Molly Rowlee

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Aug 21, 2011

The Molly Surf Celebration

Check out all the event photos here on Flickr.

Happy Birthday, baby girl! Molly would have turned eight years old today, August 22nd, and it was only fitting that we threw a big ol’ bash for her this weekend in Hampton where we held the Second Annual Molly Surf Celebration at 10th St at The Wall. The weekend was epic! We had beautiful weather, fun little waves, and it was an incredible two days on the beach where the focus was COMMUNITY, LOVE, and SURFING.

Ralph Fatello has to be credited for coining that phrase but it truly represents every single aspect of what The Molly Surf Celebration signifies because a community rallied together and joined forces in order to make the event truly amazing. A phenomenal number of families gathered on the beach and joined the fun, and it was evident that love played an important role in bringing all of us together this weekend. It was a magical weekend. WOW……


This year we split up The Molly Surf Celebration and held the grom event on Saturday. We had 40 kids participate in the event and every kid received a trophy. The groms were ripping! I remember when a lot of these kids were born! I have known many of them since they were in diapers and sucking on their thumbs, and now these groms are surfing way better than I am! “Stoke” has to be the key word in describing the day because the kids were throwin’ nothing but huge smiles and double shaka’s on Saturday. The photos paint the picture. Every single kid was fully stoked! Little Travis Perkins, the Keller boys, and the Bohenko girls were BEAMING! SO STOKED!


Sunday, we kicked off the adult event. You know the deal – We select a quiver of 12 boards and all of them are pre 1970 longboards. We are talkin’ about some real dogs, and having to ride these boards not only adds to the challenge but it creates a certain “vibe.”  A good vibe. Every surfer, male and female, have to reach into my cowboy hat and draw which board they’re going to have to ride in their heat. Awesome! This year we added a twist and encouraged all adult surfers to surf IN COSTUME as the judges would award additional “favoritism” to those that surfed in costume. The photos paint the picture. It was hilarious and every aspect of the event added to the festive vibe.


The Molly Surf Celebration isn’t a surf contest. Yes, it’s a contest in the sense that we’re awarding trophies and prizes but how competitive can you really be when you’re wearing a Spider Man costume and you have to ride a board that was shaped in 1967 and that sucker weighs more than a compact car?  I had to ride an absolute dog in my heat. I couldn’t get that board to turn to save my life, it was awful, and I surfed well enough not to kill myself but I didn’t advance to the semi finals. Bummer…but I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much because it was fun to try to ride that ol’ log and, I have to admit, it was kinda cool to dress up like Hannah Montana. Before the start of the Men’s Final, there were three groms that made the final and I handpicked the boards that they had to surf. Hey, I’m the guy wearing the cowboy hat so I get to make the rules! I insisted that 11 year old, Kai Nichols, ride the same exact board as I rode in my heat, the heat that I lost, and that kid made riding that old piece of @#$% board look fun and that lil’ @#$% grom took second place in the contest!! Kai was surfing a final heat with dudes that were old enough to be his @#$% father and he took second place! I love it! THAT is what the spirit of The Molly Surf Celebration is all about; Families spending time on the beach, sharing aloha, and surfing……


I have to be honest in mentioning that I didn’t feel a sense of Molly’s presence this weekend. I woke up early this morning, joined a few friends for a surf, and I tried my hardest to connect with Molly. It didn’t happen but today was a good day nonetheless. Later in the afternoon, Kieran came down to my office and he was babbling about a note for Molly, a birthday card for Molly, but I wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying at the time. Before dinner, I saw the note on the kitchen counter and Meg told me what it was and who it was from. The note was from one of Molly’s friends, a little neighborhood girl, and she had dropped off a hand written card. “Dear Rowlee’s. I miss Molly a lot! I am thinking of her on her birthday! I miss her a lot! I love Molly!”  I read the card and chills ran up my arm and throughout my body. Happy birthday, baby. I miss you a lot too…and thank you for visiting me on your birthday. Thank you for the card, Carly.


I reflect back over the two years, the time when Molly was battling cancer and then passed, and it seems as though I can’t emphasize the words, “Thank you,” enough. Thank you for all of your good thoughts and strong words of encouragement. Thank you for the gas cards and food vouchers. Thank you all for providing Meighan and me with the strength to continue living during a time when that seemed impossible. We owe our lives to this community. We are blessed with an incredible circle of friends and we are in awe of the support that we continue to receive for The Molly Fund.


Please realize that many of these folks are offering up support without any desire to receive recognition. I get that, but I’m the guy wearing the cowboy hat so I get to make up the rules. Thank you to John Adams, and On Demand Imaging, because John refuses any sort of payment when printing our Molly Event posters. I love you, bro. Thank you to Bella Rose Pizzeria, in North Hampton, for donating enough pizza to feed 300 Spartan warriors during the Molly Surf Celebration weekend. Sean, you are beautiful, man. Thank you to KB’s Bagels for donating the coffee and muffins during the event. Your continued support is very much appreciated. We love you, Joe. Thank you to Sports Outpost for donating the trophies. Judi and Jeff, you guys are awesome! Thank you to Joe Gangi for donating all of the fabulous fruit cups that we consumed this weekend. High five, brother! Thank you to Pepsi for donating the water and soda. Thanks to the Body Glove crew that rolled up to the event on Sunday, in their RV, and stuffed a wad of cash into the donation bucket and Mike Losness signed autograph posters for the groms. Thanks to Jon Anderson and Dennis for putting in a huge effort and judging most of the event. Jon, I love you, brother! Thank you to Uncle Lenny and Auntie Arlene Nichols, and the Nichols family for showing us all what “ohana” truly means and running point on ensuring that the Molly Surf Celebration is a success. You folks are our heroes and Meighan and I couldn’t imagine having this event without you leading the charge. Many thanks to Bob McNeil for helping manage the chaos, and thank you to Dean and Karen Hager for just being awesome and…you’re just AWESOME! Thank you to everyone that joined in the fun, participated in the weekend’s events, and helped sling Molly product under the tent. It takes an army and…..thank God for pals. Thank you.

THAT is why Molly’s legacy continues….

Bless you all. Cowabunga!




You can download hi-res versions of these photos and more here on Flickr.




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