Looking at Dome's Beach from El Faro Park

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rincon Surfing

I haven't written too much about surfing here in Rincon, but the great surf here is one of the reasons we're here and one of the reasons Rincon is such a special place.  The story usually begins with the 1968 World Championships that were held here in Rincon, which was then barely a blip on the Puerto Rican map, but from there the town has grown in small spurts to what it is now; a sleepy surf town where mostly East Coast surfers come down during the surfing season, December -April, filling up the guest houses and surf schools as well as the line ups at most of the local surf spots. 
     The reason Rincon draws so many surfers is because it has beaches that face 2 directions so that swells coming from the north, bring waves to the northern beaches and south swells bring surf to the southern beaches, leaving very few days where neither side has had decent waves this season.  But Rincon isn't the whole story, Aguadilla and Isabella just 30 minutes north offer more beaches and world class waves without the hype.
     Cyndi and I came here to surf, although neither of us surf.  I've  body surfed all my life at beaches in southern California, but never brought a board in the water with me.  Cyndi started paddling a big soft board a year before we got here, but never got too serious about actually standing up on it.  Since we arrived here in Rincon, Cyndi has taken 3 surfing lessons and goes out almost daily, but has yet to feel the thrill of standing up through a wave.  She is determined and loves just being in the water so eventually her day will come and when that happens, I don't think I'll ever be able to get her out of the water.  I haven't taken any lessons, but I went out on a big softboard for the first time about a month ago and felt pretty comfortable, but a little out of breathe after 30 minutes of paddling.  Since then our friend sold me a nice epoxy longboard that I've taken out once, but need more I'll have fun with it.
     But listening to surfers talk, it's amazing the respect and awe they have for the sport and love they feel everyone should feel.  Most of our surfing friends are so encouraging about getting us on a wave and everyone has words of advice, it does seem like a cliche but they "live to surf".  I've seen a 60 year old man come out of the water grinning like a teenager and kids talking to each other about swells and currents and tides as knowledgeable as a TV weatherman (probably more so).  I usually tend to dismiss the hype of this type of thing and I know I'll never be as fully immersed in surfing as many, including Cyndi have become, but I also admit that I'm looking forward to my day on a wave, when my legs are strong beneath me and the surf is rolling before me and surfing's mystery comes  a bit closer into focus.