I got invited to go on a 15 day escape, involving a paradise through out the Southern island know as Puerto Rico. The Island consisting of: crystal clear waters, the only United States owned natural rainforest, beautiful woman, and a “bricky” (Dave Bachinsky) from Lowell, Massachusetts not knowing a lick of Spanish. This is our adventure leading up to the 2nd Annual Prince of Puerto Rico Contest ran by Manny Santiago.
PUERTO RICO VIDA
The first five days we stayed in a city right outside of San Juan on the Eastern coast called Luquillo. The local restaurant owner of Pasta y Pueblo – Freddy, let us stay at his house right across the street from the beach. Each night Coqui frogs calling & our hammocks swinging on the patio while we enjoyed falling asleep listening to the ocean crash. Early mornings Manny & I got straight to work. A 30 minute drive to a small town named Noguabo where the ESTA skate park wasWe had a hefty crew with all the essentials to make this place twice as good. I got to meet Rey Davila: The main man in charged of ESTA skate park. He has the most passion and being the being biggest skate rat he put in 100% effort. He had been fixing up the park for years. We got working on our 15 hour days filled with bottomless coffees, medalla beer & smokes. I was burnt toast by the 4th day… After 59 hours of saw dust living I watched the park reform into a amazing place.
Day 6: A early morning drive to San Juan to the airport to pick up all the friends flying in: Dan Zaslavsky the photographer for the trip & the Ammo squad: Spanish Mike, Diego Najera, Little Johnny & Felix. A quick delay with Felix’s bags not showing up, we decided to head straight to the coast to enjoy the southern beach living. After a day of getting situated we started our 3 hour journey to the Western coast to a city called Cabo Rojo. Leaving the old city’s terrain behind us we hit amazing views with silhouetted mountain landscapes all around us. After bypassing a dozen small cites we unexpectedly pulled over to a little connivance store with an older man outside with his hand high with a machete ready for the next fresh coconut drink. We all saluted a cheers to the beginning of our western mission.
A fresh cup of coffee in the hand walking down cutty streets trying to find a gem to skate. My good friend back up in Boston, MA (Xeno) once explained us as being “the modern day pioneers”. My mornings sure felt like it, till once again I hit the view of palm trees ahead with the crew jumping off the local boat dock into the clear waters. We get regrouped in the van and met up with the locals: Fico, Alexis Rivera, Yariel Melendez, Alfred Ruiz, & Juan Santo. Hitting the small towns we ran into some amazing spots. Most of the houses having vivid beach colors with a epic views and a amazing spots to skate. The ground rugged as hell with a crew ready to charge, it was amazing. We ended up skating this spot that was a 10 stair leading up to a 11 set. Yariel & Deigo were quick to get shredding. Within 5 minutes Deigo – nollie flipped the first set and Backside 360 the second set. It was a pretty epic to see something so raw get handled so easy. After all the hype we all went to the local famous pizza place called “Papa’s Pizza”. The owner shreds & has made up over 50 different pizza tosses along with winning endless worldwide pizza contests. To say at the least thanks for all the pies and an awesome time in the west side of Puerto Rico
We started our drive back to the East side of the island. Along the highway we see these giant letters spelling out Ponce. The city that got their name shredded. Little Johnny climbed right up and started blasting kick flips while traffic built up & people are honking their horns. The police arrived right as he caught an amazing one. He jumped down and we got yelled at for 5 minutes and we got back on the road and headed back to Luquillo.
Contest Day: We drove down to the town of Naguabo where the park was to be greeted with around 300 people! The place was filled with screaming locals and people from all sides of the island. Manny handed me a clipboard with about 30 skaters names on it. We did 6 heats – jam format. The chaos started & everyone was charging… We narrowed down all the jams to the best dudes on the island: Alexis Rivera, Robert Mont Lopez, Yariel Melendez, and Dovier Chinea. The tricks and energy that was brought into that park was pure raw. We rebuilt a park & first hand watching some southern epic-ness go down. At the end of it all Yariel Melendez made some tricks that amounted to a wtf just happened situation… He became the “Prince of Puerto Rico!” Yariel won the silver prince of PR ring and took the trophy home!
Thanks so much for the everyone that helped to contribute to restructure the ESTE Skatepark! Everyone down there is like family, Puerto Rico see you next year “Prince Of Puerto Rico Tres”!! Keep Shredding!
Words By: Dave Bachinsky (As seen in Focus Skateboard Mag)
Click Image For 360 View: El Yunque National Rain Forest
Click Image For 360 View: Last Night of the Trip, Pasta Y Pueblo!