Community Commentary: We need Fig for local coverage

Well, here we are in the throes of another spectacular summer, and just days after the Fourth of July — a holiday that has put Surf City on the map with the "largest parade west of the Mississippi." Another recent big event on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier is the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. National Championships, an extremely significant opportunity for young men and women to compete from schools all over the U.S. andHawaii.

We all should know what transpires next in Surf City: the US Open of Surfing sponsored by Nike 6.0 and Hurley, the biggest and baddest surf contest in the world! The Open draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands, pushing tourism revenue over the top. Sadly, for the locals who were dedicated readers of your publication, we haven't had a qualified surfing columnist since the abrupt disappearance of our beloved and revered local hero, "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti, almost 15 months ago. So maybe it's time to get back in the game, Independent! There is a lot going on in H.B., and no one is covering it.

There were brief replacements, here and there. One such writer came from Laguna Beach and knew nothing about the importance of profiling local contenders, many of whom will do battle for those nine days in summer, fighting to take back the title from the esteemed Brett Simpson, an H.B. native and two-time US Open winner. A weak excuse for a qualified writer's replacement, he seemed to vanish after a few insignificant and boring columns. I seem to recollect numerous angry letters and rebuttals regarding this very topic!

Meanwhile, over at the Huntington Beach Wave and the Orange County Register, columnists Corky Carroll and Laylan Connelly are all over everything in Surf City. I'm sure it will come as no shock to you that you have lost numerous readers, frustrated by the lack of accurate information in the surfing community.

The last writer to fill in is named "Joe Surf," but for the life of me, I've never seen or heard of this person before! With the most anticipated surfing event of the year looming in the foreground, don't you think it's time to do your readers justice, put whatever differences (no matter how minor) you may have had with Fignetti behind you, and give us back "Rockin' Fig?" Please, Mr. Editor, sir?

Let us entertain the idea that our sons or daughters might possibly just be the next Simpson. We deserve to have a credible surfing columnist to cover the future of the sport, and no one knows the H.B. surf scene like "Rockin' Fig." It's already the middle of summer, and the excitement is palpable with these huge events coming up! Swallow your pride and do what's right for your Surf City community and readers!

ANDREA HANST is a Huntington Beach resident.

Editor's note: The Huntington Beach Independent has retained Joe Haakenson, a Huntington Beach resident, surfer and professional journalist, to write weekly and fill the void in our surfing coverage.

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