2011 Quiksilver Rincon Classic Presented By Channel Islands Surfboards: Third Time Is A Charm
The third weekend in the official waiting period for the 2011 Quiksilver Rincon Classic, Saturday and Sunday January 22 & 23, 2011 had all of the elements fall into place for a truly classic event. With a massive northwest swell on the horizon, along with temperatures of 80 degrees predicted, it was game on with the entire community coming down to support the legend of the Classic at the Queen of the coast. Surfline helped us to make the Classic call with predictions of head high plus surf filling in throughout the weekend.
The level of perfection on Saturday was so amazing that all-star performances were put forth in every division from the eleven and under Gremlins, to the 55 and up Legends. One local videographer stated, "You prayed too much, people can' t handle this much perfection!" Those prayers were tested on Sunday morning when just before day break 20 to 40 mile per hour northeast wind swirled out of the canyons simulating the infamous south east wind that accompanies winter storms.
The first heats of the day were trying to say the least as our tent city on the cobblestones was lowered, several taking flight before the hatches were battened down. Meanwhile, in the water, contestants battled a chest high bump that ran up the face in far from idyllic conditions. Special thanks to all the families on the beach that helped lower the tents and to Tom Curren for his innovations of putting cobblestones into a water cooler and burlap sack to hold down the Shore Sheriff tent. The drama of the early morning made contest director Chris Keet smile as the community acted as ship mates to keep the event sailing smoothly and stay on course back to nirvana.
By ten in the morning the wind was light offshore and the perfection had returned much to the joy of spectators and competitors alike. The swell increased throughout the day with overhead lines marching from behind the Indicator all the way to the bottom of the cove. At times not a drop of water was out of place as competitors and free surfers alike were treated to the best weekend of surf the entire season.
The Quiksilver and Roxy wetsuit demos gave everyone on hand the opportunity to try out the best suits on the market, while the board demos by Channel Islands Surfboards, J7 and Rincon Designs featured many a contestant riding a new board in their heats, or enjoying the stellar conditions in the cove. Other highlights included the live commentating by an all star local crew including Chris Keet, Dave Schauber, and local hero Chris Brown. Sunday also featured a live webcast courtesy of Kevin clark and his team from Live From. Stay tuned for highlight reels, and heats on demand by Josh Pomer at rinconclassic.com. Through the support of our event sponsors we also had computerized scoring which truly added to the professionalism of the competition, not only providing spectators with play by play action, but alerting competitors to where they stood in heats, and wave scores. The food provided by Wahoo' s and Mad Dogs, combined with water from the Surf Happens Water Station, Red Bull, and Coffee from Caribbean coffee kept everyone chilled out and well fed over the weekend. Special thanks to Wes Wilson for hosting the competitor area, and Marc and Karen Grandle from ALKI for providing on site massage and chiropractic work.
Following the action on the beach was the SIMA Classic Sunday awards ceremony at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum featuring a tribute to Jeff White, live music by Derek Thomas and Eric and Oriana Iverson, food by Wahoo' s and a the results. Finalists were treated to heaps of prizes, official Quiksilver Rincon Classic belt buckles, and first place winners rode away with recycled bikes from Bici Centro.
For the fourth year we teamed up with Green Project Consultants to manage waste from the weekend along with environmental organizations Surfers Without Borders, and kids from Santa Barbara High School, the Dons Net Café, to spread awareness on problems facing our oceans and simple solutions.
2011 Event Wrap Up
The Gremlins division featured a battle between first and second place finishers Sean Woods and Henry Hepp. Hepp earned the nickname of " The Dominator" by Chris Brown and caught the biggest waves of the final, surfing with power, and style. However, Sean Woods was not to be denied as he put on a dazzling display of technical cutbacks, powerful off the lips, and superior wave selection to come home with his first Rincon Classic title.
The Boys final was also a hard fought match with high scores coming through for the top three placing finalists. Vinny Leonelli was on a mission starting off with a 7.0 on his first ride and backing it up with a 9.17 in the first ten minutes of the final. With a combination of explosive, powerful turns in the pocket, and fin release tail slides, he sealed the deal over a charging Spencer Smith. Smith fought back hard with a 6.5 and an 8.67 showcasing power and maturity well beyond his years.
