Florida surfers escape a cold snap and travel to Puerto Rico
and score one of the first N/NW swells of the season.

Story and photos by Ryan Clapper

Small medium and large best describes the surfing conditions we experienced in 7 days in Puerto Rico. The week started with small waist-chest high rights at jobos and a building medium sized swell for Thursday and then the big swell arrived on Friday lasting into the weekend.

We flew out of Orlando to Aguadilla, PR. The only down side about flying into Aguadilla is that the flight times run very late. Ours departed from Orlando @ 11:35pm and arrived in Aguadilla around 3:00am. (I did hear you can fly into San Juan at just about any hour of the day). We hopped in our rental and found Los Remedios on top of the hill in Jobos.

Sunday 11/16/08

After a couple hours of sleep we decided to wake up and hit the surf. The winds were blowing east for quite some time. So we surfed Jobos right by the rock and found plenty of semi clean rights breaking all day long. It was a packed beach day and all the locals were out enjoying their Sunday in Jobos.

About Surfing Jobos:
Lots of distractions can be found here. Babes, food, bars etc. It also holds some of the bigger crowds on the island where you will also find heavy localism at times. There are 3 main peaks that can be ridden depending on swell direction. The best wave can be found tightly tucked almost under the end of the natural rock jetty on a 4-6 foot North swell as it wedges when it hits the rock. Otherwise: lefts on the outer reef or rights and lefts on the inside sandbar. The bottom is flat and semi-sandy with very little hazards. You can score some very long rights off the rock jetty. Just keep in mind that if you ride a right all the way through, it's best to exit the water and walk back to the peak due to strong currents. Watch where you park there is some vandalism here. Jobos becomes unrideable after the swell exceeds 6-8', then it's time to head west.


Monday 11/17/08

We woke up fairly early again, checked the surf at Jobos and Middles, the swell was down around a foot from the day before. Jobos was still breaking some decent rights, but not off the rock like the day before.

We headed a little further east and did some exploring at Guajataka Beach, it's very beautiful with lots of scenery and some old ruins of a railroad tunnel through a mountain. I hear you can surf here but it was breaking right onshore.

We stopped at a local surf shop called Birdstown Surf and Skate. They were very friendly and handed us a good surf map of the Island and explained some of the breaks. If you have time definitely checkout Birdstown Surf Shop.

We got back to Jobos and surfed all afternoon into the evening. The surf was still on the small side, but there wasn't many people out and we caught plenty of fun waves. Glad we brought the fun shape!


Tuesday 11/18/08

More small surf, it was like a carbon copy of Monday. Jobos was uncrowded and we found plenty of small waves to surf all day. Even when the waves are small like this you can connect all the way through almost to shore quite easily. Sometimes it would throw an occasional left by the rock, and if you can connect, it's a lot of fun.

On the way down the hill to surf Jobos in the morning we had to detour around a Parade. We quickly found that Parades are quite common on the Island, there was even one at night. And you can hear the pickup trucks with HUGE speakers rolling through the neighborhoods almost anytime during the day or evening. There's no such thing as noise pollution in Puerto Rico, at least not in Jobos.


Wednesday 11/19/08

More fun surf at Jobos, it was just like the previous 2 days but maybe with another half a foot on it.

After a morning sesh I decided to do some exploring and make the 2+ hour drive east to checkout Old San Juan. You can hop on 22 which is a toll road and zoom there in about 2 hours. Once you get there you can head beach side and there it is! Lots of ruins, old churches, beautiful beaches can be found here. There was even a small mushy waist high wave breaking at the local beach.


Thursday 11/20/08

Matt McDuffee (the owner of Los Remedios) and his crew rolled into town in the early hours of the morning. They must have slept about 45 minutes and it was time to get up and check the surf. Our first stop was at Wilderness. The swell was just starting to arrive. It's a fun rippable wave with a small channel through the reef maybe about 6' wide (tops) to paddle out in.

We surfed all morning into the afternoon. The swell was definitely building. The wind seemed to be side shoring the waves more and more as the day went on so we headed further south to Rincon. We arrived at Maria's and the swell was around 3-4' and building quick. It must have been solid 6-7' by the time we got out of the water that night. The waves in Rincon were extremely fun!

About Surfing Wilderness: This place has some of the largest and most consistent waves in Puerto Rico. It has become increasingly crowded over the years so expect crowds, sometimes heavy. There are usually several peaks working, so the crowd spreads out evenly at times. This place starts breaking with a W/NW swell 4-5 feet and up and can take swells as big as 20 feet for those who have the right equipment and “cojones” to charge it. The current here is definitely not for beginners and the channel is almost nonexistent and often undefined. Observe carefully where you enter and exit the water. Watch the locals before you paddle out and see how its done. The wave can offer a heavy wall at times with a steep fast take off. Sometimes even an inside tube ride. Wilderness can break lefts or rights on any given day. Trade winds can actually be desirable here, as the shore on this side faces West and the predominant winds tend to hit it offshore.


