Surf’s Up

Surf’s Up

Hailed as “the surfing capital of the Caribbean”, Barbados’ endless waves and year-round sunshine make the island a paradise for any surfer. But what is it about the island that makes us so beloved by surfers worldwide? Well, in an interview with Forbes, veteran surfer and coach, Alan Burke, explained that the natural geographic positioning of the island creates the perfect conditions for those brave enough to ride the waves, creating a fantastic opportunity for the development of the sport in Barbados. In his Forbes interview, Burke added, “We get waves from Africa and Brazil and the Caribbean,” which explained the regularity of our envious waves which create an ideal surfing environment.  

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be an expert on the waves to plan your first surfing expedition to the island. Anyone Can enjoy the sport in Barbados. There are surfing activities and sweet sea spots for every level, from the inexperienced beginner to the more advanced. There are also other invigorating board watersports like kneeboarding, boogie boarding, SUP and many others. 

For the more advanced surfers and adventure seekers, this one’s for you. Barbados is home to an internationally acclaimed surfing spot - the famous ‘Soup Bowl’, located in the East of the island. Without a doubt, the energetic waves, accompanied by the most spectacular views of  Barbados’ East Coast, have gained a powerful reputation in the surfing world. The ‘Soup Bowl’ or Bathsheba is truly synonymous with surfing excellence and the sport in the Caribbean.

Here’s a well-kept secret for our wave-lovers: Carefully plan your trip to enjoy the sport in Barbados according to your surfing preference. While it’s always a great time to visit Barbados, if you are in search of slightly smaller swells, the late summer months of July into August would be the ideal time to visit. For the more extreme wave surfers, hurricane swells from November to April will bring waves well over 6 feet tall! 

Although the Soup Bowl might undoubtedly be the most popular surfing spot on the island, there are many more on our list. For those not so advanced but still looking for a challenge, there is Brandon’s Beach in St. Michael. Over in the south of the island, close to our favourite fish-fry spot, Oistins, there is Freights Bay. This stretch of beach is a favourite with surf coaches because of its safe wave conditions. 

One remarkable fact about these surfing sweet spots is that there are trained instructors and facilities for gear rental right on the beach, or at least in very close proximity, so you are sure to have all you need in just one stop. 

There was once a time when surfing, and several other watersports were seen as merely leisure activities. But, over the years, surfing has evolved from simple fun to an internationally recognised sport, churning out our own superstars like Chelsea Tuach & up and comer Josh Burke. We are also proud to say that Barbados has been an intrinsic part of international surfing’s development as this little island has played host to numerous international surfing competitions. These revered waters have welcomed some of the greats of the global surfing community such as Kelly Slater who has been a repeat visitor to the Barbadian surf scene for over 20 years. As the sport has developed in Barbados, we have had the pleasure of hosting the World Surf League’s Surf Pro Qualifying Series which saw pro-surfers from as far as  Brazil and Japan skilfully showing full command of their boards and ultimately, the waves. Similar international events such as The Association of Paddlesurfing Professionals (APP) World Tour 2019 was also hosted at the aforementioned ‘Soup Bowl’ in Bathsheba, St. Joseph.  These are but a few of the world-class water events which draw surfers and spectators alike to be part of the action or simply behold the endless wonders of Barbadian waves. 

Maybe you’re not quite ready to surf independently, but you’re still searching for the sun-kissed thrill of being out on the water. Instead, how about giving kneeboarding a try.  Kneeboarding will provide you with a similar adrenaline rush but with a little assistance. To kneeboard, you will position yourself on a sturdy, but buoyant board, while being pulled over the rolling tides at moderate speed by a motorboat. This is a popular option and highly recommended by our watersport operators for those looking for some exhilaration on the shimmering open water.  The beautiful and extensive stretch of beach at Carlisle Bay, just outside of Bridgetown, is the picture-perfect location to try your hand at this electrifying sport. As safety will always remain a priority, Carlisle Bay is usually patrolled by our ever-watchful lifeguards, so you can feel comfortable and secure while releasing your inhibitions over the waves. 

We may be a little biased here, but Barbados is one of the best spots for windsurfing, kitesurfing or kiteboarding. Think about it; the most essential elements for this sport are the perfect combination of lots of wind, lots of water, and a generally safe location. This is definitely Barbados. Watersports operators recommend that you try this activity along the south coast where you will find beaches that are less frequently visited by casual swimmers or picnickers. One preferred location is the less-travelled Silver Rock Beach, also in the South the Stomping grounds of windsurfing legend Brian Talma. This means that you will have ample space, along with the ideal wind conditions to hone or to show off your kitesurfing skills. As a bonus, many of our boutique hotels and guest houses in the south cater specifically to those visiting to take part in their favourite watersports. These boutique hotels include Ocean Spray Beach Apartments, Ocean Bliss, Inchcape and the Silver Point Hotel, all located in the parish of Christ Church, among many others. 

The fun does not stop there. Boogie boarding is a definite must-try on your next aquatic adventure in Barbados. Just like the kitesurfers, the tumbling waves of the South coast are ideal for any visitor who may be interested in boogie boarding. Popular beach options are Silver Sands and Rockley Beach on the South Coast. 

What can be better than the unique adrenaline rush that comes from riding high on the great waves of the world-famous Barbadian coastline? No worries if you’re still working on your courage to stand tall and surf, there are many more sensational watersports to create the most amazing memories on your tropical seaside getaway. Kneeboarding, kitesurfing and boogie boarding are, but a snippet of all that lays waiting for you on the dazzling and welcoming shores of Barbados. 

Additional Information

Barry’s Surf School Barbados 

Offering lessons for beginners to advanced surfers, Barry’s Surf School in the parish of Christ Church is a one-stop-shop for all your surfing necessities. They can be reached by calling 246-256-3906 or via email: [email protected]

Ride the Tide Surf School 

Located in Enterprise in Christ Church, this surf school offers surfboard rentals, surfing lessons and many other deals. To get started give them a call at 246-234-2361 or send an email: [email protected]

Surf in Barbados Surf School 

Established in 1995, this team offers individualised surfing packages, tours and rentals. They are located in Hastings and can be easily reached by calling 246-826-6672 or by sending an email to [email protected]

Paddle Barbados

For your paddleboards, boogie board or any similar watersport equipment, contact the team over at Paddle Barbados. To get started, just call  246-249-2787, or they can be reached via email at [email protected]

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