Molly Rowlee

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Aug 25, 2012

The Molly Surf Celebration 2012

Check out all the photos on Flickr: Day 1 (kids) and Day 2 (adults).

The Molly Fund Army rose over $7,000 for the Molly Fund during the Third Annual Molly Surf Celebration on August 25th and 26th. Holy cow!  What an amazing weekend. WOW!  We had 80 kids show up and sign up for the Molly grom event on Saturday and that is more than double the kids that we had last year. WHAT?!?!?!  I know, I know, we were blown away!  But the icing on the cake is that we had 80…E-I-G-H-T-Y adult’s surf in the event on Sunday and that was a milestone. A record!  To have 80 adult “grom’s” surf on Sunday was a…..MIRACLE!  Why?  Because the adults had to ride the ol’ clunker 1960’s boards and surf IN COSTUME!  Thank you all for the amazing support. We’ll chalk this up as a “win” and set the bar higher for 2013……

To be completely honest, I didn’t know how The Molly Surf Celebration was going to play out this year and Meighan and I were a bit concerned. My work/travel schedule had been insane throughout the month of August and I was away from home almost the entire month. We were all stressed that the event wouldn’t come together, scrambling at the last minute to cover those random “fire drills,” but then Saturday arrived and the magic happened;  The “Molly Magic.” We had beautiful weather for the entire weekend, fun little waves, and my face literally HURT from smiling and laughing so much over the course of two days. It was evident after the weekend wrapped up that The Molly Surf Celebration event is gaining steam; it’s turning into such an incredible event.

“Surfing, Community, Love.”  As I pen this update, I have Ralph Fatello’s new surf film, “Surfing Heals All Wounds” playing in the background in my office. Ralph’s new film documents the year that he surfed every single day for a year in honor of Molly, in order to raise money for the Molly Fund, but Ralph also surfed that full year in honor of all of his friends and loved ones that have passed from cancer. Ralph is the pillar of our surf community, the godfather, and his gnarly Marine Corp attitude is infectious and he has the charisma to rally the troops – the surfing tribe – and it’s my feeling that the magic of Molly and The Molly Fund is having the same effect on our community. Because I’m here to tell you that if you had the opportunity to witness those 80 surf stoked kids on the beach on August 25th, and another 80 amped adults and their families on the beach on the 26th, that you would agree that the Molly Fund is defined by Surfing, Community, and Love…..


We had that credo engraved on The Molly Surf Celebration trophies this year because it’s fitting that everyone that participates understands what the event is all about because it’s not just a surf contest. The Surf Celebration is a weekend festival. A time when we can all come together and spend time with one another on the beach. We all laugh at each other’s silly costumes and laugh even harder at the old boards that we choose to ride. We have dads in the water with their lil’ kids pushing them into waves, because each kid that participates in the event goes home with a trophy. Why?  Because this is the spirit of The Molly Surf Celebration, and Molly would have been stoked to get a trophy…..

The boys and girls division was pretty competitive and it was astonishing to see the next generation of NH surf kids progressing so quickly. I remember when Gavin and James O’Hara were born!  Now these kids are ripping!!  Gavin ended up squeaking by his little brother, James, to take the first place trophy and Emma Connor won the girls division. The adult event was hilarious. We surfed in costume. Epic!  We had a quiver of 12 old boards, beat up clunker’s from the 60’s and 70’s, and you had to draw what board you were going to have to ride out of my cowboy hat before the start of each heat. Thank God I grew up surfing in the 80’s!  But The Molly Surf Celebration is not a surf contest, you can’t take it seriously, because how can you?  We surf old boards and in costume!!!  But it is fun to hand out trophies. The best trophy was donated to us by our good surf pal, Wes Oswald. Wes hooked up The Best Costume trophy and this year, Bryan Johnson, from Pioneers Board Shop won Best Costume. Bryan’s costume was… have to check the photos and see for yourselves…..but I am so stoked at how many people rallied and put together insane outfits. Our good friend, Francois, from Montreal took home the second place trophy. We handed Francois a pair of Custom Molly Oakley sunglasses, but the dude received huge props because he’s the only guy from Montreal that can claim “local” status. Francois is family, and the dude shows up in full goalie gear (hockey goalie gear) and surfs in the contest. FULL GEAR!  That is next level……

At the end of the day, we had to declare a winner, but it was obvious that Kyle Linesmen deserved the first place trophy because he was magical on those old boards. Kyle also swept the Paddle Surf division, so the kid was stoked!  Hoku Nichols fiercely battled her older sister, Nohea, to win the women’s division but I have to tell you that not one single person participates in the event in order to win the contest. The vibe is totally different, and we have folks surfing in the event that have only surfed one contest throughout their entire surfing lives with that being The Molly Surf Celebration. Epic……

There is no way that we could pull of the event each year if it wasn’t for the help of so many of our friends and family that volunteer their time during the weekend. It is a long weekend, fully action packed, and it does take an army to ensure that The Molly runs smoothly. Many thanks to our pals that worked the tent and helped sling some Molly swag. Thanks to Dean and Karen Hagar for….being awesome and coming through as “Johnny on the spots.”  Sean Correll is a brother, a true warrior, and Sean owns Bella Rose Pizzeria on RT 1 in N. Hampton. Sean hooks up all of the pizza for the two day event and his generosity is amazing. Thank you, Sean. Thanks to Joe Gangi for donating all of the insane fruit cups during the weekend and the word on the street is that Joe’s going to surf in the event next year and his costume is going to be world class. Yeah, Joe!  I love it!  Aunti Barbara Savastano is family and many thanks to Barbara for donating the proceeds from her Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand to the Molly Fund. Jon Anderson is my hero. His lil’ kids surf unreal and Jon is the epitome of a rad surf dad. I love this dude, and Jon spent the entire weekend – every hour during the event – on the beach judging. “Thanks” doesn’t even cover it, bro, but I love you and I appreciate your effort more than you can imagine. Thanks to Bob McNeil and Dennis for putting in the big effort and working the event. The first family of Hampton, Lenny and Arlene Nichols, are the backbone behind The Molly Surf Celebration. Without their help, there is no way that we could pull off the show. Lenny and Arlene run our Northern New England Eastern Surf Association, and our goal is to get as many kids involved in the ESA as possible. All of the Nichols’ kids are ripping. Kai Nichols is Kieran’s (my son’s) hero, and the Nichols family runs point during The Molly Surf Celebration. Meg and I love you folks so much and mahalo. Mahalo. Bless you.

Finally, I want to end by thanking our surfing community. We had families travel from ME in order to participate in this year’s Molly event. Francois was running solo but he usually travels with a huge crew from Montreal and those guys are definitely part of our clan. There are pals of mine that fly in from NC each year to participate but the majority of folks that support the event are our fiends from Hampton. Thank you. Bless you. I’m watching Ralph’s film and I can’t believe that it’s been three years that we lost Molly. Meg and I were talking about this last night and it seems like a lifetime ago that we were dealing with the pain of Molly’s death. No parent should have to face the torment of losing a child. But I know in my heart that Molly is with us. She is laughing and playing with the kids on the beach. Molly is with me each day that I paddle out and see the sun rise and she is with me on the days that I have to stop surfing and sit on my board because I am so overwhelmed with grief, because I no longer get to race home into the arms of my little girl, and I have to have a good cry. Molly is with us. I see her smile in the face of our five month old boy, TJ. Yes, Molly is with us and she is stoked. We are doing some good, helping other families, and paying it forward. Surfing, Community, and Love will allow us to continue. I love you, baby. Daddy loves you……



Buck, Meg, Kieran, and TJ


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