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The GET IN THE VAN Video of "Catch A Wave For Molly"
by Joe Carter from the ESPN website.

May 31st, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 310
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today is the last day of May. Last night, a young girl drowned at Hampton Beach.
All the Lifeguards were off duty at 5:00PM. The little girl and her brother went out
after hours. They were out at 8;00PM. No wetsuits. No rash guards. Nothing. If Jimmy Donahue and his crew had been working, they would of saved her. But they were off duty. It was Memorial Day. The Lifeguards don't start full time for a couple of weeks. But honestly? If there are no lifeguards on duty, you need to be aware of currents and rips. Unfortunately that little girl and her brother were not.

So the opening day of the 2011 summer season ended with a tragic drowning. Too bad, it was so peacful and glassy out there this morning.

So fun looking...for us surfers, but so tragic for the family of the girl who drowned.
It was sad.

This is Lenny...he offered this original HAMMER Skateboard to be auctioned off
at a MOLLY Auction. Thanks Lenny...Thank you so much.

By the time I went out the wind came onshore...oh well, it's not like I have not been surfing much lately...Ha!

310, only 55 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 30th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 309
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today was Memorial Day. A day when we all put aside our political and personal opinions and direct our attention to our Nation's War Dead. Do you realize that from
the Civil War to the current Global War on Terrorism, some 1,263,542 Americans have lost their lives. That is a staggering number. I've known at least a dozen of my friends who have been killed. One of them was my friend Joe. I wrote about him in my
weekly column/blog. Yesterday, I said I'd catch a wave for Joe.

This is that wave. Photo by Helen Kranz.

I saluted all of my fallen brothers today. Photo by RALPH

After my wave for by Helen Kranz.

Molly's dad, mom, and brother came to the Memorial Day Parade this morning as did so many other was such a great day all around.
Remember our fallen and the families they left behind.

That's 309, only 56 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 29th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 308
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

It was like someone hit the Summer switch. I mean it looked and felt like Summer on the beach today. I felt like there were all these intruders crawling all over the beach today. This same beach has been vacant for some time now. Not today. They looked
at me as if I were trespassing on their turf. I just smiled as I walked past them. I
caught several waves and then walked up and put my hand on Molly's name. "It's summer Molly...the tourists have arrived. "

It was opening day out there. Memorial Day Weekend. The unofficial start to summer. Let's hope it's a peaceful and fun summer for us all.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I have the flag and bunting out. Tradition runs deep at
our little home on the Seacoast.

I have four services and two parades to attend. The Seacoast Community really
comes out in force on Memorial Day. I expect big crowds with lots of flags and enthusiasm for the local Veterans.
Let's not forget what Memorial Day is all about.

308, only 57 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 28th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 307
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I was surprised to see the waves today. I guess after surfing in yesterday's fog I was
not expecting to see waves over waist high. But there were chest high sets coming in today. And when you don't expect to see waves and then you do, well. It was a
bona fide pleasant surprise.

Don't I look surprised? I went and caught a bunch of waves out there. It's always a melancholy weekend for me. Memorial Day weekend. I can't help but think about my friends who were killed in the war. They were so freaking young. Some were actually surfers.

So here's a salute for them all. I miss you guys.

Last night the Bruins beat the Lightening. I know my kid sister was thrilled beyond belief as we all were. She really wanted to see the Bruins in the finals again. And
she got her wish...and it would be so good if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, and
my sister's tumor is benign. That's what we're praying for.

That's 307, only 58 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 27th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 306
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Last night my wife and I went to the CARS show in Boston. It was (pun intended) JUST WHAT I NEEDED. Seeing old friends, and seeing and hearing one of my favorite bands of all time, was a welcome relief from the recent bad news that has come my way as
of late.

For a short time last night, I had forgotten about my woes.

The show was sold out and the band sounded and looked great.

We hung out backstage with the band after the show, and it was just so good reconnecting with some good friends after so many years.

Today I went down to the Wall to catch my wave and it was a fog filled beach scene. But it didn't matter to me. I was in a good mood. I spoke with a guy who relayed some unbelievable upcoming information, that may or may not be true. He said he has been in Calgary for the last few months working with universities on cancer research, and
he said that they may have found a cure for cancer.

I guess it didn't dawn on me until I hit the water, I should gotten his name. So my friend, if you are reading this blog please drop me a line so we can share this incredible news. Unless of course, I heard you wrong. But if that's true? That could
be the BIGGEST news ever!

That's 306, only 59 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 26th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 305
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I only needed one today. But I caught 7 waves. All in under 20 minutes. I was possessed. I caught one for Molly and one for each of my brothers and sisters. It all seems so surreal. On the one hand, I believe that my younger sister is going to be alright, while on the other...well you know. I'd rather not go there until we know
for sure. So I'm going to stay positive until next Friday.

