There I was standing in the exact spot, at the exact time, as I was exactly one year ago. Only this time, things were clearly different. Gone were the crowds of friends and family. And the hundreds of surfers that lined the opening at 10th Street, were nowhere to be found. It was just me. Standing there taking it all in, it was easy to see the vast contrast in a year's time.
But standing there alone on the beach, I felt oddly at peace.
[Second photo] July 26, 2012 at 10th Street on North Beach, I was alone.
[Third photo] One year earlier, July 26, 2011. I was not alone.
As most of you know, on this day I completed a year long surf campaign where I surfed every single day for one year here in New Hampshire. I called it "Catch A Wave For Molly." Another contrast in this year, is the simple fact, that I have not surfed more than a couple of dozen times.
That in itself was strange. How was that possible?
Well for starters, I hurt my knee on December 1st, 2011 and spent the next 3 months out of the water. That I did not see coming. It just seems so odd that I would spend less than a quarter of an entire year out of the water. I took plenty of photos this past year, but clearly have not been out in the water as much as i would of liked to.
And the truth is, I miss it. I miss the ocean and just being surrounded by it on a day to day basis. Last year I had the hardest time letting go. In fact, if you read the month to month calendars that I have posted you will see that I actually surfed for 369 consecutive days. Why? Well for starters, there were waves. I was not quitting surfing. Just the campaign.
I'm a surfer. I surf when there's surf. There were waves the days following my "Catch a Wave For Molly" surf campaign. So I kept surfing. In fact, I could of kept going because there were still little waves to ride the next day. But I knew I had to stop. I had to let it go. Once I stopped and went a full 24 hours without surfing, I knew I was going to be OK. And I was.
I guess I just didn't realize that I would spend less time in the water this past year than I have in past years. Like I said. It was a major contrast from last year.
[Fourth photo] Molly's dad Buck and I after we all surfed that last day.
[Fifth photo] Molly's mom Meighan and I embrace after my last wave.
Another big story in the last year is the Rowlees have a new member to the family. TJ was born on April 1st, 2012 and he looks so much like Molly and Big Brother Kieran that it just warms my heart to see them. And talk about happy. That TJ is one happy smiling kid. He's so damn cute.
I guess of all the changes that have happened in the last year, that is the most special. Seeing the Rowlees with baby TJ is one of the most precious moments I have had in the last six months.
While there is no replacing Lil Miss Molly. There is happiness and love in that home. And Molly's presence is still a very big part of their day to day lives. I think I said it all last year when I said. "This is about three things. Surfing. Community. And Love. We are standing here in a sea of love."
The spirit of Molly Rowlee is still strong today. This year will mark the 3rd annual MOLLY contest on August 25th and 26th. See poster attached as a PDF above. And on Molly's birthday August 22nd, I plan on releasing the documentary of my year long campaign "SURFING HEALS ALL WOUNDS."
Seems like the most fitting day to share that amazing year with you all. August 22, 2012.
[First photo] Last year, I never saw this graphic that local longboarder Mike Sidebottom had painted on the opening at 10th Street on that day. It's not surprising, there were so many people on the beach that night that it got lost in the crowds. But here it is, one year later. The Molly heart, with Molly and myself riding a wave in May of 2011. This part of the new documentary is covered in clear detail. As it should be.
Suffice it to say, it was a significant part of my year.
[Sixth photo] The other difference was the surf. While the weather was eerily similar, the lack of surf was evident. Though when I turned to take a photo of the empty ocean this last Thursday, this wave appeared.
One empty wave. I smiled when I saw it. I could of easily have paddled into that mushy wave and rode it during my year of surfing everyday.
That wave would of been a welcome sight for me many times during that long cold winter, and even longer flat spells.
But you surfers can look at this wave and acknowledge it. You know I could of caught this and rode it. Easily. A one and done. As I was fond
of calling them throughout that year. "One and Done."
As I mentioned earlier, I have the entire "Catch a Wave For Molly" blog in chronological order. I reread most of my postings and was smiling and feeling wistful and melancholy along the way through them all. It was a therapy of sorts for me to go back and relive it all again.
The movie SHAW is the same. My hand held video taping is shaky at best, but it is raw, and it is very real. It is by far the most significant surf movie I have ever done. You won't see any BIG airs. Or 360 attempts. You won't see any deep barrel rides. Heck, you won't see much in the way of any contemporary surfing. Hardly. I'm just not that good of a surfer. But unlike most of my prior movies, this one actually tells a story.
And a lot of you were part of that story. Look for it August 22, 2012.
"Surfing Heals All Wounds..."
Now for Some Of My Weekly Global Observances:
Let The Games Begin. The 2012 OLYMPICS have started. I missed Sir Paul singing Hey Jude, though I have seen him do it live a few times. But it is all very exciting. We all need something we can cheer for.
Yes I am cheering for the USA. I like it when America wins. Call me old fashion but it's something we all have have deeply embedded in our souls. It's called pride.
I know ole KSM below won't be cheering for us. Why's he gotta be so hurtful? It's not like Al Qeada has a sports team. Unless the Terrorists has a new sport that I am not aware of. Like car Bombing. Or Lighting your shoes on fire...or IED making. No, they will be left out again.
Sitting in their caves in Afghanistan, or in their cells in GITMO trying to get a good reception on their Black and white Cave TVs. Cursing America every time we win! Ha! See there's something worth cheering about right there. Remember...Every time an American team wins, a Terrorist kills himself.
GO USA! Make Khalid Sheik Mohammed twist and turn in his cell tonight as America continues to thrive.
Note to self: Must get my son Max to draw some wacky surf cartoons
for my upcoming surf art column.
Can't wait until Fall...Football, Nor'easters, and upland magic.