Dr. Deni Does the Dominican Republic

not too shabby

I decided to check out the Dominican Republic for my week-long break (unfortunately that's all a peon like me is handed in my line of work, albeit 3 times per year). A country more known for its export products, specifically cigars and baseball players, the Dominican Republic is relatively untapped as a surfing destination. I decided to check out the Cabarete region, which is on the north coast of the island, exposed to North/Northeast/North swells, mostly generated during the winter season. The region is really known for its world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions, especially during the summer.

deni and his lady
Dr. Deni and his lady
The trip ended up being a one-wave destination for me at a break called Encuentro, probably the best known break on the north coast. The break consists of a left and a right, with a channel between them, allowing a relatively easy 100 yard paddle to the line-up. The bottom consists of rock and sand, which can easily be seen through the crystal clear waters. However, hitting the bottom never presented a problem, even with the tide fluctuations.

kitesWhile I was there, there was relatively weak East swell running, so conditions were never epic. Apparently the break can hold up to double over-head with a strong North/Northeast swell. However, being a rusty, inland east coaster suffering from an unusually swell-less and cold winter, I didn't mind the chest to head high warm, whackable rights. With the swell being weak, the wave didn't have alot of oomph behind it, so generating your own speed was critical. The spot is certainly not undiscovered, as I learned first hand. Dawn patrol consisted of around 5 surfers, mostly Europeans and French-Canadiens (you wouldn't believe how many Germans surf...). During the week, about 20 people would be in the water by mid-morning. However, the weekends are pretty zoo-ed out, with locals and beginners coming in by the van-ful. At one point, I counted 30 heads bobbing in the line-up. Unfortunately, the break is not sheltered and the winds, blowing east to west, which makes the region a mecca for windsurfing and kiteboarding, start to kick in by 11 AM and slops everything by early afternoon.

The area is probably not a classic surf destination per se. However, there are several other breaks which require some local knowledge but are apparently pretty much empty. Renting a car would probably be the best way to get around if you're serious about exploration. Being solo, I relied on the local motorcycle taxis to take me to and fro - quite a way to wake-up before the dawn patrol! Anyway, that's my little spiel on surfing in the DR.

The first two pics are taken from the beach, probably around 100-150 yards from the main break. The third is a pic of Kite Beach.

Dominican Aframe

Back to E's surf report

Back to niceness.org