Surfing in Barbados

Barbados offers a fantastic surfing experience on the east coast of the island.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the vibrant surfing scene of Barbados, exploring the island’s surf spots. From the legendary Soup Bowl, revered by world-class surfers, to gentler waves ideal for those just starting out, Barbados’s coastline offers plenty of surfing options.

Surfing in Barbados

Surfing in Barbados can be traced back to the mid-20th century, with the sport gaining popularity in the 1960s and 70s. Influenced by both visiting surfers and the burgeoning global surf culture, Barbadians quickly embraced the sport. Over the decades, the island has produced a number of talented surfers who have represented Barbados on international stages.

Along the coast, particularly in areas like Bathsheba and the south coast, surfing has influenced the local culture, with many businesses catering to the needs and lifestyles of surfers. Surf shops, board rental outlets, and surf schools are common over this side of the island.

Barbados regularly hosts surfing competitions and events that draw both local and international talent. These events, such as the Barbados Surf Pro, offer a platform for local surfers to showcase their skills and for international surfers to experience the legendary Barbadian waves.

Best Surfing Beaches in Barbados

Barbados is a surfer’s paradise, offering a diverse array of surf spots suitable for all skill levels. You can find spots on the island for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best surf spots in Barbados and what they offer.

Surfing Beaches in Barbados For Beginners: Freights Bay

  • Location: South Coast of Barbados.
  • Characteristics: Known for its long, gentle waves and crystal-clear water, Freights Bay is ideal for beginners.
  • Best Time to Surf: The waves are most consistent from November to June.

Surfing Beaches in Barbados For Intermediate Surfers: Brandons Beach

  • Location: Near Bridgetown on the West Coast.
  • Characteristics: Offers a mix of both left and right breaks with medium-sized waves, perfect for surfers looking to step up their game.
  • Best Time to Surf: Consistent throughout the year, with the best conditions often found from December to March.

Surfing Beaches in Barbados For Advanced Surfers: Soup Bowl

  • Location: Bathsheba on the East Coast.
  • Characteristics: Renowned worldwide, Soup Bowl is known for its powerful, fast-moving waves and barrels. It’s a favourite spot for experienced surfers and pros. Bathsheba is regarded as one of the best beaches in Barbados because of the wild waves and rugged scenery. 
  • Best Time to Surf: The best swells are typically from October to March.
Lucy Bridge & Margo Ellmore at Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach is blustery and rugged!

Surfing Lessons and Schools in Barbados

Barbados offers a wide range of surfing lessons and schools. Staffed by experienced instructors who can provide valuable insights into the local surfing scene and teach techniques suited to Barbados’ unique wave conditions.

Surf schools in Barbados are primarily located along the island’s south and east coasts, where the surf is most consistent. They offer a range of services from group lessons to private one-on-one sessions.

New surfers can learn the basics, including water safety, surfing etiquette, board handling, and fundamental techniques. Those with some experience can focus on advanced techniques, wave reading, and manoeuvre execution to enhance their performance.

A typical lesson begins with a brief on-land training session, focusing on basics like paddling, standing up on the board, and understanding wave dynamics. This is followed by in-water practice, where instructors provide real-time feedback and guidance.

Lessons usually last for about 1-2 hours, though longer sessions may be available.

Choosing the Right Surf School or Instructor. Look for schools with certified instructors who have significant experience both in teaching and in surfing the local waters.

Ride The Tide Surf School

Ride The Tide Surf School is at Freight’s Bay. The team at Ride The Tide is composed of experienced surf coaches who cater to both beginners and intermediates. In the winter, lessons primarily take place at Freight’s Bay, but the school’s mobile so you can also explore other breaks, especially in the summer.

Ride The Tide offers a range of lesson types, including open group lessons, private groups, and one-on-one sessions. One of the standout features of Ride The Tide is its small group sizes, with a maximum of four surfers per coach. 

Ride The Tide provide a complimentary all-day surfboard rental with any surf lesson. This means you can continue practising independently and enjoy the waves after your lesson.

Bodies School of Surf

Bodies School of Surf is somewhere you can learn surfing and windsurfing. They have lessons in surfing, Stand-up Paddling (SUP), and Kitesurfing.

