Enchanted Island / by Erik Schwab / part 1

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard that the Caribbean has been going off this year.
NYSEA caught up with Erik Schwab / Salty Visionz after his trip down south. Check out full story and photo gallery below by Erik Schwab.
Traveling to Puerto Rico never ceases to surprise me, which is probably one of the reasons I always find myself heading back to the “Enchanted Island” as it is known. With just a few days notice I bought a ticket, rented a car and made a few calls to my buddies who spend their winters down there. Before I knew it I was heading down into some serious swell on the infamous Jetblue red eye flight.
After spending the week down there surfing and hanging with a crew who have spent a large part of their winters in Puerto Rico, I began to see something I’ve never seen before when I hang with the same guys in New York; some of them are on a VERY different level. I’ve always looked up to a lot of these guys and have fully respected them for their surfing abilities, but this trip made it clear why some of them are significantly better surfers then myself.
Hawaii was humbling for me but I didn’t put myself around surfer’s who were pushing the limits. Being in down there with these guys and seeing the various slabs, the grinding reef break tubes of Aguadilla, and of course the east coast’s big wave spot everyone knows as Tres Palmas helped me to see that Puerto Rico has A LOT of personality in the wave department provided you have the cojones to go charge it. And let me tell you; the NY guys like Leif Engstrom, Kurt Rist, Balaram Stack, Grant Monaghan, Pat Havlick, TJ Gumiela, Jeff Anthony  Tyler McGuire, Tyler Davis, Pat Fallon, Jason Hewitt, Alex Fawess, and Matt Wunderlich were charging it!
I consider myself a pretty good surfer that can handle some pretty serious surf but hearing stories over a few Medalla’s each night of guys breaking boards, leashes breaking, getting dragged across dry reef, and even clinging to rock walls to escape the ocean’s wrath had me looking at things in a new perspective.
Ended up spending my week linking up with a few of those guys for some photos, and finding my own spots where fewer people were out. As my own personal victory I even ended up surfing Tres Palmas at about 10-12 foot which turned out to be an unreal experience. There is no better feeling then dropping in on a giant glassy bomb early in the morning over crystal clear water!
To make a long story short the swell pumped for the entire week, and the photos I grabbed while I was there are the evidence! As crazy as all of this sounds, remember that these guys train and have prepared for the situations that they put themselves into. I am confident saying that I was fully prepared to surf the waves that I did. The ocean can be a beautifully scary place so make sure you know what you are getting yourself in to BEFORE you paddle out. Rest in peace to the gentleman whose life was taken by the ocean in Rincon while I was there last week.  – Erik Schwab
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