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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, NY
    Posts
    66

    Traveling to A Few Caribbean Islands NEED HELP!

    I know its really late but in about 3 weeks i will be going to the Caribbean's and will be bringing my short board with me to surf there but i have a few questions and would appreciate some help/advice from someone thats been there before or knows about these islands.
    Just a few other questions i have, 1)ive never surfed anything beside nj and ny so i dont know what to expect with surfing a reef and what to do and not to do and if i should bring booties or not or just rashguard and shorts since its warm weather. 2) i have a bunch of other beaches nearby san juan/ in puerto rico and im curious if you know them or recommend and of those while im there to check out within a 30 min MAX car ride -Isle Verde, La Ocho, Little Fiji, Sheraton, La bomba, Islitas, Chatarras, El unico, aviones, tacones, Pine grove, Punta las Marias, Caballos, Cochino, Kikita beach, Las pasas, La peinilla. If any of those aren't in san juan then tell me so i can cross those off a list i have of beaches surfable in san juan puerto rico. 3) i dont care if there kinda crowded because then i can talk to locals for some advice instead of being alone and not know how to surf a totally different place than I've surf since im used to sandy beach breaks.4)Also im going to be alone some of the days i go and I'm going to have my phone on me and im wondering where i can leave it or if its too dangerous or what beach would be the best that i dont have to worry or even a surf shop or water activities stand i can leave my stuff at 5) if you have every surfed any of these islands i will be also visiting and if you can tell me some information about surfing whether there is or not there is so i shouldnt waste my time researching about it i would appreciate it tremendously- Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Samana, Dominican Republic.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    2,210
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeZnaty View Post
    I know its really late but in about 3 weeks i will be going to the Caribbean's and will be bringing my short board with me to surf there but i have a few questions and would appreciate some help/advice from someone thats been there before or knows about these islands.
    Just a few other questions i have, 1)ive never surfed anything beside nj and ny so i dont know what to expect with surfing a reef and what to do and not to do and if i should bring booties or not or just rashguard and shorts since its warm weather. 2) i have a bunch of other beaches nearby san juan/ in puerto rico and im curious if you know them or recommend and of those while im there to check out within a 30 min MAX car ride -Isle Verde, La Ocho, Little Fiji, Sheraton, La bomba, Islitas, Chatarras, El unico, aviones, tacones, Pine grove, Punta las Marias, Caballos, Cochino, Kikita beach, Las pasas, La peinilla. If any of those aren't in san juan then tell me so i can cross those off a list i have of beaches surfable in san juan puerto rico. 3) i dont care if there kinda crowded because then i can talk to locals for some advice instead of being alone and not know how to surf a totally different place than I've surf since im used to sandy beach breaks.4)Also im going to be alone some of the days i go and I'm going to have my phone on me and im wondering where i can leave it or if its too dangerous or what beach would be the best that i dont have to worry or even a surf shop or water activities stand i can leave my stuff at 5) if you have every surfed any of these islands i will be also visiting and if you can tell me some information about surfing whether there is or not there is so i shouldnt waste my time researching about it i would appreciate it tremendously- Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles, St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Samana, Dominican Republic.
    Seriously dude, you might be a little high strung for international travel. Take a deep breath in, hold it a second, then exhale. Have you ever been prescribed Ritalin? At this point, with all the posts, I think I'm going on a cruise of the carribean. All will be Well Barney. Word of advice, when traveling abroad, sometimes keeping your mouth closed and your eyes open is the best course of action. Trying to pack every second of a vacation with more than you can even keep track of, that's no vacation. Surfers take it easy. Just go with the flow and let the swell present itself.

    You're taking a cruise. It'll all be good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, NY
    Posts
    66
    Quote Originally Posted by zaGaffer View Post
    Seriously dude, you might be a little high strung for international travel. Take a deep breath in, hold it a second, then exhale. Have you ever been prescribed Ritalin? At this point, with all the posts, I think I'm going on a cruise of the carribean. All will be Well Barney. Word of advice, when traveling abroad, sometimes keeping your mouth closed and your eyes open is the best course of action. Trying to pack every second of a vacation with more than you can even keep track of, that's no vacation. Surfers take it easy. Just go with the flow and let the swell present itself.

