Nathan Fletcher (pictured) not booking travel to Laguna any time soon.
Nathan Fletcher (pictured) not booking travel to Laguna any time soon.

In wild power play, tony Laguna Beach seeks to wrest control of local coast from Orange County in order to force draconian smoking ban!

"Get your filthy habit out of our town!"

Internecine war has broken out in the most unexpected of places, overnight, as tony Laguna Beach, hugging the most gorgeous stretch of Southern California coast, is attempting to wrest control of local beaches from ruling Orange County so it can impose a draconian smoking ban.

Ken Domer, Laguna’s assistant city manager, said the move would tax the coffers some $2.2 million a year but would be very much worthwhile because anti-smoking spies could be installed at various high towers.

“The contract lifeguards for the county are basically looking eyes on the water all the time, whereas our lifeguards are city employees,” Domer declared at last Tuesday’s city council meeting. “They’re looking at not just the water and doing an exemplary job, but also the quality of life issues that are on the beach around them.”

Laguna is, of course, famous for its art scene but it is a very different art scene from, say, New York City’s east village where cool cats used to toy with the idea of meaning, splattering canvases and hacking grits.

No, Laguna’s scene is more… Pageant of the Masters.

Have you ever seen it?


No word if vaping will be banned as well but it seems likely.

More, clearly, as the story develops.

Coleman, left, facing prison, Davo, right, dead, after alleged late-night fracas. | Photo: Davo photo by Ithaka Darin Pappas

Man accused of killing surfing great Chris Davison hit with second charge of “intentionally choking person without consent” as Kelly Slater writes moving tribute, “Lost another soldier yesterday. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew.”

Tough minimum sentencing laws mean Grant “Grub” Coleman faces a minimum sixteen years if found guilty of killing the surf star.

The man arrested over the alleged one-punch killing of the wildly talented surf prodigy Chris Davidson has been hit with a second charge of “intentionally choking a person without consent”. 

Davidson, forty-five, was allegedly punched in the face by Grant “Grub” Coleman outside the South West Rocks Country Club at around eleven pm on Saturday, September 24. Davo fell, hit his head on the pavement, lights out. It’s such a common event in Australia, a country that has wrestled with violent booze-fuelled attacks for its modern existence, that many bars now feature sponge rubber outside their doors.

Sources close to BeachGrit allege the pair had a run-in at the bar and that Coleman was allegedly thrown out by the club’s security.

Anyway, paramedics treated Davo at the scene and he was taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Coleman, a junior footy coach in the coastal hamlet five hours north of Sydney, was arrested at his nearby home thirty minutes after the attack and hit with the initial charge of “assaulting Davidson causing his death.”

Coleman, who is forty-two, was refused bail and has been remanded to Sydney’s notorious Silverwater prison. 

Last time I was at there visiting a pal another inmate was getting murdered. As I strolled out of the gates, happy to feel the sun on my face and with the freedom to jump in a car and drive thirty clicks back to the beach, an ambulance was roaring into the compound to pick up the bloodied corpse. 

Many years earlier, I visited the Surf Travel Co founder turned drug smuggler Paul King at the same prison.

Gonna be tough for Coleman. 

The charge of “assault causing death” is one of those rare offences where minimum sentences apply, the law coming into play after a series of highly publicised attacks where men were killed after being belted, all late at night, all alcohol fuelled. 

If Coleman pleads guilty or found guilty of “assault causing death” he faces a max of twenty years in prison, twenty-five, if he was intoxicated, with a minimum sixteen year total sentence, eight of ‘em in full-time custody. 

Kelly Slater, who famously lost to Davo in two consecutive heats at Bells Beach in 1996, wrote “Lost another soldier yesterday. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew.”

Wavepool maestro Tom Lochtefeld fires back at claims hotly anticipated Palm Springs Surf Club tank has been shelved, “We’ll be filling her with water at the beginning of 2023!”

But no sign of wave-creating virtuoso Cheyne Magnusson nor his guy-pal, the hot Hawaiian eye-candy Kalani Robb!

Two years ago, the world’s best surfers were lining up to jiggle their thumb tips against the Palm Springs Surf Club’s pygmy dingus, a proto-wavepool built on the site of the old Wet N Wild in that storied little desert town. 

Wet N Wild was the pool used in the opening sequences of North Shore, a film from 1987 that tells the fictional tale of Rick Kane, a boy who learns to surf in a wavepool and then attempts to transpose his skills to Pipeline with mostly good results.

The surfing world quickly fell under the spell of the Hawaiian surfer Cheyne Magnusson who had singlehandedly altered the course of aerial surfing at BSR cable park in Waco.

Magunusson joined hands with the “godfather of artificial waves” Tom Lochtefeld and his Surf Loch tech to soup up the ancient Wet N Wild site.

“I come in and play the piano,” Cheyne told me of his role complementing the wave tech. “Give me a bunch of knobs to move water and I can make it sing.”

