Located in the surfing mecca of Rincon, Puerto Rico sits the Rincon Surf School, an exicting venture of the SASS Global Travel group. We reached out to Travis Moore, SGT’s Managing Director for insight into this evolving surf camp.
Rincon Surf School-- Take us inside, what's it all about?
The Rincon Surf School was established in 1999 here in Puerto Rico, and and we acquired the school in August of 2012. Since the early days of SASS Global Travel (our US parent company), we’ve had a presence in Rincon. We’re focused on surf and snow travel almost exclusively, and Rincon was home to our first surf experiences. It started small -- just a handful of surf guiding clients in 2010 and 2011. We just loved how easy it was to access great surf and a great place from the US East Coast without a passport. In the Summer of 2011, we met the original owners skiing at Cerro Catedral in Bariloche, Argentina. They invited us to check out the surf school, and the resulting discussions kicked off nearly a year’s worth of due diligence and negotiation. We’re approaching our one year anniversary of operating the school, and its been such an amazing transition.
On the inside, it runs very differently than our Argentina program, which is more like a camp. Rincon Surf School is a true surf school, with a team of professional coaches. We offer daily and multi-day lessons, including pro surf guiding for advanced surfers. We also help people find places to stay, point them towards nightlife or food... really just being a good host. The change in direction really transformed the image of the school. It’s different, but its built on the same foundation as the Argentina program; the professional coaching and vibe, but solid customer service with a focus on education and safety.
Where is Rincon, what is it like?
Rincon is the Surf Capital of the Caribbean, on the Northwest coast of Puerto Rico. Its consistently ranked as one of the top places to surf in the world, and definitely one of the best in the Caribbean. Rincon specifically is truly a quiet little surf town that has grown throughout the last 15 years... now it’s become quite the mixed community.
Who can come to Rincon Surf School?
ANYONE! We offer everything from the Never Ever Beginner, to the seasoned veteran that would be more interested in using our guiding services.
When is the best time to come?
We operate year round! That being said, our season for waves is from November 1st until the end of April. It’s really amazing during the season, but people don’t realize that you can find waves year round here. We might drive for 15 minutes and go a little earlier, but with a little bit of luck and guidance, we can get clients to wherever the swell is best for that time of year.
Who does the coaching staff consist of?
We have some amazing staff here at the school. We have on-staff pro’s like John Barrie, Collin Gibbs, Ryan Dacey, and our new Surf School Director Whit Arnold. Our staff is extremely well rounded, and a super tight group. The amount of years surfing between our group is mind blowing. They’re all CPR and First Aid certified, and many have additional lifeguard and water rescue certifications.
What is the best part about running a surf school?
Creating the experience -- day in and day out for hundreds of clients a season. Everyone here seems to always take home something different. We’ve been blown away by the response, and that’s led to a #1 ranking on Trip Advisor that we’re working hard to maintain.
What are the biggest challenges you face running a surf school?
The biggest challenges is the diversity of our clients, everyone seems to have different expectations and perspective on surfing in general. Our coaches are great on their feet, it takes a professional to adapt your teaching style to the different people who walk in the door -- but whatever people’s expectations or limitations, you can still create an experience that’s awesome.
Rumor has it, you live in Puerto Rico full-time. How the heck is that?
What a different lifestyle the caribbean has to offer! My wife and I have been fortunate to live many places across the globe, and found that the Caribbean is a place where (if you stay focused and motivated - not easy), you can be very successful in a place like this. You just can’t get complacent or this place can eat you up and spit you out. Going to the beach everyday can also be taken for granted... and we sometimes forget that we’re living in Paradise.
What are the best parts of island life?
Best part of island life is waking up daily to go to work, and not having to wear anything but boardshorts and walk down the stairs to my office. Not to mention the daily morning dawn patrol with the Rincon Surf School staff to get ready for the day. I can’t imagine a better place to be right now.
Check out more about Rincon here.