All sorts of stuff going on down on the Northwest corner of the Enchanted Isle this winter connections being made, limits being pushed, and controversy swirling.
Freako in Puerto Rico
This first bit of news you may have read in the Moto Blog last week. Photog Ryan Miller wrote to let us know that none other than Travis Pastrana and his army of psychotics known as the Nitro Circus, were down tearing up the tracks in Puerto Rico.
Pastrana rode with crossover uberstar, Tarah Geiger, a little lady from a surfing family who happened to win Gold in the first ever X Games Women's Motocross race last summer.
The Gieger's also found themselves amidst a small "battalla" with the growing number of Stand Up Paddle surfers sweeping around the local waters. A friend reported to me that he actually saw a SUP'er swinging his paddle at a surfer in the water last week at Surfer's Beach.
Frequent ESPN Surf contributing Photog, Rachel Tanner, spoke with Becky Gieger at Surf Zone Surf Shop in Aguadilla, about the increasing tension between those with and those "sans" paddles.
"It's about time someone finally spoke up. I had the cojones to speak my mind and I'm not the only one who feels this way about Stand Up Paddle boarders in the lineup. The minute I saw them they looked like a bunch of clowns. I had to laugh," Gieger stated.
The now infamous SUP sticker with Bozo's clown-like figure as the rider is her brainchild. Friend and artist extraordinaire, Kurt Ziegler, put Becky's idea to paper (and eventually vinyl.)
"These people need to draw the line as to where they should be in the water. They are dangerous to mainly others, but, to themselves as well. One is a crowd. They should go to other areas outside of the surfing line-up."
Geiger mentions one violent confrontation already involving a SUP'er, her husband, and some flattening of tires. She says fists were thrown, police were called, but, no charges were pressed.
" If you need a crutch, you shouldn't be out there." Scathing words. Things are getting hot down there and it aint the equator. Now, as I've said before, these boards are great for flatwater training or goofing off on some shoal or reef. But they just don't belong in the line-up where people are actually surfing.
The final bit of news is more of a feel-good story. It starts up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Last fall, Puerto Rico pro, David Santiago was delivering blanks for distributor, Chris John, of out of South Carolina. Santiago bought some foam up to Shawn Vecchione, of Vecc Surfboards. He was so impressed with the shapes that he offered Vecc a place to stay in Puerto Rico.
David Santiago is an extremely personable guy. He is currently helping the new WRV Shop in Puerto Rico get going.
Vecc took him up on the offer, headed down last week, and was warmly welcomed by his Puerto Rican hosts. John had sent down some blanks, and Vecc whipped out his planer and shaped a few sticks in Greg Jaudon's shaping room. Jaudon glassed the boards and a host of Puerto Rican talent, including Jorges Nico, Juan Derrio, Victor Aponte, Freddy Matienzo, Flavo, and Santiago jumped on them.
"Everything just fell into place. I was totally taken care of and we were all trading off these endless left barrels," said Vecc.
And the best news for the Island is the series of swells looking to filter in next week.
Buenos Suerte! Jon Coen