Learning to Surf in Rincon at 47 Years Old
Surfing, Learning to, in Puerto Rico is Perfecto!! Warm Caribbean Water!
On March 1st 2011 I caught and rode my first wave - 46 years old. YEAH!!!
Catching a wave wasn't as difficult for me. But riding the wave has been a real challenge. Now I can see why surfers in California go 6am before work. I can see how you'd want to surf beyond your vacation days. Unfortunately on March 1st, later in the day, i pulled a lat or intercostal muscle. I sneezed and i think from paddling so much my side muscles were vulnerable. About 45 days later i still feel the pain. But i am trying to surf even with the pain. Vacation or no vacation ..... surfing is way more a life style than a vacation style. La vida es disfrutar!!!
If you are thinking of coming to Rincon PR to learn to surf you'll need a place to stay. we are big supporters of Rincon.org, the Tourism Association of Rincon Puerto Rico. you'll find lots of businesses and services ... plus general information to plan your Rincon PR vacation.
We have a small affordable spot we share with family and friends. If you are low maintenance, respectful, responsible and mellow people you might find our vacation rental a match. but check out the youtube video and all the details in the rental document to make sure it is a comfortable option for your Rincon vacation needs.
Also check out SurfWestPR.com for surfing vacation planning in Rincon, Aguadilla and Isablea. If you like other activities Rincon Vacations has the scoop on all kinds of activities throughout the island. for eating in and around Rincon Puerto Rico see the Buen Provecho (website and booklet). Remember to put some water and dog food out for the sweet Rincon dogs while you beach-it. Consider adopting or helping out a Rincon animal while you are on vacation.
Remember this is Puerto Rico - relax ... don't be so uptight .... things are different here and that can be a great thing!
I am living full time in Rincon, but there are lots of Rincon Tourist Vacations going on this March 2011. It has been a challenge surfing with all the vacationers. That makes it funny to say March 1st 2011 was the day i caught my first rides. I went out once in the AM and rode two waves. It was a blast. So I went out later in the PM and again i was able to ride a wave. So maybe all the tourists brought me good luck? Nay, i think it is like every experienced surfer says ..... it just takes time in the water.
As it dies down around Rincon in the next few months i hope to blog better this March surfing experience ... but for now I wanted to document the date.
Yesterday i went out twice. The late morning session (surfer speak which i love, for the period you go out to surf .. duh) was okay. The sunset session was perfection! Glassy. Small. Peaceful. Beauty. Surfing Maria's Beach can sometimes make you feel like you are snorkeling while you are surfing because the water is so clear and there is so much Ocean life (rocks, fish, elkhorn coral, etc.) But why do i remember seeing elkhorn coral while i was trying to ride that wave? Because my head was down! Why did i fall off the board? Maybe, because my head was down! This is the beauty i remember seeing.
And i remember falling off every one of the 5 or so waves i caught. I feel like i have never stood before in my life. So here is what i should be doing and i will now be concentrating on. I believe i do it all wrong currently.
(1) Feet facing across the deck of the surfboard
(2) Knees bent
(3) Hips pushed forward placing more weight on the front leg
(4) Arms up, this is your balance, if you feel yourself falling pull your lead arm back to the centre line of the deck and try to stay stable.
(5) Head up and looking forward, where you look is where you go
I have more luck doing the Boarding House 'crawl' pop up (mentioned in a previous post). But, for me, surfing is the smallest of advances. To say i have more luck with the 'crawl' pop up means i can do the 1st of the many parts of it. I can get my feet on the board, but i can not balance. Even when i crawl pop up at home on the yoga mat (with ink markings on the mat to denote where my feet should land) or when i crawl pop up on the board on the bed - i fall over once my feet get to the board. I actually feel off the board/bed and landed on my ass once! However! getting my feet (the soles) on the board is a huge accomplishment for me. I have been able to catch waves in the Ocean. If i stay squatted i 'ride' them a bit. I actually dropped down the face of the wave the other day at Pistones (in between Maria's & Tres Palmas). But all in all, if the wave is over 2ft i chicken out. Getting some balls is definitely a surfing hurdle for me on my quest to surf in puerto rico.
I recommend trying to crawl pop up if you are having trouble popping up. Again, it was told to me by an experience and big wave surfer. I need to paddle out into the line up with him and watch him do it. Because I almost don't believe anymore experienced does a crawl pop up.
even though i haven't been posting i have most certainly been trying to surf. i am getting lots of encouragement from established surfers. just yesterday a surfer i have never seen before said "i have seen you out here before, you sure are dedicated" ... and then he proceeded to give me some tips. i have found nothing but generous and helpful surfers in the Rincon water. i'm sure if i was out on bigger days i might encounter some "out of the way" yells ... and they would be justified.
so my current situation is i have no issue paddling or catching a wave - my issue is with the popup. looking back on it, most of my instructors must have assumed i knew how to popup because no one took me thru the LAND POPUP EXERCISE you see so many doing.
i have gotten two popup techniques i need a few more times in the water to evaluate - and i imagine both will be helpful and depending on your muscles or lack of both work for different people
1st is from Surf787 and it is the 'arms under/beside shoulders - push chest up - feet on the board - popup with feet under you'
2nd is from The Boarding House and it is the 'arms under/beside shoulders - push chest up AT THE same time bring your back leg (leg leash is on) up to a frog position - using 2 hands and 1 leg/foot as 3 point stabilization on the board - putting the frog leg/foot where ever you feel needed for the size wave - popup with feet under you'
i'll let you know.