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Thread: Travel Question

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    MD - VA
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    3,561
    1. I've gotten my best waves in NorCal in November-December time window. If you don't mind the wetsuit, you will enjoy perfect waves with ZERO crowds, wine country, beautiful redwoods, fresh delicious food, amazing diving and fishing, Monterey Bay aquarium, San Francisco...in my mind there aren't too many better places to take the lady on a surf trip. It's amazing out there, though a totally different flavor than the tropics. Obviously if you want warm weather then go elsewhere, but if that's not a priority then it's absolutely worth considering.

    I have to inquire: the sharks up there. The size of Ford pickup trucks. Factor ... ? Non-factor ?

    Isn't that region called the triangle of death or the red triangle or something like that?

    Abalone diver getting decapitated by a great white?
    "Zimmerman had been barely a metre away from Fry when the attack occurred and recounted the sensation of the shark coming past him in the water like a torpedo, just before the water became clouded with blood.

    The shark is likely to have been a great white, but the attack was described as being 'over in five seconds' and neither witness could provide a positive identification.

    US Coastguard recovered Fry's headless body on Monday and his remains were formally identified."
    http://www.divernetxtra.com/news/sto...th180804.shtml

    http://sonic.net/~rocky/deathidx.htm
    http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-05-3...ut-three-miles

    Not being a wisearse! Having never surfed there I would truly like to know how you prepare yourself, psychologically, to roll in that region.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    485
    Yankee,
    As for the sharks, I think the battle is 99% mental. The odds of getting attacked are slim to none, yet the idea of getting torn apart by Whitey is still pretty horrifying. Personally, I stuck to spots that gave me some option for distracting my mind. Obviously you could go surf with the crowd at Steamer Lane and instantly turn the odds more heavily in your favor...but you'd probably go to Norcal to avoid crowds, so that's a dumb solution. My tactic was to surf spots with a few people out or setups whereby the waves break relatively close to shore. If there are more people, you can convince yourself that maybe they look more tastey. For me, surfing closer to shore somehow feels safer. There are a lot of reefs with this type of setup, and I would stick to those. Is this actually "safer"? Of course not, but it feels like it, which is the only legitimate issue. So long as you can not think about it, it's no big deal. There are plenty of sharks in SoCal too. I just watched a show where a group of guys tracked a white shark near San Onofre. It's the reputation that makes NorCal so spooky. Most places are not nearly as bad as people assume. I did not once see a shark in Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo or anywhere else. I have seen plenty in the Carolina's, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. This just goes to show how powerful perceptions can be.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    North Wildwood ,Nj
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    DR , PR or CR and all good places to go where you can surf on the cheap

  4. #14
    PNW, and just not NorCal. Probably a bit less expensive than NorCal. As for Great Whitey just stay away from the streams active with salmon runs or some of the rivermouth areas. Very beautiful up that way... gonna catch some summer swells there myself. If you are real adventurous and want to combine surfing and romance then check out Victoria, BC. It would probably be too desolate up in Tofino in November.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Puerto Rico.
    Enough said.

  6. #16
    Thanks a lot for all the replies you all have provided it is really helpful! I think I have narrowed it down to the Caribbean area. NorCal seems like a beautiful place to check out sometime, but I'm already going to be in a wetsuit around here during that time so I'd rather hit up somewhere where I can break away from the body armor for a little while. Central America is still on my list but kinda straying away from it for now; it's not because it could get a little rugged for her (she's my ballsy or ovaries-y Army dime - finishing up her 3 yrs in the Army right before we leave) we'd probably both have a lot of fun with something like that, but I think PR or Barbados sounds more reasonable for now. All passports are up to date and itching to be used, therefore I think outta country is where I am leaning towards. Also, I have heard that Dominican Republic is a fairly inexpensive route to take if going to the islands. Any knowledge on this destination/break info?

  7. I went to PR last year with my wife when she was 5 or 6 months pregerant... She does not surf and she loved it... We stayed in a small cottage on the water like a 5 min drive to down town Rincon... PR would be a safe bet..

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    MD - VA
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    I have heard that Dominican Republic is a fairly inexpensive route to take if going to the islands. Any knowledge on this destination/break info? Bodhi

    Been to north coast of the DR 30+ times.

    Encuentro is the most consistent break on the north coast. And the most crowded. Turistas & locals flock here when it's firing. Although it's listed as a reef, it's shifty & many times it has more of a beach break feel. The Point at Encuentro, in front of the little shack restaurant on the beach, is where the locals like to sit. Encuentro can get territorial, as very good local surfers will not hesitate to hoot you off waves. Snaking isn't uncommon. The guys are pleasant & friendly, just stay out of their way; they will aggressively lay claim to waves. By the same token they will help you out if you get into trouble in the water.

    Sometimes Encuentro gets big, most days it's smaller & thus has something for everyone. There are several surf schools that teach novices on the inside at Encuentro.

    You should go out early in the day at Encuentro. Reason being, the sideshore wind comes up at 1030-1100 every day, like clockwork, and it cranks. That's the end of the waves. That's when the kitesurfers come out & take over up the road in Cabarete Bay.

