<b>WILL IT RISE AGAIN?</b>  Little remains of the motley-crewed beach shack that once stood sentry along Rincon Point.

Ethan Stewart

WILL IT RISE AGAIN? Little remains of the motley-crewed beach shack that once stood sentry along Rincon Point.

Rincon Pit Shack Gets Wiped Out

Caltrans Levels It For 101 Widening Project

Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Tucked in deep along the cove side of world-famous Rincon Point, a long-standing and much-loved illegal beach shack was all but vaporized last week. Built slowly over the years by a handful of Rincon’s more colorful and creative and occasionally day-drinking regulars, the multiroom shack, constructed out of salvaged beach debris, was knocked down as part of Caltrans’s ongoing Highway 101 widening project and the construction of an associated bike path. Caltrans spokesperson Patrick Chandler confirmed this week that the shack, which backed up to the rock berm that holds up the highway just south of Bates Road, was indeed removed by his agency as it was located in their “right of way.”

The shack, which featured everything from wooden benches and hammocks to assorted BBQ apparatus and a custom-built surfboard rack, had become a regular gathering spot for the self-named Rincon Pit Crew and an extended family, providing shade and a generally comfortable place to pass the time and talk during good surf and bad. A visibly shell-shocked Pit Crew regular stood by, beer in hand, and watched the backhoes and bulldozers go to work last Thursday morning. Answering a phone call from another concerned member of his gang, he explained that the shack was indeed gone before offering defiantly to the person on the other end of his cell, “Oh, don’t you worry. As soon as they are done, we will start rebuilding.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Now Now... did they REALLY need to remove it, or was it just an opportunity to get rid of it?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Horrible, what on earth?? Why is the freeway being widened onto the beach.. it's already wide there.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bummer for the Pit Crew. at least they'll be able to rebuild and it won't cost them millions of dollars, now when the next 50 yr storm takes out the freeway it'll be a different story.

StockiestCastle (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wait a minute Volok. Are you questioning Caltrans?

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, structures like this have a categorical name: California Beach Eclectic Architecture. They used to be common a long time ago when there was no easy access to the beach in many areas in California and summertime vacationing squatters would build structures on the beach that were sturdy enough for a family to live in for a couple of weeks or longer. Think sturdy tents with comfort amenities. Sometimes the private land owners or the sea would destroy the structures in the winter and sometimes the structures would survive several seasons and be added to each season. Sometimes informal villages would spring up. The last remaining vestige of this architectural type is at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County, where the structures have been preserved and are rented out. There used to such a village at the Oceano Dunes in San Luis Obispo County. While we all could enumerate many problems with allowing such ad hoc building to take place, I think it is kind of cool in the way it was cool to build a fort in woods when I was a kid. I hope the Pit Crew rebuilds.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 5:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course Geeber, nobody's perfect.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Reducing usable beach area and eliminating any parking along the beach side of La Conchita so bicyclists can have a ocean view along that stretch of coast. It would have made more sense to run the bike lane on the other side and not reduce beach access. I guess La Conchita will become the unofficial parking lot.

LizW (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 9:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Does anyone have some photos of the shack? It would be interesting to see what was destroyed...

emptynewsroom (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here are some positive facts about the PIT and The Rincon Pit Crew since the author's descriptions cast more negative's than positive's. First off The Pit was built so ANYONE visiting Rincon Cove could have a place to relax & enjoy the beach. It was not solely an area exclusive to a handful of unsavory beer drinking locals. Many people from all over the world including some very famous names, have spent the day there & had a very positive experience. While technically illegal The State Park allowed The Pit to remain because it was cleaned & maintained daily by the regulars, it was checked nightly to avoid transient usage & there were no complaints that warranted it's removal. In fact it had become a recognized historic monument to local and visiting surfers alike. Most regulars of the Pit are icons of the local surf community including some legendary shapers, artists, champion surfers, business men, attorney's, fire fighters, real estate agents, engineers, contractors, etc. It's true a few beers get drank (and yes there's a few who drink more than others) but it does not mean the people using the area are less than respectable. In fact 2 years in a row The Rincon Pit Crew raised more money to combat sewer issues from the Rincon Colony than any other local group. Secondly bathroom installation in the lower parking lot was first lobbied for, to the State Park by Pit Crew members to end the deposit of human feces in the parking lot, bushes & on the beach. Dog bags were lobbied for by the Pit Crew to curtail dog feces on the trail. The Pit Crew Surf Team has won the Spirit of Surfing award twice most recently in 2013 for showing the most Aloha during the Rincon Invitational which is an annual event to raise money for the Groundswell Society's efforts to combat sewer runoff from Rincon Colony & other local impacting environmental issues. The Pit Crew hosted & prepared food 2 days in a row for over 200 hundred visiting surfers from surf clubs all over the United States which included 18 tri tips, 4 cases of Shaloob chicken, 200 locally caught crabs, 50 loaves of french bread a hundred pounds of salad 50 pounds of beans & many other dishes. My point here is that daily regulars of The Pit care more about the legacy & protection of Rincon as an iconic surfing location than most other folks in the local area & have gone out of their way & out of pocket to make the beach a better place by building, cleaning, & maintaining an area out of sight & unimposing to Rincon Colony home owners in which surfers can spend the day sharing in the joy of surfing. The author's group of friends on the other hand chooses to light fires, drink beer & smoke pot right in front of a resident's home while destroying the ice plant with their boards and personal belongings. In fact they contribute nothing to the betterment of Rincon financially & as a group selfishly burn more people on waves than anyone else in the line up. Think before you type it may come back to haunt you.

