects of surfing everyday is, I get to see things that I wouldn't normally see. For instance, today at 18th Street, I saw my friend Duffy holding a bag
of Dog Poop. He was depositing it in the Dog Poop receptacle. But that's not very unique. Though, I couldn't help but think of all my friends who have passed on, some 10 to 20 or more years ago, and I was thinking about what kind of reaction they would have, seeing a dog poop container on the beach. I chuckled to myself.

We have come a long way in the removing of dog waste. And it's a good thing.

But that's not the unique vision I saw this morning. Duffy had left before I actually caught my wave. It was small (1/2 to 1') and the wind was a quarter of what it was yesterday, and it actually felt ( dare I say)...tropical. I mean, compared to yesterday. It was way warmer. As I got closer to the water's edge, I noticed that what little swell there was, had a lot of north in it.

In other words, the waves were swinging in from the north, as opposed to the east.

And that's when I saw it. A mutant wave had swung in almost completely from the North, and started to break towards me. It just looked weird. This small 1' wave breaking north to south. If I had not been there to catch my daily wave, I never would of seen this. It stopped me dead in my tracks. It was that unique to me. This wave facing south, breaking along the shore. So cool to witness. Thanks Molly.

As cool as it was, I did not see another like it. I wanted to catch one and ride south. But it was not to be. I caught two small waves and saluted Molly on both of them. But there was nothing as unique, and cool, as that north to south wave. But I am forever thankful that I got to see it in the first place.

That's 157, only 208 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 28th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 156
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I've been out in way bigger waves than today. But not much colder. That wind was whipping out there today. I mean it was biting. Through the wetsuit kind of cold.
But I was OK with it. I was there for my "One and Done" deal.

You know, I have never been to the Great Lakes. But I would imagine that the waves and the conditions today, were much like the waves and conditions they get out there.

The surf was all of 1 to maybe 2' and the color of the water was a light brownish mocha color. It looked cold. And it was . It was low tide and I was at 18th Street. I figured I could pick off one of those 1' wind whipped chocolate eclair looking waves.

But first I had to walk down to the water.

I had to bypass several large stones/boulders that were caked in ice. Frozen saltwater. The sand looked iced up too. One of the things you learn quickly when surfing through the winter is to pick out the mini hazards that are lying in wait for you. Ice on the rocks and ice on the wet sand are two of them.

But I was smart enough today and changed direction mid stride. The wind was making holding onto Big Black a tad more than difficult than usual. In fact, when I first pulled the board out of the Commander, a gust hit me hard and swung the board around and I hit the cement wall. Lucky for me it only scratched the bottom. But still. It was a quick wake-up call that the wind was stronger along the ocean, than it was back
home up the street a mile or two.

So I paddled out into the Brown Water Mayhem. And thought I'd catch the first lumpy gravy brown wave that came my way. Wrong. I missed the first two that I thought I could catch, and then had one break on my head. Not exactly how the "One and
Done " is supposed to work. Hardly.

I did finally catch a wave and it was easy. I rode that wave for quite some length. I saluted Molly. And then I saw something beautiful out there. A Rainbow. A mini rainbow appeared after a wave broke and the spray from the wind created the rainbow right in front of me. No it was not a "Double Rainbow all the way".
I did see a rainbow though. But it was fleeting, maybe 2-3 seconds long.
No more. No less. But I saw a rainbow.
And it was pretty.

I don't care if you believe me or not. I saw it, and...Molly saw it.

That's 156, only 209 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 27th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 155
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

So it's 2:30AM and I am in my studio writing my weekly column. The Holidays put a crimp in my work schedule, and then the storm hit. I was behind the eight ball on my self imposed deadline. So I was frantically writing and sizing photos as I kept drifting off from being so tired. The wind was howling outside my window. And whenever I let the dog out I could hear the ocean roaring a mile away. It sounded big and mean. The snow was piling up faster than the Patriots could score offensive points.

By daybreak it was clear that the snow had come in full force overnight.

Before I could drive down to the ocean and catch my wave I had to snow blow both my driveways. We have four vehicles that need to be cleared off and snow free. My trusty TORO that I bought in 1990 is still a work horse. I have friends who love to tinker with engines and other things, and they keep it running like new. But it's still time consuming and somewhat back breaking.

(Above) Me snow blowing the driveway this morning. My daughter Gabby shot this.

(Above) Me loading the board into the Commander. Photo by my son Max.

The snow slowed down to almost nothing by midday but the winds kept blowing. And that wind was cutting right through everything. It was cold. I really don't mind surfing in the snow. But that wind is something else.

(Above) Before I paddled out. Photo by Peter Stokes.

