Drenched in unseasonably warm weather and blessed by a consistent and occasionally sizable swell, the 31st Annual Rincon Classic was held late last month. The ultimate battle for bragging rights among area surfers, the Classic got underway Friday, January 23, and concluded at sundown on January 25, crowning champions from young to old. Several thousand spectators turned out for the three-day event, crowding the famed right-hand point break along the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line that is the contest’s namesake.
Glassy and shoulder- to head-high conditions prevailed for much of the event with bigger yet windier waves rolling through on Saturday and a few overhead and near-perfect rollers throughout the finals on Sunday. As contest director Chris Keet put it, “The Queen had a few little hiccups on Saturday, but otherwise it truly was a ‘Classic‘ weekend for surfing complete with sunshine and consistent quality waves.”
Highlights included Demi Boelsterli winning her unprecedented 11th title by taking home the Women’s Division courtesy of two nine-point rides in the final. Jeff and Jason Knell finished first and second, respectively, in the hotly contested Men’s Division. Montecito’s Conner Coffin won the Pro Division sponsored by Rincon Brewing, and Eric Ronning surfed his way to a first place finish in the Juniors Division with Sean Woods right behind him.
Young Abby Brown cemented her place as Boelsterli’s most likely heir apparent to the women’s crown with her resounding victory in the Wahine Final while Evan Trauntvein won the Longboard Division. Adam Virs dominated the Masters, Tommy McKeown took home top honors in the Boys group, and Steve Hanson won the Legends. Also, in a new division that pitted surf shops from Ventura, Carpinteria, and Santa Barbara against each other in a unique multi-aged format, Channel Islands Surfboards just squeaked by J7 Surfboards for the first place prize.
For complete contest results, check out rinconclassic.com.