Rincon is tucked slightly off Highway 101 between La Conchita and Carpinteria. There are no hamburger stands, no souvenir shops, no proclamations that you have arrived. What you’ll find is authentic surfing that anyone visiting California to surf must put on their list of experiences. Its fame is legendary as are the surfers who have driven or hitched a ride to this location. They come from around the globe to surf Rincon, making it one of mainland America’s top surfing destinations. Open between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily, the park sits next to gated beach houses that enjoy views of the ocean and world-class surfing.
You can’t fully appreciate the magnitude of surfing in California until you visit Rincon Point State Beach. As you drive your vehicle into either of two parking lots exiting the 101 at Bates Road, an eery scene reminds non-surfers of the film, March of the Penguins. Dressed mostly in black, wetsuited guys and girls dominate the scene. Looking like seals or penguins on a mission, the percentage of surfers in one place is so overwhelming that it hits you between the eyes as you realize that Rincon is where surfing lives and legends are created.
What’s so special about this bend in the road, rocky shore and ocean filled with bodies and boards north of Ventura and south of Santa Barbara can be found as you follow the crowd down the easy-going dirt path lined with trees that leads to a the beach. Greeted by huge piles of driftwood and rocks that require the rock dance, the non-surfer will probably want to watch from that spot or wander along the shore a bit to inch closer to the action. It’s there that you’ll find a thatched shack with a picnic table at the south entrance.
While a sub-culture of fishermen exists, this surfing destination offers three great locations…each providing constant, steady, surf-able sets on most days. Rincon (“angle” or “corner” in Spanish) features The Cove, Rivermouth and Indicator.
The Cove is a flawless section that starts halfway up the point and funnels onto the rocks. Tom Curren developed his skill and style at The Cove. Rivermouth is just what it says, the mouth of Rincon Creek, and as such, is the place to avoid after a rain, due to pollution. Unpredictable, it’s a section that sometimes links the Indicator to the Cove. On a typical swell, waves can shut down at Rivermouth…but you never know. The Indicator is popular when the Cove is maxed out with longboarders. Decent waves that offer a slower ride provide an alternative to The Cove.