Hollywood (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't think the author's description cast a negative impression at all, chillax bro.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)


loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey Hollywood, I respect the Pit Crew for persevering in their love for Rincon and maintaining a positive vibe and Aloha spirit about such a special place. I abandoned Rincon many years ago because the crowds started to bum me out and I did not want to be part of the problem. Good for you Pit Crew for keeping the stoke alive. I hope that you rebuild. You might want to cut Ethan some slack. Sometimes deadlines in the newspaper business can cause a piece to come off a little more curt and unfriendly than intended. I'm sure that he was just trying to report the facts and make the article interesting reading by inserting some local color. I don't think the Pit Crew came off looking bad at all.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 4:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman,.....Crystal Cove is, indeed, an example of what you describe as California Beach Ecclectic Architecture, however, I'd hardly say the structures and homes there have been 'preserved'.

In fact, the leases were expropriated by the State of California, who had its eyes on turning the community into a for profit hotel. The houses, some of which had been built, maintained and loved by their families for generations, have been turned into ADA Compliant, cutsie, guest villas, operated under rules and regulations of the over reaching, omnipotent state park system of California....

If you call that preservation, fine, but I call it expropriation

thomas592003 (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 6:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Those dudes need to get a job anyway.

Hemlockroid (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 7:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thomas, that's called gentrification or economic imperialism.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hemlock's comment, whether a joke or not illustrates the secret hatred the establishment has for surfers and surfing culture.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 11:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As a fourth generation Santa Barbara native and surfer of local waters since 64 , I don't want to hear Volok's opinion about anything aquatic. His constant jabber jawing would get him run from the spots I frequent. Shhhh...!

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Speaking of aquatics, I love pissing off kooks.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hilarious some people can't cognate the difference between the written and spoken word.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 1:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Same numb brain behind the jibberish, spoken or written.

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 2:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now that you've whetted my appetite for anonymous online insults, surely you can do better than that.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckermann, CBEA is a great name. For decades there was such an eclectic, cabin-like structure on the cliffs between Guadalupe Dunes and Jalama, had old newspapers, a bed, some notes, and a journal to which various travelers put pen and named themselves. A pseudonymous riot. After one huge storm, it was gone, unlamented and unknown.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 2:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"As a fourth generation Santa Barbara native and surfer of local waters since 64 , I don't want to hear Volok's opinion about anything aquatic. His constant jabber jawing would get him run from the spots I frequent. Shhhh...!"

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 1:37 p.m.

Geeber: We are the true stewards of the ocean, and we, not you will decide which humans will frolick in our waters. Not even the shark mess with us.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 4:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr. Dan, thanks for the history. I didn't know about that one. These shacks and small shanty structures used to litter the shoreline up and down the California coast before there was State Park system and the Coastal Act and much of coast was inaccessible, locked away behind the fences of private property owners. Storms, tides, and landowners often knocked them down. Crystal Cove survived because the squatters made a deal to lease the space from Jim Irvine and handed down the leases from generation to generation. The story goes that Irvine did not see any money-making utility to the beach so he might as well get rent from the vacation squatters. The State Parks did not steal the property as one poster asserts. The Irvine Company gave Crystal Cove to the State as part of deal that allowed Irvine to develop housing on the remainder of their coastal property in Orange County. The State was just going to tear down the little shanty town, but wiser heads prevailed and there is currently a private/public partnership to raise funds to refurbish and preserve the shacks. And yes, you can rent them out at very reasonable rates. They are rustic but great fun to spend a few days and nights.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course Dolphin, I would never presume to usurp your authority in your environs , however...... as the most intelligent marine animal you must agree that the boring battology , that Volok specializes in , is quite fatiguing .

geeber (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're getting pathetic if not obsessive geeber. The article isn't about me, it's about the destruction of the Pit Shack.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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