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Go team.
The US Open of Surfing is currently underway, biggest event of our entire world, though un-streamed as the financially robust World Surf League has chosen to aim those riches at cutting Challenger Series events.
Surfline is currently calling Huntington Beach 2-3 foot, poor to fair, which means 0-1 foot crap to unchill so we may not be missing out on much but, meanwhile, across the “pond” in Spain, multi-platinum recording artist Shakira is headed to court over a tax evasion charge and facing eight years in prison, with a loss.
Per The Washington Post:
On Friday, prosecutors unveiled six charges against Shakira, 45, after she rejected a settlement deal earlier this week, El País reported. According to the Spanish newspaper, authorities highlighted the substantial amount of taxes she allegedly owed, as well as her record of using offshore tax havens, as aggravating factors in the case.
The Grammy-winning performer, famous for hit songs such as “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Waka Waka,” has denied wrongdoing on multiple occasions, including during her court testimony in 2019.
Shakira’s publicists in London said the singer “has always cooperated and abided by the law, demonstrating impeccable conduct as an individual and a taxpayer,” the Associated Press reported. Her public relations team in Spain said she immediately repaid the amount she owed to the country’s tax agency once she was notified. She also deposited an additional 3 million euros in interest. These payments, El País reported, may be considered a mitigating circumstance by prosecutors when it comes to the length of a potential prison sentence.
The tax fraud charges hinge on where Shakira lived from 2012 to 2014. She claims that her tax residency was in the Bahamas until 2015, when she relocated to Barcelona with her partner, FC Barcelona soccer player Gerard Piqué. (The couple, who have two children together, last month announced the end of their 11-year relationship.)
The “announced end of the 11-year relationship with Pique” is when surfers, worldwide, adopted the Colombian chanteuse as she chose to mend her broken heart by sorting out her backside hitch while possibly making eyes at her surf instructor.
One of us.
And we will, certainly, rally around our adopted sister. Showing up outside Spanish courts with signs screaming “DON’T DROP IN ON SHAKIRA!” and “BACK OFF WAR CHILD!’ referencing Spain’s fascist past.
We don’t ever let one of our own down, not ever, unless they ride a surfboard over 7’1.
Go team.
 
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Let them eat cake.
The sudden cancellation of the upcoming Quiksilver/Roxy Pro France sent shockwaves through the professional competitive surfing community. Many of those participating in the Challenger Series event had already purchased tickets, hotel rooms, dreams of making it to the “big dance” percolating in heads. Fans having already worked early autumn, or spring, work schedules around the holding period.
The Challenger Series is relatively new in our landscape, springing out of the blood of those professional surfers who fell below mid-year cut, fertilizing the earth.
Many, again, felt very angry about the chop, including but not limited to Owen Wright, but the World Surf League brass promised even more riches were possible for the minor league surfers as long as they “trusted the process.”
Rising tide.
Crazy robust growth.
But now France has been burned, Senior Vice President of Competition, Head of Tours Jessi Miley-Dyer delivering the news in a very “let-them-eat-cake” sorta way and might other Challenger Series, and lesser point’d, events follow?
An examination of the upcoming schedule doesn’t exactly bolster confidence.
What are your thoughts?
Taiwan on the chopping block?
More as the story develops.
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“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.
Rich and Krista Coffin, who operate a high-end construction biz, delighting in “creating architecturally significant homes”, are selling the pretty two bed, two bath guest house with separate studio at 115 Hollister Ranch Rd, Gaviota for a few shekels south of five mill.
“Gorgeous site set in a draw/meadow surrounded by oaks. Truly serene, private, and quiet. Just 3 mins. to the best beaches in Santa Barbara County for beach combing, surfing, fishing, and recreational activities. Prime location in one of the best areas in Hollister Ranch w easy all paved access. A rare offering.”
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. 
But as Jen See wrote a lil while back, “The idea of Hollister Ranch as some kind of Eden persists, but is by now, largely imagined. The best-known spots on good swells buzz with jetskis, zodiacs, and floating machines of all shapes and sizes. Anyone with a boat or a friend with a boat can go there. And we all know by now what happened to Eden.”
Matt Warshaw’s take on the Ranch hits a similar vein. Read about the “hard ugliness” of the joint and its “sales pitch wearing a Gestapo jacket pretending to be a conservation statement” here. 
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. 
Taxes hit close to thirty gees a year.
Come stroll the tiled floors here. 
 
 
 
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“Bunch of muppets.”
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”

A post shared by Jessi Miley-Dyer (@jessmileydyer)
But the normally docile viciously rounded on her instead.
A sampling:
“Bummer”
“So disappointing”
“Thumbs down.”
“Super gutted.”
“One of the best most iconic events dumped from the CT and now the CS. Absolute travesty Portugal should have been offed. But WSL Europe is there. It used to be HQ in France. I smell politics.”
“Such a disgrace to every surfer on the challenger series.”
“Bunch of muppets you guys are at wsl playing with your little toys but no ethical approach hidding behind a ‘green business’ lookalike just so hippies leave you alone – pathetic.”
And more.
A peasant revolt in the works?
More as the story develops.
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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.

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