The Juniors division was a flip flop affair with the lead exchanging several times. Charlie Dentzel was not to be denied, and took home his first Rincon Classic title with smooth, polished surfing that would have made a shoe shiner proud. Needing a 5.63 to take the lead he linked together a series of vicious snaps on an insider to secure a 5.77 In the dying moments ousting runner up Charlie Fawcett by .14. Fawcett had held the lead for much of the final with text book style and fin free exclamation points off the close outs.
The Mens division started off with Dennis Rizzo the highest overall heat average holder of the entire event picking off two solid scores. He held the lead for ten minutes until Andrew "The Backside Bandit" Bennett caught his first wave and absolutely detonated the lip and raised the bar. He came unglued on the third turn netting a 7.67. To prove he meant business the very next wave he pulled the same turn he had fallen on the wave before and followed it up with a nice backside tube to claim an 8.63 and his first Rincon classic victory. Runner up was Adam Lambert who put on an excellent performance and pulled some of the biggest aerials of the event.
Pro champion Mike McCabe narrowly ousted the 6-time pro champion Kilian Garland from his thrown with a blistering attack of vertical fin free surfing, electric power, and superb wave selection. Putting everything into each maneuver gave him a slim lead. Heading into the final five minutes of the final Garland ripped the stuffing out of a mid size wave and nearly secured the title, but McCabe was not to be undone and took a convincing win.
Wahines champion Lakey Peterson has been on quite a rampage as of late. Returning from Australia only two days before she shook off the jet lag and bagged some amazing waves over the two days of the event. Her stylish radical approach had her dominating the field with a solid performance put in by runner up Steffi Kerson. Lakey is still the only female to pull an air reverse in competition at the Classic.
Womens Champion Demi Boelsterli waited 8 minutes to catch her first wave, detonating the lip several times, along with smooth cutbacks and a fin free close out lipper to open her account with an 8.83. She also busted on her fin on that wave and was Forced to ride her back up board for the duration of the heat. Meanwhile Lakey Peterson caught a solid wave that put her in the lead. Not to be outdone Boelsterli followed up with a solid 6.67 to regain the lead and take her 7th consecutive Rincon Classic title proving that she is indeed the reigning Queen. 3rd place finisher was Lisa Wynn Luna who also has seven Womens titles in her career at the Classic. Luna caught one of the biggest sets of the final and surfed text book perfect on her backside to prove she still has what it takes to compete with the new breed of ladies coming up in the area.
Gaviota shredder is known for his aerial approach on a shortboard, but the waves were so good that he jumped into the longboard division and took the victory with stylish hang fives, and several nice barrel rides. Runner up Oliver Parker held onto the lead until the dying moments of the final with a fluid combination of old school nose rides and new school floaters. Parker has two Rincon Classic titles from 2001 and 2002. Also surfing amazing was Daniel Graham who fell victim to a lull in the final and was unable to secure a second solid score.
Max Cail was on a mission from his first heat to his last enroute to taking his first Rincon Classic title in the Masters division. Starting solid, and then backing up the foundation of his house Cail used power and rail to plow through the competition.
The Grand masters was a two horse race between Mike Lamm and Alexis Cottavoz. Cottavoz surfed solid and looked loose on his backside but was unable to find a set wave, while Lamm picked off a solid opener and never looked back. His technique and wave selection, and excellent strategy netted him his first Rincon Classic title.
Legends aren' t born, they are made and the field was rich with talent at the Classic this year. Bill Urbany was on fire and caught two brilliant set waves and was surfing like a grom to take the title.
Highlights for the event included the number of world titles on the beach at any one time the total was 9 deep at one point. Tom Curren surfed in the professional division (3 world titles), Shaun Tomson in the Gunshow (1), Chris Brown (Former World Amateur Champion) 1, Margo Oberg (3 time Womens World Champion), and Kim Mearig (1 time World Champ).
Special thanks to the Rincon Home Owners, California State Parks, Event Staff, Sponsors for helping to make this the best Classic yet!