(Above) It wasn't the biggest I've ever been out in. But it was one of the coldest. That wind was stinging. The guy in this photo is my friend Marky J he's 6' 2" tall.
Photo by RALPH

I caught a few waves right off the bat and would of stayed out longer but a big snowplow driver was honking at me out in the water to get me to move my Commander. So I went in after a handful of waves to move my vehicle. Once I was back in my warm vehicle I was not coming back out. I did it though. I surfed the First Big Storm of the Year...let's hope they are all not this nasty.

(Above) After my session. Do I look cold? I am...cold and old, but still stoked.
Photo by RALPH

That's 155, only 210 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 26th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 154
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Well, the surf is not here yet. But I can feel it coming. Same with the snow. I know it's coming too. I'm ready. Or put it this way, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. There's not a whole lot I can do, except making sure I have enough gas in the snow blower. I just need to get to the beach. 10 years ago when I did this the first time, it took me 4 hours to get out of my driveway during one particular snow storm. Four Freaking Hours!

I just need to get to the beach. That's it. That's my only concern. Once I'm at the ocean I'll find a wave to surf. Of that I am certain. Today the surf was small. I caught a couple after two or three failed attempts. My hands felt cold this morning for some reason. It just felt colder today to me. Don't know why. Maybe it's all catching up to me. The reality bug. Hello? It's winter. It's New England. It's going to be cold.'s going to get a lot colder and a lot more snowier. Thank you.

That's 154, only 211 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 25th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 153
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Merry Christmas Everyone. And what a Christmas it was. I finished my movie last night, and today I got to surf my Molly Board (Big Black) again at a premier point break all alone. Yes it was small. But it was also perfect Longboarding waves. It felt good to be back on my Black Beauty again,. Thanks Mike Stanek for fixing my dings. Mike is the "Lord Of The Dings". And on the day of the Lord's birthday...I surfed my fave longboard again and it felt good.

(Above) My first wave on Big Black since I totaled my board back in November. Taken today, Christmas Day 2010. Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) What's this some kind of laid back style? I guess so...hey I can be cool at times. Taken today, Christmas Day 2010. Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Cross stepping my wave to the nose. I had to switch gears from my short board to the Longboard. Mike Moran would be proud of me here. Taken today, Christmas Day 2010. Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Merry Christmas Molly. Christmas Day 2010. Photo by Ed O'Connell

After my session I dropped by a few homes to spread the Christmas cheer. And one of the homes I stopped at was the Rowlee home. Molly parents and little brother. They looked great and they assured me they were having a good day. I saw Kieran's new toys and their home was full of love and joy.

I felt good.
We shared hugs and well wishes and then,
I was on my way.
Merry Christmas Molly! Merry Christmas...

That's 153, only 212 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 24th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 152
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

T'was the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for Ralph. Because he had to go and catch his wave. And I did.
Only I caught several this Christmas Eve Day including a little cover-up.

(Above) Ralph Christmas Eve Day. Photo by Ed O'Connell

I saw the most beautiful wave today. I wished I had my water camera with me. Oh my God it was so wide open and just perfect. A Perfect Wave on Christmas Eve Day. And the best thing about it was, No one caught it. It was a double up wave, at the Wall and I was paddling by it, and just stopped to look in. It was Ho Ho Ho Hollow.

(Above) Still going off on Christmas Eve Day. Ralph coming out of the cover up.
Photo by Ed O'Connell

(Above) Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night! Photo by Ed O'Connell

That's 152, only 213 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 23rd, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 151
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

So many last minute things to do today...and yet one of them was to catch my wave.
Of which I did. I caught about a 3' wave and rode it all the way in. I think the guys out in the line-up thought I was joking when I said I only have time for one. I saw them all looking back at me as I stepped off onto the sand after my "One and Done" followed by my trademark Salute. But I had to get going.

I'm having technical problems exporting my movie out of my computer. I deleted over 50 gig worth of files and now I am de fragmenting my hard drive. I feel like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I kept announcing I would have the movie out by a certain date. And then the swells kept coming and (I'm glad I waited on the big swell days) I kept shooting and finally when I went to edit and export I had problems.

The bottom line is I'm working around the clock to get it finished. I apologize to those who are waiting for it as a Holiday gift. I'm doing the best I can.

Today is the day I met my wife. 27 years ago today. I was playing at a WBCN Christmas Party at a club called SPIT in Boston. Beth Harrington and her then beau Barry Marshall had put together the first in a series of annual Christmas Concerts. I was playing the song "The Little Drummer Boy". My version was something that Hendrix would of done. Wild guitar and massive drums. And that song "The Little Drummer Boy" had become our song...that was 27 years ago tonight.

