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Rincon Classic Blasts Off with Success

McCabe Dethrones Garland in Pro division and Boelsterli Wins Seventh Straight Women’s Title

What a difference a year makes. Last year, when NOAA forecasted a strong El Niño weather event for the upcoming season, expectations were great for the prospects of the annual Rincon Classic surf contest. Everyone counted on epic conditions, and what followed after a series of delays and postponements failed to live up to all the hype.

In a quick sea surface temperature shift over this past summer, La Niña kicked up her heels, and most surfers who follow the oscillating weather patterns saw this as a negative for the coming winter surf season and ultimately for the 2011 Quiksilver Rincon Classic presented by Channel Islands. As this winter has unfolded, the predictions of weak surfing conditions held true for the most part. The contest had to be postponed from the originally scheduled weekend of January 8.

However, when the rescheduled contest weekend rolled around, the surf gods graciously blessed the contestants and spectators with absolutely stellar conditions for a surf contest on January 22 and 23—glassy 4- to 6-foot wave faces, clear and sunny skies, 80 degree temperatures and gentle offshore breezes. Contest organizer Chris Keet, of Surf Happens, had made the right call, and figuratively pulled the rabbit out of his hat (except for Sunday morning when a few hours howling southeast winds all but threatened to put the kibosh on the competition).

Matching the conditions were standout surfing performances in all divisions. Starting with the Gremlins, it all boiled down to a well-fought battle between Henry Hepp and Sean Woods, with both young surfers putting on an awesome display of skills and grit in the heavy surf. In the end it was Woods who brought home the victory, but both showed great courage and determination in their final heat.

Moving up to the Boys division, it was Goleta’s Vinny Leonelli who led the charge to victory, though he was challenged down to the wire by a gutsy performance by Spencer Smith.

In the Juniors it was “The Battle of the Charlies” (Dentzel and Fawcett), with only a .14 score difference giving the victory to Dentzel.  Really, it couldn’t get any closer between these two.

In the Wahines division Lakey Peterson took down Steffi Kerson. Peterson has become a celebrated global competitor the past couple of years, and appears to be on track for a long future as a professional surfer.

In the Women’s division, defending champion Demi Boelsterli won for the seventh straight year, edging out Peterson for the second year in a row. 
In the Open Longboard division, Robert Curtis barely edged out former Rincon Classic champions Oliver Parker and Daniel Graham. A decimal of only .07 is all that separated Curtis and Parker for the championship.

Max Cail out-battled Donald Day in the Masters division, and Mike Lamm squeezed out the victory over Alexis Cottavoz-Usher in the Grand Master’s division, by the narrow margin of .17.

The Legends division was also hotly contested, with Bill Urbany defeating Don Campbell (again, the margin of victory was under .50). 
In the Men’s division, goofy-footer Andrew Bennett’s radical backhand attack earned him the victory over Adam Lambert. Dennis Rizzo followed closely in third place, a mere .07 behind Lambert.

Lastly, perhaps signaling a changing of the guard, Mike McCabe dethroned perennial winner Kilian Garland in the Pro division with an amazing display of radical carving.  Once again, a mere .20 on the judges’ scorecards was all that separated first and second place.

Following the award ceremony the consensus was that this year’s Rincon Classic was one of the best (if not THE best) ever. The organization orchestrated by Surf Happens was flawless, and one would think that recently departed contest founder Jeff White must have been smiling up there in heaven.

2011 Quiksilver Rincon Classic Presented By Channel Islands Surfboards
28th annual event – 11th produced by Surf Happens
In Memory Of Jeff White

Gremlins (11 & under)
1. Sean Woods 11.33
2. Henry Hepp   9.20
3. Jeffrey Knell   6.16
4. Sawyer Rhodes   4.40
5. Evan Blix   3.50
6. Aden Capps   1.97

Boys (12-14)

1. Vinny Leonelli 16.50
2. Spencer Smith 15.17
3. Mickey Clarke 11.90
4. Jason Knell   8.67
5. Will Hogue   6.97
6. Kyle Davis    6.66

Juniors (15-17)

1. Charlie Dentzel 14.37
2. Charlie Fawcett 14.23
3. Sam Regan 11.64
4. Matty Parker 11.60
5. Harrison Adler   8.80
6. Beau Clarke   6.17

Wahine (17 & under)

1. Lakey Peterson 16.33
2. Steffi Kerson   8.36
3. Jessee Ransone   6.07
4. Isabella Radis     5.27
5. Kaitlyn Gruetzmacher   4.37
6. Zoe Luna   4.37

Women’s Shortboard

1. Demi Boelsterli 15.50
2. Lakey Peterson 11.10
3. Lisa Wynn Luna   6.23
4. Aubrey Faulk Luyendyk   4.90
5. Kaitlyn Gruetzmacher   3.66
6. Carolyn Day   0.00

Longboard (All Ages)

1. Robert Curtis 10.40
2. Oliver Parker 10.33
3. Daniel Graham   8.43
4. J.P Garcia   7.64
5. Jon Shields   5.60
6. Cole Robbins   0.00


1. Max Cail 16.00
2. Donald Day 14.43
3. Justin Pawl 10.33
4. Brett William Jordan   8.80
5. Jason Smith   8.17
6. Chuck Graham   6.77

Grand Master’s

1. Mike Lamm 12.83
2. Alexis Cottavoz 12.66
3. Steve Dwyer 12.16
4. Chuck Graham   9.93
5. Steve Hanson   7.40
6. Tad Dahlke   6.10


1. Bill Urbany   7.83
2. Don Campbell   7.34
3. Andy Neumann   7.33
4. Dave Johnson   6.33
5. Matt Moore   4.47
6. L Paul Mann   4.23


1. Andrew Bennett 16.60
2. Adam Lambert 12.53
3. Dennis Rizzo 12.46
4. Colin Schildhauer 11.76
5. Colin Dwyer   9.47
6. Sean Lesh   7.57

Pro Final

1. Mike McCabe 14.83 $1,200.00
2. Kilian Garland 14.63   $900.00
3. Andrew Bennett   9.10   $700.00
4. Tarik Khashoggi   6.33 $500.00

Top Stats:

Adam Lambert highest wave score:        9.77
Dennis Rizzo best heat average:            17.34
Total number of waves surfed in the event: 723

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