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wave pics on this trip - the digicam was damaged in N. Oregon, Nov 2004)
Everyday was sunny except for the next to last during this 12-day trip and the water stayed around 80F, two to three degrees above normal. Suffered about 4 flat days, the first two and another two around Christmas (Xmas is becoming a flat day trend!). Our first swell brought in two days of classic 6-8' at the Maria's area breaks. The second northwest swell was messy and disorganized in the Rincón area on day one with only a few spots like baby Tres somewhat organized, but some spots in the NW, like Slaughter House Point were smokin' at 6-8'. After a few hours there, my son and I played around in smaller Gas Chambers, on the inside 2-4' zone, for some classic suckout dry cylinders that quickly proceeded to suck you up, suck you over and plonk you (remind me to wear a mouthpiece next time!). The second day of the swell was our getaway day so we arose way before sunrise and headed up to the day before haunts, but the main break had subsided to 3-4', so we headed back south. Some of my favorite spots in-between just weren't working cleanly. Ended back at Maria's where it was pumping a clean 8-10' with 12' bombillas straight out. A number of people were also riding a nice 8-12' at TPs.
My only regrets on this year's trip: no pasteles, lechón or amarillos. :( The tropical storms really ripped into the island's plantain trees with lot's of imports from Venezuela and the DR. Beth had a couple of pasteles I brought down from Cafeteria Borinquen, in Aguadilla (I had opted for the huge rotisserie borinquen style chicken, arroz y habichuelas). Nonetheless, did manage some good pernil, cubanos and media noches, along with the other great comidas criollas, especially the empanadillas on the curves after descending the hill on the road to Jobos from Ramey Base.
A full moon on Dec 26th found many bolas of Dominicanos flowing to points north (Camuy) through Cabo Rojo, Mona and Desecheo. Increasingly, Cubanos are heading to Mona for make dry ground claims for legal residency.
Looking forward to the return trip in late Feb.
Nada Mucho. First two days were near flat, but water is a few degrees warmer than usual for this time of year at 80F, water clear and reefs sparkling. I paddled out on Day 1 at Brian's Place just to get salt water wet without the rubber baggage of recent months. Felt so good! The water was soooo clear, too. Only caught a couple of small, lame waves, but it was satisfying nonetheless just to drift around. Swell is on the way... I can be patient.
Back Home. Swell hit the past two days at 6-8' with plenty of plus sets in Rincón area. Very crowded all over -- wild fire rumors of Gas Chambers being 6-8' and Tres Palmas breaking. Did not happen.
Back to the north coast this next week it appears because a strong NE/E should produce something in the waist to head plus...
The Quicksilver Crossing showed up to town on-board the Indies Trader ... no wonder the crowds were mongo the past few days. Noticed it moored off the town's balenario publico. Here is part of their report:
My "hometown" surf club (Annapolis Surf Club) kahuna sent out a Christmas Greeting/Wish List [my comments in italics]:
Bruce - a full recovery
Chris Smith - one solid gold fin (ah… yeah… can I borrow that one?) [he owns about 100 fins]
Jeff and Rod - the understanding that size doesn't matter [longboard vs. paipo bickering!]
Punchy - a clone (one for the twins and one for ASC)
Mike M - Nothing! Cause you just came back from your HM in Hawaii
Paul Moos - a job with NOAA
Kirk - The ability to surf weekdays again (gotta keep up the nick name)
Brian - The money shot
John Walker - his own personal, mobile, jetty
KC (Dumpy) - a new nick name [the former "Sunshine Kid" earned his name at GuidoPalooza a few years ago!]
Foon - a remote control reef for the Foon beach
Paul Martin - a new truck with no leaks and real passenger seats
Swifty - some 5mm gloves
Chet - Peace, Paipo Love and Understanding [a proud paipo rider that's playing around with shortboards, YUK!]
Stringer - free time
Chris D - an early rising babysitter [his wife is a Doc in training]
Doug Rhodes - a fantasy surf vacation… let others take care of that terror stuff for week [secret Costa Rica ASC trip Xmas gift]
Pat Hoge - a 150-pound fish in Costa this year [Hope Pat can join us!]
Tracey - That inner Zen thing you yoga types are always in search of
Pat Gentry - a year of surfing with no stitches and good health [she is recovering from breast cancer]
Tim – the ability to keep both classic cars
To those I didn't mention, I wish you goods waves and good vibes all year through!
Merry Christmas Ya'll!
I never replied to this email on our club listserv because internet connections were so slow down in PR. Thanks, Neal!
Santa Surf Patrol. We cruised the coasts checking for waves venturing at far as Camuy. My old secret spot wasn't working it was basically flat everywhere or uninspiring... even though it was probably a beautiful slick day for DMVer's ;)
Lunch with Ricardo
Shopping, Movies, Dinner. That about sums it up... can't remember much else.
