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Old 05-11-2011, 21:07   #1
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Surfing in the Caribbean

I have a question for any surfer/sailors that have spent time in the Caribbean. What islands are the best to find waves while living on anchor? I'm looking for places that are walking distance or a dingy ride from the anchorage. Has anyone anchored by the boat ramp that is at the south end of Rincon, PR? There are a couple small boats mored there, but I bet it would be a pretty rolly location being fairly exposed to swell. What about spots in the D.R. or the Virgin islands? Here's a couple photos's of a fun little wave in the Bahamas last winter:
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Old 05-11-2011, 22:23   #2
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

Good luck finding any "good" surf...PR is the only place I have heard of anything over 2 feet....someone told me about some pretty good right breaks in Cuba but I have never been there or many other islands except Haiti / DR and Jamaica...good luck in your quest for good surf...DVC
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:00   #3
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

South African surfer friends of mine liked the BVI (north shore of Tortola) and St. Barths a lot, and managed to find surfing breaks on many islands after talking with the locals. Waves tend to be be smallish to medium sized (from ENE to NE) with a longish period after the long Atlantic fetch, but the best surfing is usually found after a major front passes the island chain to the north and that north swell overrides the normal waves patterns. I don't surf, but followin those wave patterns closely so that I can avoid 'em - when I stay in the surfers head out.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:04   #4
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

I forgot to add that the forecasts on windguru.com are invaluable for surfers and windsurfers alike (and for sailors as well) as they show the wave direction, period, height along with the wind and general weather information with reasonable accuracy.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:58   #5
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

You can surf in Cane Garden Bay on Tortola when a northerly swell is running. Unfortunately, all the north-facing anchorages will be untenable, for the same reason.


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Old 06-11-2011, 10:02   #6
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by mrybas View Post
I have a question for any surfer/sailors that have spent time in the Caribbean. What islands are the best to find waves while living on anchor? I'm looking for places that are walking distance or a dingy ride from the anchorage. Has anyone anchored by the boat ramp that is at the south end of Rincon, PR? There are a couple small boats mored there, but I bet it would be a pretty rolly location being fairly exposed to swell. What about spots in the D.R. or the Virgin islands? Here's a couple photos's of a fun little wave in the Bahamas last winter:
I didnt notice that long board earlier..if you take that with ya.. should be able to drop in about anywhere...the video says it all and that guys last ride and shoulder shrug says a lot about what you can expect..of course I live in NC and get the best surf on the east coast...big fat sandbar breaks at Hatteras and lots of "secret surf spots"that no one ever finds(ya right)...good luck..DVC
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Old 06-11-2011, 19:22   #7
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

The surf near Rincon, PR is probably your most consistent option in the Caribbean. It gets really fun and usually stays that way all winter. Surf on the north coast of Tortola is less consistent but really fun. Cane garden bay only breaks when a strong swell is pushing in, but when the surf is not big you could stay anchored in Cane and dingy to apple bay(great reef break).

Met someone in Barbados surfing "brandons" he lived on his sailboat anchored one bay over and walked over and surfed the left point break everyday.

I also live in NC and am looking for a similar anchoring/surfing(in the caribbean) setup as the OP.
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Old 06-11-2011, 19:49   #8
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

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The surf near Rincon, PR is probably your most consistent option in the Caribbean. It gets really fun and usually stays that way all winter. Surf on the north coast of Tortola is less consistent but really fun. Cane garden bay only breaks when a strong swell is pushing in, but when the surf is not big you could stay anchored in Cane and dingy to apple bay(great reef break).

Met someone in Barbados surfing "brandons" he lived on his sailboat anchored one bay over and walked over and surfed the left point break everyday.

I also live in NC and am looking for a similar anchoring/surfing(in the caribbean) setup as the OP.
Got any secret surf spots?..DVC
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Old 06-11-2011, 20:24   #9
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

Nope, not yet. Going back to PR in a month but it should be pretty well covered. I am thinking the Bahamas may have a few secret spots for the big sailing trip. Or maybe I should just fully invest and head for Panama and the Pacific!
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Old 06-11-2011, 20:35   #10
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

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Nope, not yet. Going back to PR in a month but it should be pretty well covered. I am thinking the Bahamas may have a few secret spots for the big sailing trip. Or maybe I should just fully invest and head for Panama and the Pacific!
Now your talking ..head to the North coast and then to Guam..big fat mean barrels and some fine long breaks...Kuta beach is like Hatteras with a mile long break(right)..the surf goes on and on and on and well you get the picture...another CF member is /was in Indonesia and made a lot of post about the surf ..dont know his user name but he seem to be having lots of fun ,when he wasnt on a reef with his boat ...DVC
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:01   #11
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

