Tuesday, 30 April 2013

D.R. Destination: Approved!!

Helene F. and Antonio A.
Helene and I were enjoying the winter but an incredible craving for waves and warm water took over. So, we decided to plan a surf trip and we chose Dominican Republic. We selected the destination and hotel we were staying at without having a clue how amazing this trip would be. Just to start it off, Josh and Reva Madryga were planning their own trip and by coincidence we ended up staying at the same place. The food, the people and the place was amazing. But let’s get real the best part was the surf in Dominican…!

Our trip started with a small, tiny little issue: My bag never made it Dominican.

Htl. Casa Marina Beach - Photo by Helene F.
After we arrived at 4am to the hotel after a 3 hour bus ride we managed to get some sleep without killing anyone at the reception desk – they were being super fast registering the 15 people that were arriving with us. Of course some of these people were not aware of the time it was and were asking the most ridiculous and out of time and place questions ever. I had imagined people being oblivious to their surroundings up to this level but had never experienced it!

6.00 am I woke up and started jumping on the bed to wake Helene up. She looked at me sort of angry ‘OMG look at the time it is’. As soon as she remembered we were going surfing she jumped off the bed and we both were on our way to find our fellow Great Lake Surfer bro; Josh Madryga! We woke Josh and Reva early in the morning and told them about my missing bag. Happily and with the desire to get back to sleep they offered me Josh’s board shorts, shirt and fins – because everything I had for surfing was in my lost luggage as well as all my clothing! The good thing is that Helene’s carver was in her luggage and we were still able to carve around the hotel during the whole week (very important for surf training while your girlfriend is taking 5 minutes to get ready and go out somewhere very fancy like the buffet lunch.) Anyway, I got sponsored by Josh for the most part of my trip with clothes. Thanks Bro!!

Josh M. & Antonio A. - Photo by Helene F.
So we stole Josh from Reva for the next couple of mornings to go surfing. I am sorry Reva I promise I will not do it again if the opportunity comes! We drove up to ‘Encuentro’ beach on Josh’s rental 4x4. The drive was amazing. Helene and I were amazed at the large fields filled with different shades of green and Josh’s amazing driving skills! First turn we make and I read a sign saying “one way only” in Spanish and I start freaking out because Josh is driving exactly the opposite way! All this got cleared out later that day by our parking lot watch man aka ‘wachiman’ in Spanish. He explained that road as many other in Dominican are one way only up to a certain street and then they become double way. It can be messed up if you don’t know at which point the one way rule stops….

Photo by Helene F.
We arrived at ‘Encuentro’ after driving through a very sketchy entrance from the main road. Everything seemed to be abandoned and Josh pointed out there were some old resorts on the side that had been abandoned a long time ago. They looked creepy. The road was of asphalt up to a certain point and it had the most amazing and effective speed bumps Helene and I have ever seen. They are so smart and efficient over there. Instead of using more material to build speed bumps they just dig a deep whole from one side of the road to the other. Believe me the first time you speed over them you really get hurt even if you have the best suspension system in your car. After this experience you are ready to never again speed down that road EVER again. You want to go over them so slow that you wish there was negative speed to go very slow!!!

Photo by Helene F.
Oh my!!! We made to paradise on Earth! The place was so exotic just like in the pictures: 
Helene F. & Chicksticks - Photo by Antonio A.
beautiful jungle vegetation and a strip of beautiful beach right on the edge of it. Across the sand you see the ocean. Beautiful blue and green with perfect waves breaking inside! I almost got a heart attack of how big and clean it was. The heart attack was also partly to the amount of people at the point. Living in Toronto and surfing The Great Lakes I’ve grown used to tiny to no crowds at all. Jajaja Surfing that day at Destroyers point was EPIC! Some head high and overhead waves that day. The waves were rolling in nicely all the way from the back. It was a beautiful sight to see the set coming in big and solid. It was also scary and made all of us want to install an engine on our surfboards to paddle in faster and not get destroyed by the waves….! Of course, no engine on the boards – we ended up getting smacked by some large set and rogue waves. Have you noticed how ‘Rogue’ waves are most of the times much larger than ‘set’ waves? I knew this from before but man I remembered this reality in a very hard and shocking way!


 Antonio A. dropping a big one on the last day. - Photo sequence by Helene F.

Helene F. making friends - Photo by Antonio A.
I won’t lie, the first day was a rough day for Helene and I as we were just getting used to a whole new set of different things such as: temperature, water temperature, amazing hot weather, different large waves from the Lakes, new spot and a medium crowd of locals dropping their best waves at their local point break. I had some trouble adjusting my stand and board to this wave. Helene and I had some issues with the locals being a little bit “aggressive”. This is what we called them but in all honesty I think they were just being locals: they know the wave, the beach and therefore are going to go after the best waves more frequently. As long as you have the ability and right fitness to out paddle them you should have no issue with them! It took me a couple of days before I could start battling with the locals for the inside of a good wave and take it. After a few days of surfing and learning the spot locals started showing more respect when we were on our waves and they ended up being really friendly. I guess it is breaking the ice that is hard at times.
Antonio A. - Photo by Helene F.
I saw Josh working the inside of some great waves at Destroyers! Helene made some steep drops on the waves as well. I was surprised by how much of a charger she is. She will go after the big momma wave and make the drop on some waves I won’t go for. Definitely got to watch out for this Lake surfer as she is not joking around when it comes down to some good surfing! She even took waves from me on different occasions!!! I'm sure it has something to do with the 'chicksticks' spirit!

All in all, we all had a great time surfing in Dominican Republic and we would definitely make the trip to that very same spot again! Thank you mother nature for being so cooperative with the waves and awesome weather!

Good waves and few wipeouts!


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