And Cory I still love you...and I'm so happy we met 27 years ago tonight.

That's 151, only 214 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 22nd, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 150
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

The fact that there's still surf is amazing. This has been one consistent RUN of Surf. I mean it's just non stop. Today was my 150th day and I caught a handful before one caught me and slammed me pretty good. I'm cool though. No worries. Just a little late on one of my
take-offs and I hit pretty hard on my left rib cage. Knocked the wind out of me and I also slammed my thigh. Nothing serious. Just a little slapped around
kind of stuff.

Gotta keep another 37 days I'll be reaching the halfway point.

I surfed with my friend Steve, Rick Hosley, and Brian Dewsnap. We had fun. Sharing waves at a local beachbreak. Ed O'Connell dropped by and took a few pics..

Here's 3 shots...this may be the same wave. I'm not sure. All photos by Ed O'Connell

As you can see, it was clean out there today.

Here's the salute for Molly...

That's 150, only 215 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 21st, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 149
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

You want to know how to tell if I'm a real surfer or not? Today I had many things to do. I needed to work on finishing up two movies. I had several design projects I needed to get done and...I had not done any shopping yet. I mean none. Zero. Yea so...? Well the surf was so good today, and after I caught my first wave, I really should of gone straight in and went to work...instead, I paddled back out to catch more.

And that my friends, is the sign of a real surfer. Or rather, an irresponsible surfer.

That's me. Or it was today. What really should of been a short 20 minute session turned into a few hour session. I'm torn between both worlds. The Real World and the Surf World. Today the Surf dictated the latter for me. None the less, I caught my wave for Molly and then some. This First Day of Winter.

(Above) That's Dave Cropper from Cinnamon Rainbows. I shot this in the late afternoon today. As you can see, it was still showing.

That's 149, only 216 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 20th, 2010 -July 26, 2011 Day 148
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Well it's snowing outside. Right on cue. Winter starts tomorrow (officially). Make no mistake about it though, it's been winter like conditions for a while now. It's just been snow free. Here on the coast that is. There's snow up North in the mountains. But here on the coast? We have yet to see the white stuff pile up. I don't think we're in for enough snow to worry about. But we all know it's coming.

So I stayed up late last night to watch the Patriots game. Man that was one crazy game. So many things about yesterday's NFL games. Must of been some kind of star alignment deal. Things were crazy all day long. Bottom line is we won. And by "we" I do mean the New England Patriots. We're fans here in my home. The Pats are our team. Same with the Celtics, Sox, and Bruins. We're homeys all the way.

So I caught my wave today after 2 failed attempts. I was actually talking to myself out there. I just couldn't believe I missed the two prior waves I paddled for. I guess my head wasn't into the game, like the Patriots last night. I caught my wave and moved on, much like the Patriots won their game and moved on.

That's 148, only 217 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 19th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 147
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

On any given day at the Wall I can run into someone I know. Today was one of those days. First I saw Josh Bellman and his dog. We talked mostly about dogs. Then the Schaake family showed up. Fred Jr and little Josh and then Lea came running by.

I left them all there at 10th street chatting while I went and got my wave. It was small today maybe 1-2' but plenty big enough for me to get my wave. I paddled through a nightmarish gathering of the thickest seaweed. That stuff attached itself to my leash and I could barely get through it. Took me a while to get it off me and the board.

I joined another longboarder out there. I ended up catching 3 waves. I saluted the first and last. I had to get back and put the finishing touches on my movie.

Getting back to the vehicle, I saw Angela and her cute daughter Maya. They had been watching me surf. Maya knows me as Capn Ralph. Most of the younger kids call me that. It's from my annual end of the summer beach party, Surf Family Robinson. My youngest daughter baby sits Maya as well. It's all part of the beach community.

I said Merry Christmas to them as I put my board into my vehicle. And it suddenly felt like the Holidays. Seeing that little face light up when I said those simple words.
Merry Christmas. Politically incorrect I know, but then again, I'm old school.

That's 147, only 218 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 18th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 146
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

"Did you get any barrels out there? Did you bust any airs? My son Max asked me mockingly. "No, but I got three more waves than you did today..." I answered. It's
good having him home, even if it means he's going to eat me out of house and
home for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, here goes the Apple Juice.

There was a little swell running. Much like it has been the last couple of days. The bottom at the Wall is totally whacked. There's a deep water channel like moat you have to wade through, to just get out in the line-up. It's weird. But nothing new. With
so many storms pushing through these parts in recent months, the bottom get's reconfigured. And it's usually not very conducive to good surf sessions at 10th St.
I'm not that concerned though. It always comes back. It's all just sand moving around and re depositing itself.

