"Visually, of course, it is a triumph. Undeveloped hills and valleys, perfect surf, empty lineups."
The parents of Santa Babs surfing superstars Conner and Parker Coffin have listed their one-third share in 101 acres of gorgeous Hollister Ranch dirt, a beachfront enclave that counts blockbuster filmmaker James Cameron, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and minstrel Jackson Browne as owners.
For those who’ve come in late, Hollister Ranch is fifty-eight square clicks, or 14.400 acres, of gated beachfront land on the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California. The gates, which were supposed to open after five decades on April 1, are still firmly bolted following legal action by the Ranch’s landowners.
Therefore, y’aint surfing round these parts unless you can boat in.
Whatever you think of the Ranch, capitalism or maybe feudalism at its worst, the rich eat the cake, the poor sweep up the crumbs, sure would be nice to have a place there.
The Coffin House is sturdily built, as you might imagine, pretty enough and blends enough into the surroundings so you don’t feel like a giant stomping through some of the last undeveloped coastline in California.
Connoisseurs of Instagram accounts belonging to World Surf League executive suite brass will certainly know that rarely, if ever, do fans project negativity in the comments. Hearts, heart eyes, praying hands, hands raising the roof, shakas and thumbs up are regularly employed as the serfs toiling behind the patented Wall of Positive Noise love to let their masters know what a great job they are doing.
But cracks beginning to form?
Yesterday, it was announced that the upcoming Quiksilver/ROXY Pro France would be cancelled due to lack of “appropriate support to make the event financially feasible.”
Professional surfers, who had been relegated to the minor leagues, or Challenger Series, with promises of great fortune down there grew immediately concerned while fans of competitive professional surfing became frustrated.
Jessi Miley-Dyer, Senior Vice President of Tours and Head of Competition, took to Instagram in order to farm some hearts, heart eyes, praying hands etc., writing, “With the cancellation of the Quiksilver Pro France today, I’d like to let you know we will be revising the number of events counting on the Challenger Series Rankings (and for 2023 CT qualification ) from five to four @wsl”
“Tony Hawk!” I heard while sitting atop a downtown Memphis hotel watching the setting sun paint the sky orange over the mighty Mississippi, thinking Elvis Presley and his Memphis Mafia must have witnessed a few of the same.
I looked up and a handsome black mid-40s gentleman was standing at the bar looking right at me. Tall, hair braided just so.
“Tonnny Hawk,” and he turned to the bartender, “Don’t he look like Tony Hawk?”
“He sure do,” she said, nodding approval.
I feigned a laugh, as I am regularly mistaken for the thrice then twice married vert specialists but, then, inspiration struck. If these two know Tony Hawk, might they also know competitive professional surfing?
I lurched off my stool and stumbled over.
“Say, do either of you watch competitive professional surfing?”
“Of course! Whenever I find it on ESPN 3,” the gentleman answered while the bartender shook her head no and said, “nuh-uh.”
“What?” I asked, flabbergasted, not knowing if my leg was getting pulled. “Are you serious?”
“Sure,” he responded while extending his hand. “My name is Rizza. R-I-Z-Z-A for reals. I can show you my license.”
“Rizza,” I said, believing him, “I have been on an epic quest, searching these great United States specifically for you. It’s a long story, with many ups and downs, but what exactly do you like about it?”
Without pause, he answered, “I can barely balance on a skateboard, so the way they balance on the water? I never get enough of watching that.”
“Do you follow heats, know how they’re scored, have a favorite competitive professional surfer, know that there is a Championship Tour and a Challenger Series with the Challenger Series currently in a bit of trouble?” I machine gunned.
“Oh I don’t know nothing about that. I just like them balance on that water.”
Rizza then turned to the bartender and mimicked a classic surf pose.
“They’re all like this except on the water. You should watch it, baby.”
And here he was, sort of. The unicorn. The myth. The non-surfing World Surf League fan, supposing that the World Surf League is aired on ESPN 3 which, now that I think about it, is unlikely.
Close enough though and I retreated back to my stool to ponder stare at the last bit of sun and ponder this powerful moment.
I should have felt elated, victorious, fulfilled but I felt almost… lightly depressed, sad, and that vague sadness followed me to dinner, the finest ribs, fried catfish, green beans, brown beans, coleslaw I ever had, hovered when I woke first thing in the morning to go and stand in front of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, accompanied the Volkswagen as it zipped this final stretch to Nashville.
In between knee-bucking back pain (I had pulled the dumb thing the morning I began the epic quest courtesy of my newfound joy in biathleticism and general disdain for stretching. 2000 miles later it was so seized up that I could barely see.), it came to me.
The World Surf League may need here, this vast stretch between coasts, for robust growth strategies and return on investment and business business but here does not need surfing. Here is entirely awesome just as it is from roasted green chilies to skies that spread as far as the eye can see over rolling plains, people with bullets lodged in backs to chicken fried steak drawls, people as big as the land going out of their way to help, to be kind.