That's when we will know for sure. I was lucky there was still something to ride out there this morning. And I needed to get my mind off of things.

This bench showed up at 10th Street today. I hope that it was intentional and not some kids playing a prank on someone. That would be a tasteless joke. The bench was in memory of a local couple. If it is intentional, it would be the first time in all the years I've surfed 10th Street (since 1966), that a bench was placed here.

If it's a joke. Please return this bench back to the original spot. Thanks.

That's 305, only 60 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 25th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 304
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

After posting yesterday's blog, I found out some serious family news later in the day. My kid sister Evamarie is having some medical problems. Her right eye had been bulging out of her eye socket for the last few weeks, and she has had several migraines as of late. Her daughter finally made her go and check it out. And well
long story short. Evamarie had a CT Scan at the local hospital in her town, and
they found a massive tumor behind her right eye.

She is going into Mass General for Surgery on Friday June 3rd to have it removed.
I spoke with her for over 2 hours today. She is really scared. I told her it's only normal to be frightened. But that we are all there for her. We need to get that mass out of there and find out what it is. Malignant or Benign? Hopefully it's Benign.

We are a strong and close knit family. Our parents are both gone, but me and my
other sister have taken on the role as parental figures to the 3 boys and 3 girls. Plus
all the nephews and nieces. We will get through this. But I'm asking for a few extra prayers this coming week. If you don't mind. Thanks.

Photo of me and Evamarie taken in the summer of 1965 by my late father Gus.

I caught several waves this morning. One was for my younger sister. Today was my
first day in the 3/ was plenty warm enough. Photo by Nate Lowrey.

It was good to see the sun by RALPH

That's 304, only 61 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 24th, 2011 -July 26, 2011 Day 303
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

It's every parent's fantasy to be able to surf with their kids. Makes no difference if they are boys or girls. We all want to surf with them. I've been very fortunate to be able to surf with my kids. I am truly blessed in that department. It is however, NOT my fantasy to have my son take my good wetsuit and my good gloves and leave me with his old, too small suit. Damn.

That was a drag out there. In that tight suit and wearing big ole winter mitts.

But then I thought about it, and I was just glad that he was surfing again. So I put
up with being uncomfortable. Hell half this year has been uncomfortable for me.
I guess it's all par for the course.

I ran into the Moran Clan today. They looked very happy. Babies can do that to you. These two are New parents...Mothers Day just came, and Fathers Day is right around the corner...enjoy these special times. They do grow up right before your very eyes.

That's 303, only 62 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 23rd
, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 302
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

If I hear one more person complain about the rain I'm going to show them photos and video clips of the Tornadoes that hit last night in the Midwest. Those storms killed at least a 100 people, and they literally destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and even a hospital. Ask yourselves this. Would you rather face a rainy week, or wake up
to no home and neighborhood and quite possibly no neighbors
or loved ones?

For me personally? I can handle the rain. I don't mind it. I'm getting wet no matter what any ways. Rain or shine, I'm getting wet.

The surf is bigger than it looks here. It was chest high out there. I caught a couple of waves. I think it will be good once the wind comes around. That's if it does come around. But there's clearly surf today. So keep your eyes on it. Be forewarned
though, it might rain again . The horror...the horror...

That's 302, only 63 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 22nd
, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 301
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

OK so I just finished surfing tonight and I was loading my board into the Commander when a couple of friends walked over to me. They wanted to see my scars. I was halfway into the story of how I hurt myself when an elderly couple walked up and started in on the conversation. "Oh boy was that something. We saw the whole thing. Your board went at least 20 feet into the air and came straight down on you!"

I looked at the man astonished and said..."Wait you saw that?"

"Saw the whole thing!" the man said. "I looked over at the wife and said, Now that's a crowd pleaser!" Then his wife says..."But you put your hand on your face and then in the water and then back on your face. That's when I said. I think he's hurt!" "Yea but I said it was a Crowd Pleaser!" The old man said again.

Then it all came back to me. There was an elderly couple sitting on beach chairs
under the wall protected by the wind that day. "That was you guys?" I asked.

"That was us. We saw the whole thing. Boy was that a crowd pleaser!" The man said again. "I was not trying to please any crowd." I said. "Man I was stunned and really shook up." I said to them. "Yea but I told the wife, boy did you see that? Now that was a crowd pleaser!" he said. "Yea well I'm glad I put on a show for you." I said
laughing. Then I asked if I could take their photo.

So here they are. George and Barbara Boyce. Standing next to my board.
Photos by RALPH

And here are my three fresh scars. I wish there was a surveillance camera footage available so I could see exactly how the board caused three distinctive gashes in
my head. I guess I want to see for myself.

You know, to see if it really was a "Crowd Pleaser!"

