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Brits Abroad: Tanya Saleh in Puerto Rico

10:08 25th February 2013 by Amy Carter
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Over the winter many of the UK’s windsurfers head to sunnier climes, but who’s going where and why? In this feature we will regularly catch up with a variety of windsurfers who are seeking some winter sun and wind.

Next up Quatro and Goya rider, Tanya Saleh has been on some incredible trips of late and she now reports from Puerto Rico.

Tanya Saleh

Tanya Saleh

Where are you? 

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. This place is insane! Like a cross between Mexico, South America, and the Carribean with sick waves and really friendly people.

What conditions have you had recently? 

The main spot to sail here is called Shacks and it’s usually float out and ride in wave sailing. It’s not the most consistent place which is probably why PR isn’t famous for windsurfing, but we’ve had it pretty good and been on the water about 60% of the time. The waves have ranged from small knee high to well over mast high close out bombs.

The best days have been those somewhere in between when it’s cleaned up nicely. Shacks can’t handle a big swell so it just resulted in giant closeouts everywhere. Getting out with the flukey wind on the huge days was like the gauntlet. Shacks is on our doorstep but if you want flat water you could drive to Dorado (two hours) which has a big lagoon inside the reef. The only way to drive here is just like the Puerto Ricans; break lights and indicating are not necessary and if in doubt, floor it!

I’m really loving getting into surfing these days and there are some great waves around the north west of the island. Because of the inconsistent wind, this is probably a better destination for windsurfers who also like surfing, kitesurfing, or island exploring. If you are expecting to be windsurfing every single day then this definitely isn’t the place for you.

Tanya Saleh

Tanya Saleh

Who have you been sailing with?  

At the most there has been about six windsurfers on the water – this is why I’m super happy to sacrifice consistent conditions for uncrowded waves. Andrew Heighton-Jackson was here which was fun, but he’s now sailing around the BVI’s. Particularly entertaining (well worrying at the time, but now we can laugh), when he attempted to get out back at Dorado in over mast and a half, got sucked down wind with the current and had to clamber an obstacle course of rocks and break walls to self rescue back. Both he and his kit made it back totally unscathed. Legend.
Up here at Shacks I’ve been sailing with PWA judge and French comedian, Frank, and his local crew from Marseille. Everyone is shredding it and managing to avoid the multitude of urchins and really shallow reef……. on the most part.
Darin unfortunately broke a rib during the first week so he’s been beach bound with the camera for a few days :)
Tanya Saleh

Tanya Saleh

What equipment have you been using most of the time? 

I’ve been using my Quatro 78 litre quad LS and a 4.7 Banzai. I am in love with this combination; 78 litres is usually a pretty big board for me but this one is something else. It gives me the extra volume to get out easily in light winds, but I don’t feel over-boarded at all on the way in. It always used to be a sacrifice on the wave if I went out on a larger board; I knew it would feel like too much on the wave, but not anymore. This board is awesome, and the Banzai’s are super light and really responsive. Thanks Zero Gravity!

What’s in store for you next?

We leave here at the end of this week and then back to Bristol. In a couple of weeks I’m heading to San Diego for a little surf and hopefully by the time I get back to the UK again it will be warming up. To be honest I’m then planning on staying put in the UK for a while, I’ve finally gotten to know some of the South Wales windsurfing crew (who are awesome) and getting the spots dialed so I’m looking forward to some sailing around home over spring. In the pipeline for summer could be a revisit to Baja; I miss it so much after having left San Diego, and we might try to time that around the AWT.

Tanya is sponsored by Zero Gravity Distribution, Quatro, Goya sails and Mormaii.
  1. Francisco

    Great article about PR but even though shacks and Dorado are good spots. There are many others specially in San Juan ( Caballos, Punta las Marias) and Aguadilla ( Surfer Beach) That week I windsurfed epic days at Puntas las Marias with 5.2 and 84 liter board with 5-8 foot waves and 20-25 knots wind. My friends challenged El Caballo which rivals any spot in the world. It’s insane when it’s on. Mast high, clean and windy. The downside is that it’s far from shore. Puerto Rico is a world class windsurfing spot without the crowds. Thanks for visiting. I hope to see you next time hopefully you can try Puntas or Caballos in San Juan. I will love to windsurf with you and learn from the pros. You will fall in love with the place.

  2. Adrian Maruñak

    Nice Goya sails and board, quatro!!

    1. Tanya Saleh

      Yea Adrian! They rock!

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