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Welcome to the first in a series we’ll be running over the next month or so featuring some of our coast’s most talented and prolific shooters who get to pick their favorite images they captured during 2022 and write their thoughts on them. First up, veteran ( in more ways than one ) Northeast filmer – and one of our longest serving contributors to both ESM the mag and now www.easternsurf.com – New Hampshire’s Ralph Fatello. Check out his long running blog at www.ralphspic.com and on Instagram at @ralphs.pic . Surfing since 1964, Ralph took his first surf shot in 1965, made his first surf film in 1971 and has been running his highly entertaining surf blog since 2004, the longest running east coast digital surf site of them all. This guy is as OG as they come on this side of the continent and other parts of our surfing universe and we are stoked to present these amazing shots he captured during the year 2022. – Dugan & Mez
The man behind the ( video ) lens, legendary New Hampshire / Northeast shooter, Mr. Ralph Fatello. Photo: Dina Crawford
Ralphs thoughts on surfing in the year 2022 :
All in all, I’d say we had a consistent year of small to medium size surf. We never really got any huge days. Which was kind of odd, because, we typically get, one or two monster swells. We had our share of cold winter storms, we just never got that BIG Swell. If I had to grade 2022? I’d give her a B+. Hey, it’s better than a C or a D.
During that cold ass January day, this guy was out picking off the rights as the three NH photogs (Nevins, myself, and Tony Berardini) were running around trying to find the perfect angle without freezing to death. As cold as this looks, you have to admit, the lineup looks perfect.
My own criteria has to be waist high or better at least once a week. We reached 53 weeks in 2021. But I’d have to go back into the archives to see what the biggest run was in 2022. We had some good runs for sure. And we had our share of flat spells too.
But having said that? If there’s decent surf, you tend to push that cold business out of your head if this is your home turf, and concentrate on what’s in front of you. In other words, SUCK IT UP and get on it! That goes for both the riders, and those who document the action. And I will say this with 100% certainty, having been on both sides of the neoprene coin. It is way colder standing on the beach, reefs, and points shooting the action, than it ever was surfing. Twice in my life I surfed every single day in New Hampshire for two separate fundraisers. That’s every single day for 365 consecutive days. So I know a little bit about surfing in the winter. – Ralph Fatello –
January 29th, 2022 Johnny “Jim” Meehan, sucking it up personified. This day was absolutely insane. Total whiteout conditions. I could not see 10′ in front of my face. When Johnny paddled out he literally disappeared within seconds of entering the water. He on the other hand, could not see the shoreline. Completely disorientated, he had to fight against that howling wind to make it back to shore. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he decided to paddle out, I just knew I had to be there to document it. And if something went wrong, I could at least point out to the authorities the last place I saw him. Thank God he made it back in. And I got the shot.
Mikey “Mikel” Evans snapping a crackerjack of a turn, on a fun day in May, on one of his own creations. Seems like everybody is riding one of his boards these days. Hell, he even made one for me two years ago. Suffice it to say, Mikey knows how to surf and he applies his talent in the water right back into the shaping room.
The Mecca of NH surfing. 10th Street, with Kevin “Doc” Grondin. I first met Kevin (and Kim his future wife) right here at this infamous slab of cement in 1972. I’ve known them both for 50 years. Suffice it to say we have logged quite a few hours together. Surfing up and down the East Coast, those hairball winters on Oahu, the tropical dreams in PR, but it’s here at 10th street that my fondest memories are seared into my soul. We raised our families right here, and now we watch our grandchildren play here. If this is the last place I ever see Kevin’s smiling mug, it would be totally appropriate.
Summer 2022 with Kevin “Doc” Grondin doing a text book backside bottom turn. An honored memebr of the East coast Surfing Hall Of Fame, Doc is 66 years old. Look at that turn and try to imagine yourself at his age surfing as loose, free and stylish like that. Kevin is a freak. He’s like the Eveready Energizer Bunny. He just keeps on going year after yearwithout losing a single step.
Unknown regular foot ducking under a pitching lip at the Wall last April. Did he make it? I don’t remember. There were not too many makeable waves this day as i recall but he has tapped the brake at the right time charting a great line and has beautiful section waiting to cover him so… I’ll let you mind surf this one and wonder if he did or not.
From another freezing cold day in January. When you think about cold, imagine what these guys have to put up with? You want your fish in the restaurants on the weekend nights? Well, somebody has to venture out into that cold ocean to catch it for you and more than a few surfers ply the trade here in the Northeast. Remember this photo the next time you bite into a nice tender piece of fresh fish in the dead of winter.
Mikey Moran November 2022 at the Wall. Remember how I just mentioned that we have a handful of good longboarders here in NH? This guy is at the top of that list. Long before Mikey Evans, Pev, Kyle, Stevie, Zappy, Kody, and even Kevin (though he’s been doing it the longest) started styling on a longboard, there was Mikey Moran. The thing about Mikey is, he ONLY rides a longboard. The others all switch it up. Not Mikey. He’s true to his craft, and he’s still a pleasure to watch and shoot every single time he paddles out. He is the quintessential longboarder up here as if you can’t tell looking at this frame.