That's 301, only 64 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 21st
, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 300
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I joked with Ed O'Connell this morning about being "Short". And I was not talking about my height. Ed's a fellow Vietnam Vet. Back in the days of Vietnam, our tour of duty was typically a year. When you reached Day 300, you were considered a "Short timer". The saying was "65 and a wake up." We both laughed and then recalled how guys would get killed either their first two months, or their last two months. It's true. So...I'm short, and I'm cautious. I'm not worried about something happening to me.

Because I am surrounded by love and support from so many of you. I love you all.

The Anderson boys joined me in my 300th Day this morning. Wieland and Elliot standing next to "Molly's Name". Photo by Ed O'Connell.

Before I paddled out I saw Tim O'Shea. I had not seen Tim since I got hurt on May 6th. Tim was the first guy I saw when I got out of the water that day. He's checking my latest battle scar out here. Photo by Ed O'Connell

Here it is...Day 300 and my salute. That's Wieland outside. Photo by Ed O'Connell.

After our session the high fives were going around. Those Anderson boys are great kids and they absolutely love surfing. Photo by Ed O'Connell.

Touching Molly's name at 18th Street. I felt a connection today. After this amazing week with that infamous photo of Molly's image surfing with me...I don't know, it just felt good today on so many levels. Photo By Ed O'Connell.

I was getting ready to leave. Tony, Ed, Tim, and Jon and the boys were leaving when a vehicle pulled up with Mass plates. A guy with a beard hopped out and walked up to me. "You're Ralph right?" he asked. "Yes." I answered. "My name is John Peyton. I just drove in from Boston and wanted to surf with you on your 300th Day...I only had 3 hours sleep and I was a half hour into my drive when I realized I had forgotten some of my gear. So I had to go back and get it...otherwise I would of been here at 9:00AM."

I looked at this total stranger and shook his hand and then said..."I'll go back out and surf with you John..." No no it's OK you don't have to do that.!" he exclaimed. "I know I don't John. But I want to. If you came all this way to surf with me today, then we are going to share some waves together."

So I Paddled back out and shared some waves with John. He was such a nice guy. He's married with one child, a daughter, and he had been surfing years ago but fell out of it. He just recently got back into to it. I had fun surfing with him. I hope he felt the same. I told him..."It's things like this that make this world so beautiful. Total strangers sharing waves and sharing a common bond of wanting to help others. Surfing had become once again, bigger and better than just the simple act of riding a wave." I looked at him and shook his hand again.

This is John and myself after our surf session. Photo by RALPH.

"It's times like this that make what I'm doing worthwhile John." Then he turned around and gave me a check for the Molly fund. I smiled and I'm sure there were tears in my eyes. Thank you John. Thank you all. Thank You Molly for bringing all this goodness to this community.

That's 300, only 65 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 20
th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 299
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

OK tomorrow is a big day for me. Day 300. The start of the final leg. 10 years ago when I reached Day 300, it was a big deal. I knew that the last 65 days would be interesting to say the least. And it was...thinking back on it now. It's easy to recall the way I felt. The last 65 days would be filled with all kinds of physical and mental obstacles. I expect it to be the same this time around. Especially the latter.

So tonight I'm gonna party like it's Day 299 (which it is...)

If anyone wants to join me, I'll be at 18th Street on North Beach at 9AM...
right over here...

I just hope the world does not come to an end. I guess it's supposed to end tomorrow...something about "the Rapture. " I personally don't believe it will all
end tomorrow, but I'll wait until I wake up to make that final call.

Besides, the Bruins play tomorrow afternoon. And after last night's game? Well God must be a Bruins fan so I think we're good tomorrow.

That's 299, only 66 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 19
th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 298
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

honestly don't know how long it's going to take before it subsides. The lingering feeling I now get when I surf at 10th Street. I didn't have it yesterday at 18th Street. But I clearly have it here at 10th Street. I guess it doesn't help if people keep asking me about it. I don't mind the inquiries. In fact, it helps me process it all. Mostly because it forces me to think clearly about the details of it all.

I took this photo before heading out today...the insert is from Sunday's "Photo."

The one thing that keeps coming back to me is this.

If it was a scratch, or a piece of dust or debris. The very fact that it ended up where it did is in itself unbelievable. Knowing what WE all know.

1. It's a fundraiser for a little surfer Girl named Molly.
2. She was 5 years old when she passed away.
3. It was my first time riding that board since I got hurt on May 6th and I was really apprehensive about surfing on it again.
4. It was pouring rain out. And I felt a drop in the air temperature when I paddled out and sat on my board.
5. And two openings down, Molly's dad was out surfing on his SUP.
6. Molly's Mother Meighan was having a difficult day on Sunday.
7. The photographer is not skilled in photoshop or any other photo enhancing programs. And she shot it on her cellphone.
8. And the one thing only my family knows and just my really close friends know. I have had similar things happen to me in my life that are simply unexplainable. From my days as a young boy, to my time spent in War, to so many other things, including loved ones who have passed away, from my best friend Joe to my
mother Eva. Too many and too detailed to discuss here. Suffice it to say, they have all been head scratchers.

