Hawk (pictured right) on his own road trip with world's most famous Winter Olympian Shaun White (left) and surf great Kelly Slater (backseat).
Hawk (pictured right) on his own road trip with world's most famous Winter Olympian Shaun White (left) and surf great Kelly Slater (backseat).

Surf Journalist on epic quest finds mythical non-surfing WSL fan after being mistaken for oft-married skateboarder Tony Hawk, becomes lightly depressed before having ultimate revelation!

Mission accomplished.

“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.

Why sadness?

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.

Mission accomplished.

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.

We last saw Sally in August when she went over the handlebars at Surf Ranch and lost four teeth when she hit the vinyl covered concrete bottom, the injury requiring surgery and, later, implants.

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.

The four-bed, four-bath three-thousand square feet “stoutly built masterpiece” at 61-237 Kamehameha Hwy sits on a 21k square feet lot. 

“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. 

Gone, girl.
Gone, girl.

In stunning move, commercially robust World Surf League cancels upcoming Quiksilver Pro France citing “appropriate support to make event financially sustainable.”

Stunning and shocking.

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?

More as the story develops.

Hamilton (pictured) in element.
Hamilton (pictured) in element.

Universally revered New York Times viciously snubs world’s best known surfer Laird Hamilton in its sizzling “Beginners Guide to Stand-Up Paddling!”

Save Laird.

Days ago The New York Times, which is inarguably the world’s most respected newspaper, published a sizzling introduction to stand-up paddle boarding. “Go for a float: A Beginners Guide to Stand-Up Paddling” immediately captivated readers with its helpful pointers, suggestions, personal stories and history lesson which we can read, together.

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP, for short) has likely existed for thousands of years. Ancient cultures in South America and Africa stood on small boats with long paddles to travel, fish or go to war. Polynesians surfed waves using paddles. Most historians agree its modern form took shape thanks to Hawaiian surf instructors like Duke Kahanamoku, who in the 1940s would stand on his board to get a better view of his students.

That’s it.

Zero mention of the one man responsible for modern day SUPing, its inventor for all intents and purposes, Laird Hamilton.

“The snub,” as it is being called in polite circles, has both annalists and analysts greatly confused. Hamilton was once a media darling with adonis-like good looks, fabulously healthy wife and many, many, many famous friends. Why would the newspaper of note fail to include him? Theories range from the writer of the piece losing the family fortune after investing in Laird’s eponymous Superfood to Hamilton being too “male” though, at time of writing, nothing has been confirmed.

More, certainly, as the story develops.

Logan sent me pictures of him and Barry Switzer, proving his bonafides, which had me swooning, then made extra good on his promise, group chatting me, Switzer and Switzer’s wife Becky with a kind introduction.

Surf Journalist on epic quest to find mythical non-surfing WSL fan teased that world’s greatest football coach Barry Switzer may be him, bites hard on play action fake!

I shall prevail.

The elation hit 70 miles outside of Oklahoma City and I thought, “So here we go!” The Volkswagen, new throttle body installed, was zipping along the 40 east at a comfortable pace though terror clawed at the edges of my already frayed psyche. Semi-trucks, or tractor trailers depending on your regional preference, outnumber cars 20 – 1 on this stretch of panhandle, growling, snarling, swaying. Driving felt like kicking a boogie board into a SUP-exclusive slab, if such a thing exists, and trying to poach a few corners.


But there I was, anyhow, elated for hitting Weatherford, Oklahoma I saw a sign celebrating it as “home to astronaut Thomas P. Stafford.”

Thomas P. Stafford?

Never heard of him, no not ever, and if a minor league astronaut gets so celebrated, certainly Oklahoma City’s own Erik “ELo” Logan would be thusly lauded outside his home?

Who has a better story? One of twenty-four people that has flown to the moon or the boy with Spielberg-induced fear of the ocean overcoming all odds, thanks to the help of a magic wetsuit of armor, to rule over competitive professional surfing as CEO of the World Surf League?

Erik E. Lo. Logan, it goes without writing.

Punctuating my instinct, a glorious rainbow spread across the heavens, crowning Oklahoma City like a halo as if to say, “This is where you find your pot of gold. This is where the mythical non-surfing WSL fan springs from the ground like wheat or whatever grows in Oklahoma.”