Good Info already on this thread. As far as staying in Rincon on the sailboat I would not recomend this. their are no real safe anchorages in this area. the closest would be Mayaguez but this is more of a comercial port and not really a dinghy ride away from Rincon Waves. I actually have never seen people going surfing in Rincon using your method. On the other hand you could anchor your boat in San Juan Bay for free and dinghy out to the various breaks around the city. they are usually crowded though. BUT their is an outer reef system about 1/2 mile from shore that is super consistent and I have a lot of friends who dinghy and even swim out to these solitary breaks. you could totally dinghy to these breaks (between 5-10 different breaks all awesome) from san juan bay. they are all shallow reef and not for novice surfers. I was actually out yesterday going for a ride on my jetski and it was going off!!

Somebody mentioned Barbados. which is really a beautifull place and the surf on the East coast is pretty consistent albeit mostly mushy not tube waves. Bathsheba is the most well recognized place for surfing over their. The west coast hardly gets any waves since it faces the Caribbean but when it does these are some of the best waves I have every surfed but soper gnarly and dangerously shallow reefs. I do not know for a fact but have read that Barbados is not really cruiser friendly.

Good luck on your search!
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:20   #12
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The south coast of Barbados seems to be a mix between the calm Caribbean and Atlantic so hopefully you could get some surf and some protected anchorages.
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Old 13-11-2011, 21:41   #13
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

The Caribbean gets great surf in winter time and although it doesn't get all that big, it is usually consistent with a mix of East or North East trade windswell and Northerly, almost North Westerly groundswell that's produced as the cold fronts swing off the East Coast.
Some of the best waves that I have found tend to be on the Western Coasts or on the top corners of the islands where the trade winds blow offshore, but the waves still wrap in.
With a boat the possibilities are endless and I've always found a relatively decent anchorage close by, although,I admit, sometimes I resort to finding shelter and renting a car to get to the waves.
The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos have scores of isolated reef breaks, but they are very remote and sharky. I base myself inside the reef at Provo and explore the nearby reefs.
The BVI's have some great surf but the waves are quite crowded. Anchor in Cane Garden Bay and tender over to Little Apple if the point at CGB isn't breaking. The North Coast of Tortola hold some nice secrets that can only be accessed by boat.
If the wind is light and there's North swell, the reef at Anegada can be awesome, but it's a rare event. If the swell is big, try the reef at Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda.
There's good waves on the Spanish Virgins. Puerto Rico gets great waves on the Western corner but anchoring can be tricky and in my opinion, the Mona Passage is a very stressful place to go boating.
The DR has lots of potential and I'm yet to fully explore the coves and headlands, but the charts look promising and there's always swell when I sail past.
As for the main island chain, I've surfed every island and they all have pleasant waves. In St Maarten, I anchor in Marigot and tender to the North Eastern point to surf the right point at Wilderness.
In St Barths the waves are great but can only be accessed by anchoring in town and renting a car to surf L'Orient or Point Milou.
I never found much on Antigua. Rumors abound about a point break on the very North tip on St Kitts which can be easily reached by anchoring further down the West Coast and tendering back up.
Guadeloupe gets great waves, but are hard to access by boat.
The real gem for great waves is Barbados. If you anchor at Port St Charles, you can surf the waves on the West coast by tender. Drive North to Maycocks and Duppies or South to Sandy Lane. If it's flat on that coast then go overland to the East Coast to the famous SoupBowls.
I surfed some good waves this past season in the Grenadines and was able to anchor inside the reefs, so it was ideal to surf by boat. My friends also swear by Tobago, but I've never got that far, I've found that it gets a lot windier the further South so the best conditions for waves are further North between the Leewards and the Bahamas.
Good Luck - I'll be anchored at Cane Garden Bay this season - Hopefully see you there!
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Old 14-11-2011, 06:43   #14
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Great post. This is good info. I surfed anegada once. Great wave.
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Old 14-11-2011, 06:58   #15
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Re: Surfing in the Caribbean

Good stuff here. I am preparing for a surfing inspired cruise right now and have been doing much research on the subject. I am currently torn between heading straight for the South Pacific, or trying out the Caribbean for a season.

There are surf gems littered throughout the Caribbean. Even places like Jamaica have great surf, I traveled around the island with the Jamaican surf team one year and scored great waves. Check out - WannaSurf, surf spots atlas, surfing photos, maps, GPS location for an extensive list of surf spots on most of the islands.

I find it funny when people say there aren't big or "good" waves in the Caribbean. Excuse my assumptions, but most people aren't fit to ride Cloudbreak on even a small day, so average Caribbean is MORE than enough for 99% of surfers.

Read this article for some perspective: Mortal Compass | SURFER Magazine
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