Brian Nevins and his daughter Emma at the 14th Annual HIT THE BEACH event for the WOUNDED WARRIOR Project on the last Friday in August. Brian has been to every single one of these events. This year, he brought his daughter Emma along with him. I mean she was out in the water with him as he was shooting water shots of the wounded vets. I’m so stoked for Brian and his wife Sam as they raise their young family here on this stretch of sand and cement. Those smiles are indicative of this special day.
Just another peak at the local beach break. As a photographer, I like to be able to swing the camera on a peak that I think is gonna throw. Every surfer loves that “see thru” view of a pitching, crystalline lip like this one December 2022 during the closing weeks of this years photography for me.
Kyle Howard at 10th Street. Kyle was here with his brother Corey this last August to attend the Memorial Surfer’s Paddle out for his uncle Robin Rowell. Robin was one of our best friends. He was a goofyfoot just like Kyle here. Watching Kyle, my son Max, and Kevin’s son Kody surfing together, reminded me of our times all surfing 10th Street at the Wall. Once again, we were witnessing the full circle of life – and shredding – here.
My friend and fellow Vietnam Vet, Jimmy Cushman loves Custom Cars. He owns this cool 1950 Ford, two door sedan with a four inch chopped top. He asked me to shoot a pic of his car with this beautiful maple in full New England foliage. Not really surfing, but it sure shows the colors of New Hampshire in October and the beauty of nature we are so lucky to be surrounded by.
This is “Pev” hanging 10 on a fun March day at the Wall. We have a handful of really good Longboarders up here in NH and “Pev” is clearly one of the best.
Casey Lockwood ditching his fins on an early, beautifully backlit September morning. He landed three of these in a row before I finally caught one. Casey is, obviously, a great surfer with three kids whom he regularly takes along surfing and snowboarding. What a fun dad he must be.
March 2022 this is Pev slipping into a March green dreamy wave. Not really tropical, but it has a cool end of winter vibe.
This is one of the kids from SURFING WITH SMILES claiming a wave that will stay with her for the rest of her life. SWS is a annual summer event, where kids and young adults with Autism get to go surfing. That’s Dave Cropper in the blue rash guard who just pushed this kid into the wave of her life. Dave and Cinnamon Rainbows surf shop, along with a hundred or more volunteers sponsor this wonderful beach event every June, July, and August. “Surfing With Smiles” and “Hit The Beach” are iconic events up here in Hampton, NH and not to be missed.
Wounded Vet at the 14th annual Hit The Beach day, August 2022. I design the shirts each year. I thought the “WE SERVED WE SURFED” was spot on. I tell the vets every year Surfing is riding a wave. You can be standing up, sitting down, kneeling down, or lying prone on your stomach. As long as you’re paralleling along that wave, you are surfing.
( l-r ) Kody Grondin, Cam MacLeod, and Cinnamon’s Dave Cropper assisting one of the vets out into the lineup. Once he’s safely out far enough, they get him on a large SUP soft top and push him into a wave. The flag in the background is a “Garrison” flag. It’s the biggest Flag the military and First responders use. The Hampton Fire Department come down every year and fly the garrison over the Wall. It has become a beacon for the day. When people drive by, they know that it’s the annual, Hit The Beach Day for the Wounded Vets. We live in a great community up here in New Hampshire’s seacoast where a lot of brave service men and women have sacrificed much to keep us a free nation.
I’m not sure who this regular foot is, but I’m sure of the day and swell. November 16th, 2022. I called it the “WWW” swell- the Wild-Windy-Wednesday. The wind was howling onshore all day, and then about an hour before sunset she turned and blew hard offshore. I was standing up on a mini bluff and had a cool angle of them going by me. When the sun popped out through the clouds, there was this beautiful sheen of color on the faces. I knew if I timed it right, I’d get the shot I was looking for.
Tyler Moore is notorious for flipping the bird at anyone who is within visual contact of him after he catches a bomb. This is the end of his ride and what typically happens is, he catches a big set wave, makes the drop, pulls up into the barrel and if he comes out? He starts screaming and flipping the double bird at everyone. Including me who is usually documenting it all. Without question, he is THE most Stoked individual that I have ever met, and lord knows I’ve met a few. We all crack up at those who don’t know Tyler, who are paddling by this madman screaming at the top of his lungs, while flipping everyone off. Everybody who knows Tyler loves him.
VFG (video frame grab) of Perry Reynolds throwing some serious buckets on a surprisingly good May swell at the points.
The proverbial “Sea Smoke” shot. This day in January was a whopping 3 degrees. The windchill factor however brought it down to 30 below. Yes there were people out surfing. It’s not that big of a deal to those of us who grew up here and have surfed through these cold winters. I suppose to some of you warmer climate types, this might seem horrifying. But the truth is, with the high tech wetsuits, along with thick boots and gloves, anybody can surf it. You just gotta get that worm out of your head, that you’re gonna die. You’re not going to die. It’s just a little colder than you’d want. Suck it up buttercup and paddle out.
Legendary Northeast surfer, filmer, blogger, shredder of guitars, artist, and Viet Nam veteran Marine, Mr. Ralph Fatello revealed.
Please check out Ralphs killer blog at www.ralphs.com and give him a follow on the ‘Gram at @ralphs.pic