The school will shift around the coast and adapt to the day’s best conditions, selecting spots on the south coast that match the abilities of their students.

The school prides itself on its friendly, professional approach to instruction. Lessons are tailored to individual needs and skill levels.

Best Months to Surf in Barbados

The best months to surf in Barbados generally span from November to June. This period is considered the prime surfing season due to more consistent and higher-quality waves.

November to March
This time is often regarded as the peak surfing season in Barbados. The North Atlantic swells are more powerful during these months, providing excellent conditions for surfing, particularly on the east coast of the island. Spots like the famous Soup Bowl in Bathsheba offer some of the best waves for experienced surfers.

April to June
While the waves start to mellow out a bit compared to the winter months, there are still plenty of good surfing opportunities. This period is particularly appealing for intermediate surfers or those looking for less intense conditions.

These are the best months for surfing in Barbados but the island is fine to surf all year-round. The summer months tend to have smaller and less consistent waves, which might be suitable for beginners.

Teddy & Margo Ellmore at Bathsheba Beach

Where is a good place to stay in Barbados for surfing

Barbados is a fantastic destination for surfers, with its consistent waves, warm waters, and a variety of breaks suitable for different skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a perfect spot for you. Here are some top choices on where to stay in Barbados if you’re planning a surf-centric vacation:

1. Bathsheba – The East Coast

Bathsheba, located on the rugged east coast, is renowned for its famous Soup Bowl, a favorite spot of surfing legend Kelly Slater. The waves here are more suited to experienced surfers due to their size and power. Accommodations in Bathsheba range from quaint guesthouses to boutique hotels, allowing you to stay close to the action.

Accommodation options:

  • Round House: An inn offering stunning ocean views and easy access to the Soup Bowl.
  • Sea-U Guest House: A cozy spot known for its rustic charm and proximity to excellent surf spots.

2. Silver Sands – The South Coast

Silver Sands is considered the wind-surfing capital of Barbados, but it also offers excellent conditions for traditional surfing, especially for intermediates. The area is known for its consistent winds and has a more laid-back vibe.

Accommodation options:

  • Silver Point Hotel: A chic, modern hotel right on the water’s edge, perfect for those who want to wake up and hit the waves.
  • Inchcape Seaside Villas: Offers private villas with direct access to the beach and excellent wind conditions.

3. Freights Bay – The South Coast

Freights Bay is ideal for beginners and longboarders. The bay provides a more sheltered area where the waves are gentler, making it perfect for those who are just starting out or prefer a relaxed surf.

Accommodation options:

  • Magic Isle Beach Apartments: Located just a short drive from Freights Bay, offering spacious apartments with beach views.
  • Ocean Spray Apartments: An affordable option that caters to surfers and is only a short walk from the surf break.

4. Brandons Beach – The West Coast

Brandons Beach near Bridgetown offers good surfing conditions and is great for those looking to combine surfing with other tourist activities in the capital. The waves here are quite forgiving, suitable for all levels.

Accommodation options:

  • Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados: Offers comfort and luxury along with proximity to Brandons Beach.
  • Island Inn Hotel: A small, all-inclusive hotel that gives a more intimate experience, just a stone’s throw from the surf.

Surf Camps

For those who are serious about improving their skills or want an all-inclusive surfing experience, considering a surf camp might be the best option. Surf camps often offer accommodation, lessons, and daily surf tours to the best spots.

Options include:

  • Barry’s Surf School: Provides comprehensive surf packages that include accommodations, lessons, and transport to various surf spots around the island.

The Final Word on Surfing in Barbados

Barbados has plenty of surfing options that are worth a visit. From the legendary breaks at the Soup Bowl to the gentle waves at Freights Bay, the island has options for seasoned pros or surfers just starting. The ideal surfing conditions from November to June offer powerful swells and consistent waves, but Barbados surfing is good outside of these months.

Villa Sunnyside is close to the west coast beaches, it is not located near the main surf destinations on the east coast. However, these beaches are just a 30-minute taxi ride from our villa and you can contact us if you want information on how to get there!

john, Lucy, Teddy & Margo at hunts gardenss
Lucy Bridge

I love to travel with my family. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves coming back to the magic of Sunset Crest. So much so, that we finally decided to take the plunge and buy Villa Sunnyside in 2022!