Tourism riding surfing wave


Every year international surfers of the calibre of Kelly Slater quietly enter the island and surf some of best breaks here.

In addition, every November, world-class surfers and international camera crews take over the east coast.

It’s sports tourism surfing-style, and the president of the sport’s governing body feels Barbados stands to reap the benefits.

President of the Barbados Surfing Association (BSA) Andrew Lewis said that while he was unable to put a dollar value on the impact of surfing, it was tremendous.

“I couldn’t sit and figure out what is the dollar value of the number of people that come to Barbados just to surf,” he said.

“The eight-time world champion [Slater] – this is one of his favourite places to come, and everyone in the surfing fraternity knows that this is his second home. All of his friends know about it and they spread the word.”

Lewis added that every November, the island also gains maximum international exposure when the association hosts the annual Reef Classic at Bathsheba.

“Barbados is highlighted in a good few surfing movies,” he explained. “There is coverage in a lot of magazines, and the Reef event has done a lot because there are a lot of Latin surfers that know about Barbados as well.”

Lewis was speaking after the BSA held its awards ceremony on Saturday night for 2007’s best surfers.