Michael Hoskinson (pictured) not paying rent in JohnsKnees personal space.
Michael Hoskinson (pictured) not paying rent in JohnsKnees personal space.

Lighting rod former Huntington Beach planning commissioner in ultra hot water after admitting to stiffing surfer on rent!

Big trouble in Surf City.

Political watchers were shocked and dismayed, earlier today, after former Huntington Beach planning commissioner publicly admitted to stiffing surfers on rent. Michael Hoskinson, who works as a real estate broker after becoming inspired by his mother when she purchased him a house, took to BeachGrit’s libertarian message board in order to declare, “HAHA what’s the next lie you’ll tell about HB??? we love our town and are thrilled to stop politicians from being able to pander to identity politics. If you don’t like HB then stay the fuck away.”

The “lie” so happened to be a truth about Surf City, USA banning breast cancer survivor banners from civic property.

The statement, in any case, was met with a volley of live free or die responses including, from JohnsKnees, “Aren’t you the guy that resigned or got fired from the planning commission for your anti-semitic and anti-islamic comments?”

Hoskinson’s clearly aggrieved, shot back, “No, I’m the guy that is living rent free in your head.”

Free market capitalists and John Birch Societeers were stunned that the real estate broker would confess to leftist chicanery and openly wondered if he might, in fact, be a squatter or worse still.

A communist.

The record, while fuzzy on rents etc., does show that one Michael Hoskinson did, in fact, resign from Huntington Beach’s proud city council in 2016 after postulating, “I think Islam is definitely a threat. I don’t call it a religion at all.”

Theologians and historians wondered what he did call Islam though were left wanting as he did not explain after leaving office with tail tucked.

“Tail tucking,” as it so happens, likely to be banned in Huntington Beach soon.

BeachGrit’s religion desk has reached out to Hoskinson’s professional hotmail account and is hoping to hear back.

More as the story develops.

Huntington Beach sez "Kick rocks!"
Huntington Beach sez "Kick rocks!"

“Surf City, USA” voters enshrine ban on breast cancer survivor flags in Huntington Beach charter!

LGBTQ+ and World Surf League flags verboten too.

Huntington Beach voters turned out in droves, on Super Tuesday, to make certain Surf City, USA stays free from in-your-face breast cancer survivors, University of Southern California graduates, Grateful Dead heads and World Surf League aficionados. Those proud about their lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Q Anon roots too.

The City Council, you most certainly recall, banned the flying of non-state, non-government, non-military flags on municipal property last year in a tight 4 – 3 tally. Days ago, voters lent their gravitas by enshrining the rule into the city charter by a slim 58% majority.

Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark boldly declared, “A lot of this is taking Huntington Beach back to how it was. A lot of cities are afraid to push back because they don’t want to be the target of Sacramento. We’re not afraid.”

“The way it was” clearly a shot over breast cancer survivors’ bows who, in truth, should now be afraid.

Peg Coley, the executive director of the LGBTQ Center Orange County, making it all about her community, was not so kind, countering with, “The Huntington Beach City Council is run by a hateful majority whose only interest is advancing an agenda of intolerance for minority communities, including LGBTQ+ individuals. The Huntington Beach City Council is run by a hateful majority whose only interest is advancing an agenda of intolerance for minority communities, including LGBTQ+ individuals.”

Surfer Magazine, taking its first political stance since endorsing Joe Biden in Biden v Trump First Blood, described the town as a “hotbed of Orange County conservatism” and warned readers that they will not be entirely welcome during this summer’s U.S. Open of Surfing.

Surfer, man. Always on brand.

Hot surfers in wetsuits
Rip Curl may have "shat the bed" with the trans-episode but very hard to deny beauty and effectiveness of their wetsuits.

Are Rip Curl wetsuits worth the inflated price tag?

When should you shift from Need or Project Blank and into the stratified realm of the high-cost corporate wetsuit?

I mentioned this Rip Curl wetsuit in my most recent board review. A 2mm long-sleeved springsuit purchased in their recent online fire sale. At fifty percent off it was cheaper than wholesale, if my memory of wholesale costs serves me correctly.

Maybe it doesn’t.

I hadn’t bought a Rip Curl wetsuit in ten years or so. Not through any specific distaste for them. I’ve just been swinging back and forth in recent times between basic and premium wetsuit brands.

You gotta give Need, and to a lesser extent Project Blank, credit for the niche they’ve created. Upon purchasing my first Need, which was probably around the time I wore my last Rippy suit, I swore I would be a customer for life. Good-enough quality, drastically reduced prices. A brand ethos I could get behind. Even the all-black design was a major selling point.

But wetsuits are one of those things like mattresses or seafood. Sometimes it’s worth paying a premium price to ensure you get a premium product. Need and PB just haven’t quite got there yet with matching the top-end performers. Perhaps it isn’t in their interest to do so. I dunno.