The hour-ish of white knuckle dread flew by and then I was there. Oklahoma City. Home to The Aforementioned. Except there was no sign but… maybe it is etched on the people’s hearts? I checked in to the Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown hotel ready to pounce, phone violently buzzing in pocket.

Wait. Why was it buzzing violently?

I checked and, if you can even believe, it was a message from Logan himself.


The epic quest had clearly taken on a life of its own.

“I’m here!” I responded. “Epic quest!”

He told me that the Skirvin, Oklahoma City’s oldest hotel, is haunted and “Then go to Norman. Have to see Barry Switzer.”

But let me pause the story here. I assumed Logan knew that I was in Oklahoma City due the public interest in my epic quest, riding along, wondering too if such a myth as the non-surfing WSL fan exists. Though how did he know that Barry Switzer is one of my favorite coaches of all time?

A beacon in my younger life?

For the illiterate, Barry Layne Switzer, born October 5, 1937, coached at the University of Oklahoma for sixteen years, winning three national championships and, then, in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, winning the Super Bowl. He is a legend, owning one of the highest winning percentages in college history, and also one of three coaches to win both a college national championship and a Super Bowl.

But that’s not why he is one of my favorite coaches of all time. He is one of my favorite coaches of all time because he recruited the Brian Keith Bosworth to Oklahoma and The Boz absolutely ruled.

Utterly ruled.

I cannot afford any more time here but Brian Bosworth broke the mold. He played with a mohawk, got busted for shooting steroids, stripped off his jersey to reveal a shirt reading “NCAA: National Communists Against Athletes” when he was suspended.

Read his biography, like I did in elementary school, for inspiration.

Back to the story, I sat there, staring at my phone thinking, “If I could actually meet Barry Switzer from an ELo hookup, I would not be able to fun make the WSL for at least a week.” And what a power move. What a boss flex. Logan had wiped the floor with me, once, on a podcast. This, this right here, would kill me again. I’d be mush in Switzer’s hands, spooned right down, spackling the Wall of Positive Noise eternally in service of its CEO, or at least for a week or forever.

Logan sent me pictures of him and Barry Switzer, proving his bonafides, which had me swooning, then made extra good on his promise, group chatting me, Switzer and Switzer’s wife Becky with a kind introduction.

That rainbow?

Maybe ending in Norman, Oklahoma, home to the University of Oklahoma and Barry Switzer? Home to the non-surfing World Surf League fan? Absolute end of my thoroughly eroded credibility?


As it was late, at this point, and didn’t expect the Switzer’s to be up at such an hour but was mortified that Erik “ELo” Logan had wiped the floor with me once again. You don’t become an American tall tale, or the CEO of the World Surf League, without skills, I suppose.

I tossed and turned all night, checking my phone as soon as I woke.

“I don’t know you. That’s my purse!!”


“I have no idea what those last two comments are about I did not write those. Barry’s at the lake I will send this request to him. Hope all is well.”

Followed by…

“Dogs can’t look up.”

“Cats are always looking down.”

“Mice never frown.”

The number belonging to Barry Switzer’s wife had, apparently, been correct. Barry Switzer’s number now, apparently, belonged to a jokester who revealed, “I’ve had this number forever and still get calls for Barry AND Becky. Did y’all share this number at one point? We’re y’all married? I need the tea.’

To which Mrs. Switzer responded…

“Totally strange. Stop all messages to me.”

I hit both Mrs. Switzer and the stranger up, begging the former for a chance to meet her husband and shake his hand in over Brian Bosworth. Begging the interloper if he, or she, knew anything about competitive professional surfing.

Neither responded and though I lightly mourn the outcome, I am equally elated that I can now continue to fun make forever or at least a week.

As an aside, I asked frat-ish boys on the street, worker bees eating late at the restaurant, hotel desk staff, man who almost hit me with a car if they had ever heard of competitive professional surfing.

The shared answer was “no.”

And Barry Switzer may be but Oklahoma dustbowl in my dream’s wind but on I forge to Memphis, Tennessee and Elvis Presley’s Graceland.

Grace Land.

I shall prevail.

Listen here for more.