The swell the last few days in Santa Barbara has been great. The El Nino has been in full effect still, and has been keeping the swell up. Most surfers would agree that this is the best winter for waves in years. It has also been very crowded in Santa Barbara, with everyone from California trying to get the best waves possible. Of course there is always tension when there is 75 people in the water, all trying to get the same wave. Many people will leave the water more frustrated then when they first came, due to crowd issues, and there being way more people than waves. Some people do not think it is worth it, others do. I am lucky enough to call Santa Barbara and its waves, home.
Many different spots in Santa Barbara, attract different crowds. The most known spot in Santa Barbara, is sandbar (known more commonly as Sandspit). People know this wave worldwide, due to its notorious backwash from the rocks and the it can be near perfection at times. Sandbar would not exist if it weren’t for the break wall which was man made. Thank you to whoever was involved in building that wall. Of course there a lot of other popular surf breaks in the Santa Barbara area that many know of. Rincon is a right point break that is mostly cobblestones. There can be hundreds of surfers spread out along the point at Rincon at times when there is good swell. You will see a lot of long boarders in the cove when the swell is small, and then when it’s bigger, everyone is in the cove. Things definitely can get out of hand when there are 5 people on the same wave, very close to each other dodging people in the lineup. This can be a common sight at Rincon.
Of course there are always less crowded alternatives, but the majority of the time the quality of the waves at those breaks can not compare to the more crowded ones. Everywhere can have its right days though when the swell, wind, and tide cooperates.
A photo of me surfing at sandbar.