Surfrider: Rincón, PR

La Oficina de Surfrider Foundation. Rincón Chaper

Surfrider Beach Cleanup at Playa Maria
During my trip to Rincón, PR, I was stoked to meet this group of like-minded folks from the local Surfrider Chapter. Their crew consists of an awesome mix of surfers, ocean protectors, animal lovers, and other environmental and community oriented people of all ages. I was warmly welcomed in as a volunteer. I helped out at a couple of beach cleanups, attended a chapter meeting and even found a few super mega awesome surf buddies!

Current Projects

Surfrider Rincón is busy with multiple projects and initiatives so I am touching on just a few highlights from my visit. Please check out their web site to learn more about everything that is going on here now, what will be happening in the near future and to see all of the hard work that this group has already done to honor and protect this beautiful place.

Rise Above Plastics
During tourist season, Rincón is the kind of fun and happening place where drinking of multiple rum bevvies is as natural as surfing all day and getting sunburned. Working with local businesses to eliminate single use plastic cups and straws is one of their primary goals, as is eliminating plastic bags. Perhaps one day in the near future, everyone will travel with their own little sippy cups and get 10 cent discounts for rum punch refills but until that day, it is necessary to continue bringing awareness to plastic waste in our oceans so that we can break the cycle.

Blue Water Task Force
Surfrider Fundacion, Rincón has a strong ethic regarding their water quality testing. Testing the water on a regular basis provides water quality results and helps to pinpoint problems. With numbers in hand, this provides leverage and heightens public awareness for potential improvement projects as needed.

water samples to be processed
Because the BWTF is a totally volunteer driven project, they are always looking for willing recruits and what better place to start than with the younger generation? A 2-day field trip was set up to teach the fine art of water testing to a great crew of students from MAS Integrated School. Day one was a real life science project and was spent taking samples and learning the process for collecting, packaging and testing. Day two was finding out the results. Day two also included a viewing of Surfrider's epic animation: "Know Your H20" followed by a pizza party. Great kids and an awesome job of Wes, Sandy, Steve and the whole surfrider team for putting this together.

Steve and Wes teaching kids the science of water quality monitoring

Protecting the Beaches (and Other Good Stuff!)
Ongoing projects include planting trees and other native plants around major surf spots. In anticipation of big events, walkways are installed to reduce foot traffic through fragile areas and lessen impact on the ecosystem. Surfrider Rincón works closely with event vendors to keep these amazing surfspots clean and to ensure that litter stays out of the ocean.

The most recent big event was the Rip Curl Pro Tour held at Middles near Isabela - about a 30 minute drive north of Rincón (if you can drive Puerto Rican-style). All of the pros were here and many more spectators. The alternate location was a spot called Wilderness so preparations needed to be made for both.

In the near future there will be a major surf competition held at Domes, right in Rincón. It will be a crazy event. You can count on it!

Upcoming Surfrider Event
If you are in Rincón on March 11th 2011, you will most certainly want to stop by The Rum Shack at The Lazy Parrot for what is sure to be a fun-filled event with live music by The Supertones. There will also be a complimentary buffet, raffle, surf slideshows and more!

Come spend happy hour with Surfrider Rincón and meet a few of the awesome folks who work to protect this little piece of heaven. Be a part of the community, have fun and support a great cause. Sounds good to me!

Super extra special thanks to Jim, Angela, Justin, Steve, Shannon, James, Jason, Roger, Rina, Wes, CC and the ENTIRE Rincón crew for being so welcoming. It sure was swell. You have a new friend in Boston should you ever decide to venture out of paradise. Just remember to bring a wetsuit!

Additional Information can be found here:
Surfrider, Rincón »
Rise Above Plastics »
Plastic Free Ocean »
Blue Water Task Force, Rincón »
Surfrider's Blue Water Task Force »
Know Your H20 »

Satos: Special Dogs.

Satos: Special dogs.
Sato is the term used for Puerto Rican street dogs. Satos are usually of mixed breed, often quite smart and usually easily domesticated. Over the past few weeks I have concluded that Satos are also extra special little creatures that have all the potential for being wonderful companion pets.

Street dogs are abundant in Puerto Rico so it is no suprise that less than 24 hours into my journey, while in Guanica, I already had a couple of Sato experiences under my belt. The first is a super happy story about two satos, Tashi and Domino, who were left at the front gate of my friend David's hotel, Mimi's Guesthouse. Even though he already owned a dog (Simon), David took them in as his own and they have been regulars at Mimi's ever since. Isn't that a nice story?

Tashi and Domino

The second story is the reality check. Four puppies had, again, been left at the gate the day before I arrived. Each unbearably cute with little bandanas around their necks. Someone knew perfectly well what they were doing when they dressed these guys up and abandoned them at the end of the road. Two of them followed us on our half mile walk down to the crystal clear swimming hole yipping and howling the whole way, literally under our feet. I had mentally prepared for this, but it was still heartwrenching.

newly adopted little guy is going to live in New England!
While in Rincon, I saw loads of adorable puppies up for adoption as well as many big hearted people who were either fostering or had recently adopted. Mango surfshop has an entire very small operation devoted to helping out as many as they can at a time. I met an awesome surfer couple, Christie and Hector, who had just rescued a tiny puppy named Marea from the gutter. There are countless others.

There is no doubt that Puerto Ricans love their pets, but what to do about all of the homeless ones? It would seem that it is part of the culture not to spay and neuter - especially the males. Machismo certainly plays a tough role here. You can feel it in the line up when you are out surfing. This is not a soft and fluffy place even when the waves are small. Also, real men's dogs have balls.

Adopta Me!
Organizations like Save a Sato and A.R.F. work diligently to foster and place Satos in loving homes. A.R.F. runs events to help people get proper vaccinations for their pets and to schedule spaying and neutering. They also do a lot of fundraising to help satos as much as they can. I was grateful for the opportunity to help out at an A.R.F. event with fellow Catabrigians and Rincon regulars, Jody and Christine. While vaccinations were happening, there were a select bunch of satos in foster care that were being shown around for potential adoption. I think we all fell a little in love that day.

ru roh. more puppies for adoption.
One day, when I am at a place in life where I can get a dog, I know where I will find my four legged companion.

If you are thinking about adopting a dog, please consider a Sato! More info at:
A.R.F. »
Save a Sato »
413Geek »

Sandy Paws