One very fine day in 1973, Gary Ward and I were surfing Rincon and it was just perfect. We both had to leave around 1 p.m. to get back to work, but the look and feel of the Rincon on that day was more alluring than silver or gold. She was alive and dancing before my eyes. From the lineup, I glanced at the cliffs above and knew where I had to go. I had never seen her lines so clean and pure, just stretching to the horizon. What surprises, I wondered, awaited a drive to the top of the hill?
[Editor's note: Today we're stoked to feature a story written by legendary surf photographer Steve Bissell that originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent. The daughter Steve mentions works here at Patagonia HQ and she's really proud of her dad.]
I knew, even had I not had my Nikon with me, I needed to experience that view. Moving slowly and cautiously, I drove up the small twisty road, occasionally glancing at Gary and thinking too much about the consequences of trespassing. Sign after sign ate away at my desire to capture one of the world’s most classic waves in all her glory as I thought about jail, long and tearful goodbyes to my wife and daughter, and the loss of my precious freedom. But the vision, or the promise of the vision, drove me on.
[Easily the most iconic picture taken of one of North America’s most iconic surf spots, this nearly 40-year-old image of the Queen truly has stood the test of time. Photo: Steve Bissell]