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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

Rincon

Rincon

Santa Barbara - California, United States

Surf

Rincon’s right pointbreak, also known as the ‘Queen of the Coast’, is possibly the best righthander in the Northern hemisphere. It’s located in Carpinteria in California and is one of the most traditional surf spots along with the famous Malibu in Los Angeles. To get there from Los Angeles it takes a little over an hour heading north on the US-101 N, exiting onto Bates Road. Once you get there, the beautiful city of Santa Barbara is to the north and Ventura to the south and both are just 10 minutes from Rincon. Despite being a residential zone there are public access points, car parks and picnic areas in Rincon Beach Park.

Although Rincon was surfed by surfers from Carpinteria before the fifties, in the fifties the legends Ricky Grigg and the founder of Surfer Magazine, John Severson, were the first to frequent this place when there were big waves. During these years, Rincon was the inspiration for Joe Quigg’s first Pintails for big wave surfing. The spot gradually won popularity and since the fifties, Rincon became a reference for the style and development of the boards. These great waves helped to make the classic Californian style a sign of identity. The Malibu locals Miki Dora, Lance Carson and Phil Edwards shared sessions during those years with Reynolds, Yater and the rest of the Santa Barbara locals. Later, in the sixties, every time there was a big swell surfers came from all over California and even Hawaii.

rincon-surf

The known shaper from New Jersey, Al Merrick, arrived in Santa Barbara in 1969 and subsequently Channel Islands was born. It’s one of the brands that best represents the evolution of board construction and surfing in general. The combination of one of the best waves in the world, some of the best surfers and the talent of this legendary shaper provided the perfect field tests. To give an example, the three times world champion Tom Curren, who was a regular at Rincon, followed nowadays by the stylish Bobby Martinez and Dane Reynolds, the Coffin brothers and 'the King' Kelly Slater, all spend long periods at Rincon trying the new boards that have recently left Al Merrick’s nearby workshop.

A local event to highlight is the prestigious Rincon Classic, which has seen many generations of surfers throughout its 30 years of history, such as Cory Arrambide, Kilian Garland, Kellen Ellison, Tyler Anderson, Brandon Smith, Christian Wach, Bryan Schmidt, Robert Martinez Jr and the US Open champion Lakey Petterson. You’ll see when you visit Rincon that style and flow is a common characteristic of the Rincon locals. The quality and location make Rincon one of the busiest spots in the world but despite that, the atmosphere is very good and there are rarely any disputes because the tradition and spirit of surfing prevails anything else.

Conditions

The best swell direction is W but WSW and WNW are also good. It works from 3 feet until more than 3 metres but without doubt, the best is from 5 to 6 feet with a period always less than 15 seconds, between 11 and 13, low tide and NE wind. With these conditions, there will be first class waves for sure, starting with Indicators which offers nearly a 300 metre ride until the beach.

Rincon has three main sections. Indicators is the first and most exposed, meaning it only works with very clean conditions. On good days you can connect the following sections and reach the beach. During the summer and autumn, when there are frequent swells originating from the south that cross the Channel Islands, there are also good lefts that break on this reef but don’t forget about the submerged rocks. The second and shorter section is River Mouth. It’s only gentler than Indicators at high tide, however, at low tide and if the cobblestone bottoms are good quality, it’s capable of working very well, even at times becoming the fastest barrelling section. It’s normally the section where most people are and it’s the most common place to enter the Point. 

The Cove, which you can see very well from the highway, is the third and last section and also the best for most. On normal days it produces waist to chest high waves that are excellent for longboarding or it converts into the best quality section which is perfect for manoeuvres on good days and with low tide, being better when the swell is more from the W as when it’s more uniform the cobblestone bottom fills with sand. Bear in mind that the climate is mild for most of the year being hotter in the summer, but the water is cold all year round so a good 4/3 is essential during the winter and a 3/2 in the summer, depending on your own preferences.
Optimal Conditions
  • Wave
    Right Pointbreak
  • Wind
    NE
  • Tide
    All
  • Swell
    W - WSW - NW
  • Bottom
    Sand - Cobblestone
  • Size
    3 to 12 ft
  • Time of year
    November - April
Suggested Spots
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