The pint-sized proto was built and surfers, including Mason Ho, Jackson Dorian etc, came from all over the world, flared and made clips. The pool was then demolished to make way for the full-sized tank.


Crickets, as they say. 

The PSSC Instagram account is blank, Magnusson hasn’t posted about the tank in two years and hasn’t responded to messages from BeachGrit re: the project, the pool’s creative director Jamo Wills hasn’t posted about the tank since November 2o2o, Kalani Robb, also involved in the joint, hasn’t posted about the tank in a year. 

It’s Facebook page is, to be generous, perfunctory, fifteen likes, zero followers. 

Worried that the joint has been shelved, although not shelved in the sexy sense, I contacted Thomas J Lochtefeld who reassured me the PSSC will be ready to be filled at the beginning of 2023. 

Lochtefeld also offered me a free flight to dance on his waves in the coming American spring. 

“Are you game?” he asked.

“Yes, daddy,” I said, lips parted, eyes closed, ripe for the act.

As for Magnusson, Lochtefeld says he’s still consulting for Surf Loch.

“He is a phenomenal wave composer, a virtuoso on our equipment.”

Igarashi (pictured) kicking sand on Slater's shallow grave.
Igarashi (pictured) kicking sand on Slater's shallow grave.

Kelly Slater’s childhood Olympic dream steps foot into grave as one-time American Kanoa Igarashi stabs surfing icon in the back!

Cold tamahagane steel twisting lightly.

The International Surfing Games, 2022, is officially over and with it a culmination of the highest stakes professional surfing has ever witnessed. For those unaware, the “team” (i.e. nation represented by surfer) that won the contest would be awarded a bonus slot into the 2024 Teahupo’o Olympics, an extra chance to claim gold at “the end of the road.”

As it works, countries with ranked World Surf League surfers get two slots each on both the men’s and women’s sides. The winner of the Surfing Games now has three with the third and that winner, for the men, was Japan in the very handsome form of Huntington Beach born and bred Kanoa Igarashi.

Igarashi took down Indonesia, Australia and Portugal to hoist the extra spot for the Land of the Rising Sun high above his head with one hand. The other was busily stabbing surf icon Kelly Slater right in the back.

For if Igarashi had been surfing for his hometown, that slot would have gone to the mighty United States of America and if it had gone to this land of free, home of brave, Slater, at time of writing, would have been Tahiti bound, gently stroking his childhood dream of standing high on a three-tiered podium as the Star Spangled Banner wafted.

Imagine that pain throbbing between shoulder blades. Cold tamahagane steel twisting lightly.

I suppose Slater could blame Kolohe Andino and Nat Young, who lost in rounds six and seven respectively, but what good would that do?

In better news, the U.S. women’s team won so now Courtney Conlogue can go to the Olympics.

Silver linings.

Australian surf star Chris Davidson killed in alleged fracas outside country pub; man charged with assault causing death, “He was one of the most gifted surfers in the world!”

Recent years weren’t so kind to Davo, although let’s be frank, he did burn the candle at both ends, as well as the sides and through the guts.

The wildly talented Narrabeen shredder Chris Davidson is dead following an alleged “one-punch assault” outside the grandly named South West Rocks Country Club, five or so hours north of Sydney.

Davidson, who was forty-five, was allegedly knocked unconscious around eleven pm last night, treated at the scene by the ambos and taken to Kempsey Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.

Grant Coleman, brother of the noted rugby union coach Darren Coleman, was arrested thirty minutes after the attack and charged with “assaulting Davidson causing his death.”

Coleman, who is forty-two, was refused bail and is due to appear before Port Macquarie Bail Court on Sunday.

Davo was anointed as a surf star in his early teens, the raw foil to Tom Curren in Rip Curl’s then cutting-edge Search advertising campaign.

In 1996, aged nineteen, Davo was gifted a wildcard into the Rip Curl Bells event, then one of the most prestigious contests in surfing.

Now, you gotta remember, in 1996, Kelly was at his peak, twenty-four, unstoppable.

Dave, loose as anything, more rockstar than Hoy and co, rolled up to his round one heat with a borrowed board and no leash.


Davo, lowest seed, got Kelly, highest, in round three and did it again, Kelly so sad he gave the finger to the judges.

Recent years weren’t so kind to Davo, although let’s be frank, he did burn the candle at both ends, as well as the sides and through the guts.

In 2006, he copped a ten-year driving ban and ten years later, officially back behind the wheel, he crashed his mum’s car into a tree while pissed, cops charging Davo with high-end drink-driving.

A resident who heard the terrific noise, went outside and found Davo slumped in his seat, unmoving. Apart from internal injuries, he suffered severe damage to the ligaments in his neck and would later undergo surgery to his right arm.

If you want to see surfing Davo at his best, watch any of Sonny Miller’s films for Rip Curl or if you want a taste of the man in all his raw glory, watch this.

Interviewer GT asks, “If someone wrote a book about you what would it be called?”

Without hesitation, Davo replies “Doctor Damage and his Tiger Blood!”

One of a kind.