Barbados is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and unique places to go on vacation. The temperatures are warm, the sand is fine and soft, and there are an abundance of activities available both in and out of the water. Plus, the diverse authentic culture makes Barbados a true bucket list destination.
What most people don’t know is that Barbados is actually a haven for surfers. Due to the location of the island in the Atlantic Ocean, the ocean’s waves provide enough power to develop over thousands of miles and over the island’s complex coral reefs to provide the ideal surfing conditions.
It doesn’t matter where you surf in Barbados – because the coral reefs surround the entire island, a surf-friendly swell is guaranteed at virtually every beach. If the weather is behaving, the waters are generally consistent all year round.
For some clarification, all the surf schools in Barbados are located in the southern part of the island. There isn’t really much of a clear reason for this, but it is believed that the waters on the southern coast of the island are more beginner-friendly due to fairly consistent surf conditions. \
Plus, the southern coast provides some of the island’s best fishing towns, most notably Oistins, which provides some of the best freshly-caught Caribbean food in the world.
If you’re looking to start your surf journey on vacation, or perhaps you want to enhance your skills on the board, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 8 best surfing lessons and surfing schools in Barbados!
1. Barry’s Surf School Barbados
Based in Dover on the South Coast of Barbados, Barry’s Surf School has been a popular school for beginner and intermediate surfers since 2005. The lessons are run by either Barry himself, or one of his several qualified instructors. Barry is a local to the area, and with years of experience of both surfing and instructing, he understands the way the water works in Barbados.
Each surf lesson lasts a total of two hours, with the first 15-20 minutes consisting of a land-based class. Students are then (metaphorically but also literally) chucked into the deep end alongside expert instructors as they take their newfound surf knowledge into the waters. These surf lessons are completed in small groups with a maximum of 4 students to allow for a personalized surf experience.
The cost of the 2-hour-long surf lessons also covers the cost of a rental board, which can then be used for the rest of the day. These lessons are best suited for beginner and intermediate surfers.
- Small groups allow for a personalized experience
- Cost of lesson includes a day-long rental of the surfboard
- Suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers
- Experienced surfers might want something more challenging
2. Ride The Tide Barbados
Ride The Tide is a surf school based in Freights Bay, located right at the southern tip of the island. Freights Bay is one of the most popular destinations for beginner and intermediate surfers due to the crystal clear waters, consistent waves, and the panoramic view of dramatic sunsets. Plus, popular fishing village Oistins is nearby for surfers to delve into freshly caught seafood dishes.
Ride The Tide offers an array of surfing lessons, including private 1-2-1 classes, private group classes for families and friends, and open group classes. While open group classes might sound like mayhem in the water, these groups have a maximum capacity of 4 people, allowing for a personalized experience.
Not only are these classes affordable, but the cost covers the rental of a surfboard for a day, allowing students to use their newfound knowledge outside the lesson.
These lessons are run by experienced and qualified instructors who are trained in first aid and CPR. Plus, if you don’t want to pay for a lesson, Ride The Tide offers both surfboard and bike hires.
- Varied lesson sizes
- Surfboard rental included in price and lasts for the day
- Turtle sightings are very common
- Location is said to be quite challenging for complete beginners
3. Bodie’s School Of Surf
If you’re looking for a surf school in Barbados that offers lessons and rentals in a variety of watersports, look no further. Bodie’s School of Surf is a mobile surf school mostly based in Surfer’s Cafe in Oistins which works to take their classes to a variety of beaches across the southern coast to meet their skill level and preferences. Transport is included from the meet-up point.
This surf school is run by Bodie, a local experienced surfer who has been in love with the sport for over 30 years. Bodie runs 2-hour-long surf lessons that are proven to be most successful for beginners, as Bodie will provide a comprehensive land lesson to prepare them for the waves. The cost of the lessons also include a daily rental of a surfboard, a rash guard, and access to lockers.
Aside from surfing, Bodie’s School of Surf offers windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing, and wing surfing lessons across the southern coast of Barbados.
- Variety of watersport lessons available
- Local instructor provide recommendations of food, accommodation, and local culture
- Comprehensive land lesson for beginners
- Prices aren’t available on the website, so students must contact Bodie personally
4. Zed’s Surfing Adventures
Not only is Zed’s Surfing Adventures one of the best surf schools in Barbados, but it was actually classed as the 7th best surf school in the world by National Geographic in 2012! Zed’s Surfing Adventures was founded in 2002 and has since become one of the most trusted surf schools on the island, mostly due to its excellence with beginners and kids.
For parents traveling with kids, the idea of taking them surfing always brings justifiable concerns. However, Zed’s Surfing Adventures has worked to combat these concerns by providing 2-hour-long “Get Wet” sessions that are designed to give kids and complete beginners a taste of surfing before they delve into proper lessons. The lessons themselves can be completed in private or group sessions depending on your budget.