But like I told Max this morning...I caught 3 waves. All rights. I saluted on the first
one and the last one. It was quick, painless, and easy.

(Above) Here's a beautiful sunrise photo that my friend Steve Dillon took this morning.
Rest In Peace Mrs Dillon.

That's 146, only 219 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 17th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 145
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

If it were Summer today at the Wall, there would of been, maybe a a hundred or more people out surfing. Instead, it was just me. I rode all lefts today. I Saluted Molly and company on the very first wave, and ended up surfing about a half dozen waves. Still limping. Still fighting the cold. But I'm in a good mood. I'm driving down south to pick up the boy who had his last Final today.

It's Christmas break for Mackey V. Yea!

Max has not been home for 3 weeks. I think this is the longest separation we've had from the family. I remember my daughter Gabby's first year at college and how that went when she was gone for over a month. It's strange. I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out life's moments. Not seeing the kids for these long windows has been trying to say the least. We all have to grow up, I know. It's just my turn to witness it.

It's just being a parent that changes everything. The more I go through these different stages with my kids, the more I realize what we have all put our parents through. No wonder they stressed out. I mean this is just college. Think about the parents who have kids in the war Zones? I'll say a prayer for those kids and their parents tonight.

Picking Max up this afternoon was fun. His main concern was how big is the puppy?

Truth be told, the cute little puppy has been growing like a weed and he's also turning into a Raptor. He's teething. He's more like a baby alligator than he is a young 12 week old puppy. Max enjoyed the ride back to New Hampshire with the pup on his lap chewing the strings on his sweatshirt, and nibbling on Mackey's hands. I think this is going to be a good Christmas for us this year. With all this love in our home, how could it not?

That's 145, only 220 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 16th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 144
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I woke up with a throbbing pain in my left knee. I had forgotten to mention yesterday that I had fallen on some rocks, and really did a number on my left knee cap. I was with Michael Sander and we were both lugging camera gear across the ice coated boulders, when I slipped and crashed. I'm OK...just sore. I saved the gear too!

I surfed the Wall today with my old friend Mike Keefe and Patrick Hall. We had fun surfing the little zippers that came rifling through the stiff offshore winds. I actually got a nice backside tube ride on one earlier wave. I had intentions of only catching one, but after my first wave, I needed a few more. Besides, Mike had paddled out and I had not seen him or surfed with him in sometime. So it was worth the extra waves I caught. I saluted on several rides today. It did warrant multiple salutes.

Besides, how bad can surfing 3-4' surf with just you and a couple of friends? I'll tell you. It's not bad at all. Not at all...

That's 144, only 221 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 15th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 143
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

For those who surf in it...the "after winter surf session shower" has a flavor the fair weather surfers will never know. Man...I took a long hot shower this afternoon. I know I used up all the hot water. Sorry girls. But it's hard to get out after being so cold.
I surfed the Wall this afternoon. Although it was no where near as big as yesterday's point break sessions, it did still have some punch to it.

I know. because at least a dozen of them punched me in the head today, like this one.
(Above) Unknown at the Wall Dec 15, 2010 photo by Ed O'Connell.

I couldn't help but remind myself, as I was duck diving wave after wave this afternoon, the reason why I do so many push-ups Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's because the act of doing a duck dive, closely resembles a push-up. Bam! My push-ups help me. They don't make me a better surfer. But they help me get to where the surf is. On my first wave this afternoon, I saluted Molly. I did not stay out that long. Maybe an hour or a little longer. Not much more.

I'm still not 100%. I am close enough for Rock and Roll though.

Ed and John were there to witness my punishment. Thanks guys (I think). No seriously, thank you. Ed took this photo. Do I look cold? Do I look old? Really? Because I am both. That's OK with me though. I understand the concept of life only too well. We are only passing through on this planet. We are issued a round trip ticket. In the end, we are all going home. It just depends on where your particular home is. Mine is with God in heaven. When I go, that's where I hope to be headed.

Except I'll more than likely end up in the Halfway House of the Christian World-Purgatory. Hey, at least it's better than heading south. I don't really like the heat that much. And from what I can gather, Hell is pretty freaking hot.

(Above) Me after my session at the Wall Dec 15, 2010 photo by Ed O'Connell.

That's 143, only 222 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 14th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 142
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Hey it's become apparent to me now that a lot of you are concerned about me being sick. So I need to let you all know first and foremost, thank you for your well wishes, however, it's only a chest cold. I'll be fine. And I know that some of my blogging posts may have seem a bit dramatic. But the truth is, I'm OK. I was never in any real danger out there. Until today (kidding...nope). Holy mackerel! The surf today was a legitimate 10 foot plus. I know I saw 10 to 15' sets today. I know I did. It was HUGE!

