One of the more impressive beach huts in recent local memory met its demise last week when the massive Hammonds Beach driftwood structure was mysteriously knocked down and flung into the sea. Though no local agencies are taking credit for the removal, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department commented that such monoliths of beach culture are often taken apart by authorities because they are illegal, unsafe, and “a magnet for criminal activity.” This year’s incarnation of Hammonds Hut became a staple on the popular locals’ beach in recent months, serving as a gathering place for younger surfers after school and as a shady hangout for beachgoers on sunny afternoons. More than 10 feet tall with support beams extending as deep as six feet into the sand, the three-room structure was also an impromptu shrine to the recently deceased Montecito resident Matt Thomson, the teenage son of former world champion surfer Shaun Thomson.

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