    You may want to bring a pair of surf shoes. The urchins are no joke here. The locals all surf barefoot. You're only there a few days with not much time to toughen those feet up. The urchins are huge. Bring some tweezers & Neosporin, just in case.

    The paddle out is the channel just to the side of the shacks on the beach. Sometimes you can get a good current going out. Water depth is 10-20' for the most part.

    Coco Pipe is next to Encuentro. It is not realistic unless you're expert & it only works when the swell is on. There is razor sharp coral & large urchins & rocks 3 feet under the surface. Because of that shallow depth, it can get big but only on the right swell. It is only for expert surfers.

    Sosua Bay takes a certain direction to break & is usually not worth the 20 minute drive.

    Playa Grande is a beach break, sand bottom, approx one hour drive from Cabarete. There is another break named Preciosa, which can get big, around the corner from Playa Grande that you scrabble down a steep jungle hill to access. Both these breaks need a certain swell to work. A decent local guide will know about this.

    Board rentals: if you rent, be aware that if you ding the board or break it, you will be expected to pay from usd 100-600, cash only, on the spot. Beware of repaired/patched-together boards & worn out velcro on rental leashes.

    Size at Encuentro totally depends on the swell. It can get big. Depends on time of year.

    Lots of petty theft in the DR. Keep your stuff tight. Make 2 copies of your passport & keep separate from your passport. If you don't need a laptop while there, don't take it on the trip. Backup your cel phone / PDA before you go in case it gets lifted. ATM's are everywhere, as are money changers. People are very friendly. Great place, fun times.

    Getting up early to surf has its advantages. Namely, you can spend the afternoon chilling in the beach restaurants in Cabarete. LAX restaurant in Cabarete is a cool place to chill with icy cold Presidente cervezas.

    BTW, I recommend a very cool place to stay, wonderful people, reasonable rates, clean & quiet, very secure & gorgeous condos literally on the oceanfront in Cabarete is the Hotel Magnifico. www.hotelmagnifico.com

    You can always score all-inclusive deals to the DR, the DR is the kingdom of the all-inclusive. But it's like a cruise ship on land. You're isolated in a gringo compound. You don't get the true travel experience. A place like Magnifico is the place to call home while you're there.

    BTW, if you're into weed, be very careful who you buy from in the DR. The common scam is this: friendly local approaches you, maybe even a local you sort of kinda know after a couple days, offers you good smoke; you buy; bang, you get pinched by the cops; boom, you go to jail; cop hands the drugs back to the local, they split the cash that you paid, repeat cycle. DR treats drug infractions very harshly. Literally hundreds of gringos in DR prisons because of drug busts. The young Dutchies are particularly prone to getting busted, 'cause weed is legal in the Netherlands & the Dutchies don't see the big deal of weed while they're traveling.

    Summing Up:
    Fly into Puerto Plata (POP).
    Reserve a car at the airport. 4wd isn't necessary, but the roads are potholed so the bigger rig you have, the better. Make sure you check the jack & the spare before you leave the rental agency. Upon renting, take a few pics of the vehicle so you don't get snookered by phantom 'damage' charges once you get back to the States. Take a few more pics once you hand the car in.
    I highly recommend Hotel Magnifico in Cabarete. Try to score the PH in either bldg 5 or 6. Your wife will think you're a travel guru.
    Don't stay at Ali's surf camp; it's located on the inland side of the main road through Cabarete, near a lagoon that has massive amounts of mosquitoes (and the DR has current issues with malaria & dengue fever).
    Bring good bug spray & plenty of it for night-time peace at the outdoor restaurants.
    Bring your own surf gear & plenty of tropical wax.
    Speaking Spanish helps, but it isn't crucial on the North Coast.
    Lock everything & keep nothing of value in the car while it is parked.
    Take a drive up to Playa Grande for a day trip, enjoy fresh fish brought to you on the beach.
    Try to work in one overnight stay at a small hotel in Las Terrenas (drive there from Cabarete).
    Smile. A lot. Have a blast.
    Last edited by yankee; Jun 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM.

  9. #19
    Yankee, thanks a ton! That is excellent info for me. So out of the three which would you choose: DR, PR, or Barbados?

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    wb and you can find me at crystal and sweetwater and all over wb.
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    1,538
    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhi View Post
    Thanks a lot for all the replies you all have provided it is really helpful! I think I have narrowed it down to the Caribbean area. NorCal seems like a beautiful place to check out sometime, but I'm already going to be in a wetsuit around here during that time so I'd rather hit up somewhere where I can break away from the body armor for a little while. Central America is still on my list but kinda straying away from it for now; it's not because it could get a little rugged for her (she's my ballsy or ovaries-y Army dime - finishing up her 3 yrs in the Army right before we leave) we'd probably both have a lot of fun with something like that, but I think PR or Barbados sounds more reasonable for now. All passports are up to date and itching to be used, therefore I think outta country is where I am leaning towards. Also, I have heard that Dominican Republic is a fairly inexpensive route to take if going to the islands. Any knowledge on this destination/break info?
    ive been to the DR. somewhat cheap. and when i went down around easter i scored epic on 2 reef breaks with barely any wind all day. if you wanna know more about the spots message me.