This day was as big as Hurricane Bill. Maybe Bigger. Certainly more intense.

(Above) Steve Dillon home from California. His mom passed away last Friday. This swell is dedicated to her memory. Rest in Peace Mrs Dillon.

I shot a ton of photos and a ton of video. I know that some of you are aware that I make Surf Movies and that I have a movie due out this week. And I keep stalling the release of this movie due to the ever relentless weekly swells. Well, guess what kids? This swell? It's going to be in the movie. In fact, it is the end of my movie. The perfect ending to my movie. Which was shot from December 2009 thru December 2010.

This thing was as BIG and as Good as it gets, and I got KILLER footage. So my movie The RUN REDUX has been pushed back another week. But my brothers and sisters it will all be worth it in the long run.

(Above) Steve O'Hara surfing session number 2 today.

I surfed alone again today. Where was everyone? Well I know where a few hundred were today. But where I surfed? It was empty. Just me and my thoughts. Which consisted of OH MY GOD Look at the size of that wave!!!! But hey, I'm here writing the daily blog. I survived this massive storm swell. I caught my wave and saluted Molly and the gang and came in...and for the first time in days, I felt better. (Ahhhchooo!)

That's 142, only 223 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 13th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 141
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I'm not sure who I should blame for my ass whooping today. But all signs (and fingers) point at me. I knew heading into the day that the surf would be large. I also knew it would be a mess. It was both. A Big Mess. Still, I had to go out. The spot I chose looked a little unreasonable. It was.

It was way overhead and it was a mess. And there was no one out. I saw Dale from Surfrider checking it with a few friends. But they were doing just that, checking it. I ran into longtime local guy Tom. I never met him before. The reason is, he took 40 years off since he started surfing. I guess that would be a good reason why I never met him. He's a Coast Guard Veteran. I thanked him for his service.

He was the only other person there. If anything had happened to me, Tom would of been the last to see me. I was hoping he'd remember my name if I didn't come back. Look I'm being overly dramatic, nothing happened to me. Well, nothing REALLY bad happened. I did fall on my first 4 waves. I fell and got worked. And on one of those falls I got dragged underwater for quite some distance. Oh I almost forgot. I had to duck dive a few dozen times. It was awful. Surfing when your sick is stupid.

If my kid was doing this, in theses conditions, and being as sick as I was? I'd be upset.

Thank God I had my new Winter suit from PIONEERS. It felt great. Now I am outfitted for Fall, Winter and Spring. Cinnamon Rainbows has the Spring and Fall and Pioneers has my winter. Zapstix will pick up the Summer gear in June. Between all three shops I am completely outfitted. Thank you guys. So I caught a wave finally and saluted as I careened into the inside section. By the time my feet touched bottom I felt like throwing up. But I was cool. And relieved. My new friend Tom was gone. I was alone on the huge stretch of beach. Whew!

That's 141, only 224 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 12th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 140
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I had just finished stretching in the wind and rain this morning when I heard a muffled yell. Running towards me from about 16th street was a hooded figure. As he got closer I could just make out who it was. Anthony Curro. He was out walking his large Newfoundland. His face is soaking wet from the rain. "I was looking down the beach and saw someone with a board heading out , and I asked myself, who the hell would be going out in these conditions? Then I saw your board. "

He gives me a big hug. "Careful Anthony I'm really sick." I tell him.

He hangs around as I hit the water. It is bigger than my other "Anthony friend" said it was just 5 minutes earlier. I clearly have the wrong board. It is wall after wall of whitewater. I am struggling with my longboard to get outside. Being sick is not helping me. After 20 minutes of taking multiple waves on the head, I get far enough out to catch a wave of sorts. The first wave I go for, I fell on...I am rolling around underwater in my 4/3 cursing myself and my total weakness.

Embarrassed, I paddle back out and try again. The wind is wailing and the surf is building. I swing my board around on a 4' wall of mess and take-off. This one I ride through several sections. I salute and head inside. The wave more than fits my criteria. Heading into the inside section I can see the shorebreak is pounding. I get in close enough and then attempt a feeble kickout. The lip grabs my board and slams it into the ground.

The leash tugs on my leg and hauls me under one last time. God I feel tired.

I gather my board and leash as Anthony walks back down to greet me. "That was a good wave. I thought you'd only catch one of the inside waves, I didn't think you'd go outside." I am struggling walking with the wind in my face. "I only needed that one wave." I tell him. "I should of gone somewhere else that was more manageable" Anthony looks at me and says . "I know...why would you surf this?"

