In Blackbeard’s Wake

Unearthing new treasures in the Caribbean
Photos and words by Rob Gilley

"They said it looked like Scar Reef." Now that was a heavy call. To compare a wave in the West Indies to one of the thickest slabs in Indonesia seemed a bit much.

An uncrowded left was one thing, but a story about a perfect, thick, steep wave so close to the Leisure World resorts of the Caribbean had to be a little over-the-top. But according to Puerto Rico tubeslayer Otto Flores, the guys feeding him the info were legit -- surfers with full Island credentials. So, we had to give it some credence.

One of the most rewarding things about surf exploration is the research. The piecing together of information. The suturing of word-of-mouth rumors, previous experience, maps and instinct. In this case, the pieces were all in place. This story of a psycho left reef in the middle of the Caribbean, together with a previous rumor of a secret beachbreak in the same area had sealed the deal. It was an undeniable booty call.

In order to verify the rumour of bountiful treasure in these waters, a local crew of Caribbean islanders, Brian Toth and Otto Flores, were assembled and the venerable Randall Selsby was hired as our captain. We commandeered the HMS Brava, a small but dependably agile craft for our journey. We waited for favourable conditions, and set out in mid-February.

Check out the July ’07 Paddle Issue for the full story.