And as far as Molly goes? Well, I've only had one dream about her. Buck and Meighan know about this. The night before her "Surfer Paddle" it was thunder and lightening out. Plus a major Hurricane (BILL) was moving up the coast. It would hit on Saturday morning. The same time her paddle was scheduled for. We had a short and safe window, and there was only ONE spot to have it. The spot that Molly showed me in a dream. In that dream, I walked up the sand dune where we have our annual Surf Family Robinson Beach party.

I spotted Molly playing with some children. She saw me and stood up and waved me over. As I walked further up the dune, she stopped and pointed. The sun was rising and there was a clear path that we could all paddle out in without getting hit by Hurricane Bill's waves. She never spoke in the dream. She just smiled and pointed. I woke up at 4AM from that dream and went outside. I was the first person at the beach that morning and took this photo. It was the very first photo I ever took with that camera.

This is where we all paddled out a few hours later. And no one got hurt. This is the first time I ever wrote about that dream.

I don't know what any of it means. Dreams, photos, all of the unexplainble things.
There must be a reason why. And someday, I'm sure we will all know. But meanwhile, I've got a mission to complete. And that's my goal. To finish it..

That's 298, only 67 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 18
th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 297
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

f some of you guys can't stop thinking about that photo from Sunday, imagine what it must be like for me, Buck, and Meighan. It's been all I've thought about for the
last few days. But I need to keep going. I can't let it slow me down,, or speed me up. I need to stay the course here and let whatever is going to happen- happen. Besides, it's not like I have any control of it any ways. I'm just doing my thing.

So today, I did just that. Except I ripped my bandages off. I couldn't stand it anymore. Enough is enough. Trying to keep my head dry? Please. I'm over it.

Today was going to be a "one and done." I had my youngest daughter Noelle with me and she agreed to snap a few pics. I think she thought she would witness something special today. But she ended up being completely surprised at how fast I pulled the "Ole One and Done" off. Oh yea, when Daddy does the "One and Done" it's quick. When there's waves. And there were waves today. Photo by Noelle.

I waded out to my waist, and then paddled about 10
yards, before I spun around and went for this first wave. Seemed good enough to me. Photo by Noelle.

I rode it for about 20 feet and fired off a salute. Photo by Noelle

I walked back up to the wall where Molly's name is
written in wax. Photo by Noelle

I placed my hand on her name, and that was basically it. There were no Molly sightings for Noelle and I (That we could see) on this rainy, foggy, day. It was just another wave on another day. Photo By Noelle

297, only 68 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 17
th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 296
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I had one question to ask Barbara Savastano last night. One simple question.
"Did your cellphone camera, take any photos in the last year, that showed that
mark, smudge, image or whatever it might be, in any of the photos you have?"

She looked at me with the phone in her hand and said..."No."

Then she showed me and my wife her phone with all the stored photos in the phone. There was nothing that came close to resembling that image. That was all I needed. If this was a hoax, it was an elaborate hoax with little or no reason to commit. It was what we all think it was.

This is my wife Cory and Barbara last Night at the North Beach Bar & Grill. It was a small gathering for Barbara as she is moving to Hawaii on Wednesday. For Barbara to take this unassuming photograph, that shook my world, before she left for the Islands, is something I will personally be forever grateful for. Mahalo and Aloha Barbara. May God and Molly watch over you until you return.

This is me today. It was raining again. I was back down by 18th Street. I needed to be there today. I wanted to be near the wall that has Molly's name written in surf wax. The waves were about 2 to 4' and it was messy. But the swell is building.

It took me a while to carry the longboard in that wind and to paddle outside. But I did it. I was talking out loud ..."So Molly, are you with me today? What are you doing walking along side of me? Or are you already outside where the waves are breaking waiting for me?" The wind was howling. I looked around and only saw a few Gulls. " I guess you are not going to show yourself today huh? That's OK."

I only caught one wave. But that's all I needed. Just the one.

As I walked back up to where her name is written on the wall, I had forgotten that her name disappears when it's raining. It only shows up in the sun. I laughed. Because the one time Molly appeared in a photo was in the rain. "So you show up in the rain, but your name disappears in the rain? That's funny."

I took this last photo and then went home.

That's 296, only 69 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 16th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 295
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

So by now, everyone I assume, has heard about "The Photo". But if you are one of those who has not heard, I need to back up a bit. Yesterday at 2:00PM it was pouring rain. I mean, it was coming down hard. I went to 10th Street to get my wave. I saw Lenny across the street at a party for a local surfer DJ Sparks. His photo is posted in yesterday's blog.

