Best team rider Brandon Cordina presents a low down on this advanced point break that throws up classic wave kiting conditions
WORDS - Brandon Cordina
As a whole, Puerto Rico is known as the Maui of the Caribbean, boosting windy conditions driven by trade winds year round. Shacks Beach, located an hour-and-a-half north from San Juan, is one of the best reef point breaks for kitesurfing in the Caribbean. When searching for information about this spot little up to date information can be found. Most likely because of how good conditions really are and because in general you need to have some advanced skills. Great surfing, snorkeling, diving, food, and beach town vibes can be found in and around Shacks Beach.
Year round you can expect to ride a ten metre kite as most days are 15-20 knots. Wintertime is the best time of the year for waves from passing cold fronts shifting off the east coast of the United States, producing around three to five days a week of kite-able conditions. Summer is known as the flat time of year where it is windy almost every day fuelled by trade winds, but the only swells received are from passing hurricanes in late summer months.
Razor sharp reef, urchins everywhere, shallow water, limited rescue, 6-8 foot waves in winter. MUST BE ADVANCED RIDER
Rig big and launch at the south end of the beach, walking out on the white sandy spots if you don’t want to spend your day picking urchins out of your feet! The waves typically break in front of dry reef where you will find the locals dropping in deep. Get a feel for the line-up before catching a wave as it is a point break and there is a rhythm on who takes what wave. Don’t leave any valuables in your car as this place is known for break-ins. If you don’t know, ask somebody.
Aguadilla International airport is located about ten minutes from Shacks Beach. Almost all flights fly in and out around 3am for some reason, so be ready to arrive late and wake up early to not miss your flight! (Rates are about $200 round trip from Orlando, Florida with Jet Blue)
Renting a car is a must! I found that Enterprise had the lowest rates during my trip.
Not too big a deal... if you don’t cut people off. Ask the locals and they will direct you to where to go and where not to go. A busy day is a dozen kites out on the water.
SURF! You’re in Puerto Rico. Jobos beach is nearby with a great reef break in the morning before the wind gets on it. If you’re really looking to score head over to Rincon about 45 minutes from Shacks and check out what the area has to offer as the wind will stay side-off all day to keep the surf clean. While I was there Domes Beach was the place to be with 6-8 foot reef break waves.
One must do activity is to hike to the waterfalls in San Sebastian, about an hour from Shacks Beach. It's a pretty sketchy drive to get there but worth the trip. Google San Sebastian waterfalls to get in-depth directions! The fee is $5 per car.
WHERE TO STAY:
Finding a place to stay is relatively easy as there are many inexpensive places located on the surrounding beaches. My girlfriend and I stayed in a villa on the beach for about $100 a night with free breakfast just South of Jobos beach about five minutes from Shacks (with two queen beds, so split the cost if you are a group of four people).
When I go back will rent a house or apartment directly on Shacks Beach as they are about $115 a night for a studio.
For a more “Luxury” stay on Shacks Beach, look for Villa Montana, a resort located on the beach with rooms starting out at $220 a night.
WHERE TO EAT:
The surrounding areas have great food for a fantastic price. Listed below are some great eats.
-The Breakfast Club at Ola Lola’s (American Style Breakfast)
-Da Bowls (Acai Breakfast)
-One Ten Thai (Thai Style Dinner)
-Eclipse (Dinner, located at Villa Montana Resort)
Brandon Cordina rides for Best Kiteboarding. Find him at:
Facebook : www.facebook.com/brandon.cordina
Instagram : @Brandon Cordina
For the lowdown on more of the best kitesurfing holiday destinations, visit the travel section of the website - www.kiteworldmag.com/travel/