North American SUP Destination: Rincón, Puerto Rico
With over 15,000 residents and more than eight miles of coastline, Rincón is a seaside paradise, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Known as the "Town of Beautiful Sunsets" or "The Surfing Capital," the quaint town of Rincón is a lot more than that.
For standup paddling, the north side offers strong trade winds, perfect for an afternoon downwind session. You can also paddle flat water on the south side over the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve and, if you're lucky, enjoy a paddle with manatees, dolphins or sea turtles. The marine life is beautiful and abundant, so make sure you take your snorkeling gear with you! A bar-hopping paddle tour is always a possibility with lots of world-class bars, hotels and restaurants right along the coastline, where you can enjoy fresh seafood, great steaks and sip on exotic rum drinks served in coconuts.
Puerto Rican cuisine is also out of this world. If you want to understand any culture, go try their food. From very rustic to sophisticated, try pinchos, empanadillas, rice & beans and mofongo, just a few of the local favorites. And don't worry about the calories, a good paddle will take care of that!
Every spring Rincón is the host of one of the biggest SUP races in the Caribbean. The Rincón Beachboy Paddle Race draws hundreds of competitors from all over the world and thousands of spectators to enjoy what we call the "Biggest SUP Party with a Race." It's the one event you don't want to miss.
And every winter, surfers from around the world are drawn to Rincón for a chance to catch the wave of their life. Many SUP surfing spots in Rincón are not for the faint of heart. With powerful Atlantic waves and many reef breaks you need to be in tip-top shape and very experienced to venture out at many spots. Luckily, there are a large variety of spots that can offer more manageable conditions. If you are planning a paddle surf trip to Rincón we recommend following surf etiquette and steering away from crowds. There are plenty of surf shops, surf schools and rentals available.
Come down to Rincón, we'll take care of you. In Rincón, mi casa es tu casa.
—Tito Mendez is one of the organizers of the Rincón Beachboy.
This article originally ran in our Summer 2014 Issue as part of the “Paddle Town Battle” feature.
But what makes a good place to live and paddle? Is it access to the water? Is it a nice place to live? Is it the people? We debated. There were so many questions to answer that we formed categories: proximity to types of paddling (ocean surfing, whitewater, flatwater, downwind, river surfing), community (races, shops, people), off-the-water amenities (breweries, eateries, yoga studios) and influence (what role this place has played in the sport). Then you spoke loudly and proudly. You told us why your town or city was the best place to be a standup paddler. In the end, the people of Puerto Rico rallied around beautiful and diverse Rincón to put it at the top of the bracket. We let the locals tell you why their town made our Top 10.
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