They’re a damned good suit for those on a budget, and I don’t want to dissuade anybody from copping one if they’re looking at suits in that price $200-$400 range. They still can’t be beat.

But I started drifting back to the premium side a few years ago. A Zion 2mm steamer which I still use as a backup. An O’Neill Defender steamer purchased last winter, which I surfed in every day for six months and which is still holding up admirably.

The extra stretch and water protection was immediately noticeable when compared to my Needs and Project Blanks. And this was only a mid-range O’Neill suit. For those cooler winter and autumn mornings, when a certified cold wuss like myself wants as much protection as they can get without sacrificing flexibility, you can’t go past the top-end performers.

It was to my delight, then, when I saw the Rip Curl wetsuit fire sale.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I didn’t really need a new suit. Around my neck of the woods you can transition from boardies and vest to steamer without too much fuss.

Plus I already had a long-sleeved springsuit. A Need, funnily enough, which served four seasons of intermittent use. But it was ready to go. The material was deteriorating so that every time I surfed I had a ring of black nylon/glue around my neck. The fabric in the derriere was one wide legged swing away from ripping open completely. Not a pretty sight.

Cue the Rippy fire sale.

Derek had posted the link at the height of the Sasha Jane Lowerson controversy. You remember it well enough. Rip Curl first published a post supporting their relationship with the famous trans surfer, before subsequently deleting the post and apologising for any offence it had caused.

A quick note on this in defence of RC: they did indeed shit the bed with their back and forth. SJ left hung out to dry. Both sides of the argument alienated.

But from what I see on the ground, Rip Curl still do a lot for grassroots surfing. Many kids around here get their first nose sticker deal through RC. I see them out and about supporting boardriders clubs, hosting events. Being part of the community. The Sasha debacle was a PR misstep, and something they will no doubt learn from. But their overall core cred is still there with me.

Anyway, on to the wetsuit itself.

You may remember I had actually put this Rip Curl wetsuit up on Marketplace to fund a board purchase. As new. With tags. Cost price plus a little extra for the obligatory online haggle. But after ten days or so the post had received no bites, and on the first cool-ish day of late summer/early Autumn I decided to wear the fucken thing instead.

It’s a beauty.

There’s a few little design issues with RC chest zips, an under-neck guard that stubbornly refuses to go over my shoulder. Zipper teeth closing in the wrong direction. Key cord that’s too thick for my key. But the thing is ridiculously warm, even as a 2mm, and within a couple of surfs it had adequately stretched into the unique undulations of my bodily contours.

Of course, the day after wearing it I copped three enquiries on Marketplace asking if it was still available. But it only took that one surf to know I had made the right decision.

That endorsement, however, comes with one caveat. Rip Curl wetsuits, while stretchy, are notoriously flaky when it comes to durability.

I shall report back in one year to see how it’s holding up.

What’s your take on long-sleeved springsuits? Do you thrill in the ultra-hip sleekness of long arms and short legs? The buttock firming qualities of the neoprene pull? Or are you a short arm steamer, meat and potatoes type of gal?

Kelly Slater withdraws from Portugal.
The game goes on at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal but it ain't the same without Kelly Slater.

Gamblers win big at Rip Curl Pro Portugal as wildcards dominate and Kelly Slater says, “I may never surf here again!”

Had you placed a mere tenner on Cole Housmand, Jacob Wilcox, Joan Duru, Seth Moniz and Ramzi Boukhiam, you would have profited nearly 24k.

A bold man might have made a lot of money on the opening round of the Rip Curl Portugal Pro.

Some examples:

Had you placed a mere tenner on Cole Housmand, Jacob Wilcox, Joan Duru, Seth Moniz and Ramzi Boukhiam, you would have profited nearly 24k.

Add in Sammy Pupo, Caio Ibelli and Federico Morais and you would have won just short of two million.

There are almost endless combinations of these that would have made you rich by most people’s standards.

Doesn’t seem so hard, does it?

I am, eternally, that bold yet foolish man. At daybreak I placed a bet. A Euro (and Euro-adjacent) triumvirate of Joan Duru, Ramzi Boukhaim and Federico Morais. Odds of 165/1 for all three to win. Forty-five pounds sterling on, to return just short of seven and a half grand. Not to be sniffed at for the average man.

Unfortunately, reader, I shat it.

I could not believe in Federico Morais, not against Yago Dora, not at his home-ish break where he’s so often underwhelmed.

And so I cashed out. A profit, yes. But a drop in a vast ocean of losses. For once, a cautious move among a lifetime of bold losses.

That’s what I get, I suppose. You can’t change your strategy or your spots.

I doubt anyone was prophetic or lucky enough to make these choices at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Why on earth would you pick Jacob Wilcox and Sammy Pupo over Florence and Medina, for example?

But that’s how it played out, and Portugal’s detractors and sceptics will suggest it’s the fault of the location, not the surfers. But that wouldn’t exactly be true.

