“There are three lanes for driving in Puerto Rico: Slow, stoned and drunk.”
Going to San Juan for skateboard-related reasons isn’t exactly new. Mainland skateboard companies have been going there for years. However, it does seem that Puerto Rico trips have been occurring with greater frequency for northeasterners recently. Miami, the go-to northeastern getaway for someone uninterested in a L.A. trip, has been getting more blown out and tougher to skate. Unless you’re packing ten dudes in a van and driving 1,200 miles, travel to P.R. is not much different: an extra 45 minutes on a plane and roughly the same ticket price. As a result, you get to be on an island with warmer water, newer spots, fewer distractions, and best of all, you’re not in Florida.
Alexander Mosley & friends. Guest tricks from Billy Rohan, Ferni & Alberto. Alternate YouTube link.
San Juan is not very foreign. Everyone speaks English, your phone is going to work without any add-ons, there are Wal-Marts everywhere, and they use American currency. “Miami but tighter” became a common description throughout the trip. (That’s only pertinent to the skateboard-concerning side of things. Miami is far better for a variety of other extracurricular endeavors.)
The city is easy to get around, though you’re not going to be doing much pushing in the street on account of the ground. There are some areas where skating spot-to-spot is feasible, but your life would be made easier with a bike or a car, which runs about a third of what the average car rental in New York would cost. The spots themselves are reminiscent of the sort of things people skate in Brooklyn. Not the best plazas, but good enough and you don’t get kicked out.
There are marble ledges, banks and steps at government buildings and monuments, in addition to a little downtown financial area. The rules with those are the same as they would be in any American city: you’re going to get kicked out, just keep trying, hope you get lucky, repeat.
Shame about the puddle…
The sheer definition of a D.I.Y. spot requires that it be in some corner of a city that society has neglected. San Juan’s D.I.Y. spot (Punta las Marias A.K.A. what Billy Rohan renamed “12th & A by the Sea”) is on a foundation that sits maybe ten feet away from a main street, and ten feet from the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a guy that sells coconuts in front of it for $2 or a dozen oysters for $10.
“The only food handler’s regulation in Puerto Rico is that the food needs to be in an aquairum with a lightbulb in it.”
If you have a place to stay, the $300 ticket from JFK is worth it this winter. We unfortunately picked the 45-degree week nestled between Polar Vortex 1 and Polar Vortex 2 for our trip. Miami in its prime probably had better spots, but when you can skate decent ground at an okay spot with a view like this, who really cares?