I encountered two notable buttholes on my journey from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to Tennessee. One, a blacked out GMC SUV that tried to pass everyone on the shoulder while we waited for a fatal accident to clear almost clipping a van filled with kids. It had California plates. The other, a man and his wife whom which I asked for a ride, two miles in the direction they were going, after having walked that same two miles on the freeway in 100 degree heat. The man apologized profusely that they didn’t have any room in their Lincoln Navigator. The kind Native American living off the grid and working at the gas station told me, “They had plenty of room, they just didn’t want to take you. I’ll do it.” Even though, for him, it meant a thirty minute round trip as there was no easy way to get back.
The couple was from Florida.
California has surfers and surf fans, Florida has surfers and surf fans but I’d take any New Mexican, Texan, Oklahoman, Arkansan, Tennessean, living in their home states, living like they do, any day of the week. Does surfing, or being a surf fan, create buttholes?
I can’t say, for certain but… Erik Logan.
And to paraphrase the great Michael Tomson, if you aren’t a fan of competitive professional surfing, don’t start. If you are a fan of competitive professional surfing, never stop but be super critical and snarky about it and/or watch alongside Rizza on ESPN 3 before enjoying cognac on roof top bars.
Zipping into Nashville, I felt satisfied, fulfilled, at peace and more so when my very talented soccer star daughter dropped me off at the doctor for a shot of Toradol, muscle relaxers and steroids in the Volkswagen that was now home.
Waimea Bay’s iconic Samurai house “not for sale” says owner as Jonah Hill expands North Shore property search to include $US7 million estate adjacent to softest wave on seven-mile miracle!
“With direct access to numerous world-class surf spots right out front, this property is an ocean enthusiast’s dream."
The owner of Waimea Bay’s Samurai House has squashed the rumour Hollywood funnyman and body positivist Jonah Hill had added the magnificent home to his collection of beachfront joints, which includes Hill’s epic new $15 million Malibu Colony residence.
“We plan to move back in early to mid 2023. We have no intentions of selling our home and never have.”
Shattering news for Hill who continues his search for the perfect North Shore pied-à-terre, although regular surf sessions with Sally Cohen, the dazzling longboarding sister of Jamie O’s girl Tina, have made the toil of house hunting a little easier to bear.
The latest joint on Hill’s list, according to our man on the ground, is a seven-million estate, beachfront, although lined with rocks not sand, a couple of minutes drive from Chuns, the sweetest little longboard wave on the seven-mile miracle.
Again, if the urge does strike to shoot rhinos, Laniakea is only a few minutes further along the Kam Highway. Waimea, of course, is ten minutes in the other direction, traffic permitting, which it rarely does in season.
“With direct access to numerous world-class surf spots right out front, this property is an ocean enthusiast’s dream. This property is your gateway to some of the best fishing, surfing, and diving in the Hawaiian Islands. This home is being sold fully furnished and is move in ready. Make arrangements to see this beauty before its gone!”
Probs no super hurry, it’s been on the market for 122 days and the price just got slashed by three-hundred gees.
In stunning move, commercially robust World Surf League cancels upcoming Quiksilver Pro France citing “appropriate support to make event financially sustainable.”
Fans of competitive professional surfing, and surfers recently relegated to minor leagues due controversial mid-season cut, woke to a shock this morning as the World Surf League has officially cancelled the upcoming Quiksilver/Roxy Pro France. In a cooly worded press release the League declared:
The World Surf League (WSL) and Boardriders announced today the cancellation of the 2022 Quiksilver / ROXY Pro France. Despite continued efforts to maintain the event, the WSL and Boardriders have agreed on the decision to cancel this year’s competition in Hossegor, France.
The competition was set to take place from October 12 – 23, 2022 as the sixth stop on the Challenger Series, the competition series where the next generation of surfing stars battle for the chance to qualify for the Championship Tour. In light of this announcement, the Challenger Series rankings for Championship Tour qualification will be based on results across four competitions.
Despite this year’s cancellation, the WSL and Boardriders are determined to explore opportunities to bring the world’s best surfers back to France in 2023 and beyond.
“We are disappointed to announce the cancellation of the Challenger Series event in Hossegor,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO. “We were unable to secure the appropriate support to make the event financially sustainable. Despite this cancellation, we are committed to the French region, community, competitors, and fans. France remains important to competitive surfing’s history and future. We are actively engaged in conversations to return to France in 2023 and beyond.”
“Quiksilver and ROXY have had a long history of supporting the surfing industry in France, including on the Championship Tour level, so this is of course a very disappointing outcome”, said Arne Arens, CEO of Boardriders Inc. “Nonetheless, our determination to showcase European surfing remains unchanged and we are 100% dedicated to working with the WSL to bring the world’s best surfers back to the French beaches in the near future. In the interim, Quiksilver and ROXY will continue their unwavering support and sponsorship of world-class athletes and WSL events globally.”
“We understand and acknowledge the inconvenience of this timing, and we know it adds difficult and frustrating repercussions on competitors,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP of Tours and Head of Competition. “Because of this, we have reduced the counting results to four from five for the end-of-year rankings. The 2022 Challenger Series will host seven competitions total, including the upcoming Vans US Open of Surfing, EDP Vissla Pro Ericeira, Corona Saquarema Pro, and Haleiwa Challenger.”
Especially stunning in light of a recent admission by CEO Erik Logan that the World Surf League has never been in a better place in terms of consumption and riches.
Is this the end of the Challenger Series? Will Championship Tour events be slashed too?