Following the 1968 World Surfing Championship held in the Municipality of Rincón on the western side of Puerto Rico, this Caribbean island has been internationally known as a surf destination. Puerto Rico’s surf conditions, tropical climate and beautiful beaches attracted surfers mainly from the United States to reside in Puerto Rico. The surfers’ community in this island mainly comprises Puerto Ricans, who are descendants of either Puerto Ricans or United States’ families that reside in the island, as well as United States surfers that fell in love with Puerto Rico.
Throughout the years, Puerto Rican surfers have won awards and obtained recognitions in diverse competitions. For instance, Puerto Rico’s surfing professional athletes have participated in internationally known events such as the Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC) Pipeline Pro in Hawaii, and International Surfing Association’s World Masters Surfing Championships. Puerto Rican surfers, Carlos Cabrero and Juan Ashton, have been champions and gold medalists in the ISA’s World Masters Surfing Championship events (Cabrero- Masters Division, Ashton- Masters and Grand Masters Divisions). In 2000, Carlos Cabrero was the first Puerto Rican recognized as champion of the prestigious HIC Pipeline Pro in Hawaii, where some of the best worldwide surfers competed. Even in the Women Bodyboard Division, Puerto Rico has exceeded expectations as Natasha Sagardía became champion and gold medalist during the 2008 ISA World Surfing Games.
In order to share with you information about Puerto Rico as a surf destination, we enjoyed a talk with champion surfer Carlos Cabrero.
According to Carlos, the sport of surfing may be practiced in diverse areas in Puerto Rico, depending on the season. From October to May, the strongest and most hollow waves may be found on the northern, northwestern and western coastline of the island. Travelers interested to ride waves resulting from reef breaks may be attracted to visit La Ocho Beach in the Municipality of San Juan, Middles Beach and Jobos Beach in the Municipality of Isabela, Surfer Beach and Wilderness Beach in the Municipality of Aguadilla, and Domes Beach, Marías Beach and Tres Palmas Beach in the Municipality of Rincón, as listed by Carlos. He emphasized that with the exception of Middles Beach and Tres Palmas Beach, these beaches may be surf spots for intermediate and advanced level surfers.
This gold medalist surfer explained that Middles Beach and Tres Palmas Beach are advanced level surf spots. Those advanced surfers searching for big wave-surf spots may find Tres Palmas Beach interesting as the waves may reach a height of 10-25 feet, as mentioned by Carlos.
For those preferring to ride waves resulting from beach breaks, Carlos suggested visiting Sandy Beach in the Municipality of Rincón, Jobos Beach in the Municipality of Isabela, Tocones Beach in Piñones sector, Municipality of Loíza, or La Pared Beach in the Municipality of Luquillo. The sandy bottom under the beach breaks result in softer waves attractive to beginners, as explained by Carlos. He clarified that Jobos Beach is a spot with both beach breaks and reef breaks so it is a great beach for any type of surfer.
During the period of June to October, surf breaks on the southern coastline of Puerto Rico mainly attract beginners and intermediate level surfers, as stated by Carlos. He mentioned that Inches Beach in the Municipality of Patillas may be apt for every type of surfer, depending on the weather conditions. Carlos explained that both the shallow-water beach and the reef-break wave that breaks to the left are known as “Inches”. He said that most of the time you will find waves from 1 to 4 feet in Inches Beach.
Carlos emphasized that surfers should be aware of the weather conditions and the possible estimated height of the waves in order to anticipate the type of surf to expect. He warned that changes in the weather conditions, such as those resulting from a storm, may alter the height of the waves typically found in a surf spot for beginners since the waves may reach a height of 3-5 feet (for intermediate level surfers), or a height of 5-15 feet (for advanced level surfers).
We learned that among all the waves Carlos has ridden in Puerto Rico and other countries, the highest one has been a 35-foot wave that was formed in Tres Palmas Beach as a result of a perfect storm in 2008. Carlos, who has ridden over 20-foot waves in destinations, such as Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, and North Shore, Hawaii, asserted such achievement as he smiled, showing his pride in Puerto Rico as a surfing destination.
So, gear up and plan a surf vacation in Puerto Rico!
For those travelers interested to surf in Puerto Rico, we suggest reading the “tips” subsection, regarding Carlos’ recommendations about good practices while surfing among locals in Puerto Rico. To find out a little bit more about Carlos’ achievements in the sport of surfing and his current works, you may read the “delve” subsection.