Chuck Patterson is freaking awesome. I love that guy. So flattered that he took us up on the opportunity to share two weeks in Rincon. Sure sounds easy, but when the waves go flat, that's when your character is tested. Yeah, we had plenty of surf before Chuck arrived. Shoulder high and dropping for five days straight. But the day Chuck landed on the island, the Caribbean Sea turned into a pond. Fortunately, the trade winds were firing which gave us a chance to show off some of Puerto Rico's killer kiting spots.
My buddy Ryan from Radical Rincon Kiteboarding
accompanied me to the airport to make the pick up. Chuck rolled out of baggage claim with plenty of gear which we quickly loaded into the van then headed north to Shacks. Ryan and I had kited Shacks the day before as a trial session in preparation for Chuck's arrival. We could see that the surf was going to be flat, so it was time to line up the kite and windsurfing options.
Puerto Rico is an easy place to show off. As soon as we arrived at the beach, I could tell Chuck was stoked. the wind was up, the ocean was white capping and there was a nice little right firing off the reef. Day one really set the tone for Chuck's visit. It was obvious that entertaining this living legend was going to be easy once we realized that he's just stoked on life. It didn't matter what we were doing, he was super fired up and ready to play. Our job was to keep him moving and keep him entertained. Easy to do in Rincon.
We kited and windsurfed up north and down south in the beautiful La Parguerra mangroves. La Parguerra is a very cool area with shallow waters, rows of mangrove trees, and lots of wind. We rented some flat bottom boats, loaded them with gear and filled the day with plenty of wind on water time.
After a few days, the surf forecast started looking promising. We had a swell in the window and it was only a matter of time before we'd be riding waves right out front of the villa. But we had a few more days to get though before the waves arrived. Fortunately, Rincon hosts the largest elk horn coral colony in the Caribbean and the snorkeling is epic. We snorkeled a ton. And with some coaching from Chuck, we soon learned a few key tactics to staying under water longer and traveling deeper. That's when we got the urge to do some hunting.
La Estacion is the most interesting retail shop in town. On one side you have a bar that never seems to close. On the other is a weapons room full of everything from broad swords to crossbows. You can buy almost anything in this place all while shooting Tequila or enjoying a cold cerveza. We purchased a few spears, a dive knife and some extra flippers then headed back to the villa.
There's a big difference between snorkeling with a spear and without. Instead of bobbing around looking at pretty fish, you're on the hunt for something edible. We found a few snappers and flounders for dinner and added them to the bag. Then before heading back, we spotted a pair of giant Caribbean lobsters. Chuck went into super human mode. While we were feeling pretty bad ass by hitting the 15 foot depth mark and cruising the rocky shelves for 40 or 50 seconds, Chuck was pushing the four minute mark 30 feet below and wrestling giant lobsters that looked pre-historic in shape and size. He wasn't going home without one of these guys. That night we dined in style while reviewing the GoPro images of the day and making plans for the ultimate morning of the swell's arrival.
There was plenty of speculation around town about the incoming swell. Some said it would be hyped but small, others predicted it would be double overhead. At this point, we were just happy to see a breaking wave. The ocean had been that flat. The morning the swell hit, we were all up early. I was sipping coffee in the dark listening to the sound that had been missing for almost a week. Breaking waves. I could tell from the sound, the swell had some size. Once the sky had turned from black to blue, I knew it was time to wake up Chuck. But that wasn't necessary. He was already running toward the beach all zinc'd up with his Hokua under his arm and his paddle in his hand. This guy was super pumped! No time to chat, he blasted right past me and was paddling to the line up before the sun was even visible.
We surfed for almost six hours that morning. The waves were epic and we were starved for waves. It was absolutely incredible to be out there in macking surf watching a professional waterman do his thing. The swell had finally arrived, and it was better than we'd expected. The waves were clean, overhead, and plentiful. I was ecstatic to finally make it through the waiting period and witness Chuck and the rest of the crew enjoying what we all came here to do. But that's also when I realized that today was no different than any other day of the trip. We were all together, on the water, smiling from ear to ear, and taking advantage of the conditions of the day. It didn't matter if the surf was flat or pumping, everyday everyone of us was stoked to be alive and excited to figure out the day. Kiting, windsurfing, paddling, diving, fishing, hiking, or surfing, it didn't matter. We were just pumped to be together living the dream and making the most of every day. Isn't that they way its supposed to be? I think so.
Mahalo for reading.