Several years back Sam George announced to me that his "love affair" with Rincon was over, that he'd "broken up with her." Given George's propensity for epiphanies, I didn't think much of it at the time. But then I started to fall under her spell her too, jetting up 101 every time a west swell and low tide coincided with a few free hours. It wasn't the mystique or nostalgia that drew me up to the Ventura/Santa Barbara county line, rather the sheer perfection of the wave. Honestly, it's beyond compare.
The more I began to surf up there the more I began to understand how George could call the relationship off. In his formative years he'd logged as much water time as anybody, including Tom Curren, but Rincon's a fickle mistress, rife with inconsistencies, and I'm assuming that after all those years of devoting himself to the spot she'd finally broken his spirit ... like any good woman.
These days I don't get up that way as much as I used to, but I try to make it a point to pay her a visit a couple of times a winter. A couple weeks ago I was supposed to meet Kelly Slater in L.A. for an interview. Being a good surfer, I told the wife I had to be there a few hours earlier than I actually did, thus giving me a perfect three-hour window with which to get properly reacquainted.
I had a good session, and couldn't help gloating a little when I eventually sat down with Slater. "How was it?" he asked, himself being confined to eight straight hours of media obligations that day.
"Good," I answered, "especially in the cove."
Spending more time up in Santa Barbara recently, Slater's become a fixture at the right point, and like any of us, hated to hear he missed a few fun ones.
But guys like Slater, as well as cohorts like Bobby Martinez and Jordy Smith, live charmed lives. Last weekend, as Mavericks was on the brink of being too big, they all posted up at "The Con," and as you can see by this Tom Servais photo gallery, they had a field day.
I guess the point of this rant is that for some waves the hassles of crowd and consistency are worth putting up with. Some waves are too good to break up with. I'm sure by now Sam George has found his way back to his old haunt once or twice. Love like that, it doesn't die easy.