Posted by: davepidgeon | March 29, 2009

Surfboards in Barbados

Took a mental trip down island tonight with Danielle Pergament’s profile of Barbados’ eastern shore:

The eastern coast of Barbados is a whole other world. Sequestered from the posh resorts by acres of sugar cane fields, thick, verdant forests, and trees full of wild monkeys, this is Barbados’s rougher side. “You could spend all your time in the west and never know the real Barbados,” said Melanie Pitcher, a surfing instructor and owner of Barbados Surf Trips. “The east is run by the locals, not the tourists.”

The main town on this side is Bathsheba. Bathsheba looks as if it was once the playground of mythical creatures — enormous limestone boulders are casually strewn in the shallows, as though giants were playing catch and paused for a break. The wind barrels in relentlessly off the Atlantic, sweeping the hillside and everything with it: the mountain face is hollowed by the warm blasts, palm trees arch backward, their seaside fronds thinned from the constant howl, waves endlessly roll in from the vast ocean. It’s a coastline carved by centuries of wind blowing from thousands of miles away, great gusts of salty air like tempests heaved by the gods.


With isolation, of course, come characters. This is a place where people have names like Buju, Yellow and Chicken. Where you pay deference to Snake, the founding father of Barbados surfing. Where people know to avoid “dropping in” on Smoky’s wave if he’s having a bad day.

But this article, what it lacks in narrative, makes up for it with a profile of a surfing culture that’s beginning to inundate the Caribbean island, located in the Lesser Antilles.


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