tucked slightly off Highway 101 between La Conchita and Carpinteria. There are
no hamburger stands, no souvenir shops, no proclamations that you have arrived.
What you'll find is authentic surfing that anyone visiting California to surf
must put on their list of experiences. Its fame is
legendary as are the surfers who have driven or hitched a ride to this location.
They come from around the globe to surf Rincon, possibly mainland America's top
surfing destination. Some say its been a popular spot for 100 years or more.
Open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily, the park sits next to gated beach houses
that enjoy views of the ocean and world-class surfing.
You can't fully appreciate
the magnitude of surfing in California until you visit Rincon Point. As
you drive your vehicle into either of two parking lots
exiting the 101 at Bates
Road, an eery scene reminds non-surfers of the film, March of the Penguins.
Dressed mostly in black, wetsuited guys and girls dominate the scene. Looking
like seals or penguins on a mission, the percentage of surfers in one place is
so overwhelming that it hits you between the eyes as you realize that
Rincon is where surfing lives and legends are created.
What's so special about this
bend in the road, rocky shore and ocean filled with bodies and boards south of
Ventura and north of Carpinteria can be found as you follow the crowd down the
easy-going dirt path lined with trees that leads to a the beach. Greeted by huge
piles of driftwood and rocks that
require the rock dance, the non-surfer will probably want to watch from
that spot or wander along the shore a bit to inch closer to the action. It's
there that you'll find a thatched shack with a picnic table and hammock at the
south entrance. Maybe you'll notice someone painting.
One of the talented local
artists who gains inspiration at Rincon is Robert Heeley, whose work is shown
and sold in Santa Barbara at the Delphine Gallery, 1324 State Street. Call:
(805) 962-6625. www.delphinegallery.com. Whenever he's around, the
friendly guy doesn't seem to mind if you watch. Robert paints local landscapes
and exceptional waves in plein air style, capturing the moments in frame-able
art. Wearing a knitted cap, he often uses his shirt to block the sun's
reflections from the canvas.
Another artist you'll be glad
to come across is Woody Woodruff, who has photographed some of the finest waves
around the world. His ability to capture them is matched only with his love of
surfing, and in a former life, the hot tricks he performed as a competition
skateboarder. These two surfers represent the amazing talent that
frequents Rincon. They are members of the Rincon Pit Crew and as they tell the
story, so is anyone who wanders down to this special beach where surfing rules.
While a sub-culture of
fishermen exists (we saw some people clamming in the rocks), this surfing
destination offers three great locations...each providing constant, steady, surfable sets on most days. Rincon ("angle" or "corner" in Spanish) features
The Cove, Rivermouth
is a flawless section that starts halfway up the point and funnels onto the
rocks. Tom Curren developed his skill and style at The Cove. Rivermouth is just
what it says, the mouth of Rincon Creek, and as such, is the place to avoid
after a rain, due to pollution. Unpredictable, it's a section that
sometimes links the Indicator to the Cove. On a typical swell, waves can shut
down at Rivermouth...but you never know. The Indicator is popular when the Cove
is maxed out with longboarders. Decent waves that offer a slower ride provide an
alternative to The Cove.