In addition to having perfect waves and top-level surfing talent, the Channel Islands Surfboards Rincon Classic held March 23 and 24, brought the wave-riding community together in memory of local professional surfer and urchin diver Chris Brown, who passed away at 48-years-old on Jan. 19. A well-loved standout whose surfing was honed on the fabled point at Rincon, “Brownie” was well represented at the weekend-long event by custom T-shirts with an image of him laying down a blazing turn, bronzed and fit at the height of his career—just how the surfers in this area remember him. And the waves were almost eerily perfect (after nearly six weeks of poor water quality and virtually no swell), as if in celebration of a surfing life after a period of mourning.

Six- to eight-foot waves lined up at the “cove” section of Rincon Point, offering surfers the opportunity to ride a few hundred yards of oiled glass, going faster and faster as they went, each turn leading into the next—the very reason people love surfing more than almost anything else once they get a proper taste. With an age-spread that included pre-teens and surfers born during the Eisenhower Administration, the Rincon Classic showcased local talent and “point-style” surfing that is the hallmark of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta surf communities. Surfers from Ventura and Oxnard also competed in the event, as they share in the love of the waves at Rincon.

The competition format consisted of heats with six-surfers competing, the top three in each heat advancing until a final heat to determine the top places in the event. Divisions were: Pro, Wahines (girls U17), Womens (all ages), Longboard (all ages), Gremlins (boys U12), Juniors (U17), Mens (all ages), Masters (35+), Grand Masters (45+) and Legends (55+). The women were impressive for the balance of power and poise they brought to the competition, and in particular, past Rincon Classic winner Aubrey Faulk Luyendyke, who came in fourth place this year with classic style and strong maneuvers. Vela Mattive is another—a girl with uncanny natural ability, who more than held her own surfing in the Girls, Womens and Boys divisions. Another impression from the weekend is the overall talent level of the youth these days, who as a whole surf with composure and skill far beyond their years. The older guys—well, some seemed to be feeling the years more than others, but there is something gratifying in seeing a man who has stuck with it over the decades, still pulling out the moves.  

The big star, of course, was the surf, that got even better on Sunday afternoon for the Pro final, which World Championship Tour surfer Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara handily won. He was soon to leave to begin the 2019 pro tour season in Australia, but not before giving his $1,200 first-place earnings to Chloe Brown, Chris Brown’s daughter who recently finished her degree at USC. Al Merrick, founder of Channel Islands Surfbords presented the Jeff White Aloha Award to longtime surfboard laminator and personal friend, Bob Haakenson. Photographer Glenn Dubock perhaps summed up the weekend best: “I have had the privilege and honor of documenting many of the Classics, watching the kids grow up and now bring their kids to the event, and when I see the winner (Conner Coffin) give his check to Chloe Brown, I know the kids are going to be alright.”

Event organizer and fifth-place finisher in the Masters division Chris Keet of Surf Happens has been running the Rincon Classic for 19 years. With a lingering flat-spell through February and well into March, the odds of a contestable swell—much less, one of the best swells of the season—appearing in the waiting period were dwindling. A week before the event, Keet said he had to “let go what I couldn’t control.” But the forecast developed and the surf appeared as if by magic. “It was a glorious weekend,” Keet added, “Brownie was there.”

2019 Rincon Classic Results


1. Conner Coffin

2. Killian Garland

3. Adam Lambert

4. Dennis Rizzo


Wahines (Girls U17)

1. Makena Burke

2. Delaney Poulos

3. Vela Mattive

4. Sophie Simon

5. Jessie Engel

6. Kaya Weber


Womens (ALL AGES)

1. Makena Burke

2. Maria Barend

3. Vela Mattive

4. Aubrey Faulk Luyendyke

5. Ashley Fagerstedt

6. Michelle Wolf


Longboard (ALL AGES)

1. Cole Robbins

2. Vince Felix

3. Evan Trauntvein

4. Jess Belzer

5. J.P. Garcia

6. Tupo Cabrera


Gremilins (Boys U12)

1. Jackson Meskis

2. Jonas Meskis

3. Dash Pinega

4. Fynn Neth

5. Vela Mattive

6. Joey Penueta


Boys (U14)

1. Hamilton Jacobs

2. Noel De La Torre

3. Curtis Jacobs

4. Tyler Chiarappa

5. Caleb Faro

6. Drake Epstein


Juniors (U17)

1. Jabe Swierkoski

2. Tommy Mckeown

3. Trevor Barry

4. Noel De La Torre

5. Leon De La Torre

6. Tyler Chiarappa



1. Frank Curren

2. Robert Curtis

3. Jim McCarthy

4. Eric Ronning

5. Vincenzo Leonelli

6. Erik Edwards


Masters (35+)

1. Javi Moreno

2. Mike Bilgren

3. Aaron Smith

4. Nick Eubank

5. Chris Keet

6. Dennis Rizzo


Grand Masters (45+)

1. Bromi Krock

2. Robert Goodman

3. Tom Dillon

4. Bruno Charmeca

5. Chris Willingham

6. Andrew Jakubowski


Legends: (55+)

1. Tony De Groot

2. Tony Luna

3. Steve Hanson

4. Adam Brown

5. Bill Urbany

6. Danny Bralver

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