It was going to be the first time surfing on Big Black since I got hurt on May 6th. To say I was a bit hesitant would be an understatement. I was all of that and more. Not because the surf was big, but more of a "freak accident" happening again. With my luck? Ha! Please, anything could happen.

So I paddled out in the driving rain.

I felt something strange in the water, but just thought it was due to the combination of me being slightly nervous about surfing on the same board that damn near killed me, and the fact that it was pouring rain. I felt a coolness around me. The air was cool. I sat on my board for a few minutes...bobbing in the water and saw a wave come at me. It was a left. My last ride on Big Black was a left. "Perfect" I thought.

I stroked into the wave and struggled to my feet. I tried to plant my feet in a stable position. I slowly felt myself gain confidence as I rode the small wave all the way inside. I even said out loud, "OK I've got this. I'm back on Big Black. I can do this!"
I went right back out and caught a wave for DJ and then headed home.

I found two whoopee pies on my windshield. A friend had left them for me. My good friend Barbara Savastano. Apparently she showed up while I was out surfing and left the pies. Before she left, she leaned over the wall and took a photo of me riding that first wave.

And that's when everything changed. This is that photo.

If you look closely, there appears to be an image standing directly behind me. The image appears to be a small child. And that child appears to be placing a hand on my back. Supporting me. Almost like I do when I place my hand on Molly's name
at 18th Street. You've all seen the photos of that. This has, as you can very well imagine turned into something bigger than any of us could possibly imagine.

Of course the obvious questions arose. Is it Molly? If it is not Molly then what is it?
Or who is it? *If you click on the image you can see it slightly better. There are
other side stories to this amazing photo.

First, I wore my Molly T-shirt all day on Sunday before going down to get my wave. Big deal? Well it is, because I usually only wear that shirt when I am attending
Molly events. When I pulled it out of the closet yesterday I even said to myself.
"Why am I wearing this today?" And of course my reluctant approach at riding the board that almost killed me 2 weeks before.

And unbeknownst to me at the time...?

Down at 14th Street, out surfing on his SUP was Buck. Molly's dad. I even waved to them. They did not wave back because they didn't see me. I just waved to be friendly to those who were out in the same pouring rain.

Is there a logical explanation to all of this? Perhaps. Could it be explained that somehow this image that appeared was a result of some digital malfunction? Sure. But for me? I'm sticking with what I see and what I believe. That was Molly. Supporting me. Holding me up. Being with Buck in the water and then comforting her mother and little brother at home. That's my take.

This is me today...wondering will she appear in today's photos? No she did not.
Photo by Robert

My ride today. Another left on Big Black. It all felt good again.
Photo by Robert

OK. I'm back on Big Black. Still wearing a water proof bandaid, and still smiling.
Thank you Molly for giving us a little dose of your world. And keeping our faith strong. God Bless you and all of us.
Photo by Robert

That's 295, only 70 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 15th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 294
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Yesterday I made a big deal out of surfing the same spot that I got hurt at on May 6th. Well, today I not only surfed that same spot, but I surfed on the same board.
BIG BLACK is back. Mike Stanek did an amazing job fixing that board. You can't even see the hole that my head put in it. Thanks Mike.

No one out in the rain. Just me and Big Black.

Before I paddled out I ran into DJ Sparks. He's a good kid who is celebrating his birthday today. Happy Birthday DJ.

While I was out there surfing, a dear friend left me a treat on my vehicle. Thank you Bar
bara that was so sweet of you. And that was one sweet pie. Hope you find happiness in Hawaii. Be safe and stay in touch. Aloha.

294, only 71 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 14th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 293
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Ten years ago, I wrote a song called "Bite The Dog That Bit Me" It was basically a song about getting 'back on the horse that threw you' sort of thing. You know, nothing earth shattering. No deep hidden meanings. Just a song that allowed me to play a Hendrix style guitar solo. What does any of this have to do with me and my daily surf? Well, today I surfed the exact spot I surfed last Friday when I got hit by my board and nearly lost my eye and or worse. And the funny thing was, I didn't even realize it until after I had caught a few waves.

It just sort of dawned on me while I was out surfing this morning. Someone asked me how I was healing when it hit me. "You know what? This is the first time since getting hit by my board, that I have surfed this spot."

The person asking the question was more surprised than I was.

I guess I'm really over it. My black and blue discoloring is fading, and my wounds are healing. Oh I'll clearly have a scar to remind me of that day, but for the most part, it's behind me now. I'm looking forward to a week from today. That will be my 300th Day. I really am closing in on this thing...and then I better really be careful.

