Is the Rincon Classic the Best Homegrown Pro-Am in America?
The 2022 Rincon Classic
That’s a wrap!
2023 RINCON CLASSIC, That’s a Wrap!
Each year the community waits for the most highly anticipated weekend of the winter season. That is the weekend that the Rincon Classic runs, which for local surfers, it might as well be the Super Bowl. The 2023 Channel Islands Surfboards Rincon Classic was no exception as organizers eyed each of the first three waiting weekends without any substantial surf projections. Week 4 looked dismal as well until 7 days out when a solid swell and wind event were slated to converge on the Queen of the coast peaking on Saturday afternoon with great conditions predicted for the finals day on Sunday.
The stage was set, the event called on, and everyone eagerly awaited to see what the conditions would turn out to be. As projected, the swell arrived Saturday with solid head high plus waves, however they were partially torn to shreds as the projected side shore winds arrived as well. Adversity and challenges, make the spoils of victory that much more sweet, and when dawn arrived on Sunday, there were indeed super bowls pouring through the cove. The interval of the swell dropped to 12 seconds which created incredible consistency with 4-6’ dream lines stacking corduroy to the horizon with light off shore winds grooming the conditions to perfection.
Each division from the U12 to the Super Legends and Rincon Brewery Pro enjoyed what some were calling one of the best and cleanest days of the year.
The Rincon Brewery Professional division featured many of the areas top talent and showcased a battle between the seated pro and those who are emerging as the next generation of power house surfers. Veterans and past winners Killian Garland, Cory Arrambide, Conner Coffin, Dane Reynolds, and Parker Coffin, and Frank Curren pitted themselves against emerging talents Eithan Osborne, Jabe Swierkocki, and Dimitri Poulos. The conditions were challenging on day one but all competitors battled and showcased crazy skills.
Parker Coffin put together two incredible rides to earn his first Rincon Brewery Pro title which was especially sweet as it was his first event back after a severe facial injury several months ago in Barbados. The Rincon Classic was also Parker’s first surf contest when he was 7 years old. Runner up Jabe Swierkocki had a last minute buzzer beater that fell just short of the win, but everyone on hand took note of his form and power.
In the U12 division, 12 year old Dominic Arce took his first Rincon Classic title starting off in the opening minutes with a progressive layback tail blow netting a solid score for a one turn wave. The turn had plenty of spice and was reminiscent of one that he did in his first Rincon Classic at the ripe age of 9 back in 2020. After waiting ten minutes for his first wave, runner up Maddox Keet who scored a 9 in the opening round, started his finals off with a 7.6 and held the lead for a brief moment before Arce fired back with a blistering series of 3 turns on a set wave, finishing with a salute that netted him an 8.33 and the win.
U14 boys winner Aiden Albada won his second straight title with power and precision well beyond his 14 years. His radical approach set him apart from runner up Joey Penueta who arguably had the smoothest style in the division. Best friends they shared a moment of celebration together after the final.
U17 winner Jak Ziets was the man to beat from his first wave of the morning. After losing in the semi finals in 2022 Ziets was on a mission to take the title and was not to be denied. The multi time Rincon Classic champion and 3 time National Champion looked like a young Parker Coffin as he systematically dismantled every wave he rode. Runner up Jack Zoltan was on fire with precise surfing and zesty tailblows that kept him close but Ziets was not to be denied.
Men’s Open champion Pete Mussio won his first Mens title back in 2002, again in 2003, and 2016, at 41 years old he was the oldest competitor in the field, but he dominated each round from start to finish. His power, precision, and aggressive yet stylish approach is reminiscient of current CT surfer Joao Chianca. Mussio held a commanding lead over runner up and last years Juniors Champ Tyler Chiarappa (18) who put forth a great effort with flawless style.
The Wahines U17 girls division was a see saw battle with Luella Pace, Izzy Scott, and Madyson Stone each netting solid scores and holding down first place at one point in the first 12 minutes of the heat. Eventual winner, Jessie Engel had been sitting high on the point and was unable to complete a ride in the first half of the heat. Engel seemed to take note of where the other girls were surfing, adjusted her positioning and nailed a banger of a set wave with a series of 8 massive backside turns and the highest score of the finals a 7.9 with 6 minutes remaining. On the way back out she found a wide swinger with two solid turns for a 6.33 and a lead that was not to be surpassed.
The Open Womens division was dominated by Santa Barbara’s Maddie Malmsten who chose the best and biggest waves and capitalized on each section with confidence and smooth yet radical surfing netting an 8 on her opening ride and backed it up with a 6.5 for the win over in form surfers Sara Taylor who had an incredible backside floater, and Ashley Fagerstedt whose frontside laybacks were on point.
Masters champ Javi Moreno celebrated his birthday with his third title of his RC career with vertical tail releases and powerful carves. Runner up Nate Winkles, the 2016 Masters champ nipped at his heels and fell .16 short but helped lead team J7 to a runner up finish behind CI in the King Of The Queen battle of the surf shops.