Foon, one of my fellow co-founders of our local surf club in Maryland (Annapolis Surf Club), and an accomplice on the usenet's alt.surfing, posted to our club's listserv:
If you came to surf OC this morning I hope you brought your snow shovel. Starting around dawn a thick, heavy and wet snow started to fall making everything very slushy at first, then pure white. By noon the Bunker beach was a whiteout with thick squalls of horizontally driven flakes blowing by the balcony. When I could see the surf it looked messy and disorganized. NorthEast winds were on it pretty strong but visibility was so poor it was hard to determine just how good or bad it was. There is some swell in the water around 3 feet but it appears to be short period. Things may improve Monday as the Low moves out quickly to the NE and the winds calm down. For today it's football and Christmas leftovers and thinking nostalgically of the hot and humid days of summer while gazing on the white winter wonderland (ALLITERATION!) of the Bunker beach. Nobody on the beach this afternoon, not
even the intrepid dogwalkers. Temps in the low 30s, winds gusting in the 20s. Are you reading this Rod?
Recreated with El Pirates and other favorite drinks that I mixed up for friends and self.
Santa Surf Patrol. We cruised Wilderness trip day. Three great waves, and three boo-boos. Lost car key in surf, dinged board tail on inside reef, and Alex's flipper strap broke on the paddle out. I was smiling from the 3-7' lefts and rights, Alex was frowning from a 2-stroke paddle out session BLINK. Luckily, we were riding with a friend so the key loss was manageable... replacement should be in tonight or tomorrow morning. Alex now a proud owner of Tech2's. My board will receive a sticker patch job... 8 months
for the first ding... a record!?
Similar surf forecast for tomorrow and then some real swell fills in Wed p.m. and Thur a.m., our getaway day.
P.S. Foon... were ya reading? Oh yeah, water still 80F, air hits low to mid 80s. Back to my siesta and palos of Barrilito.
Caught some fun 4-7' in the Wilderness area this morning. Could not believe the 20+ cars in the parking area when we arrived at
7:20am - Alex counted about 45 people in the water at one point, spread between the eastern peaks and the cove. My buddy and his daughter and I lined up in what we'll call Cassie's Place and picked off several very long rights but only one left today. The waves started out kinda crappy and rolling over and sectioning but after about an our started to produce some really long rides with a sweet inside section producing the occ cover-up teaser.
Maria's was showing 3-5' by mid-afternoon so expect the 6-8'+ swell to be for real tomorrow. Of course, the coconut wire is running wild again with predictions of 2x o/h. (if so baby Tres might be in play).
Swifty, from my local surf club in Maryland (Annapolis Surf Club), is down in PR for some work duty during roughly the same period as we are and checks in with an update on our club listserv:
Rod et all:
Wednesday/Thursday looks fun with north swell filling in. I'll be surfing near Arecibo at a great uncrowded secret spot my friend showed me but I promised I wouldn't tell. Sweet wave with nice reforms on the inside sections. Reef is hairy but worth the punishment. My fish has decided to get some foam cancer after some serious delam and basically have a softball size hole with foam brickets coming out. Retired that board for my 7'0". Winds should be calm in the AM and swell should start filling in early afternoon. Haven't been out west due to N swell and no need to surf with any crowds. I have been using the Spanish a ton and found some cool local surf betty to take me around these areas. Also found some great salsa bars con muchas muchachas bonitas en old San juan. Great time and looks like the weather back home will warm up and not be such a shock.
Enjoy the holidays
Conga Barrels at Slaughter House Point. Based on a voice mail I picked up from Swift this evening, we both surfed Slaughter House Point at 6-8' and super clean vI had not surfed there in a few decades. Slaughter House Point is a nice, heavy wave. He picked it up this afternoon, Alex and I mid-morning; we then played around in Gas Chambers 2-4', if playing around is the right term ;) You drop into a hot inside out tube and then the tube takes control of you, sucking you and a ton of sand up and over and down! Witnessed one of the best all-time rides by one of the local boys on a 6'+ Gas Chambers super sucking wave -- the kid was SOOO deep, pulled a perfect El Rollo with lot's of air, landed cleanly back down and slotted into the tube, completing his ride with grace!
Rincón was very disorganized and large at dawn and through nearly all the day. Tres Palmas organized and several people were out. Surprise visit at the Villa of John Walker and his grandson, along with my buddy Pepe from San Juan, his wife and two young sons. I toured John, his grandson and Pepe to check out the local sights.
DP tomorrow before catching the early afternoon flight home.
The imbecile crowds. While out at Slaughter House Point, which can be a heavy break in the 4-6' range, this father and son manage to paddle out, on longboards. Kooks! The ~16yo boy had his leash come undone and had no clue where to swim in, fighting the current while his mama with the video camera was trying to direct him in a panic. He was headed straight into the shore boulders until I straightened the kid out. His father had shoulder hopped me 15 minutes earlier as I came out of a dredging tube and narrowly missed him. Should have let the kid eat some urchin, reef and cow guts...
Getaway Day. Up early, cooked up some coffee and out the door well before sunrise hoping that the winds had subsided sufficiently and turned offshore to catch some decent waves.
Yesterday and today were a good 8-10' with 12' clean-up sets, some that were very fun. Tres Palmas looked better on this swell than last week. Very crowded everywhere again. Caravans of 3-4-5 loaded vehicles of stateside kooks were driving all over the place and flooding the breaks en masse. Not sure where all the crowds have been coming from... cheap airfares from NYC, terrorism abroad, Costa Rica increasingly crowed... don't know, but they sure don't follow the Baja Mexico rule of 3 to a car max and don't travel in groups.
Trip home was eventful... at least the plane was flying between SJU and MAZ (unlike for Alex and our friends).
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