That's 293, only 72 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 13th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 292
FRIDAY THE 13th...
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today is FRIDAY the 13th and you would think that I might be a little cautious with my bad luck and all. Well, I was, and I wasn't. I surfed with a handful of friends this morning and had a blast. Then I went in and got my water camera and paddled back out and took some photos from the water. I love doing that.

Then I paddled out alone at the spot that almost killed me back in 1996. I was having fun until I launched myself off my board and landed flat on my left ear. This was my second session and I had inadvertently forgotten to put my ear plugs back in.

Long story short my head is still ringing.

Am I trying to hurt myself? Hell no. I'm just forgetful. Especially when there's surf. I saluted Molly at both spots today. Why not? It's Friday the 13th. I need all the good positive vibes I can muster up.

Here's some pics I shot earlier.

This is Jared Velstos throwing caution to the wind.

The waves were...oh what's that word I'm looking for? I know "Perfect. "

I've been riding my Merrick the last few days. It's not a shortboard compared to
what most of the real riders ride, but for me, it's short. And I enjoy riding it when I get the chance. Today was a very good day. I feel lucky.

That's 292, only 73 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 12th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 291
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Who ever said "You can't Go Home Again" didn't know what they were talking about. I went home today. Well sort off. I went back to the very same surf break that I used to surf as a kid. And, I was lucky enough to surf there with my son. was his first day back in the water since breaking his leg playing college Football in November. I'm happy to say that he not only surfed, but he was killing it out there. Mackey V did not skip a beat.

For years I used to fantasize about surfing my old homebreak with my son. Yet it wasn't until today that it all came together. I guess better late than never.

It's such a pretty area. And the sun came out and made it all the more prettier.

The waves were not big, but they were plenty fun enough for me and Mackey. I actually saluted while I was in a little tube. That was a first too!

I can't wait to go back with Mackey. His college is only 10 minutes from this spot. So yea, you can go home again. And you can bring your family too.

That's 291, only 74 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 11th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 290
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

In just 10 more days I will be at the 300th Day mark. Wow. I really am getting close to the home stretch. My 300th day is on Saturday May 21, 2011. Today I surfed a spot that I am quite fond of. Which is funny because I almost died there in 1996.

It was during Hurricane Hortense. I was 5 minutes into my session when I pulled into a backdoor section and caught an edge. My board ended up going through my face and knocking me out cold. I was laying on the ocean floor when I heard a voice in my head. "You have to wake up. You have to wake up. You have to wake up!"
I opened my eyes on the third time.

I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. I thought I was home in bed.

Then I saw the air bubbles above me and it all came rushing back. I was surfing! And my board must of hit me! I swam to the surface as fast as I could. I managed to swim ashore and drive myself home. Then my wife drove me to the hospital. I got 36 stitches that day. That all happened on my son's birthday party. September 16, 1996.

I don't know why I was thinking of that out there today as I surfed this spot alone. I guess because I mentioned last week when I got hurt, that Guardian Angels are watching over me and my family. I guess they have been for a while. Right Molly?

That's 290, only 75 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 10th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 289
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

"I only need one wave boys!" I said as I headed down the sandy trail to the break. "You got it man!" one of them yelled back. I laughed to myself. "I'm sure they are talking to themselves about that line." I thought to myself. And really why wouldn't they? Who says something like that? That's something someone would say who was trying to get a wave without any hassle. Which I suppose I am trying to do. But honestly? That sounded too fishy. Even though I meant every word.

Let's face it, if you were a surfer and didn't know what I was doing, and didn't know about my head injury, you too would be suspect of any such statement. But a guy who knew who I was, and who I just met, and just so happens to read this daily blog, told them.

"It's true. He's only looking for one wave. He's surfing for this little girl named Molly and he surfs everyday. Plus, he just got a head wound, and needs to be careful about getting his head wet." This guy's name was Joe. He's from Mass.

I guess that explained why they gave me such a wide berth out in the line-up. I ended up catching two waves. I was riding my shortboard. Even though I got Big Black back from Mike Stanek (thanks Mike). The waves were big enough to ride the shorter board.

After my quick session. Photo by Joe.

It's going to be hard for me when the surf cleans up and gets good. I mean...I'm going to want to catch more than one wave. I mean who cares about another damn scar on my head? Lord knows I have enough as it more won't hurt.

That's 289, only 76 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 9th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 288
Happy 21st Birthday GABBY!
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

21 years ago our first child was born. Gabrielle Marina Fatello. She was named after Hurricane Gabrielle. Her middle name means "Of The Sea" . I guess she was going to be a surfer girl from the start. That was 21 years ago...whoa. That makes me feel a lot older. Not that I needed any reminders.

This is a photo of me holding Gabby at the Wall. This was her first summer there.
Photo by Cory

This is Gabby and Leah Grondin (who turned 21 yesterday). Two lil Surfer Girls.
Photo by RALPH.

