With the surf forecast calling for good waves and the beach cleared of debris, the Rincon Classic has been given the green light this weekend at the renowned surfing spot on the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line.
The annual winter surf extravaganza features 805-area male and female surfers — from 12-under Groms to Super Legends — showing their stuff on the famous Rincon break.
Competition begins on Saturday at 6:50 a.m., and continues through the late afternoon on Sunday.
The finals in 13 divisions will start at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday with the Longboard Final.
Entering its 23rd year under the directorship of Chris Keet and his Surf Happens Surfing School, the Rincon Classic showcases many of the best surfers in the area.
“One of my favorite parts of the event each year is watching everyone getting stoked and catching unforgettable waves while cheering each other on,” said Keet on the event’s website.
It’s remarkable Keet is able to stage the event after what the shoreline looked like a month ago. Rincon Beach was covered in logs and debris after a series of atmospheric river storms pounded the area.
“Yes, the debris was a concern,” said co-director Jenny Keet, Chris’ wife, in an email to Noozhawk. “Chris had a team of about 10 men help him clear the beach over a 6-hour period (Thursday).”
“It was my team and volunteers along with five guys hired by Blaine Lando,” wrote Chris Keet in an email. “Myself, Mike Clark, John, Kai, Luca, Nick E, Nick V, Rufino, Dan Soto, Lionel, Eric Lutrell and his crew cleaned the beach and it took over four hours prior to setting up.”
The marquee event of the Classic is the Rincon Brewery Pro, which features the area’s top professional surfers competing against up-and-comers.
Conner Coffin, who competed six years on the World Surfing League’s Championship Tour, finished fourth in 2021 and qualified for the Tour’s World Championship playoffs, is on the entry list for this year’s RB Pro. He’s won it five times.
The list also includes his brother, Parker, defending champion Dimitri Poulos of Ventura, seven-time champion Killian Garland of Santa Barbara, and past champion Dane Reynolds.
Local surfing legend and three-time World Champion (1985, 1986, 1990) Tommy Curren also is in the pro field.
Keet said the professional division started in 2002 “to showcase the level of professional and top amateur talent within our local community.”
The Pro quarterfinals are slated to start at 12:10 p.m. and the semifinals at 2:30 on Saturday. The final is scheduled at 3:50 p.m. on Sunday.
The women’s competition starts with semifinal heats at 3:10 p.m. on Saturday. The final is at 3:30 on Sunday.
The Women’s Open field includes defending champion Makena Burke of Ventura and runner-up Ashley Fagerstadt of Santa Barbara.
In addition to the surfing, the Rincon Classic pays tribute to local legends in the sport.
This year’s honorees are 74-year-old Daniel Braver, who’s been surfing Rincon since 1962, and Frederick Charles Herzog, aka Mr. Zog, the founder of Zog’s Sex Wax for surfboards.
Herzog will be presented the Jeff White Aloha Award for lifetime achievement.
Braver is the recipient of the Chris Brown Eternal Stoke Award.
The awards will be presented at the Classic Sunday awards ceremony on Sunday at the Padaro Beach Grill, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
All contestants receive free entry into the event. For, friends, family, and the general public, it’s $10 per person, which includes dinner, drinks, and a raffle ticket.
For those who can’t make it to the beach, the action from the Rincon Classic can been viewed on a live webcast on the event’s website.
With limited parking at the beach, fans can take the Jump On the School Bus shuttle for a free ride to and from the Rincon Classic.
Shuttles will be running from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m daily from Mark Avenue and the Channel Islands Surfboards factory, with drop offs located in between the county and state parking lots. Pick-ups will be offered at the same location.