In truth, the waves were unspectacular but sufficient at Supertubos today. Shoulder to head high, rights and lefts. No barrels to justify the name, but definitely a few sections to whack.

John Florence wasn’t able to find one. Medina did, but couldn’t make anything stick.

Scoring was heavily biased towards the biggest waves.

Where in the stretched out line-up these waves might appear was largely a mystery. Judges were looking for turns to be linked rather than single big manoeuvres or airs. Though if the airs were big enough, the scores would have been forthcoming, as evidenced by Jack Robinson’s 8.83, the single highest score of the day for an alley-oop with pleasing amplitude and quite lovely velocity.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by World Surf League Brasil (@wslbrasil)

Robinson was filmed on the beach pre-heat, eyes closed, engaged in breath work. Activating, as Joe Turpel might say. It seemed to work, and he brought a rare verve to his heat.

It was the second and second-best example of visualisation of the day. The first belonged to Griffin Colapinto, seen cross-legged and wearing the sort of black eye-mask favoured by 50-something divorcees on aeroplanes.

Griffin Colapinto with black face mask.
Griffin Colapinto, fifty-year-old bad mama vibes.

Bless him, he was in a wee world of his own.

Not that it did him any good. All he managed to manifest was a drop in on Callum Robson, which led to an interference penalty and cost him the heat. No arguments. A clear misjudgement of priority.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by World Surf League (@wsl)

The second highest score of the day belonged to Sammy Pupo. He began his heat with a similar alley-oop to Robinson, but only garnered 6.67 from the panel, who were apparently keeping their powder dry for Medina.

It took two vertical backhand turns on a left for Pupo to score his 8.33. Rewatching it now, it was certainly a good wave in the context of the day, but it’s hard to justify why it was a point or more better than many others.

Medina, by contrast, fired blanks throughout, leaving the judges wanting.

The answer to the lacklustre performances of Medina and some other favourites is perhaps fatigue. If not physical, then surely mental.

Many of them had flown in from Puerto Rico, where they had been competing in the ISA World Surfing Games, just the night before. Ramzi Boukaim said he had surfed 13-14 heats in Puerto Rico. Testament once again to the incomprehensibly poor format cooked up by the ISA.

Tom Curren joined the booth. There was a lot of umming and aahing. He tried, bless him. But he’s one of the surf world’s luminaries who we should admire always on waves but never mics.

To be fair, I’m sure he feels the same. But if he still wants those Rip Curl cheques, he’s obliged to be somewhat visible. And it’s a charmed life for sure, still being paid to surf in your sixties.

And what of Kelly Slater?

Absent once again, owing to an alleged hip injury. In one way it feels wrong to doubt the man, but you can’t help but suspect a long trip to Europe for a poor forecast to surf a beachbreak makes the old hip niggle a bit.

Kelly Slater withdraws from Portugal contest
Kelly, out of Portugal, hip ain’t so great he says.

What is his plan, I wonder? I still don’t see a happy exit for him. I’m not even sure there’s a doggy door.

Kelly Slater will never compete in Portugal again
Sayonara Portugal and thanks for the mostly crappy memories.

Some big names fill the elimination heats at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal when we return: Griffin Colapinto, Gabriel Medina, Kanoa Igarashi and Ryan Callinan.

Competition at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will likely resume in a few days once the westerly gales have blown through. And it could be a mad dash to the end once again. Let’s hope we get some classic Supertubos to silence the Euro sceptics.

Regardless, it’s always worth a punt.

Slater (in red) becoming comforted.
Slater (in red) becoming comforted.

Shock and concern as “old man of the sea” Kelly Slater withdraws suddenly from Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Is this the end?

The World Surf League kicked off its third event of the 2024 Championship Tour season late last night, west coast America time, in Portugal with much joy and many huzzahs. The Hawaii leg, though plagued by questionable surf and questionable decision making, provided just enough pump to have surf fans hungry for more. Amongst the main storylines: will the women’s draw continue to be more exciting than the men’s? Has Gabriel Medina uncaged his competitive animal? Is Kelly Slater, widely considered the greatest of all-time, ever going to win another heat?

Alas, the aforementioned surf fan is going to have to wait until Australia for answers as the 11-time champion has just stunned by withdrawing, suddenly, from the MEO Rip Curl Pro citing hip health.

Taking to Instagram, his home away from home, Slater shared, “Still dealing with hip recovery and still in pain with basic mobility. thanks for the messages from Portuguese fans and apologies I won’t be seeing you in Supertubos. Hoping to feel better for Bell’s (the first event I surfed as a full time tour surfer in 1992). Fingers crossed the World Surf League scores some good waves in Portugal and good luck to everyone.”

The former actor would have been cut from the Championship Tour in Australia last year, of course, though was granted a golden Kelly Slater wildcard that allows him to surf forever, hip willing.

The question, I suppose. Will 57-year-old ever surf a competitive heat again?

Should he?