    You're taking a cruise. It'll all be good.
    haha sorry i just want to be prepared because i will have only a day for each island but your right ill take it easy and go with the flow and be stoked if there are any good swells when i arrive

  4. #4
    As long as your not a kook you should be fine in Puerto Rico with baggies and possibly a rashguard (if you're pasty white). If you haven't had a lot of experience on a shortboard and think you might spend a bit of time on the reef after falling or being caught inside reef booties might be a good idea. Sea urchins are pretty gnarly from my experience in Puerto. Best advice for surfing reefs I can give is try and fall flat and avoid falling upside down on your head at all costs. Also this might seem obvious but I'm gonna throw it out there anyways, don't put your feet down lol. Finally, be wary if the waves are smaller (waist-chest) as these almost always break in much shallower water on the reef. Although it might seem counter-intuitive big surf is much less sketchy in regards to hitting the reef. Also, I've heard St Thomas gets good surf but only when cold fronts drop through so its most likely gonna be hit or miss. Just bring your laptop or something on the cruise and keep an eye on the forecasts and most importantly the local buoys wherever you're stopping. Good luck, wish I was headed to the Caribbean instead of currently flat as h3ll Florida...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    MD - VA
    Posts
    4,335
    "... if you can tell me some information about surfing whether there is or not there is so i shouldnt waste my time researching about it..."

    There's a lot of info in the posts on this forum, but you gotta dig a bit. If doing a bit of research on other surf cultures / spots is too much 'work' on your keyboard, ah, maybe you should stay put.

    If you do go to the DR, Cabarete is the place & Encuentro is the main break. Go early (dp) 'cause the winds come up every day mid-to-late morning & then it's kite surfing. Leave nothing of value in the car or on display in your hotel room. Respect the local guys at Encuentro (it gets crowded).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Out on the island
    Posts
    467
    Not to be buzzkill, but how much surfing can you do while on a cruise? might be more fun to enjoy your time on the boat and do the sight seeing thing at port. leave the board at home and if you do get a chance to surf, rent a board. think of it as a recon of places you might want to travel to one day for a proper surf trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    2,210
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeZnaty View Post
    haha sorry i just want to be prepared because i will have only a day for each island but your right ill take it easy and go with the flow and be stoked if there are any good swells when i arrive
    Right on dude. Have Fun, relax, soak up some sun and catch some choice waves for us here wishing we were in boardshorts : )

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Peajay4060 View Post
    Not to be buzzkill, but how much surfing can you do while on a cruise? might be more fun to enjoy your time on the boat and do the sight seeing thing at port. leave the board at home and if you do get a chance to surf, rent a board. think of it as a recon of places you might want to travel to one day for a proper surf trip.
    This really is the best advice you've been given. I've only been on one cruise but have talked to several people that have been on a few and have seen the itineraries of many. The logistics of what you want to do are doable with A LOT of hassle and $$$ and a fair amount of risk of spoiling the cruise for your parents.

    So you are going to get up real early grab your board and head to the shuttle boat that will bring you ashore. You did remember to make reservations for the shuttle right??

    Don't forget to apologize to everyone you wack with the tail of your board every time you swivel your head around looking for the mysto cloudbreak you are going to score!

    You get to shore and look for the cab driver that will forgo carting rich old people around the island while chatting with friends and chicks while the geezers shop. Just so he can take you to the beach and hope you don't loose your spare change that you'll use to pay him for the ride. Remember, the meter is running until you get back to the dock. How much does a personal driver cost for the day?

    Well maybe he can sell your passport that you give him to hold since you don't want it to get wet. Will he be there when you get out of the water? I'd say chances are 30% on a good day.

    If you don't get a foot full of sea urchins or scrape all the skin off your elbow and need to see a doctor how are you going to get back to the boat? You brought local currency with you didn't you? Do you have the number for the cruise line that doesn't dump you into phonetree hell at the reservation office in Michigan? You may need that at the police station or hospital. Did you bring a waterproof phone with you or will you leave one on the beach? Wave goodbye to it as you enter the water.

    You find another cabbie and say you want a ride to the dock where the cruise ships come in. What's the name of the marina? Which one of the docks? It's an island, they're everywhere. Oops, it rained hard last week and the regular road is washed out so you take the old road/goat path along with everyone else on the island. Stuck in traffic, damn. He's late for his siesta so he drops you off at the first dock he sees, takes the rest of your change and tells you to walk one block and take a left. Damn, wrong dock and you're broke. Maybe the next guy will trade you a ride for your board.

    You'll need to inform your parents you aren't dead/hurt and will be late. Oh yeah, make sure they can find a way to get the old salty captain of the city sized ship to hang around the dock for a little while until you get there. It wouldn't hurt to find out which other international cruise ships will be taking you ship's spot in the harbor. Let them know too so they can inform their guests they will be docking a little late.

