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Surfing in the Caribbean

A Water Paradise

Surfing in the Caribbean on its Turquoise shores. Where deep, azure blues meet pristine sands and soft, foamy surf in the Caribbean. The world’s most beautiful tropical paradise is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. As well as beachgoers with some of the best surf in the world.

Throughout the Caribbean, international and regional surfing competitions fill up the festive calendar. While year-round surfers and spectators make the most of what the legendary sea has to offer. It’s the perfect destination for both seasoned surfers and beginners alike to try their hands. Or feet – at this fun pastime, and revel in the celebration surrounding it.

Prime Surf | Surfing in the Caribbean

With its wealth of beautiful locations and excellent beaches, most locales will suit the aspiring and seasoned surfer’s needs. The Caribbean is simply bursting with amazing surf spots, including:

Elbow Cay, Bahamas

Elbow Cay is one of the world’s most relaxing destinations, where waves are consistent but still manageable. This makes it ideal for beginners or anyone looking for some wintertime tropical flair without being too extreme about it. Elbow Cay is also conveniently located close enough to be reached by Americans; making it an idyllic destination year round!

Josiah’s Bay, Tortola “British Virgin Islands

One of Tortola’s most famous surf spots is Josiah’s Bay. Offering some great surfing opportunities for beginner surfers and advanced surfers alike when conditions are right. Josiah’s Bay offers beach break barrels and point breaks depending on the time of year and swell direction. This means it can be surfed any time of year!

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola

Cane Garden Bay Tortola “also referred to as Cane” holds the biggest wave on Tortola island so it’s worth surfing there if you have some skill. You’ll need to be able to duck dive, ride waves, and handle yourself safely though because it can get dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Cane is known as an expert wave so newbies might be welcomed in if they pay their dues first. Island surfers are friendly and encourage new people on the water, but Cane doesn’t break every day so it’s best savored when it does break. Some people even live on Tortola just for Cane days because boards are shaped by local legend Bob Carson who has been shaping since the early 70s so look out for some retro shapes ripping up the wall with his smooth style!

Apple Bay, Tortola

Apple Bay Tortola is one of the most sought-after breaks in the BVI. With easy channel access from left and right of the main break, it is popular among visiting surfers (notables include Kelly Slater, Jimmy Buffett, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin), and aspiring newbies to the lifestyle. Waves break predominantly right with a tapered left. Making for a nice reef break – works best with SE winds and direct Atlantic Northern swell. Located on the North Shore between Long Bay Beach and Carrot Beach, Apple Bay Tortola is a must see, must do and must marvel. The bottom line is sometimes Cane Garden bay has perfect waves!

Eleuthera, Bahamas

If you want some surf adventure without too much hassle then Eleuthera, Bahamas might be just what you’re looking for. This island offers plenty of breaks on sugar sands with barely any crowds at all. A highlight is Surfer’s Beach which offers consistent wintertime shore breaks depending on swell size and period which are either bombing overhead waves or ankle-burning small waves–never busy though!

Soup Bowl, Barbados

Surfers around the world have been blown away by Soup Bowl’s break at Bathsheba, east Barbados. It might be one of the most entertaining waves on Earth because it offers surfers so many tricks to do like turns and twists and airs. You’ll find Soup Bowl lipping into the bay at Bathsheba, east Barbados when it’s in season (November to March). This wave mellows down to the intermediate level in the summertime so there are also some nearby breaks such as Parlours which fragment into multiple peaks.

Surfing in the Caribbean
Sunset Surging in the Caribbean

Bathsheba, Barbados

Surfers looking for world-class waves need to look no further than Barbados. In addition to some top-quality breaks on the west coast, surfers will find the Soup Bowls right-hander at Bathsheba. Atlantic storms, hurricanes, and reliable trade winds draw a consistent stream of surfers to Barbados year round. Surfers will also find wonderful charm and easy-going Bajan vibes on their visit.

Playa Preciosa, Dominican Republic

There’s something about surfing Preciosa that inspires those who surf it. Maybe it’s because the Dominican Republic is one of the first places in this part of the Caribbean to catch incoming Atlantic swells.

Maybe it’s because there are numerous local surf spots where locals engage guests; maybe it’s because it offers surfers an opportunity to explore remote bays on unspoiled beaches; maybe it’s because surfing Preciosa means going out there into nature with nothing more than yourself and your board – whatever it is, there’s something special about surfing Preciosa. Here you can truly find some of the best waves in the Caribbean!

St. Martin / St. Maarten

St Martin surfing offers visitors the opportunity to get away from it all and indulge in their passion for surfing on one of France’s tropical islands. With only a 20-minute boat ride separating St Martin from Anguilla, it is a quick trip over to some fun waves when conditions permit. Surfers come from all over the world to experience French island culture at its best with clear blue water, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and friendly locals who always offer help when needed.

Commaret Point, St. Lucia

Saint Lucia is blessed with some great surf spots. One such spot is Commaret Point which offers consistent waves even when there isn’t much swell around. The best wind direction at Commaret Point St Lucia is from the southwest.

Waves are mainly lefts although there are also some rights that form on certain days when conditions align just right. Although crowds may be present at times, Commaret Point remains relatively uncrowded most days making it a great spot for surfers who want some space to themselves!

Even for surfers established in one area of the Caribbean, the proximity of the islands and travel time between means that many visitors can hop from place to place to get the most out of the water. Weather and marine patterns are vital considerations to take into account, however. For instance, Antigua – not usually associated with surfing – offers its best swell of the Atlantic in the southeast. Swells from the west will also dictate which locations are ideal to start from.

Surfing Celebrations

Some of the world’s best surfing competitions are hosted in the Caribbean, and these are usually accompanied by a myriad of songs, dances, and delicious food and drink. It’s a great time to witness some of the world’s most extraordinary talents and revel in the festive joys. Costa Rica is host to the most famous of these competitions, attracting thousands of spectators each year, while the renowned “Soup Bowl” in Barbados is another hot location.

Learning the Art

Many surfers will want to hone their skills while beginners require some initial lessons, and luckily, there are many schools and academies for surfing in the Caribbean which offer the programs to do this. 

Coconut Reef School is one of them, situated in St. Maarten. Swell Surf Camp on the north coast is designed exclusively for surfers of varying levels in the Dominican Republic- another surfing hotspot. Other popular schools include the Caribbean Surf School in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, and Zed’s Surfing Adventures in Barbados. Surfers can also use rentals here.

A Few Key Tips | Surfing in the Caribbean

Like many watersports, surfing can take patience to develop. It’s essential to give it time and look into a region ideal for beginners. As well as experts when starting at an early level. As always, practice the utmost safety and follow guidelines for each region. Safety concerns cover marine life, weather, tides, currents, and challenging landscapes like cliffs, reefs, and piers. Even experienced surfers should gain some knowledge of the area. Ideally, such as the optimal time to go and the conditions they will be facing.

Read the small Print.

Be sure to read the small print when purchasing the appropriate coverage for travel and health concerns. Local surf schools and rental businesses will be able to provide helpful information. Indeed about the best times to hit the surf; and where medical checkout points will be in the case of an emergency. For further information, surfers can consult some handy guides to keep updated on events and surf conditions.

Most importantly, respect the region where you surf, including the fragile marine life and the ecosystems in which they live. As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, the Caribbean faces environmental challenges. Essentially due to its high congestion of tourism. Be a responsible traveler, purchase locally sourced goods and food, and leave as minimal an impact as possible.

Article was written by Anne Morgan

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