This surf school is located on Surfer’s Point in Inch Marlow Christ Church, which is slightly out of the way from tourists. For the non-surfers who want to relax as they watch their friends or kids in the water, Zed’s offers lounge chairs and their own café.
Plus, Zed’s Surfing Adventures offers accommodation packages for those looking to spend their entire vacation surfing. The self-catered apartments all provide a beachfront view, a fully equipped kitchen, and best of all, a working AC unit. Plus, this surf school offers car rentals for you to explore the island in your own time!
- Highly rated surf school
- Kid-friendly and beginner-friendly
- Located away from typical tourist beaches to avoid overcrowding
- Cost of lessons is slightly higher compared to other surf schools.
5. Paradise Surf School
If you’re looking for a relaxing start to your surfing journey, check out Paradise Surf School. Paradise Surf School isn’t committed to training newbies into experienced surfers within the first lesson – instead, the team of qualified instructors are dedicated to helping people enjoy their surf experience.
Don’t be too concerned about immediately standing on your board, just go with the flow of the waves! Plus, if you don’t manage to stand on the board in the first lesson, the lesson is completely free.
Paradise Surf School stands out for its variety, from standard surf lessons to stand-up paddleboarding lessons to snorkeling tours. We recommend opting for a surf tour if you’re an intermediate surfer, as these tours allow you to explore the island with a bit of a challenge in the water at every location. Plus, the snorkeling tours allow students to explore the array of wildlife and reefs underneath the water.
Paradise Surf School is run by Bruce Mackie, who is a Barbadian pro surfer and expert guide of the area.
- Relaxed environment with no pressure to immediately stand up on board
- Snorkeling tours, stand-up paddleboard lessons, and surf tours available
- Affordable rates
- Transportation is limited so make sure to book early
6. Boosy’s Surf Lessons
Boosy’s Surf Lessons are all about creating an individualized experience. These lessons are run by Christian Boosy, who has been surfing for nearly 30 years and teaching for over 10 years. His pro-surfer background and experience in the water makes him one of the best surf instructors in the whole of Barbados. When he’s not teaching, he’s spending his time in the water handing out valuable advice to nearby surfers.
Christian teaches all the lessons himself with a key emphasis on safety. His skills in the water means that he is a trusted instructor, particularly for beginners who have never stood on a board before. He deliberately keeps his group classes small to prevent overcrowding and to give each student a chance for a brief 1-2-1 lesson. Plus, each board is equipped with a GoPro to capture the student’s achievements.
Boosy’s Surf Lessons is also committed to encouraging surfing in local kids through its tuition scheme that offers kids access to over 40 boards.
- Personalized approach due to small groups
- Go Pro attached to every board to capture special moments
- Very friendly instructor
- As the lessons are run by one person, Boosy might be hard to contact at times
7. Dread Or Dead
Don’t be fooled by the intimidating name – Dread or Dead has earned its place on our list of the best surf schools in Barbados due to the school’s inclusivity of all skill levels.
Sure, they’ve got classes for beginners, but the qualified instructors also have lessons specifically for intermediate and advanced surfers. So, if you’ve done a bit of surfing before and you want a challenge, check out Dread or Dead’s lessons.
Dread or Dead is a mobile surf school that collects the students from their hotels before taking them to the surfing location. The location varies depending on the group’s skill level and the conditions of the water. However, the main surf break is Brandon’s Beach, which is based just on the outskirts of the capital city of Bridgetown.
As well as the premium-quality surf lessons, Dread or Dead is known for its extensive surf shop. This shop is popular for selling surfboards, board accessories, wax, wetsuits, backpacks, longboards, and so much more to enhance the quality of your surfing experience. The longboards are a particularly good purchase for those who wish to practice their surf skills on land.
- Ideal for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers
- High-quality products in surf shop available
- Surf tours and SUP lessons available
- Cost of the lessons increase depending on skill level
8. Burkie’s Surf School
When it comes to learning the art of surfing as a beginner, you’re going to need an instructor who is highly knowledgeable and experienced in the world of surfing. They also need to know the local waters like the back of their hand. Burkie’s Surf School is run by Alan Burke, who ticks all of these boxes.
Alan Burke is a lifelong surfer and competitor in a variety of watersports and land-based sports. With an abundance of titles under his belt, Burke decided to teach others his talents to spread his passion for surfing. His passion for Barbados is also apparent in the lessons, as he is always free to recommend local eateries, activities, and a brief history of the surf scene.
As the lessons are held in 1-3 ft surf, this surf school is best suited for beginners. It’s recommended to bulk-buy lessons, as the first two lessons are about teaching the basic science and theory of surfing, which is invaluable information before taking off in the water.
Considering most surf schools only offer 10-15 minutes teaching the basics of surfing on land before going into the water, this is probably the safest option for beginners – particularly anxious or worried beginners!
- Highly experienced and passionate instructor
- Lessons are held in shallow waves to suit beginners
- Emphasis on theory and surf science
- Advanced surfers may want more of a challenge