    I completely understand your enthusiasm but Murphy and Darwin await your abundance of stoke and lack of experience.

    All for waist to chest high surf. I could go on but.......

  9. #9
    Wow! You seem really excited! Good for you - Ignore the downers. Take your surfboard, you will use it in SJU. I'm going to assume, for the sake of discussion, that your cruise originates in SJU. That gives you two days there (incoming and outgoing), which is a good thing, but I'll start with the other places:

    Philipsburg St. Martin: No surf. If you want to take the road less travelled, you will need a car to get to the other side of the island. There is a spot on the bay to the right of Orient Bay (you turn right instead of left to get to the beach. If you see naked people you are close, but on the other side of the point) that requires some paddling to get to. There is a windsurf rental place there with Fanatic (a windsurf brand) flags flying. You can ask there, but basically you just paddle straight out to the reef that is at the mouth of the bay.

    It is probably not worth the hassle to get there and then have to paddle for a while, but go if you must.

    St. Thomas, USVI: Been there a bunch of times, but never surfed. Given the geography, I would imagine you have to get to the north shore to find any surf. Cruise ships dock in a big bay in Charlotte Amalie on the opposite side of the island, so it will be a bit of a trek, probably. Not sure.

    Samana, DR: Surfing is in Cabarete. Too far and difficult to get to. I would stay on the ship and drink some margaritas (if you're over 21 ) and find a seņorita to keep me company.

    Your best bet: San Juan:

    There will be plenty of taxis and you may even be able to rent a car. If you have two days (incoming and outgoing from the cruise) or if you are staying an extra night you will be set.

    La Ocho: Mainly a longboard spot with a laid back vibe. Don't be a tool and you will have a great time. You can either sit inside on a shortboard, in which case you will be left with the scraps the longboarders don't take, or you can paddle over to the left in front of some ruins and concrete stairs on the side of the hill for a steeper wave that is more shortboard friendly, but it is a shorter ride.

    Fiji is in the same place, but on the other side of a little island that sits off the beach. I wouldn't paddle out there without local knowledge 'cause it is reefy-er.

    There is parking on site for $5 and you can take your cell phone, just leave it in the locked car and out of sight.

    Chatarra: Don't even think about it. A) You have to be an expert to pro level surfer when it is barreling and B) This is where locals go to prove themselves so kookyness is not tolerated.

    Aviones: A zoo. Between the surfers, the spongers and the crowd you will be lucky to catch one wave per hour. Go to Playero (the surf store in old san juan) instead, and buy the shirt with the cartoon of aviones with a gazillion people on it.

    La Bomba: Beach break with some rocks. Usually blown out unless you get on it really early. It will do in a pinch, but Meh.

    Islita: Can be nice if there is a very large swell running and no wind. Because waves get diminished by an outside reef, this place (as well as Pine Grove) are only worth it if the outside reefs are too big, say over a 10' ocean swell. I would only paddle out there with company, just in case.

    Pine Grove: Is a sandy beach break where all the beginners congregate. If there is a strong easterly wind (typical trades), this is the most protected place in the metro area. But again, it will only break on big swells. Lots of foam boards, long boards and **** draggers, but since everyone knows its a beginner break, nobody will get in your face.

    If you use the Ritz Carlton as a reference, Pine Grove is in front and to the right, Islita is a ten minute paddle to the west, close to a little island you can see from the beach.

    Caballos is the above mentioned outside reef way out and to the east of Islita/Pine Grove. A very long paddle and a large wave. I would not venture out there without a boat and certainly wouldn't paddle out there by myself.

    Punta las Marias, is also a long paddle out - maybe 15-20 minutes on a longboard, certainly longer on a shortboard. Waimea, Dominos and Sunset are to the west of Puntas, but similarly a long paddle out. If you were worried about a 30 min car ride, then this is not for you as you will spend more time paddling than surfing.
    These are all long paddle outs. All outer reefs.

    I think I covered most of the spots you mentioned. For more info go to www.comoestaeso.com There are webcams of Pine Grove, Islita and La Ocho there as well as a link to the weather buoy that sits just offshore of La Ocho.

    Oh yeah, and you probably won't need booties. Just don't put your feet down. I think falling flat on the surface of the water to avoid submerging your feet is a bad idea, especially if you happen to fall in front of your board, as that is an easy way to take a surfboard to the face.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Treasure Island , FL
    Posts
    265
    ^^^^ Good advice on PR if you can execute it, try and preplan all you can to save time. In St Thomas Hull bay is the spot if there is NW swell.