Grand Masters was a heated affair with the top three slots going to Carpinteria natives. Britt Merrick who posted the highest single wave of the entire event a 9.6 in his quarter final, and Jacob Nesheim who had showcased an incredible display of rail and power in preliminary rounds, both finished the final with a tie of 9 points. Merrick took the win on a countback for having a higher single wave score.
The Legends division featured an in form Tony De Groot whose formed out approach netted him high scores over local icon Dana McCorkle, and Andy Smalley.
Super Legends went back and forth between Fred Wachter and Bill Urbany in the first 14 minutes before Goleta native Dave Johnson blasted a lip for a 7.67 reward for his progressive approach and he was not to be denied his first Super Legends title.
Lady Legends featured some of the women who have been fixtures at the Queen of the coast for decades. 7 time champion Lisa Luna showcased style and form of a 20 year old and was the only surfer riding on a traditional short board. The sets poured through and two ladies caught incredible rides on set waves all the way across the point with Simone Reddingiuous taking the title with runner up Nancy Lusk a solid second, Luna in 3rd.
The Longboard Final showcased flow and flair from new school, old school style surfer Raymond Sayles who perched on the nose and placed it on rail equally well for his first Rincon Classic title over perennial favorite Jeffrey Belzer.
Youngest competitor and finalist 9 year old Jack Keet took the perfect 10 award!
Other highlights of the event included the daily Hydroflask beach clean ups where over 50 kids cleaned every piece of trash off the beach and the Queen was left cleaner than before the event began.
The Padaro Grill Classic Sunday awards ceremony honored Chris Brown Eternal Stoke winner Danny Bralver who told stories of days gone by and winked at the crowd stating “ Don’t even think this is retirement and that Cookie won’t be on the best set waves at Rincon”. Jeff White Aloha Award winner for lifetime achievement Frederick “ Zog” Herzog told the story of his iconic brand Sexwax and brought down the house singing an ad he once created for SurfnWear.
It’s the people in our community that make our home special. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!
RC23 Official Results
Rincon Brewery Pro – 1. Parker Coffin / 2. Jabe Swierkocki / 3. Dimitri Poulos / 4. Cory Arrambide
U12 Gremlins – 1. Dominic Arce / 2. Maddox Keet / 3. Koby Wachter / 4. Oakley Souder / 5. Ronin Castorino
U14 Boys – 1. Aiden Albada / 2. Joey Penueta / 3. Beckett Mechtenberg / 4. Aiden Mcdermott / 5. Sean Mccleery / 6. Hawk Modicette
U17 Juniors – 1. Jak Ziets / 2. Jack Zoltan / 3. Sean Stepan / 4. Koa Modicette / 5. River Huhn / 6. Luc Doering
Wahines – 1. Jessie Engel / 2. Luella Pace / 3. Madyson Stone / 4. Izzy Scott / 5. Rebecca Jamgocian / 6. Eloise Grewe
Open Mens – 1. Pete Mussio / 2. Tyler Chiarappa / 3. Colin Anderson / 4. Brandon Benjamin / 5. Colin Schildhauer / 6. Vinny Leonelli
Open Womens – 1. Maddie Malmsten / 2. Sara Taylor / 3. Ashley Fagerstedt / 4. Rachel Tominaga / 5. Makenzie / 6. Rose Johnson
Masters – 1. Javi Moreno / 2. Nate Winkles / 3. Daniel Wachter / 4. Sean O’toole / 5. Dennis Rizzo / 6. Parker Bornemas
Grand Masters – 1. Britt Merrick / 2. Jacob Nesheim / 3. Mike Lane / 4. Bromi Krock / 5.Greg Venable / 6. Tyler Turner
Legends – 1. Tony Degroot / 2. Dana McCorkle / 3. Andy Smalley / 4. Shawn Quien / 5. James McClintock / 6. Jim Donahue
Super Legends – 1. Dave Johnson / 2. Fred Wachter / 3. Bill Urbany / 4. Paul Mann / 5. Thomas Kunz / 6. Frank Morales / 7. Danny Bralver
Lady Legends – 1. Simone Reddingious / 2. Nancy Lusk / 3. Lisa Luna / 4. Sally Saengar / 5. Lyn Burich / 6. Sue “Fish” Ledig
Open Longboard – 1. Raymond Sayles / 2. Jeff Belzer / 3. Shayne Davis / 4. Malia Llagan / 5. James Pike / 6. Evan Trauntvein
King Of The Queen –
1. Channel Islands Surfboards – HIGH SCORES – Maddox Keet, Britt Merrick, Killian Garland, Jasper Rhodes
2. J7 Surfboards – HIGH SCORES – Hawk Modicette, Nate Winkles, Hamilton Jacobs, Koa Modicette
3. A-Frame Surf Shop – HIGH SCORES – Hawk Modicette, Shaya Alexander