Rincon Classic Gets Clean Surf

Competition Also Boasted Waste Diversion

Ben Preston

While many surf contests attract competitors from all over the globe, the Rincon Classic-now in its 26th year-has always catered to locals. The longest running contest in the area, this year’s Classic boasted no shortage of hot pros, including three time world champion Tom Curren, who has been surfing local breaks since he was a boy. A few of the other big names who entered the competition’s rolls were well-known professional surfers Dane Reynolds, Killian Garland, and Chris Brown-also from the greater Santa Barbara area. “It brings together people from all walks of life who were raised all in the same place,” said contest organizer Chris Keet. “We have big sponsors involved, but it benefits the local community.”

Somewhat frazzled, Keets added that putting on an event the size of this one is no small feat, and preparations typically take a whole year. He also runs Santa Barbara’s most prominent surf school, Surf Happens, so raising the nearly $18,000 it takes to run the Classic, and the myriad logistical details, demands a lot of extra effort. “This is grassroots,” he said. “People work hard for next to nothing.” Besides scraping together the cash prizes for contestants, the Rincon Classic included several other fundraisers this year, including one held in conjunction with UCSB’s Tri Delta sorority for St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital in Los Angeles.

With no substantial swell in over a month, Rincon saw a west swell miraculously appear the night before the contest started, delivering plenty of the clean, ruler-edged lines for which the point is famous. Starting out small, the swell continued to build throughout Saturday, with a light offshore wind keeping it clean and glassy. Conditions had deteriorated somewhat by the end of the competition on Sunday-a brisk crosswind threw a hard-to-ignore chop onto the face of the waves-but contestants were stoked that conditions ended up being so good.

Here are the contest results:

Bud Light PRO Killian Garlin

Masters Donald Day

Air Show Robert Curtis

Mens Brian Aresco

Juniors Levi Gregory

Legends Andy Newman

Womens Shortboard Demi Boelsterli

Mens Longboard DJ Underwood

Wahine Lacey Peterson

Boys Parker Coffin

Gremlins Connor Lundy

New to this year’s event was the hiring of a waste diversion strategy that has been popping up at other venues and events around town. Currently serving the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Santa Barbara-based Green Project Consultants (GPC) were also busy at the Rincon Classic, with an array of receptacles and information to ensure that the various types of waste went to the correct places. Coffee cups, for example, are the most often misplaced item, because many people believe they are recyclable. “It’s labor intensive-we have to skim the tops of the containers and re-sort waste,” said Alilia Parenteau, GPC’s president. “We also soft-sort compostables, because they have to be pure.”

She said that digging through trash is a real labor of love, and an activity that she thinks is making a difference. The federal Environmental Protection Agency says that events and venues are the second largest producers of waste (behind construction projects), it looks like GPC is focusing its efforts in the right area. “It’s worth it. We feel good about it,” Parenteau said. “It adds a lot of value to events because a lot of sponsors want that green element.” The small company, which has a regular staff of only two people, employs temporary help for many events, although they did not enjoy that benefit at the Rincon Classic.

Still, GPC’s work appeared to pay off, as Parenteau reported keeping 75 to 80 percent of the trash thrown into their bins from entering a landfill. Most of it was recyclable plastic water bottles, she said, with more than a few instances of dog poop. She noted that keeping compostable material out of landfills is becoming increasingly important, as the methane produced by putting organic materials in an anaerobic environment such as a landfill is a very potent greenhouse gas.


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