The main spots to windsurf in Barbados are around the Silver Rock and Silver Sands area on the south eastern tip of the island. Silver Rock hosted World Tour events and is home to Brian Talma’s De Action wind and surf shop. Silver Sands boasts the Silver Sands Hotel that has been frequented by many a windsurfer in the past.
Silver Rock and Silver Sands offer conditions from beginner to expert. The lagoon inside the reef offers more protected waters, though on big swells and onshore conditions it can get a bit rough and is certainly a little choppy. If you wish to venture out into the waves then the reef offers challenging yet forgiving conditions. The waves are not super powerful, but be warned they can break gear! As the spot is a lighter air destination Silver Rock can really hone your light wind wave riding skills. There are often days when for heavier guys like me you won’t be planing on the way out all the time. This means you need to be careful going out through the break especially on the bigger days. There is a small side-shore current within the lagoon in the same direction as the wind so be aware as this does have an impact on your ability to get going. The period of the swells is short so often waves are close together even when they have some size to them.
Details for Silver Sands and Silver Rock
Best wind direction: Easterly through to South-easterly.
Worst wind direction: North through North-easterly.
Tide: There is some tidal variation but I can never work it out! Needless to say you’ll notice the reef more at low tide. The reef is shallow in a few places at Silver Rock.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand in the Lagoon and Sharp(ish) rock on the reef
Any hazards: Only the waves when they get big and the side-shore current can get pretty strong.
Other water users: Silver Rock and Silver Sands are popular destinations with kite surfers and there are sometimes more kites on the water than sails. Be wary and show respect.
Suitability/levels: Beginner through to Expert.
Wipe-out factor: Medium. Be aware the wind can sometimes drop so if you feel it getting a bit light tack and head for the beach otherwise a swim in may be necessary.
Surfer's Point and South Point
You can windsurf as far south as Surfer’s Point and also at a few locations north towards South Point. All of these spots are pretty much visible from Silver Rock. Be respectful of surfers at Surfer’s Point and South Point. Surfer’s Point is a popular venue and often has beginners and inexperienced surfer’s mixed with more handy riders. South Point is very much a surfer’s break. If you are this far north you are probably in the wrong location as the wind will be too fluky and offshore and there is much better sailing to be had upwind.
Maxwell, Oistin's and surrounding beaches
North of Silver Rock and Silver Sands heading into Bridgetown on the coast road are Oistin’s Fish Market and Maxwell Beach. These beaches are predominantly flat water locations and great for beginners, blasting, freestlyle and freeriding. Maxwell and the beaches near by can get a wave occasionally but it’s a pretty heavy shore break to get out through but can offer some ok riding and jumping.
Instruction and kit hire
Check out Brian Talma at De Action Shop at Silver Rock www.irieman-talma.com where you can hire kit and get windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing lessons as well.
Also Club Mistral operates out of the Silver Sands Hotel.
Equipment to take
In my experience all you really need, depending on your weight and ability, is a 5.5m to 6.5m sail and a light wind board. For me all I took was 5.4, 5.8 and 6.2 Boxers and my 95litre Naish Wave Board. A 100litre to115 Litre Freestyle board would also be a good to take or a floaty freeride board.
Unfortunately, the Silver Sands Hotel and Club Mistral are now closed but you can still book your package through Sportif: www.sportif.travel
Years ago I stayed at Coral House which is near by to Silver Sands. This is a self catering apartment and you can expect to pay about €350 for a weeks stay in high season.
There are heaps of accommodation deals available over the internet, the trick is to work out if you plan to stay near the windsurfing beaches in which case you may save yourself the need for a car, or have accommodation a little way from Silver Rock and Silver Sands and explore the island more.