Friday 11/21/08

It was on! The swell was here! Drill Sargent McDuffee had us up by 5am (it was like waking up @ 4am Florida time). Our first stop was downtown Aguadilla. The water was a little polluted, I even spotted someone's luggage floating through the lineup at one point. Plenty of swell was pumping through and a few different peaks were working here. But more importantly the entire Western part of the island was breaking!

Our next stop was Gas Chambers and Crash Boat. Gas Chambers looked a lot different from the cliff compared to watching it from the beach. Watching it from the beach was amazing!

About Surfing Gas Chambers: The wave jacks up and breaks in front of a sizeable cliff. Once someone drops in they are locked into a freight train ride like no other. The wave will pitch and spit into a gargantuan tube most of the time. You best pick a very fast line if you are to survive the ride. No leash can hold, a lot of boards end up grinded against the cliff. This spot only works on sizeable swell with west in it to make its way into this corner.

After a sesh at Gas Chambers I wanted to see the waves go off in Rincon. I checked Maria's but no one was out, so I watched Tres Palmas break some decent size waves, I'd say around 10' faces (small day for Tres) come through and plenty of surfers charging it with one guy doing tow ins. It was a lot of fun to watch! This was a place I'd only seen in magazines and videos. It was incredible to see these big waves in person.


Saturday 11/22/08

I extended my stay one extra day, it only ran me about $30 more with Jet Blue. But I would be crazy not too with a swell like this in Puerto Rico. Drill sargent McDuffee had us up again by 5am and we were in the water by 6 with plenty of light to work with. We surfed a place called The Mix, (just south of Wilderness). The waves had mellowed out from the day before.

Looking North towards Wilderness in the lineup you could sit back on your board and watch guys charge huge waves on the outside of Wilderness on the horizon. There were plenty of real fun waves to ride that morning, but the crowd started filling in fast around 7am.

After a decent morning sesh I had one thing left to check off on my list. I wanted to checkout one of the waterfalls in San Sebastian. It was a little hard to find, most of the locals said we couldn't miss it, but it was very easy to miss. After a few wrong turns we eventually found it. It rained quite a bit that day making a very slippery 1 mile hike down clay rocks nearly impossible. We sucked it up and made the hike anyway, it paid off, it was a killer waterfall!


Looking back on this vacation I didn't want to leave. I had did so much in 7 days it was amazing. There's so much to do in Puerto Rico. I stayed busy the entire time and really enjoyed my vacation. We had waves everyday that broke small at first, medium by Thursday and large on Friday and Saturday. Our stay in Puerto Rico had a little bit of everything. It was a complete vacation!

For more information on staying at Los Remedios you can checkout their website

YOU CAN Rent Los Remedios for only $150 per night (3 night min) or $850 per week.

The house is a large 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, two story, custom home, built in 1994. It is located in Bo Jobos, Isabela, Puerto Rico. At first glance, you’ll see that extra attention was paid to make it as comfortable and user friendly as possible. It is centrally located, in a pleasant neighborhood, on Puerto Rico’s North West coast. It is just 15 minutes by car from the Aguadilla airport. The house is off of the beaten path, but very close to all of the area’s favorite beaches and amenities. Jobos beach, the local favorite, is just down the hill and less than 5 minutes away. Several beachside restaurants and bars are located in Jobos. There is even a surfing school if you are interested.

The house itself has three separate air conditioned bedrooms. The master bedroom has a queen size bed, an ample closet with drawers, a bathroom with a stand up shower, a his and hers sink, and a Jacuzzi tub. The second bedroom has a queen size bed and an ample closet with drawers. The third bedroom has a bunk bed and an ample closet with drawers. The third bedroom also leads to the washer and dryer, which are available to our guests at no additional charge.

The kitchen is completely furnished with a refrigerator, convection oven, coffee maker, plates, silverware, glasses and coffee cups. The kitchen is adjoined to the dining room by a breakfast bar. The dining room table seats six.

The living room is furnished with a very comfortable chair, a 47” flatscreen TV, cable, DVD player, and a large corner couch that has a fold out bed. The house is wireless ready.

The house is tiled throughout. Situated in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean and well above sea level, there are some beautiful, cool, sea breezes. With the breezes, tiled floors, and ceiling fans, the A/C is not a necessity. Although unnecessary, the A/C will be available to use in the bedrooms while you sleep.

The front porch has patio furniture to enjoy the ocean view.
The lower portion of the house provides gated, covered parking for two, and an additional separate bedroom with storage, a TV with a DVD player, surfboard racks, and a futon. The downstairs also hosts a spacious outdoor patio with a hammock, a BBQ grill and patio furniture.

This can be your home away from home.

You can fill in this form for more info or call (813) 841-4126


Here's a couple of youtube videos I found on surfing this area.

Video on left was filmed during the bigger day on 11/21/08
Video on the right shows the potential of Wilderness