The Caribbean is one of the most comfortable places to take a trip. Kind, relaxed locals, warm water and tropical trades all make the Caribbean Islands ideal for the snow-sick East Coaster. Unfortunately it doesn’t get too big all that offer, but chest to overhead surf can be the norm during the peak months and those in the know can find some good big wave surfing on the right swells. Find out more by reading Surfer Magazine’s Travel Report surf maps and information.
BARBADOS SURF OVERVIEW
The East Coast has probably got the most consistent break on the Island because it gets the Atlantic swells, best in summer with a south wind and a northeast swell. The West Coast breaks from a north swell between December and March and then perhaps only once per week, usually from strong low pressure systems in the North Atlantic. When the West Coast does break, it can be excellent, generally bigger the farther north you go. A big day is 5′, rarely over 8′ except at Duppy’s which gets bigger but is not a clean wave because it is so far out. The South Coast also breaks in winter (rarely insummer except for local storms), and is more consistent than the West Coast. The winds are usually northeast to southeast which favors the South and West Coasts. A south or southwest wind (usually summer or early fall) means perfection for Bathsheba (Soup Bowl). There are many additional breaks on the Island if you include the distant offshore reefs, especially in the southeast coast near Sam Lord’s Castle. They are accessible only by boat and are easily blown out. If you have a car, you can probably surf everyday on Barbados. If it is flat in the Oistins Bay area, go to Duppy’s or Bathsheba. However, the Islandis very subject to flat spells, especially on the South Coast, affecting Silver Sands to Batts Rock which are most favored by the tradewinds. Be prepared for the possibility of long periods of surflessness up to two weeks, even in the prime swell months of December through March.
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS SURF OVERVIEW
The Cayman Islands are located in the NW Caribbean Sea, about 175 hundred miles west of Jamaica and 150 miles south of Cuba. N and W swells result from low-pressure systems coming down from the Gulf of Mexico. These swells are rare, about 5-10 may pass through each winter. S swells are a result of tropical waves forming off the coast of Africa, then traveling into the Caribbean, passing the Caymans and traveling into the Gulf of Mexico. Late summer and early fall are very good for surf because of frequent hurricanes and tropical storms. October and November are generally poor. December through March it picks up with the NW swells. Spring gets flat again until hurricane season starts. Most swells average 3-5′ with the exception of the NW’ers and hurricanes, which can get bigger, and there is generally ridable surf three days of each week during the better months. Two-week flat spells are possible during the down times. Grand Cayman is definitely not a big wave destination. Largest swells are around 8-12′. Tides are very minor and rarely effect the surf.