"I'm sick...I'm delirious." We both laugh.

As he leaves I yell out to him..."Merry Christmas Anthony to you and your family."
"And the same to you Ralph!" he says as he and his pooch head back down to his waiting vehicle.

Today I pick up my 5/4 from PIONEERS and Marc Angelillo (NE Surf n Sales).
They are going to donate my WINTER gear. CINNAMON RAINBOWS gave me my 4/3 and 3/2 along with the board from both CR and 5Star. And Come next Spring, ZAPSTIX will provide me with the Spring/Summer gear. Between CINNAMON RAINBOWS, PIONEERS and ZAPSTIX I should be good to go with all my Rubber needs

That's 140, only 225 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 11th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 139
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

"Gee was that worth it? One wave?" The woman asked as she scoured the sand and rocks looking for sea glass. "It was for me. I only needed one." I answered. Then I went into my brief description of what I'm actually doing. Which is usually followed by a series of "Oh wow. " Or "That's so nice" And the occasional "I've heard about this." And then of course, there's always those who actually knew the Rowlees and have heard about Molly. It's meeting people like them that really hits home.

There was one other guy out there this morning. He was closer to 16th Street. I ended up surfing 18th street. And it was a "One and Done". I paddled out and saw a set come right to me. I swung my "Semper Fi" and paddled once and got up. I rode that wave all of 30 yards. I saluted and stepped off. It was more than than enough to fit my criteria. I'm sure the other guy was scratching his head. Unless of course he knows what I'm doing. In which case, I'm sure he felt good about it.

I am still sick. I have a viral chest infection and have been really feeling under the weather (pun intended). My doctor said I should stay in bed for a few days. I had to laugh. When she heard what I was doing, she changed her advice. "At least just get in and out. Don't spend too much time out there." I agreed with her.

But I laughed to myself as I walked out of the doctor's office at the thought of the surf coming up. After all, I'm a surfer. If there's waves, I'm surfing more than one. But for days like today? I'll follow her advice..."One and Done Doc!"

That's 139, only 226 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 10th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 138
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Two things happened this morning as I pulled up at 18th Street. First, the ocean was lit up with Sea Smoke. If you've never seen Sea Smoke, it's pretty wild. Caused by conflicting water surface temps and the surrounding air temps. Regardless, it only happens when it's freezing. And it was FREAKING FREEZING out there this morning.
Oh baby was it cold.

The second thing I noticed, was the sand was frozen. The wet sand was actually ice. I damn near slipped and did an unintentional ballerina split. And I don't bend or stretch that far. Plus I'm sick. I have a terrible chest cold. A Viral upper respiratory infection. Lil Ralphie is hurting today...but I did manage to not only get my wave, but I was able to snap a few pics this morning. Some in the water!

This is Sea Smoke. And there's nothing hot about it. I shot this at 7:30AM on 12-10-10.
Right before I paddled out.

I shot this after I caught my wave. It was chilly willy out there. I think it's time to switch suits...gotta get into at least a 5/4/3 ...I mean this 4/3 is too cold.

That's 138, only 227 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 9th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 137
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I have to admit. It feels more like January than it does December. I don't want to sound like a wimp here but man, it's cold out there. In fact, the last few days have been cold and windy. Plus I'm coming down with something. My throat is sore and my chest is congested. Oh oh...being sick is never fun. Especially when it's cold outside.

However, there has been surf. Not great surf mind you, but clearly enough for me to do what I have to do.

Heck, it's been a while since I did a One and Done. I've been getting at least a half dozen waves with each mini session this week. Look if I'm gonna stuff myself like a sausage casing into a wetsuit everyday, and there's actually something to surf? Well, I'm going to catch a few extra waves. Today I had the entire Wall to myself. If it was summer, there would of been hundreds out there. Maybe more. But today, it was just me and the angels watching over me.

That's 137, only 228 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 8th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 136
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

30 years ago tonight I was watching the Patriots play the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. I was at my childhood friend's house, Larry Smith. We had been watching the game and playing pool when Howard Cosell came on and announced the news. John Smith the Patriots kicker was getting ready to kick the winning Field Goal attempt. Once the news broke no one could care who won that game. No one.

What a terrible day in World History...30 years ago tonight.

There were still waves today. It was cold. There's something about this day that still haunts me. I caught several waves and saluted two. One for Molly and one for Lennon. Rest in Peace John Lennon, Rest in peace.

I shot this this's waist high.

