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SUMMARY
+ Consistently offshore
+ Quality pointbreaks
+ Warm, powerful waves
+ Easy access
+ Great weather
- Windy
- Heavy crowds and locals
- Lots of tourists
- Car crime
- Pollution/sewage problems
Kustom



Northwest Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Central America and The Caribbean


Tres Palmas, Steve Fitzpatrick

Surf Spots

Middles
Dunes (Puerto Rico)
Montones
Jobo's
Shacks
Table Top
Surfers Beach (Puerto Rico)
Wilderness (Puerto Rico)
Gas Chambers
Crash Boat
Bridges
Table Rock
BCs
Sandy Beach - Puerto Rico
Domes
Indicators
Maria's
Tres Palmas
Little Malibu

The Surf

Puerto Rico is to Florida what Hawaii is to California. It gets big, it’s exotic, and it has fierce locals. Located in what is regarded as the best corner of the Caribbean for surf, Puerto Rico’s premier surf spots are found on the north west corner of the island. The eastern or windward side is blocked by the Virgin Islands, the south coast only breaks on rare hurricane swells while the north coast is consistent, but often onshore and right next to the capital, San Juan. A deep-water trench offshore (the second deepest in the world) means N-NE swells hit the north shore with little loss in size and power. Although the waves can get very big the average winter conditions are around 4- 6ft (1.5-2m). Most spots break on flat reefs of coral and lava.



When to Go

Cold fronts coming off the US East Coast send N swells down towards Puerto Rico. These give waves from 2-15ft (0.5-5m) on the N and NW shores of the island, occasionally reaching 15-20ft (5-6m). The swells wrap onto the W coast giving clean, offshore conditions. E wind swells and occasional hurricanes in the Caribbean will produce waves in other parts of the island but the NW tip is by far the most consistent. The wind blows predominantly from the E, varying from 46% of the time in Dec to 71% in July. A NE wind is the winter standard, and SE is most common in the summer. The NE wind easily blows out the island’s north shore, although not the west coast. Tidal ranges are minimal but will affect many of the shallowest reefs. Tide charts are available in surf shops.

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell N -NE N -NE N -NE N -NE N -NE N -NE
swell size (ft) 4-5 3-4 2 1-2 4 4-5
consistency (%) 80 65 40 30 70 80
dominant wind NE -SE NE -SE E -SE E -SE E -SE NE -SE
average force F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 F4
consistency (%) 79 76 83 96 90 78
water temp (C) 25 26 27 28 28 26
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Population
San Juan - 1.6M

Coastline
501km (313mi)

Timezone
GMT -4h

Travel Information

Weather

Puerto Rico has an idyllic tropical climate, with winter highs of around 24°C (75ºF) and night-time lows that never drop under 15°C (58ºF) at the coast. It rains a lot, especially in the mountains and in Sept-Oct. On the coast there is no distinct wet and dry season. From June-Oct strong hurricanes occasionally hit the island and can cause considerable damage. Most of the time you will be fine surfing in board shorts, but a shorty may be needed for early, windy sessions.

Nature

Very American colonial feel to it, like Hawai’i. Great windsurfing and diving. On land there’s the El Faro maritime museum or the Arecibo Observatory. San Juan is the second oldest city in the Americas - El Morro is the place to go if you want to check the historic old town. There’s good hiking in the El Yunque rainforest national park. The nightlife is very lively.

Hazards

Shallow reefs, urchins and some very crowded spots. Localism can be extreme. Car theft is a definite concern. Sewage can be serious around the major cities. There is a high crime rate and lots of guns.

Hints

There are plenty of surf shops selling quality equipment cheaply. Try Ramey Surfzone, West Coast and Hot Wavz in Rincon. Wear sunblock in the water and mosquito repellent in the evenings.