PB Surf Shop owner Randy Strunk was there. So was environmental attorney Rory Wick of Coast Law Group in Encinitas.
Surfboard shaper innovator Steve Pendarvis and his lovely photographer/journalist wife Cher traveled up from the Sunset Cliffs.
Josh Hall, another San Diego shaper and a graduate of Coronado High School, made it in time to surf on his brilliant green single fin with his friends from the PB Surf Club.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, had a smile on their face.
So why was everyone stoked, grinning and reveling in the perfect day of Aloha, goodwill and a classic Southern California beach day?
Because they had accepted the Groundswell Society’s invitation to surf the 5th Annual Sharing the Stoke Rincon Invitational, a team surfing benefit for the organization.
“It was a real special event to be a part of and I look forward to it year in, year out. Plus the Con has delivered insane waves the last two years,” said Josh, who is planning a trip to northeast Spain this summer to shape, surf and hang with his many Basque friends (thanks to Josh our family will have the pleasure of hosting a super grom Basque surfer this summer).
Glen Henning, the founder and organizer of the Groundswell Society and the Sharing the Stoke event, was on hand at Rincon, between Ventura and Santa Barbara, to make sure that everyone followed the rules.
"Imagine California's best surf spot, a sunny weekend, waves 3-5' and pretty consistent, with only friends in the water sharing waves and the pure stoke of surfing," said Glen. "Each of 11 teams, invited thanks to their public service efforts, had the fabled waves to themselves for an hour."
And what were the rules? Teams scored points by sharing waves and riding lots of waves. The more surfers on a wave, the more points they scored.
The Rincon Pit Crew, an assemblage of what are arguably California’s most hardcore surfers, celebrates the day by barbequing chicken and ribs for everyone.
“Glen Henning's Rincon Classic is California's greatest anti-contest,” said Wicks, who is as amiable as a surfer can get.
A team from the Great Lakes made the trek from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. They were stoked and still perplexed about the fact that the Chicago Police Department arrests surfers for the crime of surfing.
“It is not like they don’t have a lot of really serious crime to deal with,” said Mike Killion, a Chicago-based surfer, photographer and Surfrider Foundation activist. “They threw one guy in jail while he was still in his wetsuit. One cop asked me if I was high because I was surfing.”
My team from WiLDCOAST was about 20 strong, and included Imperial Beach locals Randy Putland and his daughter Chase, A.J. Schneller, the Johnson Family (Daren, Terri and Josh), and super groms Noah Bender, Jake Stutz, Aries Chavira, Ashley McAskill and Camryn Rockwell.
The Alldredges (Peachy, Andrew, Jack and Marshall), a Coronado surfing family extraordinaire, and Coronado High surfer Sean Franks, joined us and surfed their brains out.
My WiLDCOAST team paddled out at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The waves were a pleasant 2-3’ with larger sets that never seemed to stop. The sun was shining and the predicted south wind didn’t blow.
When I paddled out my childhood surf heroes, and former world surfing champs, Peter “PT” Townend and Shaun Tomson each caught a shoulder high set wave to complete their heat.
For an hour our team traded waves, shared waves, laughed and hooted.
“It was the best hour of my life,” said Aries Chavira.
“I overheard one grom say, ‘I didn't know having this much fun was so tiring,’” said surf dad Daren Johnson, who was ripping his shortboard backside. “I think the fact that they were getting so many waves was what made them exhausted since they were surfing, paddling, surfing, paddling and never sitting.”
When you share waves you catch more waves and you have more fun.
"The second half of the event was rained out, so the teams scheduled to surf Sunday will get their chance on Sunday April 15 to be a part of what many team members are saying is the most unique surfing event they've ever seen," said Glen.
“It was a really fun event,” said surfer mom Terri Johnson. “How many people get to surf Rincon with just a bunch of their friends? Plus it was a beautiful afternoon with clean water, waves and great company."
1. Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association
3. Surf Happens
Total Shared Waves
1. Great Lakes Surf Crew
2. 3rd World Surf Co.
3. Best Day Foundation
1. Coast Law Group
2. Surf Class
3. Surfrider Advisory Board
Team Spirit Awards
P.B. Surf Shop
Oxnard High School Surf Club
Best Wave (Team Surfing)
3rd World Surf Co.
Serge Dedina is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosytems and wildlife and is the author of Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias.