Rincon became famous by hosting the 1968 World Surfing Championship. Most of the competitions were held at Domes and Maria’s Beaches. ABC’s Wide World of Sports coverage of the ’68 Rincon Championship was the first time ever that network TV sports covered a surfing event (You can visit the Aviones Boys Facebook page for photos and newspaper clippings documenting the competition). In addition they have old pictures of Rincon and of what surfing life was like in the 60’s to the present. Surfer’s Beach in Aguadilla had a sign stating that surfing was “only allowed under the auspices of the Surfer’s Club Association by order of the Base Commander”. The 1968 World Surfing Championship was celebrated on November 1st at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum in California.
At the time Maria’s Beach was known as Rincon Point. As the surfers got to know and like Maria they referred to the beach as Maria’s and the name has endured. She had a Coke machine adjacent to her house and Maria sold sodas during the tournament. There was a picture of her with the Coke machine published in one of the surfing magazines at the time. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it again.
Surfing continues to be strong in Puerto Rico. The 1988 and the 2007 World Surfing Championships along with many qualifying heats have also been held in Rincon.
A Note from Russ Avecedo, Maria’s grandson:
Maria Garcia was my grandmother and Ramon Acevedo Garcia was my father. As I was growing up I spent summers with Maria. The goat seen in the picture of Maria and a surfer was my pet goat! Fortunately for him as a pet he lived a long life! Surfers were constantly visiting us. I spent many nights on the beach with them. They tried to teach me to surf, but I never was able to stand up. Nights were especially memorable. There was very little artificial light and the stars were incredibly bright and numerous. On a full moon you could read a book by moonlight! I had my first paella right on the beach, made with freshly caught fish and complete with sand. Then there were the antics of a surfer named Frenchie….those who were there know what I mean!
When Maria passed away Ramon moved to Maria’s Beach. He also was a good friend to the surfers and was well known and liked in town. He never had a problem finding someone to join him for a beer! I soon learned where every pool hall in Puntas was located. He was retired by then and lived off his Social Security. Fishermen would come ashore on the beach and use his house for cleaning up. They would leave Ramon with fresh fish as thanks. He had his machete, which he used to open coconuts and give me the water and fruit. He and his brother, Tio Isidoro, did not see eye-to-eye and Ramon has been quoted as saying that he keeps the machete by the front door should his brother arrive! I had his machete restored and it is displayed in the house. Ramon loved the stray dogs and he always had plenty around the house.
Maria’s original house was a standard wood house on stilts with the livestock living underneath. The goats would bang their heads on the floor usually just as I was falling asleep. Her house was converted to cement in a piecemeal fashion while she was living in it. She was diminutive in size so the kitchen and bathroom were barely over 6 feet in height. While Ramon was living there an added room was built in front which did not connect to the rest of the house. I guess that was for his brother!
We wanted to honor the memories of Maria and Ramon. The house has two sides each with a distinctive character. The Ramon side has darker, more masculine woodwork and furniture while the Maria side is more feminine. Throughout the house there are pictures of Maria, Ramon and the area dating from 1945 to the early 2000s.