That's 136, only 229 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 7th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 135
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I surfed with a Navy Veteran today who's name was Tyler. He lives an hour from our coast. He says he needs to get his life closer to the ocean. I hope he makes it. He and I shared some soulful waves before Michael Sander paddled out. But I had to go by then. I know the surf was good, because as I was leaving I saw a nice set come through for both of them. Tyler the Navy vet. Speaking of the Navy, it was 69 years ago today, that The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. 4 years later, and after over 400,000 Americans killed in WWII, the war ended.

I thanked Tyler for his service.

After I left those two, I went and grabbed my camera and shot some sunset shots down at the Wall and the Marsh. The December Sunrises are equally challenged by the December Sunsets. Both are stunningly beautiful. My sunrise shots and sunset shots have NOT been tampered with. In short, they are exactly what my camera recorded.

Here's one of my sunset pics from today.

I forgot to mention that I broke my finbox on my Molly (Big Black) board. I hit a rock on my last wave yesterday. Bummed me out. I miss that board. This is the first time I've ridden my other Longboard since I started this. The board I rode today was the board I rode 10 years ago, when I did this the first time around.

I rode my Semper Fi. A 9'0"...I like that board. It suits me well, while Stanek fixes my other board.

Elizabeth Edwards passed away this afternoon. Cancer. I hate you cancer. Someday, someone is going to kill you first. Wipe you off the face of this earth. Once and for all.

That's 135, only 230 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 6th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 134
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today was Linda's Day. One year ago today. December 6, 2009. I caught my one wave for Linda Paugh. I saluted her and her husband Mike. And I got choked up. I think about Linda a lot. Her name is on my board. She's right there with my mother, my friend Joe, and of course, Molly. I was alone out there. It was cold, gray, and windy. But her face and laugh warmed my soul.

I think about Mike too. Mike and Linda. They were an item for as long as I can remember. Zappy and Linda. We all miss her. But no one more than Mike. I'm thinking of you today Zappy. May she be resting on some tropical beach watching over you.
I love you guys. I always have.

That's 134, only 231 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 5th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 133
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

"Good morning." The hooded shortboarder said to me as I sat on Big Black. "Good morning to you." I smiled. "I read your blog every week. I find it very insightful." I nodded. "Well thank you." Then he added. " It's all very real. " I thought to myself, about how many times I may have second guessed my weekly column.

You know, it's supposed to be about surfing. But I constantly remind myself that surfers have other parts of their lives that I can share with them and they can relate to.

I shook his hand "My name is Ralph." He smiled and said "Roger. I moved here 3 years ago from Cape Cod. I really like the surf community here." I smiled at him.
"It's something special for sure." I said as I paddled by Michael Sander who was having a blast on his latest mutant creation. Kids. I love it.

There were four of us out this morning. Sharing small 2' clean waves. I caught two, I saluted and then I said goodbye. After all, I was the only one on the Longboard. The sets were not that consistent. More waves for them.

That's 133, only 232 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 4th, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 132
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I had to drive for my wave this morning. My timing was slightly off. I missed the tide and as a result I put a few extra miles on the Commander. That's cool though. I always enjoy driving along our coast line. How can you not?

It's very distracting though.

My wife hates it when she's in the vehicle and I'm driving by the ocean. I guess I tend to look more at the surf than I do the road. But (knock on wood) I've never had an accident when doing this age old habit. I know those of you who live round these parts can relate to this.

The surf was small and the tide was getting higher by the minute when I hit the water. I saw one decent set when I paddled out. A guy on a short board snagged it. I asked him how often those sets came in. "About one every 5 minutes." He said. "Well, I only need one." I answered. "One turns into ten..." he replies. "Maybe yesterday and the day before. But not today. I only need one." I say.

"Really...only one huh?" he asks. "Yep. Just one." At that point another guy on a longboard who obviously was aware of what I was doing chimed in. "You'll get your one wave today Ralph." I smiled. And just like that, my wave came right to me. A small 2 foot, but clean right hander. I swung Big Black into position and stroked into the wave and glided all the way into the inside. I saluted and stepped off. Call it a ONE and DONE.

That's 132, only 233 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 3rd, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 131
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Here's another couple of photos I shot yesterday.

I have joked in the past with close friends on how I am not interested in meeting and making new friends. In fact, my line was "I'm not auditioning for any new friends. My friend quota is filled. Though you should leave your name and if there's an opening we'll give you a call. I'm thinking of removing a couple of names from the main friend list." It was of course meant for my friend's entertainment purposes, and to basically feed into the whole "RALPH thing" and get a laugh.

