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Rincon Surf Break

Santa Barbara, California, United States


Surfer Magazine says: "Some people would argue, strongly, that Rincon is the best wave in California." Longboarders often come here when it's small and everyone in town comes here when it's big. The rides are long- on rare occasions as long as 500 feet- and the smiles are big!
The Rincon Classic is held here each year in January (Jan 20, 2018). It's fun to come and absorb the atmosphere.
To get to the surf, you walk down an easy dirt path that backs some beachhouses. The mountains beside the freeway loom above the gentle curve of the beach. Cars hurl down the freeway right next to you, and the only thing protecting you from a driver's bad steering maneuver is a rusty old wire fence- yikes!
Recently the surfers who love Rincon have won a long battle to have the septic systems from nearby beachhouses that were leaking into the ocean changed to sewer systems- this is a great success!
At the end of the path, there is a beach covered with rocks and driftwood. A cluster of palms sits on the point, making a cute scene. Some surfers have built a little grass hut with chairs and all the amenities to kick back and watch the epic sunsets that take place here! If you're not a surfer or watching the surfers, there won't be much to do here, because the beach doesn't have much sand and the freeway is very close.
Check the water quality before you go surf!
A nice beach for a long walk is right next to Rincon Surf Break- literally across the street. It is Rincon Beach, also called Bates Beach, and it has high cliffs and clear water.
Four other good surfing spots in the Santa Barbara area are Santa Claus Lane Beach, which is really clean and beautiful; Leadbetter Beach, a point break that is a bit polluted; Coal Oil Point, which can get big in autumn and winter; and Campus Point, a great spot for beginners.
If you're hungry, head over to Downtown Carpinteria and relax outside at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Or check out my favorite outdoor place to eat in Carpinteria, Padaro Beach Grill.

Photo Gallery

The great view as you come down the dirt path at Rincon Surfbreak, somewhat ruined by the sound of the freeway literally a few feet away.

The grass hut surfers built! See the freeway barrier just above.

Rincon, on a small day.

Surfer etiquette, on a board at the beginning of the path.

Spectators hanging out at the hut, during the Rincon Classic.

Surfer catching a wave, with the island in the background.

Rocky shore and surfer.

Vibrant colors on the path.

One of the houses that looks out on the surfbreak.

The beach is rocky but there is a path above it. Be careful not to walk on the ice plant!

Pretty garden.

The Rincon Classic, held on February 4, 2017.

The fun atmosphere at the Rincon Classic.

A cool hippie guy and his dog.

Riding the long break.

Watching the great surf.

A girl tries to navigate the rocky beach, with cypress tree in background.

Filming some waves with a camera and tripod.

Colorful flags.

A surfer girl walks along the beach as the sun tries to break through.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Exit Highway 101 at Bates Rd and turn towards the ocean. Turn left into the Rincon Surf Break parking lot. There is a large parking lot and restrooms.
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