It has been nearly ten years since my first trip to Barbados Back then the Windsurfing World Tour was held at the shores of Silver Rock & Silver Sands and it was a popular winter windsurfing destination. I have fond memories of my first trip; I had some great windsurfing, met with the legendary Irie man Brian Talma and got engaged! (Not to him though). During the middle of last year my wife had opportunity to go and work in Barbados so I got the chance to return and check out the windsurfing again and see whether the destination has changed in the last decade.
How to get there
Barbados is the most eastern of the islands in the Caribbean and you need to catch a plane to get there. British Airways used to be the most used carrier but NOT any more for us windsurfers. Virgin let you take 23kg of luggage and 32kg of windsurfing equipment for FREE. Dial A Flight deal with all the airlines and for some reason always get cheap flights to this island so try both of them but do check airline excess baggage policy. All you really need for Barbados is around 5.5m to 6.5m rigs so you can get away with taking just a few sails and one board.
Prices do vary hugely; on a cheap deal you might get as low as £350 return but you can also expect to pay in excess of £1000 return around Christmas time.
Once you are in Barbados you will need a car, unless you are staying around the Silver Sand and Silver Rock area. Car rentals are pretty expensive.
How the Wind Works
Barbados is blessed by relatively gentle trade winds. The trades blow from around November through to June and are generally around 15 to 20 knots keeping the temperature around a very pleasant 26 to 29 degrees. The wind speed does vary considerably throughout the day so it is always good to check the real time weather at Grantly Adams Airport.
Go to www.cdera.org and click on the “Hourly Weather Statistics” link. I usually get excited when it says 17mph and head for Silver Rock as I know I’ll be on my 6.2m Boxer and US1111 Pro Wave 95.
The wind direction varies from North-easterly to South-easterly. Easterly through South-east are the best directions.
From around July through to November the hurricane season or rainy season starts. Oddly enough this doesn’t really bring any wind to Barbados. The hurricanes usually miss Barbados and the last one that scored a direct hit was over fifty years ago. Occasionally there will be a tropical storm with a much stronger wind than usual and a lot of rain but these are usually short lived and may last a day or two. The climate in the summer months is oppressively hot at 30 degrees in the day AND night and pretty humid with it too.
The tropical storms and hurricanes do bring the benefit of swell in the summer so if you are into surfing and then this can be an excellent time to visit.