I bring all this up because, I actually made two new friends between yesterday and today. Paul and Phil. Paul and I shared a few bombs out at the Wall before Jimmy Dunn came out. And I met Phil today at the wall. Paul is married with two young children and one on the way. We talked about the joy of raising family around the
surf scene. I was hoping he would bring his wife and kids around this summer. He lives quite a distance from here though. Still, I was proud of myself encouraging
him to bring the family here.

Phil on the other hand had just moved here from San Diego and started a new job in Boston. Today was his first ever session on the East Coast. He was having a hard time adjusting to the gloves on his hands. He could surf though. I imagined what he must
of thought coming from California and all. And meeting a total stranger (me) who was actually nice to him. It was just Phil and I out there this late morning.

I was on my longboard and Phil was riding a small wide board. We shared waves and stories. I told him about this Fundraiser for MOLLY and he was blown away by it. "But what do you do when there's no surf?" he asked. "There's always something to ride. Always. It may not be pretty, but there's always something somewhere. " I told him. He was smiling from ear to ear.

Look at me. Making two new friends. Surfing does that to you. It makes you a better person. Always. You can't have a good surf session and be in a bad mood. If you do and you are a friend of mine, we may have to remove you from the list.

That's 131, only 234 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 2nd, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 130
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

What a glorious sunrise we had this morning. It was in a word "breathtaking". To be a part of something so naturally beautiful was a privilege. The new swell was groomed to perfection by the brisk offshore winds, and it was truly a December morning of radiant colors, that left me almost speechless. I say almost, because those of you who know me, know that I'm hardly at a loss for words.

But this morning? It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Well here check it out for yourself. What's that old saying about pictures?
Worth a thous
and words. Even Ralph words? Yes. Even Ralph words.

You can't see Billy Ritchie riding in that barrel. Trust me, he's in there. All by himself. Tucked away inside that rifling tube of energy. Dec 2nd, 2010 Photo by RALPH

I shot a lot of pics and video this morning. I saw many friendly and familiar faces out there. It's funny how everyone's mood changes when there's good surf. And not just good surf, but good uncrowded surf.

I paddled out at the Wall around 9:30AM and surfed it for over 3 hours. The last part of my session was shared with just one other person. My friend Jimmy Dunn and I traded waves and stories for a solid hour. It was just Jimmy and I.
He's one of the funniest guys on the planet. Recently recognized by Denis Leary's BEST of BOSTON COMICS shows in town. Jimmy is not only funny he's one of us. A Surfer. Or rather, a New England Surfer. We had fun out there.

We both agreed that if the water temp was another 20 degrees warmer and the air temp was in the 70's that place would of been jammed with all kin
ds of riders. Instead it was just he and I. Sharing a 300 yard wide piece of prime real estate.

Here's a couple
of photos that Ed O'Connell shot.

This is Jimmy on one of the many rights he caught out there.
0 photo by Ed O'Connell

This is me on the same wave. Talk about sharing waves
0 photo by Ed O'Connell

Jimmy and I wade through the inside Moat after our Soul Session.
0 photo by Ed O'Connell

Thanks for sharing that sesh with me Jimmy. And Thank you Ed for snapping the pics. By the way...I saluted on my first or second wave this morning.

130, only 235 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


December 1st, 2010 -July 26, 2011
Day 129
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

"Are you going to catch your wave?" my friend Jon asked me this morning as I pulled up in front of his shop (SECRET SPOT). "Yea. How big is the surf?" I answered and asked. He shook his head and said "I have no idea." I looked at him and nodded and acknowledged that I didn't know either. That's the thing about this daily surf. It does not make a difference how big or how small the surf is. I'm going. I mean don't get me wrong, I'd like to know ahead of time of just what I'm getting into. But as long as I have the right board and wetsuit, I'm good to go.

Though I suppose today I should of spent just a little bit more time studying the break.

For if I had, I would of more than likely kept driving to find a more manageable spot. But I did not. I stopped at the Wall and briefly glanced over my shoulder as I grabbed my SFOD board and sprinted across the sand. Yes I said Sprint. Because that's what I did. By the time I hit the water's edge to do my stretching, I could see many walls of white water surging towards the beach. It was a mess out there.

So much for keeping my hair dry today.

There were relentless sets, with no break in the action. I hit the water and paddled hard. I think I probably did 50 or more duck dives before I got outside. And even then, there was no real outside, as it was just a churning mass of madness.

I caught one wave and rode it for a while before I ended up diving off the nose head first. That was sketchy at best. My next wave (and BEST ) wave was more like it. I actually turned before I straightened out. My last wave was one that I milked all the way to the inside. I stepped off the board and was surprised that I was in 4 inches of water. Pretty freaking crazy. But I was pretty much done for the day. Whew!

That's 129, only 236 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...



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