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Photos, intro, video and captions by Ralph Fatello. To check out his blog click here : www.ralphspic.com
All in all I’d give The winter 2022-2023 here in the Northeast a B-minus. In other words, just slightly above average for this part of the surfing world.
It was one of the weirdest in recent memory. We only had one or two swells that I would consider significant. We never got that Mega swell that we’d typically experience. And we really only had two days that I’d call cold (Single digits). Don’t get me wrong they were cold, just not enough of them strung together that made we want to head for the tropics. And if that wasn’t strange enough, we only had two snow storms that required me to use my snow blower. Two? I’d usually have two or three each month.
This Global warming thing? Yeah, it’s real.
Look, I’m not complaining, we had a bunch of head high days and a handful of overhead days too. And the water temps never got below the low 40’s. That in of itself is unusual. Shit, when I was a young man surfing we had plenty of days in the winter when the water temps dipped down into the 30’s. This year? It was like a long extended fall, with a few arctic days thrown in to keep us on our feet just to remind us of where we live on the Right Coasts Cold Coast. – Ralph Fatello –
I sat there and watched at least a dozen surfers out there jockeying for position on a handful of waist to chest high waves, when this one popped up over the reef. None of them were able to snag what I called the wave of the day. I’m sure a few of them heard me scream when it got by them all. Oh well. Chalk one up for Mother ocean. www.ralphspic.com
Welcome to The Cold Coast! Crowley Gentile scrambling over the snow covered boulders on March 14 th , 2023. The conditions this day were almost a total whiteout. The snow was pelting and it was hard to see the lineup. I was constantly wiping snow off my lenses. Crowley was charging during this session, along with Kody Grondin, Carter Walsh, and Jake Davidson. www.ralphspic.com
Matt Colby has one of the best cutbacks around, and I can always count on him giving me something to aim my camera at. This day was kind of creepy. It was a cold day in January. In fact, it was Friday the 13 th , and the biggest, darkest, most ominous looking cloud came in as the last bit of light was ebbing away. We all stood on the beach to watch that cloud swallow up the rest of the day. It was straight out of The Wizard Of Oz kind of creepy. www.ralphspic.com
Brian Avante has a very unique, smooth style. He’s a very quiet and humble individual, and out in the water, he plays a stealthy game of chess. And it always seems to pay off, because he always seems to get more than his share of waves. I canÕt tell you how many times I’d look up to see Brian on yet another set wave.
I started a LOCAL LEGENDS series on my Blog where I feature one of the Local Legends in New Hampshire every month. Rick Evans was my January 2023 LEGEND Feature. I’m going to create a page for all the Local Legends in the next week so on my Blog you can see and read about each one. And by the month of May I’m posting a IN MEMORIAM page for all the surfers we lost. There’s already too many that we lost. But, I’m determined to honor and remember them all. www.ralphspic.com
Every now and then I get lucky and shoot an empty wave that is worthy of hanging on my wall. This was one of those times. The offshore spray against that black backdrop really sealed the deal for me. This one is hanging on my office wall. In fact, it’s the first one you see walking into my office. www.ralphspic.com
Mike Stanek is still one of the most exciting and innovative surfer/shapers in all of New England. His boards are totally unique and clearly born from thinking outside of the box. And his style of surfing fits the boards he creates. Plus, he’s hilarious. He still makes me laugh. www.ralphspic.com
Max “Mackey” Fatello and Kevin “Doc” Grondin walking in the winter wonderland with a couple of non-surfers checking them out. The novelty of civilians seeing winter surfing for the first time, has long worn off up here. But even for the jaded, it’s still impressive to see Kevin, who is 66 yrs young, still be stoked enough to paddle out in the coldest conditions with surfers half his age.
Like father like son. Kody Grondin blasting the lip, in the peak of the snow storm. Watching Kody surf over the years has been an absolute pleasure. He keeps getting better and better. And not for nothing, he’s pushing the envelope every time he paddles out. Like his dad, Kody is a barrel hound, and he can push those hockey legs of his into crushing turns like this. www.ralphspic.com
Matt Colby is another barrel hound. He’s got a nose for the barrel, and if it’s remotely hollow, he’s gonna pull in and chances are he’s going to make it. www.ralphspic.com
Fins out for Mackey V at the end of this punchy little beach break wave on January 7th, 2023. www.ralphspic.com
Ian Dreher and James Morse. Two local Goofy foot rippers.