I'm still on my "Semper Fi" until Big Black gets back from the Lord Of The Dings (Mike Stanek) shop. Check the water proof bandage on my head.
Photo by Doug Dalke.

I caught three waves today. One for Molly, one for Leah, and one for Gabby.
Photo by Doug Dalke

Molly please keep an eye out for my little Gabby girl...Happy Birthday Gab.
We all love you. Photo by Doug Dalke

That's 288, only 77 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 8th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 287
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I woke up this morning and noticed that my eye was discolored and a bit more swollen. I looked at my gash over my eye and now know, that I will have a scar that will never go away. That's OK. I started my day by visiting with three Navy Seal Moms who lost their sons in Afghanistan in 2005. Brave women who have been through more pain and grief, that most people will ever endure in a lifetime.
Hard to feel sorry about my scar when these three women have scars that run deeper than mine will ever be.

Still, they were typical Moms and were concerned about my wound.

I didn't get to surf until late in the day. It was close to 7PM when I went down to 18th street. The surf was small about 2' but really glassy.

When I was out there I was having fun trying to keep the water off my face. I was laughing at loud as each wave passed over me. I stayed dry. It was like I was a kid out there tonight. I caught my first wave for Molly and saluted. Then I went back out and caught a second wave for my late Mother.

Happy Mother's Day Ma...I still miss you.

I hope Molly's Mom had a good day...I'm sure Molly was with her today.

That's 287, only 78 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 7th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 286
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

I want to thank all of my friends and family members who called, wrote, emailed, and posted all the well wishes. I am truly humbled and thankful for having you all
in my life. I know some of you were really concerned about how I was going to be able to get right back on the horse and sit in that saddle. Well, to be completely honest with you all, I was never concerned about that. Unless I was really hurt, and or dead, I knew I'd be back. And I was.

I had to switch boards because I put a big ding in BIG BLACK. Not sure how my thick skull was able to put a hole in my surfboard, but it did. Wait, did I just set myself up for all kinds of one liners or what? Photo by RALPH

Before I paddled out with Tony. I was fine and actually looking forward to getting a few fun waves with Tony. Photo by Tony Berardini.

After catching and saluting on two waves. I caught one for Molly, and one for the NAVY SEALS. I love those guys. Photo by Dave Cain.

I never got a drop of water on my face. I shot this after our session. It was good to be back out. Less than 24 hours after my injury. Sorry Doctor, but I had to surf.
Photo by

286, only 79 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 6th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 285
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

There's really no way of telling how your day will turn out when you get out of bed in the morning. There's just no way. Like today for instance. Here's a photo of the surf this morning. It was still good from last night. I was stoked.

Here's a photo of me pointing to where I'd be surfing this morning.

I had no idea that after taking this photo and surfing for 30 minutes, that I would spend the next 3.5 hours in the Emergency Room, getting stitched up and glued back together. Oh yea, it's true. My own board hit me in the face this morning. I had been riding the lefts off of 10th Street when I caught one nice long left and kicked out. The board shot straight up and over the lip. But the wind was wailing pretty good out there. I think it was a combination of the wind and my leash reaching the end of it's tether when it all came springing back to me.

The blow stunned me. I knew the second I saw blood, that I was in trouble.

But I'm a Marine. I've been in situations like this before. I applied direct pressure to the wound and got myself to shore. I made my way back to my vehicle and even managed to take a couple of photos. Much to the dismay of the surfers hanging around up there. Tim O'Shea and the others were wanting me to head off to the ER. But I'm a combat photographer. I'm documenting this journey.

I guess I'm lucky I didn't lose my eye. The doctor told me I would not be surfing for a while. I laughed of course and said..."I'm going out tomorrow, even if I have to put a bag over my head. I'm going surfing. "

I made a promise and a commitment. My word is good. "At least One wave a day for 365 consecutive days..." Right Molly?

That's 285, only 80 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 5th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 284
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

You would think, that after 284 consecutive days, that I might grow tired of surfing small waves. Well, that's not the case with me. I'm a surfer. I love surfing. And the fact that I can use surfing as a tool to help raise awareness to cancer, and keep the memory of Molly Rowlee, and countless others who have lost their battle to cancer in people's thoughts...well? Where do I paddle out?

How about Ralph's Rights! Taken this morning at 10AM.

This guy had these waves to himself...then I paddled out and he drifted away.

I went and got my water camera after surfing. It got cold taking water shots...but it was worth it.

Wait is that Osama's beard?? Nah, just some friendly seaweed.

That's 284, only 81 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 4th, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 283
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today President Obama refused to release photos of the killing of Osama. But I on the other hand have agreed to release the photos I shot at the Wall today. Be forewarned though, these photos may be too graphic for some viewers.