And make no mistake about it, they rip. www.ralphspic.com
What can I say? I’m still a juvenile at heart. The state put this sign up and well, I took some creative liberties. I’m dangerous with Photoshop. Just look at my weekly BLATANT DROP IN’S OF THE WEEK on my weekly Blog where I Photoshop the defendants right out of the wave.
We call it FIVE O’s. It only breaks on a serious overhead swell. And 9 out of 10 times it is completely empty. Why? It sits way offshore and it breaks on a thick mean ledge, in super shallow waters. It’s short and deadly. The handful who have managed to get out there and scratch into a couple, have all had nightmare stories. Mike Stanek claims he had the worse hold down of his life out there. That’s noteworthy. It freaked him out. I’ve heard similar stories. How can something so pretty be so hurtful? Paddle out someday and find out for yourselves. Just please contact me before you do, I’d like to document your last ride on earth. www.ralphspic.com
Ian Dreher is one of a handful of standout Goofy foots who always seem to make short order of these long lined up lefts. Ian who makes custom fins called “Drab Fins” is a really quiet man who always seems to get one of the biggest and best waves of any session he’s surfing and he absolutely kills it from the takeoff to the kick out. If Ian is out? I’m shooting. www.ralphspic.com
Colby punching off the bottom on a March 1st, 2023 lined up right. The thing about Matt Colby is, he knows how to connect the dots. He doesn’t have just one big move that I’m looking for. It’s the whole repertoire. I know that if he’s in front of my lens, I’m going to get something worth posting. He never fails me.www.ralphspic.com
Speaking of legends. Dave “CROP” Cropper is one of the most loved surfers in the Granite State and beyond. He’s had one hell of rough go this past year. CINNAMON RAINBOWS was lost in a Fire in August of 2022 and then Dave suffered a stroke that almost took him out of the big picture. He survived the stroke with emergency surgery and they moved their shop to a temporary location at the old PIONEERS Surf shop in North Hampton. Things have been looking better with each week and month for Dave, Heather, Phil, and Caroline as CINNAMON RAINBOWS once again is up and running and providing stoke for the entire surf community. www.ralphspic.com
Kody Grondin from a mini sequence on January 17th, 2023. It was sitting back on this little sand sucking grinder for what seemed like forever. Contorting his body to fit inside this glass slipper. We laughed about this wave after. He had played hockey the night before, and was cramping up out there. I think I made him go back out for one more. And I’m glad he did, because he managed to get this one last little tube. www.ralphspic.com
This? I shot this with my iPhone. It’s the Japanese maple in my front yard. I thought it looked pretty. Those iPhones are handy little devices. You can even talk on them like a real telephone. www.ralphspic.com
What surfer doesn’t love this view? Paddling out and looking over a heaving bowl like this. You do one of two things, you stop and take it all in, or, you get your ass outside in case there’s another one behind it. www.ralphspic.com
Matt Colby carving on a beautiful right on March 1st, 2023. No he was not alone out there. There were a dozen or more. I counted 13 waves in this set. Zoom in and see for yourself. www.ralphspic.com
Kody Grondin backing in at Deadman’s curve. With one eye on the inside section, and the other on the oncoming traffic. www.ralphspic.com
Matt Colby at Humpback Rock during a very recent March swell. Note to self and hot Cold Coast tip: don’t look back at the boulder when surfing here.www.ralphspic.com
Unknown in a very quiet place on February 8th 2023. I remember looking at this pic back in my studio and thought, “Man this would be the kind of photo I would love to have of myself surfing.” I mean come on. This is a dream set up. ralphspics.com
My son Max riding my old Black VINNY Twin Fin that I rode in 1979. It blows my mind to see him riding my old board and getting the same incredible sensations that I did 44 years ago. Stoked doesn’t even begin to cover the emotions I feel about looking this one let alone photographing it. www.ralphspic.com
Another one of the hot goofy foot’s @ brundan_mumbleville from Summer Session hitting the brakes with style on an inside section. www.ralphspic.com
Can you say Merry Christmas ? December 24’th sunrise on the Cold Coast. Please check out Ralphs excellent website / Blog now celebrating it’s 20’th year of covering the Northeast click here : www.ralphspic.com