If you find this photo too offensive please look away. My eyes are closed...but I'm still alive. I know it's blurry, but I was surprised there were head high waves out there. I know I know...these are hard to look at. But this is important. Be brave.

This is a photo of my friend Steve. He's a Goofy foot. It was just Steve, Thom Blackwell, and myself out there. Not bad. I saluted Lil Miss Molly on my first wave.
I shot these GRAPHIC images on my little point and shoot camera.

I warned you they might be too graphic for some viewers. Apologies...

That's 283, only 82 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 3rd, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 282
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

Today was a good day. The feel good buzz about Osama Bin Laden's demise is still filling the airwaves. We are all still reveling in the news. The NAVY SEALS are feeling pretty good about themselves, as are the Intelligence sectors. All in all, it
was a great combination of all the Special Forces and our government working together to kill that evil son of a bitch.

And today, there were waves. This week is starting out pretty dang good.

I had this popular break to myself. But there's a reason for that. The wind was onshore and it was weak. There were bigger and better waves earlier at other
spots. And I did manage to shoot some good pics. Ed O'Connell and his wife Cathy stopped by to check on my daily wave count and shot these pics.
*All photos by Ed O'Connell.

I'm not a very good long boarder. Hell, I'm not a very good short boarder. But every now and then, I look like I know what I'm doing. Cross stepping my way back into the time tunnel. Say about 1965...

This salute is for the NAVY SEALS. Great job boys! You made us all very proud.

That's it for today...I caught a total of six waves. For SEAL TEAM 6.
*All photos by Ed O'Connell

That's 282, only 83 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 2nd, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 281
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

The phone rang at 11:00PM last night. I looked down at the caller ID and saw that it was my son. "What are you doing calling at this hour of the night?" I asked. "Dad I needed to talk with you after hearing this news!" "What news?" "Dad they got Osama! They killed him!" "What...Osama Bin Laden?" "Yes dad put on your TV right now. I just needed to talk with you."

I went upstairs and put on the TV and stood there in a semi state of shock. "This is big news Mackey...I'm so glad you called." I just needed to hear your voice dad... I love you..." "I love you too Max."

I knew why Max had called. His late grandfather spent the last 10 years of his life hunting down Terrorists. This was big news in our family. I then told my wife and we stayed up all night watching all the news and the President's speech. It was true. That scumbag was finally dead.

This is Bob Hayes. He was a surfer who loved surfing here in Hampton, NH. He was married with two young sons. Bob was the first surfer to buy one of my surf movies. I remember 10 years ago in May of 2001 speaking with him on North Beach as I was doing my first 365 Days Surf Fundraiser for my father.

We spoke about the joy of raising family on this beach and teaching them how to surf. I was getting him all excited about sharing waves with his kids. That was 10 years ago this month.

Bob was on Flt 11 out of Boston that morning. September 11, 2001.

I brought this flag down to the Beach this morning. It seemed like the right thing
to do. "Don't worry Molly...Osama is not heading your way. He's going down a few levels...I heard he's got a room with Adolf..."

I saluted for Molly, and then I saluted for all those who lost their lives on 9/11/01
and those who have fought and died for our Freedom ever since that day.
Photo by Erica Nardone

Remember the Graffiti on the wall? Well I fixed it today.
Click photo above
to see more photos and a short slide show I put together for this special day.

Osama, I honestly hope you ROT IN HELL.

That's 281, only 84 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...


May 1st, 2011 -July 26, 2011
Day 280
At Least One Wave, Every Day, For 365 Consecutive Days...

It's hard to believe that in just 20 days I will have hit my 300th Day. And if this year is anything like it was 10 years ago, the last 65 days will be both trying and quick. In the blink of an eye it will be July...but I'm smarter than that. It's only May, lots can happen between now and then. So I am playing these days with a stoic calculated risk approach. What's the old saying "My mother didn't raise no dummy." Or something silly like that.

The flowers in my front yard are a sure sign of two events. Mother's Day and my oldest daughter Gabby's birthday is right around the corner. We always called them "Gabby's Flowers". Photos by RALPH

I've got to admit, just seeing small crumbling waves like this is such a relief for me. I know I'll catch my wave with little or no ease and I know I won't have to grovel waiting for something to ride.

I met a family on the beach today and they thought I was crazy for surfing in water that cold. I could only chuckle at the reality of what I had endured this past winter. Rather than tell them, I basically said "Oh it's not that bad...I've been out in colder."

I laughed at myself as I paddled out and caught my wave and saluted. I think they thought I was saluting them. I waved as I walked past them. Then I went up and put my hand on Molly's name. I looked back one last time and they were standing there watching me. I waved and went up the stairs.

280, only 85 more to go. I'll be back tomorrow.

Surfing Heals All Wounds...



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